The pickiest media consumer may be finally cord cutting.

Discussion in 'Television' started by CJ, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    I signed up for a trial of YouTube TV after two failed goes at DirecTV NOW. I'm about 99.9% sure I'm canceling cable. My family already watches such a high percentage of our content via Netflix. The hold out was historically live sports. When YouTube TV launched in a limited number of markets, they had a heavy focus on live sports and local channels. What we DO watch tends to be on network or basic cable channels.

    One of the issues with DTVNOW was the lack of any DVR functionality during my first trial. They had some shows on demand but not a lot (and it is getting worse across all services). The second trial they added cloud DVR service but were missing some key channels and the DVR is limited to something like 50 hours. That's just not enough for 5 people. Our cable box has enough storage for 1,000 hours of recorded TV.

    YouTube TV has a slightly different model for DVR. Its cloud as well, like most streaming services. It is unlimited in space and you can record unlimited shows at a time. The only catch is the recordings are saved for 9 months. You can't keep anything "forever". The "un-catch" is, the 9 months renews every time the show airs, which for some content effectively is forever. It also means you can build a back catalog of shows pretty easily in some cases. I used to watch Archer on FX but fell a few season behind. I added the show to my library and sure enough, basically every episode of the series is on some time in the next few weeks so I can go back and catch up. This won't work of course with newer network shows that are not in syndication but for shows on some of the basic cable channels that just re-run overnight every night, it makes it almost like on-demand.

    Here are the main features
    • Only $40 a month (I'm paying $146 today for cable, DVR service, and cable box rental!)
    • 60+ channels (I really don't need 300 channels)
    • Unlimited DVR with 9 months retention time
    • Bring your own STB or smart TV (we use Apple TVs) - Compatible with Amazon Fire devices, Roku, phones, tablets, etc.
    • Channel lineup includes local affilaiate of big 3 plus Fox and CW. ESPN/2/U, Fox Sports/FS1/FS2, USA, FX, Disney/Jr, BTN, SEC Network, etc. and you get access to YouTube Originals.

    So is it equal to cable? No, there are some notable gaps. But these gaps are big part of what is driving the $40 price vs. over $100 (the other being that these streaming services are piggybacking on someone else's internet infrastructure investment)
    • They don't have any of the Discovery (who bought Scripps) or Viacom owned channels, so no Discovery, History, Comedy Central, Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Nickelodeon, etc. hopefully those channels could get added without a huge price increase.
    • Audio is stereo only right now for 90% of content. Apparently some on demand content is Dolby Digital but everything I have watched to date is stereo. This doesn't bother me as I'll never watch anything like a blockbuster movie through this. Reddit comments indicate that google devs are working on this. *
    • Live events (e.g. sports) are 720p. Everything else is 1080p or even 4k. I've watched several basketball games on my 55" 4k TV and 70" HD TV and haven't been bothered. *
    • You can only have three streams going at once. This is the case with a lot of these services. I don't see it practically mattering, even with 5 people in the house.

    *I'm not positive how big a priority higher quality A/V is considering cord cutting is still very much a millennial and Gen Z thing. This is a demographic that watches a lot more on smaller screens.
     
  2. JoeM

    JoeM Active Member

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    I've had DTV for maybe 3 years after a move away from UVerse. Overall is has been ok aside from the way they and AT&T handled limited time promotions to temporarily control programming costs. The burden was on you to follow up as 6 month promos were going to drop and rates increase so you could get them to apply another promo.

    As you mentioned, DVR capacity was limited, but since my initial conversion there have been 2 generations of updated DVRs. And this coming week (rain delayed from this week), I'll be moving over to their newest 4K Genie server. This should be interesting. This will more than double our recording storage, increase the number of concurrent recordings, and of course offer 4K with what limited programming there is available. The new DVR does not connect to any TV and just sits there as a server to feed each of the clients in your home. We'll see how this goes assuming the install happens as scheduled.
     
  3. Denton

    Denton Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    I've had YouTube TV for several months. Other than their infamous system-wide failure during the baseball playoffs, service has been adequate. BTW, my local cable company was charging me nearly $300 for TV/Internet/Phone prior to the cord being cut.
     
  4. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    I have DTV with the new Genie 2 and while it does have some quirks (such as taking so long to handshake at power up that it sometimes defaults to 480p) it's been really solid, fast, and a great performer. I don't have a 4K screen yet so the mini (required one mini for each display) is a 1080p model. I like DirecTV and will pay for the Premier service as long as I can afford it.
     
  5. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    DTV here too. 4 boxes, (1) with DVR, (1) 4K model and (2) wireless Genies and Premier package. Two fifty/mo.
     
