Streaming TV Service

I am grandfathered on DirectTV Now’s channel lineup, but they did jack my monthly subscription by $10 to $50. The service remains unsteady, the DVR remains buggy and amazingly, since being rebranded to AT&TNow, it’s all got worse.

The DVR, in particular, is mostly unusable; while fast-forwarding it will bounce you back to the start of your show so you have to fast-forward to get back to where you are. Rinse, repeat. I have deleted and reinstalled the app (on multiple TVs) but it’s the same. I haven’t finished a show without having to sit through the commercials for weeks. Time for a change.

Anyone use Sling TV’s service? Their Blue package has all we need once the Hallmark and DVR upgrades are added. That’s $40/month all in with 50 hours of recording space (vs. 20 on the AT&T service). BUT, there are a ton of negative reviews out there - mostly about customer support but some technical issues - and local TV stations seems to be a big “?” Sling says you get them and reviewers say “maybe”.

Anyway, any comments on Sling TV would be greatly appreciated.

Did you misspell Now as Noe in your original posting of DirectTV Now’s? It changed right before my eyes. I thought Noe had his own TV package for a minute.

Haha! Yes.

Speaking of Noe, did he make the switch and change his name or is he still Left Behind?

We used Sling for a while. Went to YouTube TV for local channels and more sports selection (Though we lost the SEC+, which I will miss during college baseball). They just added PBS to it youtube.TV as well.

Didn’t have problems with Sling just found Youtube to meet our needs better.

Noe left the site a few months ago.

We’ve used Sling the last couple months as a cheap way to watch a few Longhorn games. The streaming quality/stability isn’t as good as YouTube TV, but it is cheaper. We didn’t use the DVR so I can’t comment on that.

Noe left? Holy cow, that is OWA news.

I checked further on Sling TV, and they don’t carry any of our local channels (despite prominently advertising that they do). So it’s out.

Looks like I’m limited to what I have now, or Fubo. The offerings on Fubo look good, but no Disney stuff. Losing ABC is my only beef here, as we’ll want to see the final episodes of How to Get Away with Murder and Modern Family. I try and avoid ESPN at all costs, and anything they’re carrying that’s a must-see I can go and watch at a bar.

Public Service Announcement: Disney is pulling back all of its networks and services onto its own platforms. So, as the various contracts run out, all the streaming apps will lose ABC, Disney, ESPN etc. and they’ll be on only Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Same with the Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars movie catalogues, which will continue to disappear from Netflix etc. as their contracts expire.

I can buy the ABC shows from iTunes or, investing in the future, get a dongle for my Mac to record OTA content and drop it into iTunes for later viewing.

He quit pretty much all social media, including this site, several months ago.

Check into HDHomeRun. They have sold tuners for a long time, but now they offer some standalone appliances that can record OTA.

Great minds!

I was looking at this as a solution, and read that the Channels app is the best way to get OTA content from the HDHomeRun to an Apple TV (it’s the only one that de-interlaces the 1080i format). Then I saw that the Channels DVR can pull in content from my AT&T subscription…hmmmm.

So, for now, I have set up Channels and it seems to be a great stopgap. I’m using its DVR so gone are the restrictions and bugs in the AT&T DVR; the interface is way better too. Plus, it marks commercials on recorded shows and lets you skip them with a double-tap

It does not pull in all my channels, though. CBS is missing, for example, as they want you to subscribe separately to their All Access service ABC will go the same way at some point too, I’m sure, so I’m still thinking that the HDHomeRun route is the way to go.

Sling TV integrates with Channels, so I can get that for $30/month, pay $8/month for the Channels DVR subscription (for the channel guide) and get the broadcast networks over the HDHomeRun ($70 one-time investment). This saves enough each month to pay for the new hardware in 6 months - a good trade.

This means I can keep my DVR content forever if I choose as it’s stored locally. I believe I can download it to an iDevice for offline viewing too (need to try this to confirm). This also means that the broadcast networks will still function even when the internet is out (eg during a hurricane). As long as I have power, I have TV, which is comforting for emergencies

I read that OTA is making a comeback, and it’s being driven by cord-cutters and technology like the HDHomeRun. Pretty funny if you think about it.

My ultimate endgame is going to be a combination of HDHomeRun (for watching/recording OTA) and Plex (which can transcode media to other formats, e.g. mobile, in real time, and provide a STB experience for all of my media, including ripped DVDs). There are Plex apps for Roku (all of my TVs have Roku built in) and Apple TV. I just haven’t gotten around to doing anything about it since the idea of setting it all up and ripping all my DVDs is a bit daunting.

Just a note… with all of our Christmas Day plans canceled with a sick kiddo, I spent some time getting this going. Live TV and DVR works great in Plex with a HDHomeRun tuner on the network, and I’ve already tested ripping/converting a DVD movie and importing it into my Plex library. Then I played both live TV and the movie from my iPhone and my smart TV, both using their native Plex apps to stream from the computer running Plex Media Server.

You have to pay for Plex Pass to add OTA tuning to Plex, but it’s worth it. This is going to be pretty fucking badass once I finally get all my DVDs ripped.

I’ve been ripping DVDs and BDs for years. So convenient. Especially as many movies nowadays force you to watch trailers before getting to the feature - ripping strips all that away. And it’s great for traveling because you can load up an iDevice with the movies you want to watch on the plane.

Glad to hear the HDHomeRun works as advertised. Definitely going to make that investment in the new year.

ETA: Plex seemed like the best choice for everything except Apple TV because it can de-interlace the 1080i OTA broadcast for smooth scrolling (especially good for sports) for any streaming box except Apple’s. :roll_eyes:

They say it’s coming, but I went with Channels as it does the de-interlacing for my Apple boxes. It does mean having a separate app for my ripped movies (iTunes), but I can always switch once Plex gets up to speed on the Apple TV. As iTunes is supposed to be ending, I may need a new media server anyway.

Channels is technically free if you subscribe to the DVR guide, so there’s no out of pocket loss.

Update:

AT&T jacked my rate again to $60. That was the last straw. I went out and bought the HDHomeRun Connect Duo (2 streams is all we need), hooked it up and it works like a charm for local channels. Great picture - I just have to find a better spot for the antenna than hanging near a window.

I also cancelled AT&T, and signed up for Sling Blue. Adding the Lifestyle package (for the mandatory Hallmark channels), it comes in at $35/month. I don’t need the upgraded DVR because I am using the Channels app to blend the two sources and act as my local DVR.

Works like a charm, except…

Hallmark and NBCSN are not supported on the TV Everywhere service that drives the Channels app. In order to watch/record those channels, we have to use the Sling app. Not a major ordeal at all, but a minor frustration. I’m more ok with app-hopping than Mrs Limey, so I don’t care so much about NBCSN; but I wish Hallmark was available because that way she can keep a personal copy of her favorite movies on our local DVR.

Using the Channels app as the DVR has some other benefits:

  • you do not have to re-enter all your season passes when changing providers (which is a thing now as the services come, go and change);
  • it will auto-skip commercials on recorded content (really cool); and
  • you can pause and then catch-up live TV just like your old cable DVR (this is the thing that AT&T’s app sucked at the most, which is saying something).

In Summary:

  • Old Cost: $60/month for the buggy AT&T Now service
  • New Cost: $43/month ($35 Sling TV, $8 Channels DVR Guide),
    plus $100 one-time layout for the HDHomeRun device.

So that’s a 6-month payback on the new hardware, plus greater utility because the AT&T Now service was soooo bad, with lags and limitations. Plus, those fuckers were going to jack my rate on a regular basis because the deal I had is $93/month for non-grandfathered customers.