If so, how have you fared? Is there one system over another you prefer? Do over-the-air antennae work? How do you get local shows? What have you given up to settle on one provider over another?

I'm looking at going with Sling and an OTA antenna for local and CW. But I can be talked out of it.

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We use Sling and an antenna. We're happy overall. Sling's servers occasionally get overloaded--the New Year's Day Twilight Zone marathon was especially trying--but a lot of that seems dependent on how consistent your internet connection is. We have similar issues occasionally with Netflix and Hulu.

At the time we first made the switch (from Dish) it was a no-brainer, because I was working in another city and Sling was the best option for home and my apartment to share access.

I'd appreciate some recommendations, too. We've considered cutting the cord, but found it hard to find the right option that lets us keep all of the channels we really want to watch.

We cut the cord years ago and honestly have never really missed having cable/satellite. Currently we use a combination of over the air antenna, Netflix and a Roku stick.

The antenna gives us access to local stations as well as PBS and the major networks. Some stations come in great while others require a bit of fiddling to pick up the signal. The higher you can place the antenna and closer to a window the better.

The Roku stick is a recent purchase. It gives us access to a number of different channels offering free streaming of older movies and TV shows plus You Tube. I haven't tried it yet but apparently you can also rent more current fare through Roku with charges going on your credit card. Your credit card info has to be provided to set up the Roku.

On the antenna question: I would recommend buying an antenna and trying it out first. Seems obvious, I know, but over the air reception varies a lot depending on physical location. It certainly does help to get it up high--ours is in the attic. We're close to a large city (Charlotte, NC) so we get lots of channels, although reception fades out occasionally for no apparent reason.

I think one of these things you have to consider is how much live TV means to you. Little to none, then I would say an OTA and whatever streaming services you already have like Netflix and/or Amazon Prime. Then you can also supplement this with free streaming services that are ad-supported. Pluto TV and Crackle are a couple of examples.

If live TV is a little bit more important to you then Sling TV is your most economical option. They have 2 different packages, and you can also combine them.  A lot of my cord-cutting friends really like Youtube TV, although I do not have it. Most if not all of the streaming services have free trials so you can easily find which one fits you, and you aren't stuck in a 2 year contract.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I'd appreciate some recommendations, too. We've considered cutting the cord, but found it hard to find the right option that lets us keep all of the channels we really want to watch.

That is a hard one to answer CK. One of the reasons these streaming services are cheaper is that they aren't paying to carry every channel out there. I know some people will pick 2 of the services to get all of the channels they want, and still come out ahead of cable. It would be up to you if it is worth it to have all of those different ones.

My set-up is Amazon Prime, basic Hulu (it got offered free into Spotify Premium about a year ago for a special). Really that is it right now. My Dad gave me his old OTA which I haven't installed yet. I had Disney+, but I already cancelled that until something else comes along that interests me.

I still have plenty to watch with those two, and I really don't miss live TV at all. And missing a lot of the hot shows that aren't on the services I watch doesn't bother me either, I have no problem being a pop-culture illiterate.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I'd appreciate some recommendations, too. We've considered cutting the cord, but found it hard to find the right option that lets us keep all of the channels we really want to watch.


Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

That is a hard one to answer CK. One of the reasons these streaming services are cheaper is that they aren't paying to carry every channel out there. I know some people will pick 2 of the services to get all of the channels they want, and still come out ahead of cable. It would be up to you if it is worth it to have all of those different ones.

My set-up is Amazon Prime, basic Hulu (it got offered free into Spotify Premium about a year ago for a special). Really that is it right now. My Dad gave me his old OTA which I haven't installed yet. I had Disney+, but I already cancelled that until something else comes along that interests me.

I still have plenty to watch with those two, and I really don't miss live TV at all. And missing a lot of the hot shows that aren't on the services I watch doesn't bother me either, I have no problem being a pop-culture illiterate.

In my house, the must-haves are the news channels and C-SPAN. I haven't seen a combination (admittedly, I haven't looked all that hard) that lets us keep C-SPAN.

Why is C-SPAN so important to us? We're a household of news junkies, and we like it for things like big civic moments -- presidential debates, inaugurations, and such.

It goes back to Richard Nixon's funeral. She was watching it on NBC and Bryant Gumbel was blathering all over the coverage, and I said, "You could watch it on C-SPAN." She changed channels, and got to see the event without the blather, and we've been fans ever since.

C-SPAN really is a no-spin zone, which we like.*

* Why do they even HAVE spin zones after debates? The people they invite to those things come on specifically to lie and not answer questions, and the networks KNOW they are going to lie and not answer questions. Worse, the network people don't call them out on their lies (looking at you, Chuck Todd).

I'm in a more difficult boat. We have to have local news, because my wife is the PIO for the county health department, and has to watch (and maybe record) interviews involving her department (and sometimes she's the interviewee). We need the major streamers for my column. And we want to keep the stuff we just enjoy, which is a third layer of "musts."

So far it looks like our best bet is Sling (blue+orange) with an OTA antenna. I made a chart of the channels we usually watch, and Sling covers most of them. The antenna will cover local and The CW, which is a must. And for $5 extra we can have 50 hours of DVR. (That's not much, but it beats nothing.) 

The other closest alternative is Hulu, which doesn't have AMC or BBC America, which are deal-breakers. I don't know much about YouTube, but now I'm going to research it.

What makes this headache worthwhile is money. I pay about $180/month for U-Verse (with HBO). Sling and Hulu are about $50/month. That's a whopper of a savings.

Clark, no streaming service carries C-SPAN. It is limited to cable/satellite only. Now you can go to C-SPAN.org and watch full clips any time (today's 41/2 hour House session is there right now for instance). To even watching their live streams online you have to have a TV subscription.

Cap, yeah it sounds like Sling and an OTA is the way to go for you. You don't have to tell me about how good of a price break you get with cutting the cord. It is great. I spend WAY too much time reading about this stuff because I actually find it interesting.

One final PSA for everyone, with the website Reelgood you can put in your different services and you can get an aggregate of what is available to you, and what new each one has added. Also, if you are looking for a specific movie or television show, you can search for it, and it will tell which, if any service(s) it is available on. I've found it pretty handy.

One problem with Sling -- what about satellite TVs? I have a small one upstairs basically for background noise when I work, but occasionally to access DVR for columns. No worries with cable, but what about Sling? It's old and certainly not a "smart" TV.

You're going to need someway to get Sling there. I don't know how old your other TV is, but it will need an HDMI plug to cast to it.

Captain Comics said:

One problem with Sling -- what about satellite TVs? I have a small one upstairs basically for background noise when I work, but occasionally to access DVR for columns. No worries with cable, but what about Sling? It's old and certainly not a "smart" TV.

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