This is the persistent question among my friends. How do you cut the cord and still watch all the different sports you want?
Especially, if you want to be able to watch a wide variety of sports or a very specific list?
Cable keeps charging for channels that I will never watch. I have kept paying so that I could watch soccer whenever and on whatever channel it may be on even though I rarely watch any other sports.
Younger people would say to me “just cut it and stream it.”
I was very happy to do so, but that took me through a mine field of different technologies and devices.
There is apple tv and roku and fire tv and google something or other to provide the infrastructure, and by the time you have bought one or two and set them up your TV tells you –You still need a cable provider. Or a service provider.
Now, I’m sure there are people who know how to bypass that, but I’m pretty much a rule follower.
I still buy music.
OK, so what’s the solution?
Well there are a couple of decent solutions none of which are perfect. Here are some of my better options to cut the cord and still watch cable.
Get an Antennae
We bought an antennae and it worked very well in one location and not at all in another. So be prepared for that discrepancy. But with an an antennae you can pick up the professional games that are on your local channels.
After that you need to supplement.
I understand why people like Sling TV. It is relatively affordable with its Orange and Blue TV options and $5 or $10 add-ons at the bottom.
You can take it on the road with you.
But, I have two complaints.
First, my stream goes out at least twice a game and I need to go back to home and then back to sling and find it. Is this a Sling problem or an internet problem?
I don’t know the answer to it, but as an end user it feels like a Sling problem.
I do buy a high speed internet because I’m on it a lot and it does not give out for other things I stream like Netflix and Amazon prime.
Second, why do they split the soccer options up between the two Orange and Blue?
I mean I know why–they want me to buy both–but it defeats the low cost purpose and makes me feel more than a bit cheated.
You can try it for 7 days free and try for yourself.
You may be very happy with the two options. Each on their own is a fair price. And, you may not have any issues with your internet.
Cable via streaming app
My provider just began their own streaming service where I can choose any 10 channels I want. For the first thirty days you can change those selections as you figure out what you really watch.
You can also buy add ons for $5 at a time.
This combined with my apple tv and roku is pretty much all I need… or so I thought.
The other day I wanted to watch something on ESPNews. We are still within our 30 days so I called on over to switch to it. Alas, they don’t allow that channel as a streaming option.
All in all I spent quite a bit of time and a little bit of money to solve my problem. I was highly motivated to see this particular game.
Usually I would just move on and miss a game, but that’s probably not true of all sports viewers, so try and ask the right questions at the front end.
My third option, and one I consider when I think to myself “time equals money,” just return to cable.
If you know simpler and cheaper ways to cut the cord and watch March Madness (men’s and women’s), the Olympic sports and soccer let me know.
I’m aware that what I don’t know I don’t know, and that universe is pretty darn expansive.
2019 Update: You Tube TV
OK, so after a year, I am pretty happy with my 10 channel app. By the way, besides the 10 channels you do still get all your local channels. This just about does it for my sport and entertainment watching needs. The price is acceptable, about $30 for the tv part of my cable bill, and I would need to pay for the stream either way.
I say “just about does it” for sports because I just discovered that in order to watch college soccer, including the Championship games this weekend, I need ESPNU, which is not in my line up. Last year it was on ESPN or ESPN2.
So, I’ll be getting a trial to YouTube TV to watch the championship weekend, but it’s super annoying how hard it is to ensure you can watch a game. Of course YouTube TV has recently entered the realm of options for tv watching. This week you can get a 3 week trial as a cyber week special, but typically it would cost $50 a month.
Use a VPN
So, one other option has come into view for me. And that is buying Disney+ which includes ESPN+ and Hulu. One way to do this is through a VPN service.
The service charges a fee and then Disney charges a fee on top of that, but the price point between the two would be cheaper than my app. Hulu would fill in the tv gaps that are lost without the app’s channels and ESPN+ give access to some sports.
The added bonus to a VPN is of course that they provide more privacy on the web. But do your research on each VPN service to make sure they are reputable and affordable. There are a lot of options out there.
Also, I found this nice graphic of different channels in an article at the Washington Post written by Jacob Bogage. Helpful for me because I need ESPNU this weekend for the NCAA Soccer Championships and I don’t get it anywhere else. Now I know to seek out a YouTube TV trial this week.
Anyway, just wanted to update you on new information as I find it.
Send me any ideas to info at the coaching conversation dot com and I’ll continue to update as I learn more.