I promised a follow-up about how my self-weaning off Dish Network and into the world of streaming went after a full season of college football.
The answer: pretty good, and when you factor in the cost savings, even better.
I had a fairly robust satellite TV package, along with a relatively slow internet service account with Mindspring. Between the two, I was spending roughly $200/month for a package that included ESPN, Fox Sports and the SEC Network. I had service issues with both providers and that motivated me to make changes more than anything.
Here’s what I replaced them with:
- A Comcast/Xfinity bundle that gave me basic cable, high-speed internet service and HBO, for $70/month.
- Sony Playstation VUE, that gave me access to ESPN and Fox Sports, at a cost of $29.99/month. A package including the SEC Network was an additional $5/month.
While I had to sign a three-year deal with Comcast to get the advantageous pricing, that decision looks better in the aftermath of the FCC ditching net neutrality. Sony pulled a jerk move, bumping the cost of VUE another $10/month less than sixty days after I signed up. The good thing about the streaming services like VUE is that you can sign up on a month-to-month basis, which made it easy to jump to Hulu’s new live TV service, which also costs $39.99/month, but gives you access to its library at no extra charge. Hulu includes the SEC Network as part of its service, so that at least saved the added expense during football season.
Hulu is a bit of a pain to navigate, but everything I wanted to watch could be found with a little digging. There’s also 30-day archive access to events, so I was able to watch the Rose Bowl broadcast when I got back from California. (No, I didn’t feel the same way about the national championship broadcast.)
The one thing I miss from Dish is that it was very easy to jump between two stations you were watching at the same time, something that came in handy on a Saturday afternoon. Moving from one game to another is clunkier on Hulu. But that’s a relatively small price to pay for the overall improvement.
I would recommend finding the highest speed broadband access you can swing. In addition to Hulu, I’ve also got Netflix and Amazon Prime for general entertainment. I haven’t had a single issue with buffering the entire time since I’ve switched.
So, to sum up, my service problems, which were slow broadband and weather-related issues with satellite service, have disappeared, and I’m saving about $75 a month on TV and internet, combined. Not too shabby.
One other non-television related matter to share: if you have Comcast broadband service, you might want to check into their new cellphone service, Xfinity Mobile, which was recently introduced. There is no access fee and unlimited text and calls are free. The only thing you pay for is data, and there are two plans to choose from — a $12/gig option and an unlimited data $45 option. (You can change on the fly.) Best of all, it’s on Verizon’s network, which is what I had before, so I have the same service, but dropped my cellphone bill by about $65/month.
I can’t say it’s perfect, but it’s definitely good enough that I have no regrets making the move. And the money savings are sweet.