Author Topic: Cord cutting 2018–19  (Read 1840 times)

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Offline 1995hoo

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Cord cutting 2018–19
« Topic Start: March 11, 2018, 04:06:03 PM »
I know this has been a topic over the years, but when I search the forum I mostly find posts that are a couple of years old and I find it hard to follow all of it as one train of thought.

I've been pondering the idea of dropping DirecTV for financial reasons. I don't want to do it, and I may call them to see if they might offer us some kind of deal since I've been a customer since October 2001, but the cost has gotten up to $150 a month and we're at a spot right now where we need to cut back on expenses. Sling TV looks like it might be a reasonable approach—yes, there would be some upfront cost in updating our various devices (we have an older Apple TV my brother-in-law gave us one Christmas and it doesn't work with Sling), but in the long run it's cheaper. Looks like we could get almost all the sports we want, too.....

.....and of course you know what the sticking point is, especially on this forum: MASN. We live in Fairfax County. Short of just "listen on the radio," what, if any, viable option is there for watching Nats games if you want to "cut the cord"? (If you say "get MLB.tv and use a VPN to mask your location," can you tell me how one goes about doing that and what costs are involved? I am aware of the overall concept of a VPN, but it's not something I've ever used in practice other than when I used to use a firm-issued laptop to log into my former employer's network.)

Thanks in advance.

Online bluestreak

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #1: March 11, 2018, 04:39:34 PM »
Have you looked at YouTube TV? They don't have MASN, but they have most other sports. It's $35/month if you sign up in the next two days (going up to $40 for new subscribers after then. And I believe it works on apple TV. In any case either one will work on a RoKu which can be had for under 50 bucks, if not cheaper.
Using a VPN is not difficult. It is relatively easy and cheap (or free)  to do on the computer, It is very difficult to do on a mobile device such as a tablet or phone because they have built in GPS.

Offline UMDNats

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #2: March 11, 2018, 04:45:48 PM »
Check if SlingTV carries MASN. Sling doesn't carry my local stations so it's not worth it for me.

Sony's Playstation Vue I'm pretty sure carries MASN and it is like $40 a month, you get a ton for your money, too. I had it on my PS4, but I think they offer it as an app now.

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #3: March 11, 2018, 05:08:54 PM »
Sling doesn’t carry masn; masn is stubborn and stupid. It does carry csn

Offline 1995hoo

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #4: March 11, 2018, 05:15:56 PM »
Check if SlingTV carries MASN. Sling doesn't carry my local stations so it's not worth it for me.

Sony's Playstation Vue I'm pretty sure carries MASN and it is like $40 a month, you get a ton for your money, too. I had it on my PS4, but I think they offer it as an app now.

Sling doesn't, and that's why I asked the question—everything I can find online says you can't stream MASN without some kind of shenanigans and that there are only three MLB teams like that: Baltimore, Washington (the latter due to Baltimore), and Los Angeles NL. I think it's Angelos being an arsehole that is the holdup.

We don't have a Playstation, so I don't know if that would work for us unless you could send something from an app to your TVs. We don't much want to watch TV on a 9.7-inch iPad screen when there's a 40-inch screen across the room! If you know of a way to do that, though, I'd love to hear about it.

Sling doesn't carry all of our local stations, but they have some setup where we can stream from an antenna to the TVs using another box they sell. We have two antennas upstairs now (the master bedroom and the guest room—didn't make sense to pay for DirecTV up here because we mostly watch those just at night, like the 11:00 news) and they work pretty well for us, so that's one reason I thought Sling might be a viable option.

In the interim I just changed our DirecTV package to save $25 a month. The only notable loss is the NHL Network, but then we don't watch that as much as we used to anyway. I have to say I'm reluctant to change providers because I feel like after we got married in 2010 it took my wife several years to get comfortable with DirecTV and even now she asks me to set up her recordings for her, so I don't really want to turn around and say "you have to learn something new." But depending on how the money shakes out I may have to do it. So thanks again for the comments, much appreciated.

Online Natsinpwc

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #5: March 11, 2018, 05:21:21 PM »
Sling doesn't, and that's why I asked the question—everything I can find online says you can't stream MASN without some kind of shenanigans and that there are only three MLB teams like that: Baltimore, Washington (the latter due to Baltimore), and Los Angeles NL. I think it's Angelos being an arsehole that is the holdup.

We don't have a Playstation, so I don't know if that would work for us unless you could send something from an app to your TVs. We don't much want to watch TV on a 9.7-inch iPad screen when there's a 40-inch screen across the room! If you know of a way to do that, though, I'd love to hear about it.

Sling doesn't carry all of our local stations, but they have some setup where we can stream from an antenna to the TVs using another box they sell. We have two antennas upstairs now (the master bedroom and the guest room—didn't make sense to pay for DirecTV up here because we mostly watch those just at night, like the 11:00 news) and they work pretty well for us, so that's one reason I thought Sling might be a viable option.

