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10 awesome (and not-so-awesome) things I learned while becoming a cord-cutter

After years of studying, analysis, and in reality shut calls, I in spite of everything made the plunge. I canceled my Comcast Triple Play package, disconnected the coaxial cables working far and wide my area, 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 best within the first few days of my new cord-free global, however I will already inform the street forward can be equivalent portions brilliant and bumpy. Whilst I anticipated some separation anxiousness after years of cable TV expenses, I naively didn’t understand simply how other it will be with out Comcast or Cox or FiOS supplying the channels. I finished up opting for DirecTV Now for my streaming wishes, however I researched and examined a few them earlier than deciding on it. Listed here are 10 issues I’ve realized to this point:

Opting for a streaming TV provider is in reality arduous

Signing up for cable is reasonably simple. There are most often one or two suppliers with distinct pricing applications to make a choice from, and choosing one merely is determined by value and channels. That’s now not the case with are living TV streaming applications. Channel choices are in every single place, and also you’ll want to make a listing of those you’ll be able to and will’t are living with out.

For me and my circle of relatives, the must-haves integrated Meals Community, AMC, Nickelodeon, Disney, and FX, and it wasn’t simple to seek out one who had all of them. On the time, DirecTV Now are compatible the invoice, however that’s now not the case anymore, so fortunately I’m grandfathered into the bundle I picked. But it surely’s most definitely that you just’ll want to sacrifice a favourite channel or two whilst you decide on a streaming TV bundle.

Your invoice in reality will pass down

Our resident OG cord-cutter Jared Newman frequently rails in opposition to the argument that streaming is dearer than cable because of the proliferation of paid products and services, and he’s proper.

Sure, should you subscribe to each provider, your streaming invoice can be greater than your cable one, however the wonderful thing about twine chopping is that you just best pay for what you want each and every month. I used to be already subscribing to Netflix, HBO, and Hulu underneath my Comcast plan, so even with upgrading my web provider from 250Mbps to 1Gbps and including DirecTV Now, I minimize my invoice via round $50 a month.

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The brand new DirecTV Now applications have much less freedom and better costs.

Costs, channels will alternate with out caution

Not up to 24 hours once I signed up for DirecTV Now, the fee modified. By way of so much. My bundle higher via 25 %, from $40 a month to $50 a month, and the add-on HBO choice rose from $five to $15. All mentioned, my per thirty days invoice higher via $20 in simply 24 hours. Fortunately I’m in a position to stay the channels in my bundle, but when I had signed up only a day later, I wouldn’t have got any of the channels I sought after; specifically, AMC, Nickelodeon, and Meals Community. I’m used to cable converting applications and upping costs, nevertheless it’s surprising that AT&T raised it such a lot and took away such a lot of necessary channels immediately.

The information is in reality excellent

I believed the toughest factor for me to surrender after I dumped my cable containers can be  the programming information. I most often spend a large number of time surfing channels to seek out one thing to look at, and I feared the streaming TV provider’s person interface and revel in can be not up to nice, leaving me to depend alone units. I used to be mistaken. The streaming products and services I attempted out all had superb guides with massive previews, channel icons, and nice navigation. I overlooked such options as the facility to routinely music to a channel when one thing begins, which I had with the Comcast person interface, and I more or less want the previous UI, however total, I revel in surfing now simply up to I did with cable.

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The DirecTV Guide is surprisingly good.

Channels can take longer to find

The guide might be good for finding random shows, but it’s not so great for tuning to a specific channel. I never gave much thought to the order and arrangement of the channels in my cable bundle, but they were logical and smart, with food shows and kids networks lumped together. DirectTV Now, on the other hand, boils networks down to simple alphabetical listings, putting a greater emphasis on favorites and bookmarks. Under the Comcast guide, channels were logically grouped, local stations were near the top, and I could easily type in a number to jump to a channel. Now CBS comes after Cartoon Network. An alphabetical listing seems like a smarter option in theory, but I actually prefer the curated grouped lists.

Quality varies greatly between platforms

With my Comcast boxes, the experience basically depended on the type of TV each box was connected to. That’s not the case with streaming. The speed and picture quality of the DirecTV Now app on my Apple TV 4K is light years better than it is on my Fire TV Cube. The same goes for my Roku box and my Samsung smart TV. Then there’s simple connectivity issues. Some streams wouldn’t play HD, others constantly paused, and on some devices I couldn’t even tune to certain channels. So, depending on the source you’re using to stream, the experience could be good, great, terrible, or somewhere in between, even if they’re all hooked up to the same television.

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These types of error messages were more common on some platforms than others.

Nickelodeon is a streaming unicorn

When shopping for a streaming service, I expected networks like AMC, HBO, and Disney to cost more. What I didn’t expect was Nickelodeon to be so hard to find. And with a 7-year-son, it’s pretty much a must-have. Since Nickelodeon doesn’t have its own pay service, and its content is locked behind a provider paywall, my options came down to DirecTV Now, Sling TV with the Kids Extra package, or Philo (which was missing local networks and numerous other channels I cared about). And after this week’s changes, it’s not even available on DirectTV Now anymore (though thankfully it’s grandfathered into my package). So if you have a kid 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 thing you don’t have to worry about with cable, it’s the capability of the remote. Voice search on my Comcast remote was a surprisingly excellent way to find something to watch, and the standard keypad was an easy backup for quickly tuning to a channel. The Apple TV and Fire TV remotes are woefully inadequate, and even my Harmony universal remote doesn’t quite understand what’s going on inside the DirecTV Now app. Voice control is another issue. While most of the voice assistants will launch streaming apps without trouble, few of them are able to look inside to find stuff. DirectTV Now just recently added Siri search support in the TV app, which is nice, but most of your voice commands will go unheeded, even if you’re using the made-for-cord-cutters Caavo remote.

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The Cloud DVR is nice to have, but it pales in comparison to a actual hard drive.

Cloud DVR isn’t as good as a hard drive

I was pleasantly surprised to find that most streaming services offer a cloud storage option that lets you record live TV and fast-forward through commercials. While it works on DirecTV Now, however, it’s nowhere near as fast and easy to navigate as the one on my X1 DVR. Granted it’s still in beta—as it’s apparently been for nearly a year—but shows stuttered and straight-up wouldn’t play, fast-forwarding speeds were unpredictable, and some recordings were truncated. And while third-party DVRs such as Tivo Bolt Vox and Fire TV Recast do exist, they’re designed for over-the-air broadcasts, not over-the-top streaming TV services.

Streaming is more customizable than cable

When I had cable, my wife, son, and I could all watch different shows in different rooms—provided we had boxes hooked up to each TV. And that was pretty much it. Sure, there were parental controls and accessibility options, but navigating them required a trip through complicated menus, and there was no control over what happened when I turned on the TV.

Live TV streaming gives you more control. DirecTV Now remembers the last show I was watching on any device, so I can flip on the game in another room without missing any of the action. I can set live TV to start playing when I launch the app or mute the audio. I can autoplay the next episode on demand. Granted, none of these are game-changing options, but they sure are nice to have.

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