I am not going to dive deep into the recent layoffs at the ESPN Network which resulted in over 100 people losing their jobs. The explained reason that there were so many layoffs at the network is that the company is losing cable subscribers at an alarming rate. Those customers have now joined the cord-cutting revolution that is sweeping throughout the United States of America right now.
I have dabbled with the cord cutting mantra in the past, and I must say that I have a mixed opinion on the strategy. I purchased the highest package for Dish Network’s Sling TV service, which was the first to field the first ever live streaming tv brand. The interface was easy to figure out, but for me, I felt like there were too many restrictions.
The picture quality would fade in and out throughout the day, and you can only watch one program on one device. The only way to watch NFL games with the platform is through ESPN’s Monday Night Football and the NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football. If you have watched the recent product from both networks when it comes to primetime football, you know that it has not been the best lately.
The only way cord cutters can watch live NFL games on Sunday is through an over the air antenna which picks up the four top networks such as CBS, ABC, Fox, and NBC. You can purchase the best over the air antenna that is out there, and you can still have issues watching live sporting events on these networks.
It is not guaranteed that these channels that I listed will come in clearly with an over the air antenna. My experience with using one of these devices was horrible. The games would come in and out every five to ten seconds. An alternative option is to purchase the NFL’s GamePass option for $99 bucks a year.
The only gripe that I have with GamePass is that you cannot stream live football games, you can only watch them after the program ends. The NBA version of the on-demand content is called League Pass, which gives you the option of listening to live games and to watch them on demand whenever you feel like it.
To compete with streaming options such as Sling TV, Playstation Vue, and Netflix, cable companies like Direct TV, Time Warner (Spectrum) have drastically lowered their prices to sway those that may want to cut the cord shortly. Here’s an example, for what I pay for Direct TV, you are going to pay for Playstation Vue’s highest package which cost about 64.99 a month, that is only four dollars less than what I pay for Direct TV.
In some aspects, you are at a disadvantage when you solely depend on these stream services, especially the live ones. You can end up paying more for a watered down product like Sling TV and have nowhere near the type of options that you would have with a product such as Direct TV or Dish Network.
To go along with that, brands such as Direct TV and Dish Network are now incorporating on demand services to the majority of their channel line up. There are also some app options available with Direct TV as well. You can now stream Pandora or iHeart Radio as long as you activate the description for the device.
In no way am I trying to discourage someone for cutting the cord, I believe that it is a great option when it comes to watching your favorite television shows and movies, but in regards to live sporting events, you might be a little disappointed. Please choose your options wisely and way both the pros and cons of cutting the cord.
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Chronicle