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DaveF

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A friend “cut the cord” and went all streaming. It was more expensive than cable TV. He did it for philosophical reasons initially, not financial, so that was fine. He then later cut out the Hulu Live to save money.

And that’s what I’ve concluded: to be on parity with what I have now with network TV and DVR flexibility on current TV, it’s not really any cheaper to “cut the cord”* and might be more expensive.

More specifically: Hulu Live is $55/mo. My TiVo is paid for and my cable subscription is $95/mo for gigabit and cable. I could save at most $30/mo “cutting the cord” and the add $55 to buy back via streaming. For me, it’s not quite yet a total win in cost and experience. But I’m fortunate to have both FIOS and Comcast and to have recently clawed back a major price reduction to “new customer” for the next two years.

As for truly cutting the cord: OTA isn’t practical where I’m at AFAIK.

* which for streaming “cut the cord” really means “spend less on the old cords and spend more on a new cord, keep paying the same oligopoly as we’ve always paid” one cord for another cord
 

Todd Erwin

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Believe me, the faster download speeds are crucial for 4K streaming. For two years we tried to make do with AT&T's fastest available speed in our area, 18 Mbps, and would frequently encounter buffering issues (on Vudu) and frequently shifting resolutions on Netflix and Prime Video. That all went away when we switched to Spectrum last year, who just began offering internet in our area 2 years ago. We were offered 100 Mbps down 10 Mbps up for $45/month for two years with a free upgrade to 400 Mbps down 20 Mbps up for three years.
 

Todd Erwin

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@Todd Erwin Can you elaborate on your DVR choice. You considered TiVo and rejected it for being too expensive. You considered four cheap DVRs and rejected them for being 720p.

And then you picked something completely off your list of options that was only 720p.

Why the DVR you picked? What’s it do that brought it out of nowhere and being purchased after detailed consideration of other options? Why compromise with 720p? Why not the TiVo for the best DVR available?
I based my decision on overall start up and monthly cost (we really did not want to pay a monthly programming fee), of which TiVo was just too expensive, plus user reviews. As I stated in my article, the less expensive DVRs had complaints of hard drive incompatibility issues and/or the programming guide was limited or would fail to load. @Adam Gregorich had posted here on the forum that he had some success with the Recast as well. And for us, 720p for OTA programming (which is broadcast in either 720p or 1080i) is just fine, as we delete the program after watching it 99.99% of the time.
 

JohnRice

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Believe me, the faster download speeds are crucial for 4K streaming. For two years we tried to make do with AT&T's fastest available speed in our area, 18 Mbps, and would frequently encounter buffering issues (on Vudu) and frequently shifting resolutions on Netflix and Prime Video. That all went away when we switched to Spectrum last year, who just began offering internet in our area 2 years ago. We were offered 100 Mbps down 10 Mbps up for $45/month for two years with a free upgrade to 400 Mbps down 20 Mbps up for three years.
Yep, I had 35Mb/s and streaming anything, especially Prime, was glitchy, even at 1080. Prime would start low res and improve as it played. Others have reported the same thing. Replacing my very old modem bumped me to 75Mb/s, which helped somewhat, but not as much as you'd think. Then I found a special in my area for 500Mb/s for 30% less than what I had been paying (I hate that Comcast BS) and now everything is peachy.
 

qbharold

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Harold, how much are you paying for internet service, though? I'm with Comcast and pay $154 for cable and internet. Internet cost me $90. And of course I had to pay $10 more for TCM since Comcast decided to put it in the higher tiered sports package. Plus I have AT&T for cell phone service and have Direct TV combined (because it would cost more if I just had the phone service). The key thing is getting internet service at a good price. If I dropped cable, adding something like slingtv, by the time I added all the channels I wanted I would be right back up to my Comcast bill. I've thought about cutting the cord but internet service is so expensive.

I certainly agree that Internet service is expensive and so are TV services.

I am in Tucson, Arizona. My choices are pretty much DSL, Cox, or a satellite Internet services (which may offer the DSL).

