Tuesday, April 23, 2019

We Dumped DirecTV for fuboTV. Here Is Why


When we took a good hard look at our monthly entertainment bill, it became increasingly apparent that something would have to go. We had already cancelled Hulu and our phone land line, but that was still not enough. We still had a huge DirecTV bill that was largely going unused from month to month. Something had to be done. Of course my wife and I were hearing from friends and reading more and more articles about "cutting the cable" and going strictly streaming, instead of using satellite or cable TV. This scared me in particular, because I didn't want to lose the local channels, and in the area where we live, a TV antenna is not a good option. For one, our neighborhood has a lack of broadcast reception from a TV antenna. We tried to buy a digital antenna from Best Buy, and they told us that everyone who has ended up returning it due to lack of channels in our area. 

I finally did some targeted research. After finally deciding that the cost savings would be worth it in the long run, I gathered up all of my DirecTV equipment and drove it to the nearest UPS store, which was about two miles away.  Interestingly, UPS will box up your equipment and ship it for you free of charge. Nice! The first replacement product we are trying already seems very good. It is called FUBO TV. The price is $44.99 for the first month and $54.99/month thereafter. What I like about it is that we can use it on any TV in the house, as long as we have the app installed. For instance, we now have an Amazon Fire TV Stick plugged into each of our TVs. The app is on the Fire TV Stick, so we just install the app and we're good to go. It runs off of the Fire TV Stick. Your fuboTV subscription allows you to stream from two devices at a time, so I'm assuming that means two TVs at once, or one TV and a mobile device at the same time. Here is more about fubo TV: https://www.fubo.tv/welcome

What drove up the price of our DirecTV the most was that we had a Wireless Video Bridge (an expensive accessory which resembles a tiny DirecTV satellite), four small DVR/receivers (one for each room) and the big Master Genie DVR from which all of smaller ones connected. So we had five different pieces of hardware plus a satellite dish outside the house. And we paid for each of these accessories a la cart. So the total amount we were paying was around $150/month just for DirecTV. By returning all DirecTV hardware and removing the service completely, keeping our Internet service and then getting fuboTV instead, we are saving about $95/month or $1,000+/year. fuboTV is about the same price as YouTubeTV. Other options include Sling TV (which is cheaper but not as many features or channels), Hulu TV and others, too. But here are the features I like best about fuboTV:
  1. About 85 Live Channels + some on-demand channels. Over 100 channels total.
  2. You can watch local channels, such as your local news channels. I was afraid of missing our local news, but that is not a problem;
  3. All major networks, including TNT, TBS, IFC, History, the Food Network, the Golf channel, HGTV, the Weather Channel, AMC, Lifetime, etc.;
  4. Here is a list of the channels that we get in the Detroit area: https://www.fubo.tv/welcome/channels;
  5. Free Cloud DVR;
  6. A very nicely organized TV Guide grid. This is far better than the one that DirecTV provided us. I mean you can actually search and it brings up accurate results, unlike DirecTV which was so badly organized and all they really seemed to care about was that you saw their scrolling On Demand shows, which you could NOT hide. You had to scroll through those every time you used the Guide. This has nothing irritating like that;
  7. You get Fox Sports 1 and 2, which is where our local baseball, basketball games, etc. come from. And the Tigers and Pistons games are not blacked out even when at home. You also get the BTN. With DirecTV, local sporting events were often blacked out. I'm not sure if that was part of DirecTV's policy or if we were having a technical problem with our zip code;
  8. No hidden costs, and you can cancel anytime. And no additional hardware to purchase. If you have a smart TV, it may already have the app, but I like the Fire Stick and consider it essential for every TV. 
The emphasis of fubo TV seems to be sports, but you get the major networks, shows, many streaming movies, etc. At least as many as you would get from your cable company, and probably much more. Again, it is a combination of both On-Demand and Live channels. 

Of course we are big-time streamers, so we also have subscriptions to MLB TV (so that I can watch my beloved Washington Nationals games and any other MLB games I want to see), Netflix, the Criterion Channel and Amazon Prime Video. All of these live on the Fire TV Stick too, so they are also available on every TV that has a Fire Stick plugged in. 

I really like the combination of local sports, good video quality, local news channels, all major networks, cloud DVR and a user-friendly guide. We may try Sling TV and YouTube TV, but so far we're pretty happy with fubo

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