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  6. Saurav

    Saurav Well-Known Member

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    This space is going to get interesting. Prime Video seems to be adding sports as fast as they can buy licenses. The Disney back catalog has disappeared from Netflix because they're launching their own streaming service later this year. I saw a headline the other day saying NBC is launching a streaming service in 2020. Netflix, Twitter, Snap, they're all building platforms for user-generated video, I expect TV can't be too far behind. Is Twitch going to do something here? They have the eyeballs and the technology.

    I predict we'll get back to everyone having a $10-$20/month offering, people getting pissed, then someone figuring out content rights/agreements to bundle streaming content, and we'll be back at $100+ streaming packages :)
     
  7. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    This has been my prediction all along but I have some additional thoughts and my mind may be changing. I mentioned there are some pretty notable gaps in the offering with he lack of Discovery and Viacom owned channels in my lineup. It all comes down to the licensing you're referring to. And it gets complicated. Because those channels are available for competing streaming services to YouTube so what gives? Maybe its YouTubes DVR model that is the problem. Maybe that interferes with their own streaming service designs.

    Yes, everyone is going to stand up their own streaming service/App, as you mentioned. But, you need to separate that from OTT services IMO. A solitary App like Disney NOW is not the same Disney Channel on Sling or PSView IMO. In fact, while Disney is pulling out from Netflix et al, they are still available for live TV on DTVNOW, Sling, YouTube TV, etc.

    You're right though that it is turning into nickle and dime already. I have 3 streaming services without even thinking of it that way (Prime, Netflix, and now YouTube TV). I'll add HBO when GoT returns but that probably won't be permanent.

    Here is where my view is starting to shift. I think the biggest players will be fine but I think a lot of these networks that go it alone are going to fail. The demographic that started cord cutting is not going to pay $50 for a primary OTT service, $15 for HBO, and $11 for Netflix, and $8x4 for 4 other services. They just aren't. Partly due to the mindset of this cohort but partly because they simply can't afford to. Now what makes it interesting is all these content owners are all going to try. Because it costs them essentially nothing. The whole point of streaming apps is you are leveraging a delivery mechanism you didn't pay for. That's why its cheaper than cable, no infrastructure overhead. But, for the consumer, internet rates are starting to rise and many more people are starting to hit data caps.

    Finally some thoughts on what cable needs to do to survive. They need to go back to basics, real basic cable. I have nearly 300 channels. I watch maybe 9 of them. My entire household combined watches MAYBE 20 tops. They need to play hardball with the content owners and say, no one is fucking watching Logo or Ovation or 50 other channels you've never heard of. We're tired of paying for them. I don't care that the owner of them is Viacom or Discovery, we don't want them and I'm not paying for them to get Comedy Central. They need to embrace, not fight, bring your own STB. I'm tired of paying OVER $50 a month in equipment rentals when I already have an STB on every TV (Apple TV) or one built in (smart TV). They need to offer more flexible packages. Work out deals with the channels so that a super basic package + 10 true a la carte channels is feasible. Work out licensing where payments are based on actual viewership or something similar.

    I would never go with satellite TV. Its the worst of all worlds. It is no cheaper than cable and the service is less reliable. Wind, heavy rain, snow knocks out your service. Maybe not an issue in Arizona or SoCal but it happens frequently here according to my coworkers. And there is no good bundle discount for internet in my market either. Here the only partners with DirecTV offer 40 meg DSL. I'll pass on 2005 internet speeds, thanks.
     
  8. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    So I called Cox this morning to cancel cable. My current plan is Phone, Internet and Cable. We don't even have a phone hooked up but it gets us a bundle discount. My current bill is $305 all in. The biggest chunk is Cable at $146. Internet is a close second at $129 but $49 of that is unlimited data which we need with all the streaming we already do.

    Man, talking to the service rep really gives you a view into how fundamentally fucked the cable industry is. He tried to cut my bill to $288 for the next 12 months. The problem with Cable is their model just doesn't allow them to go any lower. Of that $146, $43 is cable box fee rental and $20 is DVR "service". How are you charging me $20 for DVR. I'm paying for the DVR rental. Its not cloud DVR, its on a physical box that I'm renting.

    If I were a cable company I'd be racing to get rid of proprietary boxes. I know they are a huge source of revenue but you just lost $150 a month from me because you can't offer me a solution that isn't $300 a month. If I didn't have to use their boxes or pay their stupid DVR fee my bill right off the top would go to $235 or less (probably less because remove taxes on the $70 rental fees). Now you're somewhat competitive. I'll be at $160 for internet with unlimited data + $40 for streaming OTT television.
     
