Thinking of cutting the cord

calebthrowercalebthrower South Carolina
The wife and I are thinking of cutting ties from the evil empire of cable television. Our main alternative choices are either SlingTV or Playstation Vue. Anybody have experiences with either/both, good or bad?


  • Wahl-eWahl-e Seattle
    I cut the cord two years ago. Haven't looked back. 

    I have SlingTV, which I watch through a Roku. I mainly got it for ESPN. I usually just use my SlingTV account to watch ESPN through the WatchESPN app. It might be my Roku (which is four years old) but SlingTV does routinely crash while I'm watching or selecting channels/shows. Sometimes, it would require a full reset of the Roku. I'm pretty sure the SlingTV app is the culprit, because no other apps have that problem. 

    It's still a nascent technology, so SlingTV does seem to be experiencing growing pains. However, breaking free from the cable company has been worth it for me. 

    As for other apps I use: I have Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO NOW accounts. For shows that aren't covered on my "cut the cord" package, I simply buy them off of Amazon Video (a full season of Better Call Saul, Fargo, or The People vs. OJ Simpson costs $20-$25, and you get the episodes commercial-free the day after they air). 

    For me, cutting the cord has generally lowered my tolerance for commercials, especially on narrative TV. Watching new episodes of Better Call Saul or Fargo with no commercials creates a much more cinematic feel, and I think heightens the experience. 

    I recommend it. 
  • jmars99jmars99 Philly, PA
    edited July 2016
    On paper, Playstation Vue seems to have cable benefits without the cost.  Not sure how it operates in practice.  I think both Sling and Playstation have a trial membership that would be worth it to test out the quality.

    All depends on your viewing habits.  If you are a big sports watcher, you will need ESPN.  If live sports don't matter, it makes it easier.  Sling and Playstation I believe are the only ways to get ESPN without "cable".  Watch your bill though because when you drop Cable, the cable company jacks up your internet bill from what you might have been paying via triple play or double play.
    If sports don't matter, buy a Roku and get Hulu, Netlix or Amazon, HBO NOW and/or other premium and any number of free "channels"

    Don't forget, if you are close to a metro area, you can get a good old fashioned antenna and get crystal clear HD Broadcast TV for free!! (ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, PBS)

  • calebthrowercalebthrower South Carolina
    Thanks for the responses. I'm leaning toward Playstation Vue for the simple fact they offer a DVR feature which saves tot he cloud (we have a newborn and its impossible to watch anything live)
  • I was gonna cut the cord last fall, did a bunch of research, and then made the call to Comcast and ended up negotiating a pretty good rate that was locked in for 2 yrs - I pay ~$115/mo for fast internet, full cable + HBO + X1 DVR. Considering internet alone was gonna be like $65-70 to Comcast anyway, we decided it was worth the convenience to keep cable. Especially since were going to be adding the costs of Sling TV, HBO Now, Hulu, and paying for certain shows per episode/season on Amazon, the cost difference wasn't all that much. 

    Long story short, come up w/ a plan to cut cable, run the #'s, and see what they offer you. 

    If you do decide to cut, I think Roku is the best option for your box as it has pretty much every "ecosystem" except Apple. I was also looking into the Tablo to have DVR capability for broadcast TV, it streams the stuff from your antenna to a Roku or another device which is pretty cool.
  • Frakkin TFrakkin T Currently Offline
  • WarpFoxWarpFox Nashville, TN
    We have Playstation Vue that we use on the PS4.

    It has its problems: Occasionally, the recorded shows will "hiccup" where it skips over 5-10 seconds of the show. Sometimes it does this reliably every 30 seconds, and the recorded show is unwatchable. It hasn't been a big deal, because we've actually only noticed this happening on shows where it doesn't really matter (Food Network shows, HGTV house flipping shows, etc.) Also, the app can sometimes hang if you try to navigate too quickly.

    It does offer On-Demand programming, which I assume wouldn't suffer from the DVR hiccups, but we haven't actually tried that out yet. 

