Have you cut the cable-tv cord? Are you one of the massive mob of people running to their cable-tv provider and dropping off their box? You see many happy faces as they leave the counter. But what you dont see is the confusion that hits after the first couple attempts fall short. Being a technology professional for my entire career you would think this is easy for me. I am one of the older geeks, this stuff comes natural to me right? No.
I believe my problems are me, not the cable-tv provider and not any of the streaming services I have been trying. I think I expect too much !?!?! Odd you say? With all of the misconstrued sales and service promises, why get crazy and say I am the problem? Well yes, it is me. And I believe I won’t be happy until I fix me. LOL, this is starting to get weird now. Let’s get to why….
Maybe I want too much? I could blame it on Staples with the ‘Easy Button’, or with Steve Jobs and other tech titans taking technology to the streets (literally). What do I want? Not a long list, but probably filled with too high of an expectation, your thoughts?
- Value for the price I pay
- No more boxes
- Watch on any device
- Watch on multiple devices
- My favorite channels, shows, sporting events
- Able to record and watch anytime I want
- No buffering
- No commercials (or at least limit them)
- Clean user interface
- Consistent experience and cost
Ok, I think I can stop the list there. Now, can any single provider get me all of these things today? No. Some may disagree with me, but I have tried and look forward to any suggestions people have to meet this mark. I really believe this is what many people want, but I have not found any solution that meets it all.
Let’s start with one necessary component to getting the above list accomplished – bandwidth. Ok, I have this resolved, in some areas I may be spending too much money, at least I think I am, but at least I can check this box off. I have a remarkable home internet package for the right price. I supposedly have the 400MB package, but do get approx. 200MB in download speed consistently. The price isn’t bad for this, so I am satisfied. With broadband (mobile) I am getting the right speed, dependable access but pay a huge price for it. I feel if I move I will lose the dependability and find it hard to save more than a few percentage points at best anyways. So I don’t like the value in this, but I have the technology to meet the needs of the list above.
So my problem is choosing between cable tv, satellite tv and streaming tv. So for the most part if I want the first four on my list I immediately have to cut the cord and move to a streaming provider. Sorry cable, you don’t achieve the last item on the list eithers so ‘off with your head!’. I say this with a heavy heart only because I really want ‘NFL Sunday Ticket’ but need to keep it off the list because it will pretty much trump all other items on the list just for that. I will leave it off the list and mourn every Sunday for an hour – then move on.
As a note, I have several inconspicuous air antennas on my home TVs (4), although my wife may disagree. I have this option for those times we don’t want to mess around and just want to watch one of the local main broadcast channels. Hit Input twice on my remote and you are imediately transformed to air TV! (Clearly this would be ‘true cutting the cord’ but lets not get crazy now.) NBC although does play well with this option, nor with streaming tv, at least in my location. So for the most part, they are out of my channel list of choices. This hurts with some sporting events, but for the most part – NBC be gone!
So Streaming TV it is! Alright who to choose? So many choices out there! New ones added all the time, updates and enhancements being added all the time as well. It is hard to jump in. Make sure you are never caught in a contract. Too much movement to commit to anything long term. What have your choices been? YouTubeTV? Hulu? SlingTV? DirectTV Now? Play Station Vue? I won’t be comparing them all, you can find many blogs and sites with a lot of recommendations. I am keeping it real to my past experiences and my conundrum.
I first ran to Hulu. I will tell you I still have them, because for the most part they meet the needs of my list. A little pricey, but overlook that most of the time with everything else they deliver. But the buffering! Ugh the madness! Almost everything I watch, especially live TV I get buffering, then the 100mph catch up from the buffering! Ugh the madness! with what I am watching. I know it is not my bandwidth (see above), don’t believe it my tv, cable or hardware, as other choice providers do not have this problem. They need to get this fixed.
I then tried a few other providers such as SlingTV, FuboTV, YouTubeTV but local channels are a problem, getting a lot of my shows, etc. I also don’t like the ‘stream from your mobile device to a tv’ requirements. I feel that TVs currently have a great platform to use natively, plus I have AppleTV, FireTV, Xbox360, etc. They should be able to provide me what I need. I dumped a few off my app list, kept Hulu (for now) and recently added DirectTV Now. Although I hate the DirecTV name on it (bad experiences there a long time ago) and don’t’ like relationships with AT&T (or Verizon or Time Warner, – who is left!?!?! smh) I am pretty happy with this streaming platform. I love the mobility of it. I can watch sporting events and movies easily while waiting in the parking lot to pick up my daughter from her events, etc. IT DOESNT EVER BUFFER ON ME! But the recording, easily finding what I want is not quite there. But they are working on it. I think I may have found what I have been seeking. If I am lucky their relationship with the NFL Sunday Ticket may present me with the ultimate ‘unlisted’ objective. Shhh don’t speak the words aloud.
The last thing to mention in a blog with this type of content is CUSTOMER SUPPORT. Hmmmmm, well, not much to cover here. None of them meet any type of marks with quality of service, caring about the client. Although my wife says she thinks my bar is way too high on this. With my career background, customer service is the key to any success. Availability, transparency, product roadmap is all you need to keep your head off the chopping block for me. Maybe that is another post, although quite a depressing one full of rants.
What are your experiences in cutting the cable-tv cord? Have you tried it? Successful? Gone back to cable? Eliminated the sedentary experience all together?