Currently, I am paying Cox $103.00/mo for 300/30 Internet service (need the 30 u/l for work). For cell phone services, my share of the AT&T bill after taxes is 62.00.

Looking at Cox's website, their offers to me to retain the same Internet service (or get faster) and to add TV are:
  • + 94.49/mo for ContourTV which has 140+ channels (Total: 198.48/mo)
  • +150.49/mo for Gigabit Internet and ContourTV Ultimate with 250+ channels as well as premium channels (total: 253.48/mo)
  • +200.48 which is the same as the previous one but with unlimited data (Total: 303.47/mo)

Again, the only reasons we have AT&T TV Now is for my mother and HBO; I just don't watch as much as I used to. She even agreed to stick with the lower tier. We are grandfathered into the service plan we have now. For what we pay, 35.00/mo and that includes 65+ Channels and HBO, is no longer offered. If we were to change/upgrade the service:

  • Plus (with 45+ Channels and HBO): 65.00/mo (40.00 if they keep the 25.00 discount)
  • Max (with 60+ channels with HBO and Cinemax): 80.00/mo (55 if they keep the 25.00 discount)
As the prices go up on AT&T TV Now, we are getting closer and closer to possibly making a switch. First jump may be to YouTube TV for its DVR space, which AT&T TV Now is horrible at 20 hours total. And I just hope that the YouTube TV app is better than the regular YouTube app when it comes to closed captions/subtitles.

Right now, Cox would get me the best Internet speeds and service (have not had many issues since getting them in 2003) so regardless of which TV service I use, I would still be paying them 103.00/mo.

Looking back at emails: we, as a family, officially cut the cord from Dish in February 2016.

Overall, I know I am happier with the current setup we have.

Oh, other bits of info:
  • We do have Amazon Prime so we do get Prime Video.
  • We do not currently have 4k-capable displays.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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So much of the cord-cutting thing depends upon geographical location.

Here in Boise the TV OTA transmitters are up at 7,500 feet in the Rockies, so everyone gets direct LOS reception with smaller antennas. I placed a large "outdoor" antenna in the crawlspace over the garage and connected it to the RG-6 distribution throughout the house. This gets me 45 OTA channels.

The local cable supplier is Sparklight (ex CableOne). They charge $55 a month for their lowest-tier 100 MBS service. They list a large number of supported cable modems, some of which are several years old models. I bought an open-box Surfboard SB6183 from Amazon for $31. IIUC the original MSRP for this was around $200. Look for bargains in slightly older modem designs.

With idiot-proof VOIP boxes like my OOMA home telephones are now cheap. OOMA is about $80 retail ($60 refurb) and the monthly charge is only the taxes they have to pay - for me around $5/month. You cut the telephone company cord going into your house then plug the OOMA box into a convenient phone jack - now all your phones are connected. OOMA does charge an excessive one-time $50 for porting over your old phone number though.

I watch little TV anymore, and I HATE sports, so my situation is probably different than most people's. No interest in streaming for me.
 

John Dirk

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15 Mbps to 25Mbps is advised by providers for UHD streaming.

Poorly written. Sorry. What I meant was "if you don't have simultaneous 4K streams in play then you are probably safe with any broadband plan." For the moment anyway, I'm only using the Standard HD [Netflix] plan but I did previously have the UHD plan and never experienced any video related issues. I downgraded my plan because I wasn't happy with their Atmos offerings at the time.

My Internet service is low-tier and hasn't changed in many years. Here are my test results as of today but they can vary WIDELY depending on multiple factors. It's also worth noting that most of the popular Speed Test sites [this one included] are designed to make your ISP look good but don't always return real-world results. Because of this, I doubt most people even know what their true [nominal] Internet speeds are.


upload_2020-1-16_17-29-10.png



For a more accurate test, I would suggest this tool. Note the disparity between the two tests conducted within minutes of each other.


upload_2020-1-16_17-41-40.png
 
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John Dirk

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And that’s what I’ve concluded: to be on parity with what I have now with network TV and DVR flexibility on current TV, it’s not really any cheaper to “cut the cord”* and might be more expensive.

