Assessing My Cordcutting Setup

A couple years ago, AT&T offered a free AppleTV if you signed up for three months of DirecTV Now service. That DirecTV Now service was for $35/mo for their $65 tier, which offers pretty much everything the service offers, excluding a few Spanish language networks. DirecTV Now also offers premium networks HBO and Showtime at a cheaper rate than most, at $5 and $7 respectively. All of this with free data usage for the service on AT&T.

The only thing missing is my local channels, since I’m not in an area where locals are offered. This led me to finally giving in and grabbing a cable box from my local fiber optic company, which I pay about $35/mo for after taxes and fees. I’d opt for an antenna, but my garden level apartment simply provides too much interference for a signal by antenna.

I’ve also added a Hulu account for quick access to TV shows and the occasional movie, despite DirecTV Now having on demand options and a cloud DVR.

DirecTV Now has since upped their rates by $5/mo and I’ve added HBO, so my current setup looks like this:

  • DirecTV Now + HBO: $45
  • Hulu: $12
  • Cable box for local channels: $35

That’s a total of $92 a month. I feel like I could be doing better here. Obviously, scrapping Hulu could help, as that would bring my total down to $80/mo. Remember that number.

All of this has led me to look at alternative services. In a bit of frustration with my current service, every other major streaming TV service (Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, & Playstation Vue) offers local channels. Frankly, DirecTV Now offering locals would solve most of my problems.

All of this has led me to test out Playstation Vue, since they’re the most comparable product. At $60/mo, I get most of the networks I get from DirecTV Now, plus locals. For another $20, I could add on HBO and Showtime, for a savings of $10 between the two if I were to get them separately.

There are definitely some positives with the service. For starters, Vue is totally integrated with the AppleTV, in that if I click on a show or a sporting event, it’ll launch directly into the Vue app and take me to the appropriate channel. That kind of integration is really slick. The other positive is the pricing compared to what I’m doing now.

On the other hand, I have noticed some of the skipping and stalling of streams I’ve seen others talk about with Vue. I occasionally deal with similar issues with DirecTV Now, but that’s more about the service a stream isn’t available when it really is. In those cases, I’ve been able to switch to my phone and use the cellular network just fine, so I’m thinking there’s something with my home network running interference. It’s weird.

All of this said, I’m thinking I’m going to stick with DirecTV now. The ability to take it anywhere is a huge deal to me. I’m also curious to see if they offer locals in my area soon, since the other major players are doing so. That could allow me to go with the service solely, since the price I’m paying is hard to beat.

The beauty of these streaming services is you can come and go as you please. They all offer some length of a trial, so you at least have a few days to figure out if this is something which could work for you. If it doesn’t, you can cancel in a couple clicks with little hassle.