Channel surfing online appeals to lot of people these days, and they seem to find some level of satisfaction from “cutting the cord”. But there are many things about online services to make you miss cable after dropping it.
Take Sling TV or PlayStation VUE for example. Both services provide channels much the same as cable or satellite, but there is no option to connect a DVR. That means no recording what you watched or didn’t. In addition, Sling has limits on the number of episodes you can get on demand from any a given network. VUE, meanwhile, has a DVR with unlimited storage, but it has to be used within 28 days of recording a show because after that, the content gets deleted.
Another problem with streaming services is the abundance of legal restrictions on what you can watch in a region. The lineup you get can be different based on the place you live, because these services don’t have rights to more than a handful of broadcast stations in the country. This isn’t the only thing limiting your options either – you may find changes based on how your device is connected to the internet.
Admittedly, there are some things to like about online streaming your TV programming. The first thing that draws customers is the price, which is a lot cheaper than cable thanks to skinny bundling, where you get under 30 channels and no need of a set-top box. Also, these services are optimized for more screens, because TV is no longer the primary viewing portal. If you want TV at your home delivered over the internet, Sling and VUE give decent service.
Nevertheless, online TV is still not what it could be, mainly because of the problem with rights placed by channels, show producers, and sporting events. Some sport channels are blocked when you are in another city, and you can’t get pro football on phones, even when you are at home. That last is because Verizon has exclusive rights on phone coverage. While cable TV may have some of these same restrictions on mobile phones, at least the programming was originally intended for TV. Online services, on the other hand, claim time and again that they are not tied to TV.
Traditional TV has the option of getting around restrictions with a Sling box, which resembles a DVR but casts the programming to a mobile app. Hopper 3 lets you access content on a mobile phone using a home network.