Cord Cutters Catch-All

Don’t do the dongle. Get something with a remote.

My opinion is that Apple TV tv is the best. But Rokus are great too.

Thanks. I think I have determined that AppleTv is the way to go for me, especially as I already have two tvs covered with existing devices. Now the question is whether I wait until the next AppleTV comes out (which is apparently rumored to be in 2020)....Argh.

Thanks again!

How is Apple TV if you're not in the apple ecosystem otherwise? I've got a Roku Ultra, which has a good UI and all the apps, but doesn't support HDR10+ or atmos. I've also got a Fire Stick 4k, which does those formats, but has a crappy UI. Does the Apple TV cover all the bases, and I should just give in and get that?

Alternately, I've heard the Shield TV is also fantastic. It's mostly price holding me back from trying those other two. I got the roku and fire stick for half price at black friday.

Chaz wrote:

How is Apple TV if you're not in the apple ecosystem otherwise? I've got a Roku Ultra, which has a good UI and all the apps, but doesn't support HDR10+ or atmos. I've also got a Fire Stick 4k, which does those formats, but has a crappy UI. Does the Apple TV cover all the bases, and I should just give in and get that?

Alternately, I've heard the Shield TV is also fantastic. It's mostly price holding me back from trying those other two. I got the roku and fire stick for half price at black friday.

I've tried Roku and Fire TV and I prefer Apple TV because it has the cleanest interface, there are no ads anywhere on the main screen, and it (finally!) has all the apps I need so I only need the one box with no need to switch inputs! A lot of people HATE the remote with a passion. I think the touch works great once you get used to it. It is small and slim though, but that's easily addressed with a peanut case.

I've not tried the Shield TV, but it is indeed supposed to be great. It is more expensive than ATV (which some people think is too expensive itself) but from what I've read, you are paying for quality. I tried Android TV way too early in its life, and I am biased against Google (I don't trust them to support their products), but the Shield TV is probably the only Android TV box I would buy as all of the others seem to be underpowered cheapo devices. It likely works great within an Android phone + Google Home ecosystem, but I can't speak to that either.

That's why I generally recommend Roku to family. There are few, if any, quirks. It's platform agnostic and doesn't try to do anything fancy with smart home or phone integration stuff and is overall the best value for most regular people.

I am vaguely familiar with Shield TV. I use a Roku Ultra on my main tv with Roku sticks on secondary devices. The services I use are Netflix, Disney+ w/Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV. Would I benefit from going to Shield TV? What's the primary reason to go that route instead of the Roku Ultra?

cartoonin wrote:

I am vaguely familiar with Shield TV. I use a Roku Ultra on my main tv with Roku sticks on secondary devices. The services I use are Netflix, Disney+ w/Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling TV. Would I benefit from going to Shield TV? What's the primary reason to go that route instead of the Roku Ultra?

Google Assistant, fast transcoding for Plex, and (I think!) can even act as a Plex Server with attached storage.

If you're happy with your setup, there's no reason to fix it.

Anyone have opinions on OTA DVR boxes? It seems like an antenna and one of those might be a reasonable option if we get rid of DirecTV, so we wouldn't need to get one of the streaming services that does broadcast channels. The only two I know of are Tivos and the Amazon Recast one. I don't think the Tivo one makes sense because of the subscription cost for just a handful of broadcast channels. The Amazon one could work, but my wife really hates the Fire Stick UI, so that may not be the one.

I used to want one of those OTA DVRs. But we got a TCL (Roku) TV and it has 90 minute live replay just by plugging in a USB stick. It's been handy for most of the situations we want, to be able to pause or rewind something on antenna we're trying to watch around a 17 month old's schedule.

If we miss a network show, we usually just watch it the next day on Hulu. Most of the ones we watch (ABC and NBC ) seem to be on there. Screw CBS and their separate service. I guess NBC will go that way with Peacock at some point this year. Oh well.

If you're techie, you can roll your own with Channels DVR. It's what I use with my Apple TVs and it's fantastic.

https://getchannels.com/plus/

You of course need your own tuner and pc and it costs $80/year but I was coming off of four TiVos so it actually saved me money.

Downside is that they don't have a Roku up, but have tvOS, Fire TV, and Android TV apps.

Sling Happy Hour started this week.

5pm-midnight, Sling Blue free for everyone.

You can also try Plex DVR with a supported tuner and Plex installation. Recording requires Plex Pass, but that can be a flat lifetime fee if you're able to get Live TV working.

