So over the past few weeks i have been preparing my family on cutting the cord. Something I have been looking at for a while but just could not see the possibility of keeping my kids and the Mrs. happy with want they want, until now.
See the end for the TL; DR version
What my setup was:
- Directv service: 120/mth ( basic plus Cinemax) - Cinemax was free but just ended bumping my bill up. Part of what stir me to act now.
- TWC Internet: 80/mth (Extreme with the Ultimate 200 plan) really 115/10Mbps avg. Not currently on a package deal, but not planning on changing this right now.
The main goals:
- Lower my monthly expenses
- Ability to watch our favorite shows, when we want (DVR and or ONDemmand Functionality)
- Live TV (OTA)
- as little impact as possible
So I started looking at where I could receive my kids and wife’s favorite shows without having a cable/Sat services. Internet is planned to stay as it is.
With the introduction of streaming cable services Sling and Vue I decided to give them each a shot as they are significantly cheaper than even the basic plans and have no contract. Each provide a 1 week trial. Both provide a very similar line up. Both offered add-on of premium channels and sport packages like NFL Red zone.
In the end I ended up going PS Vue’s base package. They had the right channels (ESPN, USA, Nick, Disney, ETC…) I wanted on the base package for 30/mth plus PS Vue offers a sort of DVR capability for 30 days. i.e you add shows to “my shows” and you can watch past episodes for 30 for up to 30 days. This is outside the normal on demand stuff as i understand it. Did not see a similar function with Sling.
Locals are provided on both services but only in an on demand fashion. No live TV.
Cost added: PS VUE service $30/mth for base package 55 channels
Now i needed something to use PSvue on since I don’t have a PlayStation. PS Vue support apps on FireTV, Roku and android. Sling did have a larger selection in this area such has Win10 and Xbox. But the channel lineup was just better with Vue. Plus the app sucked on the Xbox and Win10. I already have a Roku 3 which i used to test the two services and that is currently attached to the TV in the basement for the kids. But i needed something for the Main TV in the living room and the one in the bedroom. I looked at adding more Roku, but i am not too keen on their UI. It was too outdated. So I looked at Android TV/KODI boxes and FireTV. And although the Tech Geek side said KODI I ended up going with FireTV in the living room and Fire Stick in the bedroom. The UI is simple to use. Something I need for the Wife and kids.
Cost added: FireTV and Firestick $140. (I got the stick with the voice remote)
So this is pretty much a no brainer but in order to get local sports / local channels I added a HD Antenna to my setup on my main TV. So I picked up a decent indoor antenna for my main TV to see what i can get. I also did a report on TVfool.com to see what channels where in my area. Highly recommend to check this out so you know what kind of antenna you will need. My Report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3De2cb8dc6944631
Cost Added: 1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna - 50 Mile Range $30. I am not even using the amplifier and am picking up over 20+ channels. Actually it works better without the Amp.
- I currently have Netflix and Prime so i am not going to factor their cost into this as i am already paying for them.
- Future i am looking at HDHomeRun to use as a DVR for my OTA and Stream through Plex which can also be used as a DVR with Plex Pass
Summary and TL;DR
So i have moved off DirecTV and onto Amazon FireTV with PSvue service and the family is taking it well. Knew i would not have an issue with the kids as all they watch is Netflix, and YT these days. But still needed NICK and Disney shows. The wife was the bigger question and is doing fine with it so far. Amazon UI is easy to use and once i setup the favorite apps to show up on top (Netflix, PSvue and Plex) we are good to go. No OTA in the bedroom just yet but will probably pick up another antenna to for it.
Hardware Cost: $170 ( FireTv, Fire Stick, and HD antenna)
Monthly Service cost reduction: $120 - $30 = $90
Time to cover cost of hardware: 2 months ROI.
So it’s been about a month from officially dumping DirecTV and my family is acting like nothing happened. Kids adapted fast, but I had no reason to think otherwise. Wife is doing fine as well. Picked up a Logitech Harmony universal for the bedroom to control TV, FireStick and DVD player.
There is one thing that everyone needs to look out for, and that is amount of data you are now going to pull per month by going with an all streaming service. So for those of you that have the unfortunate situation of living in an area with Data Caps this is important. Below is a chart of my usage of the past few months and as you can tell you can see exactly when I went to full streaming.
Now, I would consider my family heavy users for a couple of reasons.
- I work out of my home
- My kids watch mostly stuff onDemand with Netflix, YT and others
- We also download quite a bit of movies and TV shows. (I always pick the higher res when available)
So if you live in a capped area take a look at your usage today and I would at least double it to see what you would end up using.