So you've been on the edge about getting rid of your traditional cable service. You're sick of terrible interfaces, rental fees and tons of channels you don't watch. Well there's never been a better time to get rid of your cable box than now. You might be able to save some money along the way as well.
With the recent announcement of DirecTV Now along with Playstation Vue and Sling TV, there’s never been a better time to get rid of that clunky dust collector and move to one of the many fantastic streaming box options out there.
First we'll start with services:
DirectTV recently unveiled their streaming television service. With over 120+ channels to choose from and an introductory rate of $35 for 100+ channels, this is a great option for people moving to a streaming service for the first time. DirecTV has been in the traditional cable game for many years but it's seen the writing on the wall. More consumers are moving away from traditional cable services more than ever. You can use the service on your 4th Generation Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV / Fire TV Stick , Google Chromecast and of course all your iOS / Android devices. Roku support will be coming soon but not available at launch. One downside to this service is no DVR capabilities.
If you do want DVR capabilities, Playstation Vue is your choice. You can record up to 500 shows and they are stored for 28 days. Plans start at $30 a month and for all you sports people, yes you can get your local sports station depending on where you live. I live in the Boston area I am able to watch all major sports teams with the $35 a month Core Slim package. Playstation Vue is also available on PS3 / PS4 , Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV / Fire TV Stick , Android TV, Roku and iOS / Android devices. If you have a good mix of devices in your household, Playstation Vue is the best choice. You can also stream on 5 devices at once (DirecTV allows 2 simultaneous streams).
Sling TV will be your least expensive choice. Starting at only $20 a month it's best for users who just need the minimum. You can get many major networks but also miss out on features like DVR (this feature is coming soon ) and some channels you are not allowed to pause so check the details for your local area on this one. Otherwise it's a great option for people ditching traditional cable but would like access to some channels.
Now lets talk a little about hardware. The best thing about ditching your cable box is not having to deal with equipment rental fees anymore. You're also able to upgrade whenever you'd like and not have to worry about scheduling an installation appointment. Now there's a TON of devices out there. I'm going to talk about the best options for the money right now.
The Best For Most People: Amazon Fire TV
For only $89, the Amazon Fire TV is the best streaming box for most people. You'll have access to all the services I listed above along with all the major streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video and much more. The interface is easy to navigate, quick and you'll have access to whatever little 4K content is out there. Even if you don't have a 4K TV yet, this is still the best choice.
In A Close Second Place: 4th Generation Apple TV
Again, you'll have access to all the streaming services listed above and many of the same apps. You lose the access to Amazon Prime Video and 4K content but the main reason I would suggest the Amazon Fire TV over the Apple TV is the price. The Apple TV starts at $149 for the 32GB version. You can save some money and have access to more content with the Amazon Fire TV . If you are someone who uses Airplay a lot then obviously the Apple TV would be your choice.
You Might Want To Give This A Shot: Mi Box
For only $69 you're getting a 4K HDR Android 6.0 TV streaming box. The Mi Box is a great deal! You won't have access to DirecTV at the moment but if Playstation Vue or Sling TV is your streaming service of choice than the Mi Box is great option. You'll also get Google Cast support built right into the device along with a voice remote just like the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV .
What If I Don't Care About Cable TV and Just Want OTA Stations?
Well that's easy, get an HDHomerun from SilliconDust, hook an antenna up to it and you'll be able to stream all the OTA channels on your streaming box. I use the Channels app on Apple TV to watch live tv but there’s many apps available for Amazon Fire TV , Android TV and Roku to access your OTA channels on all your devices. It took about 15 minutes to set up and all the local channels come in beautifully. You can head on over to tvfool.com to find what channels you may be able to receive based on your location. You'd be surprised at how many you get. I bought an Amazon Basics Antenna and was able to 38 channels. If I bought a more expensive antenna I may be able to get more.
These are just some of the hardware options available now. There's always more on the horizon and with all these options for streaming tv now it makes it even easier to ditch that old cable box, upgrade your set up and possibly save some money along the way.