LeapingGnome wrote:

Youtube is the best streaming service for live TV. Sling is ok if you want something cheaper but it is a step down.

Personally I like Roku's devices and interface better than the others.

While YTTV may be the best for your situation, I never answer that question of "What is the best service" with a direct answer (I'm part of a couple of cord-cutting groups on Facebook and this gets asked a lot). The reason is that you really need to evaluate the channels and figure out what is best for you.

For me, we needed A&E. Hands down, no questions asked. I cannot exist without LivePD. That immediately took YouTube TV off of the list. We ended up going with Hulu Live and really enjoy it. Every now and then there's a hiccup where we need to restart the app or the Apple TV, but overall it's been great for us. We had DirectTV Now (or ATT Now I think it's called currently?). That was great too but the prices started going way up from our grandfathered plan.

Long story short - give them a try. I think most of the big services out there have a trial. Good luck!

Thanks. I already use Hulu (commercial free) for their offerings but not live TV. I will do a fresh look at YouTube vs Hulu and make a call. I am tentatively waiting for the new AppleTV to come out to buy a device for the third tv...but I may not be able to hold out.

I have Youtube TV and it is great. It Has a lots of sports in base package (lots of European Soccer) and stream quality has been rock solid the last few years. The unlimited DVR space is nice and it will record every instance of the show on any channel and keeps the recording for 9 months. Being able to sort my channel list so I can put my favorites near the top is nice and you can also unselect channels to not show up if you don't care for them. I watch most of the TV on my computer or even at work when a big sports game is on so that is a big plus. I never get any issues with stream quality either. On my TV I use a Roku Ultra and it works great there too. I have had a few minor playback issues with a couple of shows streaming on demand episodes. If the show is on the DVR though I have not had issues with that.

I recommend Youtube TV.

Thanks. As I require EU soccer as well (if we ever get past C19), that will likely tip me over the edge.

In Youtube TV base package I am able to get EPL on NBCSN and Bundesliga on Fox Sports. Series A pops up on ESPN some. Also Champions League games on TBS I think.

There is also an addon soccer package for $15 a month Fox Soccer Plus. I do not know what extra is on it but there is also a 14-day free trial with it. Be worth a trial once everything is in full swing.

I've gotten AT&T TV and the "Cloud DVR" has some annoying limitations.

1) the app can't change sorting. It has a field for sorting, but you can't adjust it from the default, so your shows are sorted by last recorded, period.
2) You can only record 30 episodes of a show. Even if that show has 10 seasons. You also can't specify a season, so it's basically useless for catching up on an entire show, as it just deletes the oldest episode once #31 rolls around. So you end up with 5 episodes from Season 1, 4 from Season 2, etc.
3) The DVR box crashes. A lot. Even just something simple like loading the Play Store. Sometimes if I try to navigate the menus too quickly it crashes and reboots.
4) It's missing some pretty important apps due to the stupid Android compatibility checks. So no Amazon Prime or Hulu.
5) You can't uninstall the crapware.
6) I only watch via my PC or my Shield TV, but sometimes it claims I'm streaming more than 3 sources at once, making it impossible to watch. Which is obviously annoying. Like FFS, let up on the checks for a bit more leeway (and no, I don't have multiple windows open or anything.)

I love having AT&T Fiber internet. And the TV is affordable, if incredibly inconsistent in terms of usefulness. At least if you get HBO through AT&T you can still login via HBO Max.

I'm on an introductory price where it's $50/month for the first year, but unless they fix the above (which seems unlikely), definitely gonna drop it next year (or maybe the year after? The wording of the agreement is confusing.)

If you only ever watch the most recent few episodes of something OR if what you want to watch is available on demand streaming (it's really inconsistent which shows are or aren't) it's not bad. But overall disappointed.

One thing I will say is the DVR box is much easier to setup than a TiVo. When you need to program a remote you click "Vizio" and it automatically sends out the codes in succession until one succeeds, instead of how TiVo makes you type in the different codes over and over. That it took this long for someone to design it that way baffles me.

It's also a fairly minimalist, nice looking box. It's just not very useful.

But since it's a "Cloud DVR" and you can't actually use it offline, there's no benefit over using it instead of your other streaming device with the AT&T TV app. Especially because of the aforementioned constant crashing.

