Monday, June 6, 2022

What's the best live streaming service?

I've been streaming since for a decade and a half. I dropped cable in January 2011, and have relied on streaming as my primary source of TV content ever since.

The options in the early days of streaming were a lot slimmer than the options today. And, because of that, I learned that I didn't need a live streaming service.

First of all, the first live streaming service, Sling TV didn't launch until early 2015. I had already been doing without cable for four years by that time. I tried out Sling TV, and thought it was a fine service. But, I didn't keep it around, because I had learned that I didn't need it.

As a TiVo user, I was previously recording content, so I was used to watching shows after they aired. That means it was on-demand, with my TiVo recordings being the source. So, early on, I got used to on-demand content.

Hulu was around, and it was free. I was watching it on TV via a Microsoft Windows Media Server setup. On my Roku device, I watched the pay service Hulu Plus, which at the time was a separate catalog of content. Eventually, Hulu's free plan went away, and Hulu Plus became just plain Hulu. And I continued to watch it, as it was on-demand content, and how I was used to watching stuff already.

I would still use my TiVo to record shows over the air, or to watch live local channels through TiVo with an antenna. I never found a use for Sling TV, or any other live streaming service, until football season rolled around. Then, I'd subscribe, watch the games, then cancel. I still do that.

So, what's the best live streaming service? For me, for most of the year, it's none of them. I don't have the need for one. I watch on-demand from Hulu, unless it's a show I purchase from Amazon or Apple, then it's on-demand from my personal library.

But, that's because my watching habits, wants, and needs lean to not having a live streaming service. So, I don't spend the money on something I don't need. But you aren't me. You may feel you need a live streaming service. Or, at least watch live TV.

If you want live TV, put up an antenna if you can. If you can't, there are some live streaming services that carry local channels. And even if you do have an antenna for local channels, if you really want to watch other channels, there are live streaming services that carry a lot of cable channels.

Over the next several days, maybe weeks, I'll look at the major live streaming services, and give my thoughts on them. But, I want you to know up front that none of them are my choice. But maybe one will be your choice. If it improves your Streaming Life, and you're happy with the cost, then you've done what's good for you.

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