You know what they say about people who still have land-based wired telephone lines? Everyone under the age of 35 has never had one, and everyone over the age of 55 is afraid to get rid of theirs. We got rid of our land line, and within two weeks, we didn’t really miss it.
Now we’ve moved on to the television. We’ve been on a satellite-based TV service for over a decade. Every two years, as the TV contract became void, the satellite company would raise the rates, and we’d do the “dish dance” from one provider to the other in an attempt to get lower rates. Why these companies don’t have better policies in place for customer retention is beyond me.
But being the ever so curious type, and wanting to stay young like the Millennials, I started doing research about streaming devices.
We carefully evaluated what we liked about the satellite providers, made a list, and then I set about determining how to meet our needs.
What We Wanted
- We like being able to record shows to watch later – Hulu Plus allows us to record up to 50 hours of programming.
- We like being able to pause and rewind live TV – I know, we’ve gotten spoiled by being able to say, “Back up! What did he just say?” Hulu Plus, through it’s live recording also allows you to pause. (In some cases you can’t skip forward through commercials.)
- We like being able to start watching in one room, and continue in another –Because all of the streaming services are account based, you can pretty much do this with any streaming provider.
- We wanted to be able to watch network TV, along with some of our favorite channels. This took some research, as different providers carry different programming. Interestingly, Hulu Plus and several others carry both ABC and NBC, but CBS doesn’t seem to want to play nice. I needed to subscribe to CBS All Access in order to get all three major networks.
- We wanted to slash the price we were paying for monthly TV – Here is where you need to be careful. We already had Amazon Prime for shopping, and I already subscribed to Netflix because of some shows I routinely watch. I added Hulu Plus and CBS All Access. We now have way more TV options than we can possibly watch. But here’s the warning. It would be extremely easy to keep adding on extras (HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ) and end up paying just as much as you did before.
What We Chose
After studying up, I chose to order an Amazon Fire TV Stick for each of our TVs. (About $40.00 each) While they do present programming options with Amazon content forward, the device was absolutely simple to install and get started. I went with Amazon because we were already Amazon Prime members, and so it made sense to access video content as well. The Roku Express Streaming Stick would be another outstanding option, just as easy to get started.
What We’ve Learned
Well, here’s the first rule:
Thou shalt NOT leave the TV on for the dog, (upon leaving the house)
when one is STREAMING their live TV!
(She now listens to radio!)
- That was just a little bit dumb, and we got a nasty gram from the cable provider that we had blown through our data package during that first month. The good news is it hasn’t happened again.
- We lost our on-air TV guide. We were used to flipping down the guide to see what was on tv. It was easily replaced by the free TV Guide app which we downloaded to our phones and tablet.
- We needed to learn to access our TV programming in a different way. You kind of need to learn what content is available on which app (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, CBS, etc.) Then you navigate with a simple remote through the apps to find your shows.
- Many of the providers allow you to set up separate profiles, so hub’s stuff is all together, and mine is in a separate place. It’s kind of nice.
- I got the Fire Sticks with the built in Alexa function, but to be honest, we haven’t really used it as much as I thought we would. It is a pretty cool feature if you are looking for something specific. Alexa, find James Bond movies…
- You NEED to know your wi-fi log in password, and the login information of any other accounts you might already have. (Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
- Because all of our TV is now account-based, we can log in and watch TV on any account, from any device, from anywhere we have wi-fi connectivity. We can even take the Fire TV stick with us and plug it in to any other TV if we choose. (We’ll probably do that in a motor home.)
I think the most important thing for us is that we now choose to watch television much more intentionally! No more just leaving the TV on to make background noise. No more falling asleep in front of the television. We specifically choose what we want to watch, do so…and then turn the thing off!
The good news is this…You CAN Teach an Old (erm….seasoned) Dog some new tricks. BTW, we have cut the cost of our monthly TV bill IN HALF! I’m curious how many other retirees have changed their lifelong TV watching habits!