Monday, November 28

Time to kill the cable, and this is my best streaming service for cutting the cable.

My big project last year was figuring out how I would cut the wire, and I think my findings can help you get rid of the wire in 2022.

Tired of cable box limits, the best cable TV alternatives let you take your DVR with you wherever you go, I had one foot out of the door for a while. On top of that, the high price of cable, $ 127 split between roommates should be a good night out, not a monthly bill, it was too much.

  • The best TV antenna to cut the cable.
  • Samsung just introduced the amazing MicroLED TV
  • PS5 killer: this streams games to multiple screens at once

So, I tried each and every major live TV service and found myself (somewhat predictably) opting for one of Tom’s Guide’s options for the best streaming service. In fact, I also chose the same cable cutter service that my colleague Kelly Woo chose.

But, since I love a good narrative, I am not going to spoil the ending from the beginning. Because it’s less about the service that’s right for me and more about what you can learn from what I discovered. And that includes the very difficult year for one of my best options.

I almost cut the cable with YouTube TV

YouTube TV is cool, it’s so cool, from its clean, snappy interface to its unlimited DVR cap, that I’m really upset that I have good reasons not to pay for it. At one point, my biggest personal reason was the lack of a channel that I wanted. That’s Vice. But the show I watch on Vice is between seasons, so I don’t have that excuse.

The main reason I don’t choose YouTube TV is its price. At $ 65, it’s $ 30 more than Sling TV per month, and that’s too high a price increase for a more enjoyable experience. Sure, its optional 4K streaming and offline downloads are nice perks, but they cost more money, too. But that’s not the only thing that has given me questions about YouTube TV lately.

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(Image credit: future)

Last April, YouTube TV was removed from the Roku channel store due to a dispute between Roku and YouTube. So any new subscribers had to use the YouTube app, after YouTube buried its Live TV functionality within the normal YouTube app the following May. Of course, this did not resolve the dispute between companies.

Then YouTube TV and Roku set a December 9 deadline to resolve all of these issues, which they thankfully did. All of this, however, was the kind of year-long headache that we have enough of. everywhere now.

The complicated year of contract disputes with YouTube TV networks did not end there either. In September, YouTube and NBCUniversal broke the news that their negotiations were in danger of not working out on their own deadline. Fortunately, their conversations got an extension and no one missed Sunday Night Football or SNL. And that means everyone with YouTube TV can watch This Is Us season 6 too.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The same cannot be said for the recent YouTube TV and Disney debacle. While the outage only lasted a day and changed, YouTube TV lost ESPN and ABC, as well as other Disney-owned channels after the two parties failed to negotiate a contract. And if those channels mattered in those days, there was no alternative to their absence, which probably caused people to subscribe to a competitor (Sling if TNT matters, fubo if ABC matters).

When I was at a recent family function, a relative asked me if they should cut the cord as well, not knowing that that was exactly my kind of question. When they told me their needs, I ended up recommending a service that would have problems less than a month later. However, during the ESPN and ABC outage, I had to text them to alert them to the drama.

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All of the above is not the situation anyone wants, and I hope YouTube TV has learned its lessons. Because while YouTube TV (85+ channels for $ 65 / month) is worth more than Sling TV (30+ channels for $ 35 / month) on paper, reliability is just as valuable. Because, yes, reader: I chose Sling TV.

Why did I cut the cord with Sling TV

Three months after my subscription service to Sling TV, I only found one real flaw: local networks can vary when you are traveling. Frustratingly, I chose Sling TV not because of affinity for the service (its apps and design are just fine, its quality and speed are similar) but because it works well enough and has all the channels I want.

And when I was testing Sling TV, I found that “good enough” is what I’m going to have to settle for. I was also able to add FXX to watch the latest season of It’s Always Sunny, as I saw Sling’s customization options as valuable perks, allowing me to keep a low starting price and upload it myself if I wanted to.

(Image credit: Sling TV)

And it’s so much better than the services you could easily rule out.

Take, for example, Hulu with Live TV. When I tried Hulu’s live TV offering for myself, I found that it was being buffered too often, and that was a no-no. Not even cable buffers, and I’m not going to replace the cable with something that is a worse experience. Sure, the interface is fine and the channel selection has what I need, but it was all about updates, not downgrades. Hulu now packs in Disney Plus and ESPN Plus for $ 5 more (not that you get to choose), so I hope you’re excited about The Book of Boba Fett episode 2 release date.

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Then there is Fubo TV. It is primarily for international sports, but is marketed as a streaming service for sports fans. So I was surprised to see that they didn’t offer TNT, a must have for the NBA postseason. When I tried fubo TV, I found it perfectly fine. It even has a really cool multi-channel view mode. But the lack of TNT is a deal breaker for me, so I passed.

(Image credit: Henry T. Casey)

Lastly, there are two contenders that I must meet and I quickly knew I didn’t like him. DirecTV Stream is unsatisfactory at best, putting its exclusive regional sports channels at high price points, and Philo just doesn’t have enough channels.

Conclusions for aspiring cable cutters

The biggest thing I learned is that figuring out the right way to cut the cord isn’t about who has the prettiest app or the most features. If that were true, you would pay more for YouTube TV or fubo’s split view mode.

The two things that matter the most are 1) getting all the channels you want (which Sling does, to me) at a price you like (which YouTube TV doesn’t have) and 2) being able to watch those channels without a problem (the biggest Hulu defect in my tests).

Of course, channel availability varies based on your personal preferences. If you want to see season 26 of The Bachelor, you will need a service with ABC. That’s why I wrote our Sling vs YouTube TV vs Hulu vs Fubo vs DirecTV channel showdown, which compares services by who has more than the 100 most popular services. I also wrote our guide on where to live stream the NFL, NBA, MLB, and more, which takes those pesky regional sports networks into account.

With all the testing experience above, I am sure that you will find it easier to cut the wire than it is for me.

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