In the interim I just changed our DirecTV package to save $25 a month. The only notable loss is the NHL Network, but then we don't watch that as much as we used to anyway. I have to say I'm reluctant to change providers because I feel like after we got married in 2010 it took my wife several years to get comfortable with DirecTV and even now she asks me to set up her recordings for her, so I don't really want to turn around and say "you have to learn something new." But depending on how the money shakes out I may have to do it. So thanks again for the comments, much appreciated.
I didn't believe you need a PlayStation for Vue. That said I don't think MASN is available on Vue.  Don't know much about Layer 3 but I believe its expensive. Also no MASN 2 from what I have read.

http://www.masnsports.com/masn-news-information/2017/04/layer3-tv-signs-deal-to-carry-masn.html

Offline 1995hoo

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #6: March 11, 2018, 09:45:40 PM »
I had not heard of Layer3 before. Sounds like it'd be less expensive than DirecTV, although they charge $10 to connect a second TV to the service. I guess that's not a big difference than the $7 DirecTV charges, so overall it's probably still less. The various press releases say they do have MASN2, so that's something. If we decide to push ahead with this, I will consider them since depending on the taxes it ought to be $25 to $30 less per month than DirecTV. Not sure whether that's enough to make it worth doing because I can probably save $100 a month by not parking at the Metro station going forward.

Online GburgNatsFan

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #7: March 12, 2018, 08:29:29 AM »
All these services are less expensive until they have you. Then, magically, somehow, you end up paying more.

I had not heard of Layer3 before. Sounds like it'd be less expensive than DirecTV, although they charge $10 to connect a second TV to the service. I guess that's not a big difference than the $7 DirecTV charges, so overall it's probably still less. The various press releases say they do have MASN2, so that's something. If we decide to push ahead with this, I will consider them since depending on the taxes it ought to be $25 to $30 less per month than DirecTV. Not sure whether that's enough to make it worth doing because I can probably save $100 a month by not parking at the Metro station going forward.

Offline 1995hoo

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #8: March 12, 2018, 09:29:50 AM »
Yeah. It’s always the new customers who get the deals and the spiffy new features.

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #9: March 12, 2018, 10:18:53 AM »
All these services are less expensive until they have you. Then, magically, somehow, you end up paying more.


The internet only ones seem to keep pricing constant

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #10: March 12, 2018, 10:47:47 AM »
We made the switch from DirecTV about a year ago.  What I have found in the year since we cut the cord is that there are a lot of options for streaming television services available and they all have benefits and drawbacks.  Most offer the local big networks and the local sports networks.  I'm a little disappointed in the the lack of flexibility I've seen so far (I would love to see internet tv go full a la carte) but most do a great job of cutting cost by cutting available stations.

One of the problems we encountered was "simultaneous streaming devices" so if you have a household of more than 2 people then keep an eye out for that.  We had PSVue for about 8 months and loved the service and it had 5 device capability. We recently switched to Hulu with Live TV which only had a 2 device capability and had more local networks.  We did run into the occasional problem with limited device streaming so we upped it to "unlimited devices" for an extra $15/month.  We are constantly monitoring (my 15 year old is on top of this) and checking with some of the other big carriers to compare - and the nice thing is that everything is month-to-month so you don't have to get locked into a price, as long as you have a good internet connection you can switch from carrier to carrier with no issues.

Again, we're with Hulu, but we keep up with what DirecTV now offers as well as PSVue, Amazon Prime and YouTubeTV.  It's my understanding that if you're a big sports fan you should check in on FuboTV as well.

Good luck and with some thorough research I'm sure you can find something that works for you for far less than $150/month.

Offline Minty Fresh

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Re: Cord cutting 2018
« Reply #11: March 12, 2018, 10:51:18 AM »
We don't have a Playstation, so I don't know if that would work for us unless you could send something from an app to your TVs. We don't much want to watch TV on a 9.7-inch iPad screen when there's a 40-inch screen across the room! If you know of a way to do that, though, I'd love to hear about it.

You do not need a Playstation to use PSVue.  The app works great on AppleTV and Roku sticks.  The service is a bit more streamlined on a Playstation, however.

Offline 1995hoo

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #12: February 17, 2019, 01:43:46 PM »
Bumping last year's thread (I changed the subject on the lead post accordingly) rather than starting a new one.

I gather there is still no progress on being able to stream MASN, so my latest question is: Has anyone used a VPN or Unlocator type thing with an Amazon Fire TV Stick to watch MLB.tv? I gather this is feasible but am interested in hearing any practical commentary. I picked up one of those devices for the master bedroom earlier this month when it was on sale. Also have a Fire TV Cube on the family room TV, although I understand that device won't work with VPNs because it pulls the GPS data from the Alexa app on your phone, so I may spring for a refurbished Apple TV to add to that TV. I suppose I could just swap the Cube to upstairs and the Stick to the family room, too.

