My New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to finally cut the cord and switch to an over-the-top (OTT) internet television service. Two weeks of testing and research have led me to some surprising conclusions.
My Goal and Requirements
I’ve been a DirecTV customer for many years going back to the days when national broadcast channels were available. Like many, I’ve grown tired of seeing my satellite bill rise on a yearly basis. I’m also sick of paying for channels I don’t use. I’ve also recognized that most of my favorite programs are now on services like Amazon Prime and Netflix, not on traditional channels.
When I first contemplated making a switch, I forgot just how much I have relied on DirecTV for my current streaming needs. DirecTV authentication gives me on demand access to some of my favorite channels, including ESPN, HBO, and Showtime. I’d rather not give these channels up.
I’m less inclined to keep my local broadcast networks, however, such as ABC and NBC, as long as I have a way to access their content on demand.
Over at MakeUseOf, I recently looked at the differences between Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now. As part of my research, I subscribed to each service for 30 days.
It was a tough call, but I’ve concluded that PlayStation Vue is the best internet television service solution for me. The reason for making this decision is three-fold.
First, it’s the only service on the list that offers a cloud-based DVR. I’ve also found that it offers the best on-screen graphics and television guide among the three. I also get to keep ESPN, HBO, and Showtime.
On the downside, PlayStation Vue isn’t a part of Apple’s recently introduced single sign-on feature. This omission is little more than an annoyance for now, although I hope that it will change soon.
Of the other two services, Sling TV is certainly a worthy competitor. It’s been around the longest and available on more devices. Plus, it’s the least expensive service, at least at the entry level.
Ultimately, I didn’t select Sling TV because it doesn’t currently offer a cloud-based DVR. That’s expected to change later this year. When it does, I’ll certainly use the opportunity to reaccess my decision.
And DirecTV Now? The newest service on the list continues to suffer from well-documented growing pains, which makes it a non-starter in my household.
There’s a chance that future DirecTV Now improvements could make me rethink my decision. I also like that as an AT&T Wireless customer, I can stream DirecTV Now via a mobile device without it counting against my data limit.
An Interesting Future
The live video streaming landscape is expected to change a lot in 2017, with Hulu and Google both prepping services to arrive this year. I’m most looking forward to testing Hulu’s service, which could launch in just a few weeks.
The bottom line: It’s never been easier to make the switch and finally ditch the cord. The key is to research each service to find the one that’s right for you. And remember: Each service comes with a standard trial offer and no long-term commitment.
Which internet television service have selected and why? Leave your comments below.