    The Pros: The price is right (we have the $30 package) and 95% of the time, it works very well. PS Vue offers mobile apps, so you can watch on your phone or tablet (live TV, recorded shows, and on-demand). They also offer a few a-la-carte premium channels, but not HBO – for that, we subscribe to HBO Now.

    We've done all this since moving into our house. We had cable at our apartment before, and we don't miss it. Between Netflix, PS Vue and HBO Now, we feel like we've covered the gaps rather well.
  • I agree with MrX, you really have to run the numbers carefully to see if the savings are really there. If you have several of the streaming services plus the increase of the Internet outside of a bundle, you may not save as much as you think. If I had control of my household, I would just have FioS Internet, Netflix, Amazon and have nfl & nba league pass (and find out if tennis, rugby & soccer have something similar). Also knowing your cable provider is optimal (I've heard Comcast & Time Warner are particularly shitty in certain areas).
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA

    Thanks for the responses. I'm leaning toward Playstation Vue for the simple fact they offer a DVR feature which saves tot he cloud (we have a newborn and its impossible to watch anything live)

    I think the Vue offers a week-long free trial. I did this when it was first released and was very impressed. It does hiccup every now and again since you are streaming the content. Probably hiccuped more than a Netflix of a Hulu, but still, I thought it was a pretty good service. Maybe give that free trial a go and see what you think.
  • I just use Kodi which has everything. Literally everything. 

    Best thing I ever downloaded.
  • ngwils02ngwils02 Louisville, KY
    I've had both. PS Vue is better in my opinion for a few (brief) reasons.

    1. The programming on SlingTV sometimes cut out (especially for the Walking Dead) for no reason and it got super annoying. Vue will do that on occasion but not nearly as often. 

    2. Vue lets you DVR shows. 

    3. Vue had a better Guide and Search function.

    However, Sling seems to be available on more devices and accessible via browser (unlike Vue). If you have a PS4 as your main device, Vue is by far the better option. Vue also works okay on my FireTV stick but not nearly as well as the PS4. 

    I know that's super brief, but hopefully it helps. 
  • weeniegirlweeniegirl Atlanta, GA
    We cut the cord about six years ago and haven't looked back. We do Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now. Gave up Hulu last year because it always had intolerable buffering for us. As others have mentioned, we also subscribe to specific shows via Amazon. All this is streamed through a Fire. No sports fans here, so I have no suggestions in that department.
  • For me, it came down to local sports (I live near Pittsburgh) and how badly I wanted to regularly watch Pirates/Penguins games. The NFL is still mostly available over the air, unless you want Monday Night Football 16 weeks per year (at least here, Steelers games on ESPN are always broadcast locally as well), so I chose the monthly savings. Like @Wahl-e, I'll buy seasons of cable shows online (Better Call Saul, Fargo, Walking Dead for some reason:), and subscribe to HBO Now a few months of the year and binge their exclusive, not-on-Amazon Prime content.
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  • I use SlingTV. As mentioned above sometimes I have buffering issues despite having a really good internet connection (I work from home so I pay for the second highest package).

    Sling recently came out with a Beta version so they have two packages. While I like sports, ESPN wasn't going to force my final decision. I went with regular Sling until a month ago and now after the switch to their Beta package I have just about every channel I watched when I had DirecTV.

    Sling also has a bit of a On Demand section that I use. For instance I use USA's (MR Robot + Suits), AMC's (Walking dead + Better Call Saul), FX's (The Americans, eventually Fargo).

    One downside I have noticed to cutting the cord is that I have lost CBS because they don't put their shows on Hulu, and their streaming service is too expensive to justify for only getting one channel. It sounds like the CW is going away from Hulu too and has an agreement with Netflix that their show's seasons will be available 8 days after the season finale (The Flash is the only show I watch on that network).

    Hope that helps.

