Until something changes, I guess I'm sticking with DISH

ncted

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I've considered all the options I can think of, from cable to OTT streaming, to a mix of OTA and OTT Streaming, and I can find alternatives to Dish that save us money, albeit, just a little, not a lot, but I cannot find anything that provides the content we care about, with the features we desire, at a price better than what we currently pay Dish.

Our watching habits have changed over they years. These days, we watch a handful of shows on the big six national networks (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBS, PBS). We also watch shows on TBS and Comedy Central. Other than that, we subscribe to HBO Now via Amazon Channels, Amazon Prime, and Netflix. Once a year, we get Hulu (ad-free), Stars, and CBS All Access for things we can only get that way or don't want to wait for. We really avoid advertising when at all possible. About the only ads we see are on the morning news, which are mostly local. We both download shows using DishAnywhere to watch when not at home.

Now, maybe something will change by September, when our contract is up, but I cannot foresee what that might be. For everyone else's benefit, here are the options I considered and the reasons why am choosing not to pursue each of them. Please keep in mind that the the reasons that are important to me are not necessarily important to others. If there is another option you think might be worth considering, please let me know as I am always looking for a better solution, and I enjoy the conversation.

Spectrum Cable & Internet:
While Spectrum offered significant savings over the two-years their cable & internet offer, I found their DVR offering to be severely limited in functionality and capacity. Their out-of-home viewing option is live-only at this time. Also, there is no provision to download recordings for off-line viewing on a mobile device. Technology-wise, Spectrum's video offering just doesn't meet our needs. Their Internet service would be perfectly acceptable, and we might switch to it if AT&T's prices for Fiber service become less attractive at a later date.

AT&T Uverse:
We are already AT&T Fiber Customers. The channel packages are just awesome value for money (now that Viacom is back anyway). The real downside is the aging platform this runs on plus the lack of off-line, out-of-home viewing. Finally, it is clear that AT&T is coming out with a replacement for Uverse soon. Maybe what they come up with next will be more appealing.

YouTube TV + Philo:
This is appealing as we would get more content for our money, and we wouldn't be paying as much for equipment fees as we do for content, like we do with Dish. We would only be paying for the streaming devices we already have to have for Netflix, Prime, etc. The reality is, we just don't watch all those extra channels anymore. A problem that all OTT "live" streaming services have is the "just turn on the TV and start watching" experience doesn't exist. You have to turn on the TV, then choose the app, wait for it to load, and then you can choose what to watch. Occasionally, the streaming device will decide to reboot or the app will crash unexpectedly. This is not an experience we enjoy, especially compared to the very fast and reliable Hopper3/Joey experience we have now. Also, our current streaming devices (Roku) do not include a mute button. If we cannot skip a commercial, we mute it. They've added volume up/down and TV power, why not mute? This is the other side of paying a lot for equipment: sometimes you get what you pay for. Also, it sounds like CBS recordings still cannot be skipped.

DirecTV Now:
I might consider it once they have a decent DVR solution and their own streaming box, if it ends up being any good, especially as it includes HBO now. The same streaming downsides as YTTV/Philo have.

Hulu Live + Philo:
Once we add the enhanced DVR, this becomes the most expensive streaming option. In fact it would actually cost more than if we keep Dish, albeit with access to more content. We like that it includes the Hulu on-demand service. The same streaming downsides as YTTV/Philo have.

Tablo 4-tuner + Sling or Philo:
The whole paradigm of using streaming devices to watch OTA DVRs is intriguing, especially if Tablo is successful with their ad-skipping tech. Unfortunately, it essentially still suffers from the same downsides as other streaming solutions, and it doesn't offer a download facility for out-of-home viewing. Additionally, my house is located in a location that is difficult to receive OTA without a largish antenna on the roof, which my wife is very much against. It is a brand-new roof, and she likes how out of the way our dish is. Even if I could get her on-board, the other downsides of streaming still exist.

Amazon Fire Recast + Sling/Philo:
Similar to Tablo, but with Amazon tie-in. We'd have to add 3 Fire streaming devices to our TVs, which eliminates price advantage vs. Tablo. I like that the required new FireTV remotes include a mute button, but we haven't had the best luck with our existing 2nd gen Firestick. It is not very responsive to remote inputs compared to our Rokus at times for whatever reason. I am also not confident the Recast is going be to more than a pet project for Amazon anyway. Same OTA and streaming issues.

