After years of studying, analysis, and actually shut calls, I lastly made the plunge. I canceled my Comcast Triple Play bundle, disconnected the coaxial cables working throughout my home, and returned the containers I’ve been renting for the final two years. That’s proper, I’m formally a card-carrying cord-cutter.
I’m solely within the first few days of my new cord-free world, however I can already inform the highway forward can be equal elements shiny and bumpy. While I anticipated some separation nervousness after years of cable TV payments, I naively didn’t notice simply how totally different it will be with out Comcast or Cox or FiOS supplying the channels. I ended up selecting DirecTV Now for my streaming wants, however I researched and examined a few them earlier than deciding on it. Here are 10 issues I’ve realized to date:
Choosing a streaming TV service is actually arduous
Signing up for cable is comparatively simple. There are typically one or two suppliers with distinct pricing packages to select from, and choosing one merely relies on value and channels. That’s not the case with reside TV streaming packages. Channel choices are all over, and also you’ll must make an inventory of those you may and may’t reside with out.
For me and my household, the must-haves included Food Network, AMC, Nickelodeon, Disney, and FX, and it wasn’t simple to search out one which had all of them. At the time, DirecTV Now match the invoice, however that’s not the case anymore, so fortunately I’m grandfathered into the package deal I picked. But it’s greater than seemingly that you just’ll must sacrifice a favourite channel or two if you decide on a streaming TV package deal.
Your invoice actually will go down
Our resident OG cord-cutter Jared Newman usually rails in opposition to the argument that streaming is dearer than cable as a result of proliferation of paid providers, and he’s proper.
Yes, when you subscribe to each service, your streaming invoice can be greater than your cable one, however the fantastic thing about wire slicing is that you just solely pay for what you want every month. I used to be already subscribing to Netflix, HBO, and Hulu below my Comcast plan, so even with upgrading my web service from 250Mbps to 1Gbps and including DirecTV Now, I minimize my invoice by round $50 a month.
Prices, channels will change with out warning
Less than 24 hours after I signed up for DirecTV Now, the worth modified. By so much. My package deal elevated by 25 %, from $40 a month to $50 a month, and the add-on HBO choice rose from $5 to $15. All mentioned, my month-to-month invoice elevated by $20 in simply 24 hours. Thankfully I’m in a position to hold the channels in my package deal, but when I had signed up only a day later, I wouldn’t have gotten any of the channels I needed; specifically, AMC, Nickelodeon, and Food Network. I’m used to cable altering packages and upping costs, but it surely’s surprising that AT&T raised it a lot and took away so many very important channels directly.
The information is actually good
I believed the toughest factor for me to surrender once I dumped my cable containers could be the programming information. I typically spend quite a lot of time shopping channels to search out one thing to look at, and I feared the streaming TV service’s person interface and expertise could be lower than nice, leaving me to rely by myself gadgets. I used to be incorrect. The streaming providers I attempted out all had wonderful guides with giant previews, channel icons, and nice navigation. I missed such options as the flexibility to mechanically tune to a channel when one thing begins, which I had with the Comcast person interface, and I form of choose the previous UI, however general, I take pleasure in shopping now simply as a lot as I did with cable.
Channels can take longer to search out
The information is likely to be good for locating random exhibits, but it surely’s not so nice for tuning to a particular channel. I by no means gave a lot thought to the order and association of the channels in my cable bundle, however they had been logical and good, with meals exhibits and children networks lumped collectively. DirectTV Now, alternatively, boils networks right down to easy alphabetical listings, placing a better emphasis on favorites and bookmarks. Under the Comcast information, channels had been logically grouped, native stations had been close to the highest, and I may simply sort in a quantity to leap to a channel. Now CBS comes after Cartoon Network. An alphabetical itemizing looks like a better choice in concept, however I truly choose the curated grouped lists.
Quality varies significantly between platforms
With my Comcast containers, the expertise principally relied on the kind of TV every field was linked to. That’s not the case with streaming. The pace and movie high quality of the DirecTV Now app on my Apple TV 4K is gentle years higher than it’s on my Fire TV Cube. The identical goes for my Roku field and my Samsung good TV. Then there’s easy connectivity points. Some streams wouldn’t play HD, others consistently paused, and on some gadgets I couldn’t even tune to sure channels. So, relying on the supply you’re utilizing to stream, the expertise may very well be good, nice, horrible, or someplace in between, even when they’re all hooked as much as the identical tv.
Nickelodeon is a streaming unicorn
When looking for a streaming service, I anticipated networks like AMC, HBO, and Disney to price extra. What I didn’t count on was Nickelodeon to be so arduous to search out. And with a 7-year-son, it’s just about vital. Since Nickelodeon doesn’t have its personal pay service, and its content material is locked behind a supplier paywall, my choices got here right down to DirecTV Now, Sling TV with the Kids Extra package deal, or Philo (which was lacking native networks and quite a few different channels I cared about). And after this week’s modifications, it’s not even accessible on DirectTV Now anymore (although fortunately it’s grandfathered into my package deal). So when you’ve got a child who watches any of the Nick channels, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue are all out.
Remote controlling isn’t so good
If there’s one factor you don’t have to fret about with cable, it’s the potential of the distant. Voice search on my Comcast distant was a surprisingly wonderful strategy to discover one thing to look at, and the usual keypad was a straightforward backup for shortly tuning to a channel. The Apple TV and Fire TV remotes are woefully insufficient, and even my Harmony common distant doesn’t fairly perceive what’s happening contained in the DirecTV Now app. Voice management is one other challenge. While many of the voice assistants will launch streaming apps with out hassle, few of them are in a position to look inside to search out stuff. DirectTV Now only recently added Siri search assist within the TV app, which is sweet, however most of your voice instructions will go unheeded, even when you’re utilizing the made-for-cord-cutters Caavo remote.
Cloud DVR isn’t pretty much as good as a tough drive
I used to be pleasantly stunned to search out that almost all streaming providers supply a cloud storage choice that allows you to file reside TV and fast-forward by commercials. While it really works on DirecTV Now, nonetheless, it’s nowhere close to as quick and straightforward to navigate because the one on my X1 DVR. Granted it’s nonetheless in beta—because it’s apparently been for practically a 12 months—however exhibits stuttered and straight-up wouldn’t play, fast-forwarding speeds had been unpredictable, and a few recordings had been truncated. And whereas third-party DVRs similar to Tivo Bolt Vox and Fire TV Recast do exist, they’re designed for over-the-air broadcasts, not over-the-top streaming TV providers.
Streaming is extra customizable than cable
When I had cable, my spouse, son, and I may all watch totally different exhibits in numerous rooms—offered we had containers hooked as much as every TV. And that was just about it. Sure, there have been parental controls and accessibility choices, however navigating them required a visit by sophisticated menus, and there was no management over what occurred once I turned on the TV.
Live TV streaming provides you extra management. DirecTV Now remembers the final present I used to be watching on any gadget, so I can flip on the sport in one other room with out lacking any of the motion. I can set reside TV to start out enjoying once I launch the app or mute the audio. I can autoplay the following episode on demand. Granted, none of those are game-changing choices, however they certain are good to have.