Cable bills are annoying. There, I said it. Some months go by and you barely watch any TV, still big bill waiting for you regardless. Especially now, with Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc providing hours of TV that used to go to cable. For 12 years my family has been with Dish Network and we finally got internet recently that would finally allow streaming at a higher level. With us looking to cut some of our bills, we decided to finally look for some options.
Step One, Finding a Replacement For the Core Cable Channels
My family typically watches ESPN, Cartoon Network, HGTV, and then some movies on like TNT, AMC, etc. Looking at the packages available, it really came down to these choices:
- Sling TV ($25 currently)
- Playstation Vue ($45 currently)
- Hulu TV ($40)
I’ve owned Hulu before (not the live version though), and while I like their selection of new and older shows, it’s interface isn’t the greatest depending on the device plus I had weird issue a while back. Somebody hacked my account and changed my email address, so I couldn’t even access my own account anymore, lol. I’ve never had anything like that ever happen to me on anything, so I wasn’t too impressed there.
There should be some security protocols in place that like I have to approve the change somehow, because Hulu support is all account based. That means if you lose account access, you can’t access support unless you call.
But beyond that, at $40 plus a bunch more for add-ons, I didn’t feel like it brought enough value to the table. I’m trying to cut my bills, not just substitute one for another.
Playstation Vue has the best overall selection of channels for sure, at least for my interests. The one problem? It doesn’t work with the Xbox obviously, and it’s the streaming device of choice on two of my TV’s. It also doesn’t have WebOS support, which my other TV’s have. So more strikes against it. If it had better overall support for 3rd party devices, it would have been a contender for me. I do think that if you have devices that support it and you don’t mind the higher price, it’s probably the best option overall. It didn’t work for my situation, and honestly probably won’t work for a lot of people due to their device support limitations.
Sling TV kind of won by default for me then, because it’s cost was so much less ($25) plus it has support for WebOS, Xbox, Roku, etc, much like Hulu. Plus it had the core channels we wanted except for the Big 10 Network, one of its shortcoming unfortunately. Come Nebraska football season, I’m going to have to find another option, although I’m not sure what that is. But for $25 a month I can live with that. It does have one shortcoming in the cheaper package that may not work for everyone, basically you can only have one TV streaming at a time.
For my family that isn’t a big deal because we don’t watch that much network TV anymore, but if you have 5 TV’s trying watch Sling at the same time, you’re going to need the upgraded package at $45. That also comes with some additional channels, but the value isn’t there like it is for the $25 package in my opinion.
The other problem when you go all streaming is, what do I do for local channels? Well luckily I just did this comparison HDHomeRun Vs Tablo Review and was able to see that for my case, Tablo would allow me to stream all of the local HD channels to all of my TV’s in my house. Why is this great? Because I won’t need:
- to buy an extra antenna for every TV
- don’t have setup and aim the antenna for every TV
- can get good reception even in the basement
- adds DVR features if wanted
Basically, it’s a killer deal if you want to watch local channels at all. My family noticed how much better the Tablo channels look than the Dish Network ones did, it’s a major upgrade. I think all the compression from the satellite feed really diminishes the quality but really isn’t noticeable until you use an antenna.
Streaming Quality Vs Dish
This is totally going to depend on your internet speed, but at our streaming speed (4.5 mbps) the Sling TV quality totally crushes the Dish Network quality we had on our 722k receiver. It was really noticeable right off the bat. However, Dish Network doesn’t get the occasional pause that Sling gets, and I think overall it’s a little more responsive in the GUI interface. I’m sure Sling will get there though eventually.
Saving on your Cable Bill, The Result
For my situation, we were paying $92.xx a month for Dish Network. That was with a 722k receiver, one of the lower channel packages, local channels, DVR, etc. During sports season it usually climbed into the 100+ range due to Cornhusker games being on channels not in our package.
With the new setup, we spent $140 on the Tablo initially, and then $25 a month for Sling TV. So basically in 2 months, we will have save $20 already, and every year from now on we’ll save ($92 * 12) – ( $25 * 12 ) = $804. Depending on your situation, it may even save you more.
The other added benefit is that there’s no cable box to rent, extra fees to pay, etc. And you can access it from anywhere, so when you go on a trip, you can stream it to any device you may have.
Hopefully this article makes you aware of the cost savings that are now available out there. Most people don’t know that streaming options that cost 50% to 75% less than their current bill exist out there, they think that the only options are to cut the cord completely or pay the high bill. I’m here to tell you there’s a different way that isn’t quite as painful as cutting the cord completely or as painful as paying that high bill every month.