Tivo Bolt OTA + Sling/Philo:
Too expensive. Same OTA issues.

I can see why people are switching to OTT live services and OTA, but there are definitely trade-offs, and they are still large enough for people like my wife who really doesn't have the time to constantly learn new UIs all the time. Also, the price increases have already started with the OTT services, so it seems like it is just going to turn into something like traditional satellite/cable business, but with higher overhead. Anyway, that is where I am for now.
 

ncted

SatelliteGuys Master
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Jul 4, 2004
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I think you can do TIVO with spectrum. That would be your best option to get away from dish and save money

I've tried this in the past. I am in an SDV, former TWC area. The tuner adapters are getting very hard to get, and while more reliable than they used to be, still a hassle that I don't think is worth it. It also would not save me much money, if any. Note I am on the Welcome Pack.
 

4d3fect

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Sep 1, 2011
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Idk what your budget/tech tolerance is, but "lack of a mute button" is easily resolved with a universal remote--we happen to have a harmony .
 
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Kirk1233

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Jan 3, 2017
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I would have went with YTTV/Philo if they had our RSN. Yes the Hopper is a bit more convenient but this combo had more content for a bit less money with much better picture quality (even better than DTV and Fios)

(My wife is also happier with the Hopper)

Sad thing is I’ve committed to Dish another year and we may lose our NBC affiliate :(
 
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ncted

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Jul 4, 2004
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Durham, NC
Idk what your budget/tech tolerance is, but "lack of a mute button" is easily resolved with a universal remote--we happen to have a harmony .

Does it work with a modern Roku? I have an Ultra, Premier+, and Streaming Stick+. I didn't see those listed as supported.
 

ncted

SatelliteGuys Master
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Jul 4, 2004
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Durham, NC
I think you can do TIVO with spectrum. That would be your best option to get away from dish and save money

I've tried this in the past. I am in an SDV, former TWC area. The tuner adapters are getting very hard to get, and while more reliable than they used to be, still a hassle that I don't think is worth it. It also would not save me much money, if any. Note I am on the Welcome Pack.

So, I went ahead and ran the numbers on this. Compared to the ~$110/month I pay for AT&T Fiber and Dish, the Spectrum deal is $80/month plus taxes, which seems to be around $87/month, so a $23/month savings for two years. If I go with a Bolt and two Minis, that is ~$436 upfront expense. Then I either have to pay $15/month, $150/year, or $550 for lifetime service. If I go with monthly, I'd be effectively saving $8 per month, which has a payback period of 54.5 month on the hardware purchase price. If I go yearly, I'd save $10.50/month, so a payback period of 41.5 months. If I go for lifetime, it would take 42 months to payback the initial investment with service savings. As the deal is only good for 24 months, I suspect I would never actually recover my initial investment. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion. It is a good idea, but it just isn't going to work in my case.
 
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Tampa8

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Over the last four to five years DISH has been the least expensive alternative for us, partly because we are not ready to watch all our TV by streaming only. That could be less but for us not as convenient. But that isn't the only reason.
With the two year current customer deals, the first year I save $10 over the increase from DISH and the second year I save $15 . It varies but others go up even more sometimes. DISH is less than any non bundled traditional service for the channels in the Top 200. Spectrum Bundled at first glance is cheaper because they drop the price of the internet however once you get a higher package than advertised to approximate the Top 200, pay the DVR and receivers fees etc they are very close in cost to what I pay. (Spectrum does have some channels in HD DISH does not like TV land, Oxygen)

With DISH because I am such a wonderful customer, I am only paying $7 DVR fee, $5 for Showtime for six months. We watch the movie pack often also and with it including Epix channels not a bad deal. So good I could drop the movie package or Showtime if/when the price goes up and save another $10. So they have accomplished keeping a customer with the discounts. We get and watch the super stations though not a deal breaker if we could not get them still nice to have.
When things go south with power outages or internet problems satellite for me is the premier way to get service of any kind, with exception of medium wave for AM.

We did save $10 by dropping one VIP receiver and using a TIVO I bought on sale three years ago including lifetime (now called all in) service. We record most all the locals on that freeing up the satellite channels for the DISH receivers. Because TIVO makes it easy and cheap to add another room one of our rooms gets TV that did not before, locals only however with sub channels we get around 50 channels.
 
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Tampa8

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And I think a satellite dish looks hi tech and cool too.

satellite_dish_hat-crop.jpg
 

Cheddar_Head

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