Add that on top of how the box itself costs $120 I don't think it's worth it. Get a Shield TV instead for that price (FedEx lost, I sh*t you not, three of them being sent to me, although one finally turned up later). AT&T support is a bit limited right now, which means their answers are often conflicting or wrong (since FedEx lost so many one agent told me to go into a store and ask for one, and the agent at the store said they'd charge me $120 since it counts as a "second" box and only your "first" one is free) and you're due for some frustration if any of the above things bother you.

Sounds about what I would expect from AT&T, sorry you are going through it. For $50 a month did you consider just using Youtube TV?

LeapingGnome wrote:

Sounds about what I would expect from AT&T, sorry you are going through it. For $50 a month did you consider just using Youtube TV?

I did, but one benefit of the bundle is you get uncapped data. So it's almost worth it just for that.

Despite copy to the contrary, if you read the small print you have to pay extra for uncapped data if you don't have the bundle.

I still might consider it once this contract/agreement is up unless they make drastic improvements.

Quality of the service is better than Cox, quality of the Customer Service is somehow worse. The people are a lot nicer, but they seem to have even less of an idea what they're doing (maybe that's due to everyone working from home though, no one seems to have access to the tools and systems they need.)

It's been a comedy of errors getting my phone, TV, and internet service setup though. My hope is now that everything is installed I can just never speak with them again.

But having fiber internet vs. Cox cable? Amazing.

Data caps? On Internet? What year is it?

Yeah, there's still data caps in some places, nutso as it seems.

HBO Max actually isn't terrible, all ragging from John Oliver about it aside.

I wish the selection of shows for the networks they're licensing was broader, but the ones that they do have are pretty good. And given the choice, I suppose less filler, more killer is a better approach.

For example, watched Infinity Train from Cartoon Network, Doom Patrol from DC, and there's a decent selection of anime from Crunchyroll/VRV.

And it seems to have ALL of the Studio Ghibli stuff. Not just the Miyazaki titles. If you plan to watch 1-2 of those in a month, that's worth the cost alone IMO.

Plus, they're generous in how you can login to HBO Max. Technically I only have HBO through my AT&T subscription, but instead of how some services make you jump through hoops to login to their apps if you subscribe from a different streaming method it was pretty painless to setup.

Speaking of the HBO Max app. My friends theory is that the HBO Go and Now apps were so bad because they didn't want to invest in them when the new HBO max was coming in the next few years.

The app isn't perfect but it it is a huge improvement over their previous efforts. Their search function still feels like using a 20 year old cable box though.

EvilDead wrote:

Speaking of the HBO Max app. My friends theory is that the HBO Go and Now apps were so bad because they didn't want to invest in them when the new HBO max was coming in the next few years.

The app isn't perfect but it it is a huge improvement over their previous efforts. Their search function still feels like using a 20 year old cable box though.

Some of the collections and categories actually make sense now, at least! Like the part where you can sort by Network such as DC, CN, CrunchyRoll, etc.

Because of that I haven't actually used the search yet, but I believe it. And I agree it's a lot better than previous attempts (I never thought about that, re: why HBO Go was so bad, it's an interesting point.)

YouTube TV is raising their price by $15/mo (30% increase - WTH). I was alright with paying a bit more than Sling, but this is more than a bit. Pondering pondering pondering...

*sigh*

And that is on top of the other big price increase they did not too long ago! Youtube is a better experience, but I don't think it is worth over twice the price of Sling. Didn't Sling also raise their price recently, to $30?

LeapingGnome wrote:

Youtube is a better experience, but I don't think it is worth over twice the price of Sling. Didn't Sling also raise their price recently, to $30?

We've had YouTube TV for about 8 months. Sling is at $30 for Orange -or- Blue. $45 for both.

I just received a message from Sling today, touting that they aren't raising prices until July of 2021, so that's nice.

Seeing that I have Sling Blue, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Dis+/ Hulu (w/ads), I don't need any price increases.

FYI - I got Sling to try it out and... sh*t. The app is NOT blind-accessible on a FireTV in the way that Youtube TV is. The grid guide (which is really the only decent way to browse what's scheduled on all channels) reads NOTHING that you highlight. You can click all over it and VoiceView won't say a thing.

Since my blind father-in-law is the main consumer of TV in the house and he has a FireTV, Sling is a no-go. He must have an accessible interface as he'd have to be a few inches away from the screen to even see the text.

Not to be insensitive, but if his vision is that bad how does he watch TV? Just listen?