  • I should do this.  I switched the input to U-verse yesterday to turn something on for the kids and realized the U-verse DVR box was unplugged and I didn't know how long it had been that way, maybe weeks.
  • We cut Comcast cable tv last week, saving us around $100 a month. As part of our internet package, they included our subscription to HBO at no cost, which is nice. Sports was and still is a worry for me, especially come football season. Recently ordered an HD antenna, which should be adequate for most games. Also, for some reason our roku is still allowing access to ESPN live channels, so that's nice, but I'm not sure how long that will last.
  • TravisTravis CA
    edited August 2016

    My wife and I cut the chord several years ago and used a couple of Roku boxes with Amazon, Hulu and Netflix and it worked out really nicely. Eventually, I wanted to mix in some sports and my wife wanted the local morning news so we went back. I guess we have mixed feelings about it. We never regretted anything when we cut the chord, and we kind of want to again, but there are blind spots for watching things as they happen that aren't covered. For instance, there are shows like Better Call Saul and Fargo and the Walking Dead that I want to keep up with in real time. I know you can get season passes, but that comes in as an added expense, working against your savings. Which brings me to the other thing we realized when we considered cutting the chord again. The cable companies have now stacked it to where about 80% of our cost (granted this is using a promotion, but one that I am apparently able to call in and re-up ever year) is the internet portion of the bill. So our cable package which is basically everything except some of the expanded sports channels and the premium HBO, Showtime, etc. stuff is basically only $35/month or so. Figure, that only allows one season pass every month or two before we're not actually saving any money. Back when we did it 5-7 years ago I'm pretty sure it was stacked differently and we were saving significantly more, and the overall bill is around the same. Basically, I think this is the push-back from the cable companies due to the effect of chord cutting on their business.

    I still think it's definitely worth looking into for many households, but it just doesn't seem to be a good fit with ours in the moment.

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  • BTW, I negotiate my Comcast contract every year like it's my job, lol. I just mark my calendar and call in and beg for discounts. If they don't have anything right away I kind of hem and haw and act discombobulated (this approach works especially well on young sounding men). Something like "Ohh... I just don't know... it's so expensive." Eventually they come up with something to get me off the phone. 

    Yeah, I do this now too. I didn't know until a couple of years ago that you could re-up discounts, but they always seem to find some magical way to keep my bill down when I call and whine about how "I just can't afford what you're asking me to pay." If you're not thinking of moving to a new place that will require a different carrier I definitely recommend calling each year to get a new deal. This year's call is seriously saving me like $80-$100/month from what I would be paying for the same stuff.
  • ElisaElisa Los Angeles
    Same here renegotiate Directv annually.
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    Travis said:

    Which brings me to the other thing we realized when we considered cutting the chord again. The cable companies have now stacked it to where about 80% of our cost (granted this is using a promotion, but one that I am apparently able to call in and re-up ever year) is the internet portion of the bill. So our cable package which is basically everything except some of the expanded sports channels and the premium HBO, Showtime, etc. stuff is basically only $35/month or so.

    I mean this makes sense from a business perspective on their end. Comcast/whoever knows that people are cutting cords to avoid paying for cable, yet keep internet. So they jack up the price for internet in order to make-up for that. Sneaky bastards. I think cable companies would have bought some goodwill if years ago they created programs to only pay for channels that you wanted. If memory serves the FCC was involved in a couple of disputes along those lines. Instead cable and satellite companies are known for gouging their customers and providing piss-poor customer service.
  • HedgeKnight84xHedgeKnight84x East Central Indiana
    edited August 2016

    The wife and I are thinking of cutting ties from the evil empire of cable television. Our main alternative choices are either SlingTV or Playstation Vue. Anybody have experiences with either/both, good or bad?

    I've used both, currently not using either one until probably September or October (nothing I really want/need to watch right now).

    I prefer Playstation Vue.  I found it to be more reliable (in terms of working at all, in terms also of having consistently better picture quality), to offer the better lineup of channels (although right after I signed up they dropped my local Fox Sports Network, which sucked because at the time I was hoping to use that to watch my local NBA team, though I think it's supposed to be back any time), and it was really helpful that they include a 'DVR' of sorts that allows me to catch shows even when I'm not able or wanting to watch them live.