Depends on your preferred [must have] content. For me [with the exception of live sports] it's all about genres. I can find more content [You Tube, Netflix etc.] in any of them than I ever have time to watch. For example, I just finished watching "The Good Place" on Netflix. Shows like this serve as my light comedy at the beginning of my day while I have breakfast. Tomorrow morning I'll start looking for a new show to fill that slot.

Meanwhile the new season of Lost In Space just launched on Netflix too. There's my next Sci-Fi fix!
 

JohnRice

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Thanks for the tool @John Dirk . As much as I hate Comcast, it confirmed my speed is pretty much what I'm promised. SpeedTest is higher, at about 550Mb/s on average. The tool you linked runs around 475-495 Mb/s. I ran it several times.
 

DaveF

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Both, and. Not either, or. :)

I have cable and Netflix and Amazon.

And some shows like The Good Place, I don’t want to be a year behind. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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For The Good Place, though... just as an example. There are lots of ways to access that show for less than the cost of cable, without a roof antenna and without waiting a year.

-It’s an NBC show, which means that the full episode goes on NBC.com for free after it airs

-The entire series is on Hulu, with new episodes added the morning after the broadcast. $10 a month commercial free (or $6 with commercials) gets you pretty much every current network show this way and tons of legacy content.

-Digital retailers like iTunes and Vudu sell new episodes for $3 each the day after they air and offer discounts for pre-purchasing the whole season

-The coming NBC Peacock app will allow this content to be seen for free with commercials or without commercials for a small monthly fee.

If you want to watch The Good Place at exactly the moment it airs on NBC, yes, you’ll need cable/satellite, an OTA antenna, or a Hulu Live/YouTube Live service that costs $50 a month. But if you can accept watching it anytime after 12:01am instead of 9:00pm on the dot, there are major savings to be had.

This is one of my wife’s favorite shows and one she wouldn’t want to make do without. But she was always watching it the next day on Hulu even when we had cable. Cutting the cord didn’t change her approach to the program in the slightest. Since we already had Hulu, it didn’t cost anything extra when we cut the cord.

But since we’re saving nearly $150 a month, which will add up to around $1500 for the year, if we add a service for $10 for a couple months, or spend $20 on a season pass for a show here or there, that’s still far less than what we were paying.

I guess the difference is, when you cut the cord, are you looking to have all of the same channels as you had before, or are you just looking for the content you want? I don’t need to have channels to surf, so having online access to channels playing content in a linear fashion didn’t matter to me. If I can stream The Good Place anytime I want, what difference does it make that I can’t watch it at specifically 9pm with commercials?
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I thought you could simply go to NBC.com and watch the programs directly on their website (with ads) once they air. That it wasn’t a full library but the last few weeks of shows.
 

Todd Erwin

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I thought you could simply go to NBC.com and watch the programs directly on their website (with ads) once they air. That it wasn’t a full library but the last few weeks of shows.
NBC.com yes, if you connect your PC to your TV or AV Receiver. The NBC app (on Roku, Fire, Apple TV, or smart TV), though, requires registering your cable or satellite or streaming (YouTube TV, AT&T Now, etc) subscription.
 

John Dirk

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I just connect my desktop computer's graphic card to the screen with a generic hdmi cable.
Thanks.

I'll have to give this a try in my main room. I tried it on my office PC and received 3 credits [free show views] only after providing my email address. Fair enough but clearly a teaser.
 

John Dirk

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For The Good Place, though... just as an example. There are lots of ways to access that show for less than the cost of cable, without a roof antenna and without waiting a year.

MODS - If this is verboten (I know a little German :)) please remove and advise. I wasn't sure.

If you have Netflix you can also access season 4 today with a VPN. It's already out in Europe.
 

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