  9. Dustin B

    Dustin B Well-Known Member

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    Satellite used to be a better deal in Canada. Especially when PVRs were first coming out. The reliability thing was the sat companies being stupid. Those mini oval dual lnb dishes are useless. I managed to find a pair of the older 24" dishes and wired them up. I lost signal for a few minutes maybe twice a year when I had that setup. Took a torrential down pour to do it. The mini dual dishes would lose signal if a cloud went by.
     
  10. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Satellite CAN be cheaper still if you play the fake cancel game. Its a giant PITA. I have a coworker who's done it with DirecTV for years. He calls every summer before football starts and cancels. They always send him an offer in the email a few days later. He signs back up and never even has to return the gear. But he has to sign a contract.
     
  11. Chris Smith

    Chris Smith Well-Known Member

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    My Dad cut the cord, I never thought he would. He pretty much only watches sports on TV, the rest of the time he watches Netflix and HBO anyway and has been doing that through the apps for years. But the number of the online providers that carry the local NBC SportsNet Philly (which is where Phillies/Sixers/Flyers are aired mostly) was almost none. Hulu Live TV started carrying it, he tried it for a few days and liked it, and took his cable bill from almost $200 to about $60.

    I haven't done it yet. I have a very particular way that I like to watch TV. I record EVERYTHING I watch except live sports on one or more of my Tivo or CableCard capable network tuners. Then I copy everything to a computer, run that through processes which strips commercials, compresses it some, and stores it for watch later via Plex. Nothing out there is as convenient, for me, because I have everything working and scripted the way I want. I keep my cable bill down, some, by only renting Cable Cards, I don't have a single of Verizon (fios) STBs in my house, but can watch/record 13 different things at a time between 3 tivos and a HDHomeRun. This way I get everything except the HBO type channels which I can pay for their apps if/when I want to watch something on them.

    That said, I can't recommend my solution to anyone else. It's too much work, especially getting it all setup, etc, so while it works for me I know I'm in a super minority.
     
  12. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    The two fifty includes internet and land line (AT&T)
     
  13. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    Coming up to almost 10 years since I cut the cord. When I bought my first HDTV in 2008 I had no HD sources to take advantage of, so I purchased a cheap antenna from Radio Shack. I recall seeing "The Big Bang Theory" for the first time in HD and I was completely blown away by not only the clearness and detail of the image, but the colors popped as well. From that time on I was hooked to OTA Reception of the locals that had already transitioned to HD. I purchased a larger Antenna which enabled me to gain access to more stations, and I did upgrade my Direct TV (tivo) to an HD Box, but then the economy south, coupled with a Car accident, and then the furloughs kicked in and my pay checks were depressing. So Direct TV was gone by the spring of 2009 and I began my journey as a cord-cutter. To be honest, I was watching more OTA programming than what was on Direct TV, so it was pretty easy for me to get rid of that bill.

    I had an older laptop that I used for Windows Media Center. Netflix streaming was coming into vogue and the "Desktop" version of Hulu was available. Tons of "On Demand" content by the major networks free of charge. In all I was saving $95 a month which helped out a lot.

    Fast-forward almost 10 years, and that free "On Demand" content is no longer free, Netflix is hiking the price up yet again. The Desktop version of Hulu is also gone, and I've moved onto Android TV, which took the place of Windows Media Center in my household. In 2012 I purchased my first HTPC, which lasted until the summer of 2015 when I purchased the Nvidia Shield. My HTPC is now a NAS server for my Music and video content.

    I have Youtube TV, and Amazon Prime for streaming. I really don't count Amazon on a monthly basis since I pay for an annual subscription, but I'm paying close to $50 dollars now for both YTTV and Netflix.

    I've considered dropping Netflix and going with Hulu. Hulu live is not available for Android TV so I would just get the standard platform. The On Demand Content is what I'm more interested in with Hulu. Between Amazon Prime and Netflix, I'm finding a lot of overlap when it comes to content. And while I do enjoy the 2-day shipping of Amazon Prime, that incentive puts Amazon at the top of the list for now.

    So it's OTA programming, Youtube TV, and Amazon Prime. I use Plex to record my OTA programming, and what ever on demand content I want to watch, I use Youtube TV.
     
  14. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Part of me thinks in 5-10 years OTT won't be any cheaper than cable and part of me thinks the advantage of OTT will result in a more a la carte model so it could be cheaper for consumers that only do a few channels. It will cost more per channel if you "unbundle" but could still be a bit cheaper.
     
