Saturday, December 3, 2022

Pausing the live streaming

Today is the day of the conference championships -- well, the rest of them, since Utah won the Pac-12 and Texas-San Antionio won the MAC last night -- and that means a pause to college football. Okay, the Army-Navy game is next week, but that won't figure into my plans. Not that I'm not going to watch -- Go Army! -- but that it's not applicable for today's topic.

While some games are on ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC -- all of which I can pick up via an antenna -- most games are on ESPN or another cable service that I can't get via an antenna. And that's why I will subscribe to a streaming service -- Sling TV, YouTube TV, Vidgo, Fubo TV, Hulu+Live TV, or DirecTV Stream -- that carries those sports programming channels.

During the rest of the year, I don't have any use for a service such as that. And, I stop my subscription during most of the year. Generally, I'll subscribe to a service -- most often Sling TV, since it's the cheapest -- for 30 days, and let it expire. Then, when the next weekend rolls around, I'll subscribe again for 30 days and let it expire. Then again.

Why letting it expire and not just let the service continue? Well, I don't use the services during that time. For example, if I subscribe for Week 1, and let it run for 30 days, that covers through Week 5. Look at a calendar and see what I mean. If Saturday is Day 1, then Day 30 is five weeks later, covering 5 Saturdays.

Since I'm usually not interested in things until the following weekend, I can let the service expire and not use it for Monday through Friday of the next week. So the new Day 1 is on Week 6, and the new Day 30 is on Week 10. Then I do it again, and that brings me through Week 15.

Oh, and since there is actually a Week 0 that I usually want to watch, everything shifts one week, meaning that subscription schedule takes me through Week 14 (this weekend). So 15 weekends of football for three 30-day subscriptions, with pauses between each subscription.

Next weekend's game is on CBS, meaning I can watch it via an antenna, so I'm good to go.

The bowls will start up in a couple of weeks or so, but another 30-day subscription from the first bowl I want to watch will take me through the national championship game. So, in a year, four subscriptions of a live streaming service let me watch all my college football games. And that's the only thing I need a live streaming service for.

Of course, if I were to want to watch other cable channels throughout the year, I can do something similar. And, I can probably do it cheaper. While Sling TV is the cheapest service with sports programming, it is not the cheapest service overall. Philo is $25/month. And Frndly TV is only $7/month. While they don't have sports programming, for the cable channels I may want to watch on occasion, one of those will do the job. So I can subscribe for 30 days to one of those, if I feel I need to. But usually I don't.

Look at your viewing habits. Do you really watch those channels that much all year long? Have you looked into the content on free ad-supported television (FAST) services? Might those work for most of the year?

If you do give it a look, you may find you can spend a little time balancing your subscriptions and save a lot of money in the process. It's what I do, and makes my Streaming Life more affordable.

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