We recently cut traditional cable television. In doing so we joined the ranks of 22 million people in the US that did the same in 2017. The wife and I talked about cutting the cord for a couple of years now. It took a while to come up with a package that would work for us, but we finally did.
I, myself, primarily use the Xbox One. It is the Day One edition with the Kinect. It has all the apps I need and I really like the time-shifting features in the Xbox’s live television app. I only recently discovered that I can watch over-the-air television through a phone or tablet with the Xbox mobile app. Attached to the Xbox One is a Hauppauge Digital TV Tuner. Plugged into the tuner is a ClearStream 2Max HDTV antenna.
I have been a big fan of the Roku since 2011 when I first bought the Roku HD. I still have that thing and it still works half decent. I have the Roku Premiere plugged into our main TV for ease of use. My 4 and 5 year olds can navigate through the Roku interface with no problem. The quick launch buttons make it easier than ever to get to the content you want.
On our secondary TVs in the guest room and bedroom I have the 2nd Generation Fire TV box and the All-new 3rd Generation Fire TV. I like the voice features and Alexa integration. Both work great with the Echo Dot and the (underrated) Amazon Tap. Each TV has an Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna for OTA TV.
I gave DirecTV Now a try, but I couldn’t go with them. The lack of an Xbox app, DVR not currently being available and constant buffering issues made it a no go. It is a shame, because the $35 package is a really good deal. It would have worked for the wife and kids perfectly.
We ended up going with Sling TV. Sling’s UI is still pretty dated. It’s certainly not as pretty as DirecTV Now or PlayStation Vue’s user interface. Sling has been consistent, though. I have experienced occasional degradation in video quality, but not the buffering I used to get with DirecTV Now. Sling’s Cloud DVR is only a $5 add-on and it is worth every penny. Sling has apps available for pretty much every platform under the sun.
In addition to Sling, we subscribe to Netflix and Hulu. I subscribe to Hulu for network shows. If Xbox would have rolled out the OTA DVR function they promised way back when, I wouldn’t subscribe to Hulu. Hulu’s recent price drop made it easier to be okay with having yet another subscription, though.
So far this set up has worked for us. I think I might take a look at a Smart TV down the line. It might prove to be more user friendly for the kids and the grandparents for when they give us the occasional date night.
I would prefer to have a DVR for over-the-air television so I can get rid of Hulu. I might look into something like the Tablo or HDHomeRun when I figure out my reception issues. I really am not impressed with the ClearStream 2Max. I have it set up on the roof and it really doesn’t provide that much better a reception than an amplified indoor antenna. I might take a look at other antennas in the future.
Have you cut the cord? What’s your current setup look like? Leave me a comment and let me know.
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