  15. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    That's what it is looking like now. I recall saying to myself, "it's the beginning of the end" when the Major Networks began charging for On Demand Content, and Hulu Desktop mysteriously disappeared.

    Even Monday Night Football moving to ESPN was an eye-opener for me. That change brought back a memory. On my Xbox 360 I had access to ESPN 3 and could watch tons of College Football, MLB, and College Basketball. By 2012 or 13, Watch ESPN reared its ugly head and all of that content moved to that Channel, and ESPN 3 became a joke.

    Now all of the major Broadcast Networks, including Cable have some type of On Demand Service, many of which require some type of Authentication through the use of your Cable or Satellite Provider. Luckily they have added the Streaming services to the mix as well.
     
  16. CJ

    CJ Bronze Member Admin Top Poster

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    Here's where my beef is. These channels that have apps that don't give you access to content you already paid for. AMC for example has an AppleTV app (as well as iOS and Android I'm sure). The app makes you log in with your cable provider so they KNOW you are an AMC subscriber. But then you go look up a show like Better Call Saul and there are 3 random episodes and some behind the scenes BS. What the FUCK is the point of that?! Every episode of every series should be available. I'm already paying you assholes! These people do NOT get what is driving the market today. They are completely clueless. I'd love to sit in on a board meeting with these morons and watch them panic because they can't figure out why under 30s are telling them to fuck off by the millions.
     
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  17. Jay Brown

    Jay Brown Well-Known Member Donor Top Poster

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    The money is in the Content/Licenses. Plus these companies are doing whatever it takes to make back the lost revenue which came from Cable Subscriptions. Those "Paywalls" are the worse. Prior to signing up to Youtube TV, unless I wanted to Torrent my content, there was no other way around acquiring content from any of these Networks other than OTA Reception.

    I know with Silicon Dust, their HD HomeRun Products, specifically their HD HomeRun Prime Cable Network tuner, they have tried for years to circumvent DRM Channel encryption in order to use their DVR Service minus any difficulties. Now they are in the Content Provider Business as well.

    My first IT job was with a local Mom and Pop ISP. Today that type of business is unheard of, for the ISP's of today have some type of investment in Content or Content Distribution as well.

    Remember when Starz and all of their networks pulled their content from Netflix? I'm not sure if it was Starz or another Network, but they licensed their content to Netflix for 30 Million Dollars, Chump Change now. Starz wanted 300 Million when the next negotiations arrived, and Netflix said no. In a matter of weeks, Starz Content was gone from Netflix.

    It's like watching that banner at the bottom of the screen by some local network threatening to remove themselves from Direct TV or Dish because the time for Negotiating Fees have arrived and they "don't" want to pay more. And of course the local affiliate pays up, or removes themselves from the service for a couple of days, and then they're back on. 3 months down the line, monthly fees go up, and I laugh.

    Cable has become such an Institution in this country that my co-workers thought I was acquiring all of my content illegally as a result of Cord-cutting. When I showed them the hardware and steps to take to cut the cord, it was too difficult for them to give up paying over $100 a month for 6 channels that they actually watched.

    Today, these are the same people telling me about "Firesticks", meaning the Firesticks that have been "Rooted" and have some type of variation of Kodi installed, which means, acquiring content Illegally. Go figure.
     
  18. JoeM

    JoeM Active Member

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    In So Cal I've never had a DTV outage or any notable signal issues. But before ever going to either of the two SAT providers I have used, I had cable for a couple of years and had frequent outages that were the result of infrastructure upgrades in the area. Maybe one day I will revisit the SAT vs cable.

    On the eventual install day for the Genie2 I was literally talked out of the Genie2 DVR by the install tech who said that there were still a lot of software stability issues with it. I'd probably be unhappy with intermittent picture freezing and audio drop outs. That was like a flashback to the early UVerse days. So I cancelled that upgrade for now and will just monitor other people's experiences until things seem stable. There was no hard cost, just a commitment. So now I remain free to change at any time.
     
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  19. DYohn

    DYohn Bronze Member Donor Top Poster

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    Same here, DTV for 20 years and no major reception issues ever - only some local channels can be flaky.

    The only software issues with the Genie 2 is it likes to default to 480p because it takes too long to get the HDCP handshake. It's a glitch they are working on.
     
  20. Barry_NJ

    Barry_NJ Well-Known Member

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    Cord cut here. I have a Mohu Sky 60 antenna in the attic for my OTA channels, use Roku on 2 TVs, and an X-Box on the other. Most of what I watch is straight up YouTube. Also have Prime and Netflix, and my disc collection. To hell with Cable TV...
     
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