We did a free trial of Vue this January and are doing a free 30-day trial of Sling now (bought the Fire Stick at Best Buy and it came with the 30-day trial). We like Vue a lot better than Sling with the exception of the on-screen program guide—Vue's vertical format is strange and wastes screen space compared to Sling's, although Sling's seems to put the stations in some random indiscernable order. No Channel 7 or Channel 9 on Sling, either. Once I resolve the Nats issue, I think we will probably drop DirecTV in favor of Vue. I still have a sticking point in that the rec room TV is old; while it supports 1080i, it doesn't have an HDMI connection, so I'm trying to figure out whether an Apple TV or Fire Cube would work through an HDMI-to-component adapter until I upgrade that TV later this year. That TV is less important for the Nats, but my wife watches it a fair amount for PBS when she's ironing.

Can't stream PBS easily, but we have Passport access from donating to WETA. I'm thinking about getting an Amazon Fire Recast DVR for upstairs. It's essentially a DVR for the antenna and you then stream it to your other devices. There are other devices that do similar things, like Tablo, but the Recast is highly-rated in reviews and I'm thinking the interface is likely to be similar to the Fire TV devices, which would be good for my wife. One reason for augmenting the PBS Passport thing with the OTA DVR is that WETA's Passport access doesn't include all the programs she likes because she also watches MPT a lot, but she doesn't donate enough to them to get Passport access. Plus using the antenna lets you access various subchannels—she loves British comedies, so if I set up a device that lets her stream WETA UK outside the master bedroom she will be happy.

Yes, this has all taken me a long time from the first post in this thread. I do a lot of research before doing this sort of thing. The main thing that is motivating me to change providers now is a billing dispute I had with DirecTV last year where they sent me a letter saying I didn't need to return an old DVR that broke, but then they billed me $135 for not returning it (eventually I got the charge removed when I returned it; I had already disputed the charge with American Express when DirecTV refused to remove the charge, and then after Amex ruled in my favor DirecTV billed me again because my card had "been declined"). When I called to complain, they said the letter was wrong and I should not have followed its instructions. Go freak yourselves, DirecTV. How the freak is the customer supposed to determine that a letter on your letterhead with your account number is a lie?

BTW, for anyone else interested in the whole cord-cutting thing, a guy on another forum recommended an outstanding website to me. See link below. You select all the channels you consider to be "must-haves" and then you drag them up and down in order of their importance to you. The site will then recommend TV providers.

http://www.suppose.tv

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #13: February 17, 2019, 03:58:23 PM »
For pbs, the app plus passport works great

Offline DPMOmaha

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #14: February 17, 2019, 04:20:05 PM »
I've been impressed with YoutubeTV. Hulu is pretty good, too, but their DVR sucks, especially for live events.

Offline Nick the Pig

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #15: February 17, 2019, 06:41:41 PM »
I've got both a Roku and FireStick.  The Roku works better...

Offline mitlen

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #16: February 17, 2019, 08:42:50 PM »
If I can get Nats' games, I'm willing to cut the cord.    The missus?    Not so much.

Offline UMDNats

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #17: February 18, 2019, 12:51:41 PM »
I've been impressed with YoutubeTV. Hulu is pretty good, too, but their DVR sucks, especially for live events.

love, love love youtube  tv

Offline DPMOmaha

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #18: February 18, 2019, 10:19:54 PM »
If I can get Nats' games, I'm willing to cut the cord.    The missus?    Not so much.
What is holding her back?

Offline mitlen

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #19: February 18, 2019, 10:23:58 PM »
What is holding her back?

...   and she has a smart phone.    There is no excuse.     :)     We talked about cord cutting again today.    She could be malleable with the proper inducements.     Everyone has a price.

Offline DPMOmaha

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #20: February 19, 2019, 03:04:48 PM »
...   and she has a smart phone.    There is no excuse.     :)     We talked about cord cutting again today.    She could be malleable with the proper inducements.     Everyone has a price.
Are there channels she thinks she'll miss out on?

Offline mitlen

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #21: February 19, 2019, 04:21:09 PM »
Are there channels she thinks she'll miss out on?

That's the puzzling part to me.    She's not really "attached" to any program/channel/genre and she has Amazon Prime.    For me, it's the Nats.

Online GburgNatsFan

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #22: February 19, 2019, 04:39:24 PM »
That's the puzzling part to me.    She's not really "attached" to any program/channel/genre and she has Amazon Prime.    For me, it's the Nats.

You could add YouTube TV for all the real-time locals, news, many cable channels. Pretty cheap.

Offline mitlen

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #23: February 19, 2019, 04:49:39 PM »
You could add YouTube TV for all the real-time locals, news, many cable channels. Pretty cheap.


We were at Costco yesterday and I was promotin' the SmartTV angle (like I know what the hell I'm talking about).    :)

Online HalfSmokes

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Re: Cord cutting 2018–19
« Reply #24: February 19, 2019, 04:52:36 PM »
We were at Costco yesterday and I was promotin' the SmartTV angle (like I know what the hell I'm talking about).    :)

You’re better off with an external stick- TVs are underpowered and don’t get updates and patches pushed as regualary as amazon/google/Apple/roku, besides the sticks are pretty cheap in the scheme of things