    Aside from wanting something cheaper (depending on your area, Vue prices are $40/$45/$50 or $30/$35/$40, while Sling TV starts at $20) or being locked in to using a device/box that doesn't currently support Vue, I'd easily suggest Vue over Sling, but Sling's also worth checking out if you're curious or can't use Vue.

    But Sling's less reliable, lower quality, no DVR, and less channels available.

    We're entering an interesting time with these services.  I believe both are slowly negotiating deals in various markets to allow some or all of the local networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC) to be included with some of these packages, for one thing.  It's taking a while, but I think a year from now they'll have come a long way.

    Furthermore, as I understand it Hulu, YouTube, and DirecTV are all working on their own versions of this type of OTT (over the top, referring to Internet-based) TV 'slim' package to compete with Sling TV and with Vue, so that should only make for better options down the road as they compete with one another on price and features.  I think those three are all due to start popping up in the next 6-9 months, if I recall correctly.

    And what I like about both Sling TV and Vue is there's no contracts; you can pay for the month and then drop it, or just let it continue to charge month-to-month until you decide to end it.  I really like that over fussing with a traditional TV provider.
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    I've mentioned it before, but I really like my Vue. I can't quite get used to controlling it with my PS4 remote, so I am still getting used to that. I don't have the fastest internet in the world, so I certainly don't have as amazing a picture as I do with Comcast/Dish, but I don't mind saving a bit of money if that is the price of admission.
  • I cut the cord on cable for the first time a few years back, then went back for 6 months then cut the cord again and don't plan to go back.

    For me, it all comes down to sports and how much I'm willing to spend for it.

    Drama? Amazon prime, Netflix, and HBO Now (totaling about $39 per month) provide me as much quality scripted drama as I can realistically consume with the time I have for tv watching.

    News? I prefer getting it from a selection of Internet sites than from tv.

    Comedy? I don't have a sense of humor.

    Yeah I miss watching my Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks, but it's not worth paying an extra $100 bucks a month. I can follow them online, listen to the radio, read post-game reports, and attend some games.

    If the major sports leagues could cut ties to cable, the cable companies would be dead in the water. But the leagues get so much revenue from these guys, they just can't do it right now. New technology will force a change at some point, but it may take another decade.
  • @ryanfoster--don't forget about over-the-air broadcasts of sports. Being able to get about 20 local channels (including at least one instance of each major national network) made the decision simple for me.
  • @Melia004
    Yeah, good point. I do get some of the local sports games through those channels. :)
  • I know it's a late bump, but I'm at that stage now.  A year later, has SlingTV stabilized? Also, what exactly is it? It says it has AMC, FX, and USA, but does that mean it has the live channels or simply a back catalog of original programming? How does one watch "live" channels if they cut the chord?

    I think Roku with Netflix/Amazon Prime (sorry guys)/SlingTV/HBOGo/Fox Sports pretty much covers it.  I'm just not sure how to approach live programming or if that's going to be a thing of the past.
  • With Sling you can either watch VOD or a live stream of the channels. So you can watch, say, the Walking Dead as it airs live (with commercials, no pause or ff), or you can watch the VOD (I think it becomes available immediately after the first live stream of the show is over).
  • calebthrowercalebthrower South Carolina
    edited May 2017
    Since I started the thread Ill update what I did. I cut the cord and when with a sling/kodi ( I know) combo. I chose sling over Vue due to the price point and because with Kodi having a DVR is pointless. We have loved it and I regret not doing it sooner. My internet is 60$ and sling is 20$. This took my original bill from 120$ down to 80$. I also have an OTA to get local channels which works great.
  • Vasilnate1Vasilnate1 Salem, MA
    Another option is, if someone in your family has a Xfinity acct, just ask to use their login and throw them $20-30 a month.  I pay $53 for 150mbps from Xfinity(just internet) and then use my sisters log in, all channels live streaming and almost full VOD catalog.  Xfinity allows 5 screens at once, so you could almost set it up like a family plan 
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