I’ve spent months testing the best cable TV alternatives, to make sure I cut the cord for the right streaming service. Finally, I chose Sling TV. But after handing over my decoder to the folks at Spectrum, I was like, “This better job.” As confident as I was about my decision, I still didn’t know what it would be like not to have cable there as a safety net.
Within two weeks, I immediately gained a new reason to believe that I had chosen the right service. All the while, I’ve enjoyed Sling for what it was – and how awesome it is to pull myself away from the cable. So, to encourage more to take the plunge, I thought about explaining why I love Sling TV so much.
Sling TV: it works (everywhere)
Reliability is first and foremost one of the biggest concerns when switching sides on any technology. And since I had tested Sling TV a bit over the summer, I had a good idea that it would be a suitable replacement (that’s when I discovered Hulu with the stability issues of Live TV).
But after I took the decoder out of my life, I was to count on Sling for my almost daily doses of broadcast and cable TV. And that’s what I really love about Sling: Even with its low price, it streamed what I wanted to stream, when I wanted it.
WHAT IS STREAM TIME?
Stream Time is where TechToSee’s Guide Editor-in-Chief Henry T. Casey takes a look at the great choices we make when it comes to streaming media. We tackle everything from the best and worst streaming services and devices to the endless list of shows to watch.
So last Friday night, while I was waiting for my friends to show up (New York traffic had them late) for dinner, I was able to pull out my phone and just watch the WWE Friday Night SmackDown episode on FOX that I should have missed it completely. And later that night, after we all enjoyed Venom 2, I didn’t have to wait until I got home to continue this episode.
This is because Sling’s DVR can also be accessed anywhere. For centuries, I knew that the best alternatives to cable TV called their DVR’s “cloud DVRs”, but I wasn’t quite sure how important this was. So from that subway platform I was able to hit ‘resume’ and pick up the WWE draft right where I left it off. I couldn’t do this with my Spectrum decoder, the recordings of which are stuck in its plastic shell and hard drive.
YouTube TV looks a bit risky right now
Sling wasn’t the only streaming service I was in love with. YouTube TV was my finalist, and it only lost out because of my interest in watching the Vice channel, which it doesn’t offer. But while YouTube TV has a nicer interface and unlimited DVR capability, it also has a bit of baggage for now.
On Saturday, September 26, two days after making my decision, NBCUniversal began warning YouTube TV customers that its 14+ channels may be leaving YouTube. The parties, apparently, were having difficulty agreeing on a new contract. NBCU claimed it just wanted fair wages for its channels, while Variety reported that YouTube TV was also being asked to bundle Peacock into its services. Things were so bleak, in fact, that YouTube TV has already taken the step of “negotiating with the public,” telling customers it would cut their bills by $ 10 a month if the breakup happened.
I was both worried about anyone who had YouTube TV and relieved that I hadn’t chosen it. Then we all woke up on October 1 with NBCU channels still on YouTube TV. The two sides negotiated an extension, not resolving, but delaying, the breakup. Then the next day, October 2, peace was negotiated.
The whole time I’m sitting there hissing like Sling gives me no drama to worry about. It could happen, of course, but YouTube TV has had another platform instability lately. Her app is missing from the Roku Channel due to a dispute between it and Roku, so YouTube has had to bury its live TV functionality in its normal YouTube app, which is confusing. This happened in May, and it was not resolved five months later.
Sling TV has the right price for me
The more I use Sling, the more I realize that I am settling for the bare minimum (as depressing as that is). At least at this price.
Yes, YouTube TV has more channels than Sling (although it has all the channels I need. Yes, Sling TV’s 50 hours of DVR storage is nothing compared to YouTube’s unlimited cap. But those things matter. more on paper (for me) than they are. It’s nice to have this roomy DVR, to display an older show, but I haven’t needed it yet, and I don’t think I will. .
What matters most, however, is the $ 30 I save by choosing the Sling Blue at $ 35 per month over the $ 65 per month on YouTube TV. And, of course, I could upgrade to the $ 50 per month Sling Orange + Blue combo if I ever need to watch ESPN (if the New York Knicks can do well this coming season, that is -to say). But even then I could turn this $ 25 add-on on and off as I see fit.
I don’t need to tell you how much is $ 30, but knowing that I don’t miss the nicer waters of YouTube TV is also neat.
A life without cables is truly liberating
Getting rid of my decoder meant saving space near my TV. So I was finally able to plug my Xbox One X full-time next to my PS5 – and not the hard-to-access side.
Getting rid of my decoder meant the television was everywhere, not just at home.
Getting rid of my decoder is no longer waiting and waiting for it to start, or watching it crawl to do anything. Doing my roommates a favor, setting up a DVR recording for a show they were interested in, showed me what I don’t miss anymore. Just clicking “Big Sky” on the decoder took a lot longer than it should have and made me feel like I was in quicksand, looking at the register of each letter.
In short: getting rid of my decoder saves me time and money, and I’m glad I picked Sling for this ride.
- I just cut the cord – and the service won
- I am testing DirecTV Stream to cut the cord – here are the pros and cons
- I just discovered a new way to cut the cord – and there are no subscription fees
- This $ 12 TV antenna finally helped me cut the cord
- I’m testing Philo to cut the cord – here are the pros and cons