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Aug312018

Podcast #859: One week with FuboTV

The HT Guys have officially joined the ranks of the cord cutters with Braden opting to cancel his Cable TV service entirely. We have been working on trimming the cord for a while, but this is cold turkey… Was cold turnkey. Braden quickly found something lacking and turned to fuboTV to fill that missing hole in his home theater.

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Podcast #859: One week with FuboTV

The HT Guys have officially joined the ranks of the cord cutters with Braden opting to cancel his Cable TV service entirely. We have been working on trimming the cord for a while, but this is cold turkey… Was cold turnkey. Braden quickly found something lacking and turned to fuboTV to fill that missing hole in his home theater.

 

Cutting the Cord

It isn’t a shock that the big thing missing in Braden’s life after quitting cable was live sports. We’ve talked at length about how easy it is to cut the cord now. Almost everything is available these days via streaming on services like Netflix and Hulu and the apps every network has for their own content like CBS, ABC, HBO, Food Network, you name it. Almost everything - except for live events like news, sports, award shows, etc. If you don’t care about those, you can cut the cord and not miss a beat.

But if you do care about them, or as was true in Braden’s case, you realize after the fact how much others cared about them, there are the somewhat new live TV streaming services available to help bridge that gap. If live sports is your thing, fuboTV is definitely one you should investigate. FuboTV is completely centered around sports. Although you can get a bunch of other non-sports channels, it is evident from the first screen that the whole purpose of the service is to meet the needs of sports enthusiasts. In Braden’s home of soccer fans, it has been a huge hit.

 

FuboTV

As a streaming offering competing with DirecTV Now, Sling TV, Playstation Vue and the others, FuboTV is a decent offering. There is one primary pricing tier, $39.99, one upgraded tier at $44.99 and a couple add-ons for specific language content or premium networks. For that primary tier of $40 a month you get 88 live channels, 30 hours of cloud DVR and some extras like up to 3 days to replay any game you missed and forgot to record, etc. For a sports streaming service there is one giant, glaring hole though: they don’t offer ESPN, any ESPN variant, or any Disney owned network for that matter. Can you get all the sports you want without ESPN? That’s debatable.

 

Using FuboTV

If you’re a sports fan, you’ll be good with how fuboTV is setup and structured. Everything in the app runs thru the lens of a sports viewer. If that isn’t you, you’ll find the interface a bit cumbersome and disjointed. Beyond that, the guides on streaming services in general tend to be a little clunky. Navigation is difficult without channel numbers and easy ways to jump around. The guide is usable and intuitive on fuboTV, but not easy nor innovative. You can’t hide channels from the guide either, which would allow you to personalize and optimize somewhat. It doesn’t set the bar by any means. Recording shows is easy. And searching for content to watch is very simple as well.

The quality of the video is decent. With a really good bandwidth connection it can look every bit as good as a typical HD channel on cable (assuming you don’t have them side by side for comparison). But the bottom line is that the streams can be good enough that you forget you’re streaming them. Fast forward and Rewind are much clunkier for streaming content than for locally stored content on a DVR, across any streaming service. That makes the whole viewing experience a bit more of a chore. This isn’t unique to fuboTV, but it doesn’t escape it either.

There are a few other little annoyances worth pointing out. One is that you get up to 30 hours of cloud DVR, but not all content is recordable. You may pull up the details on a show only to see that you don’t have the option to record it. This is likely contractual, but not a limitation found on any traditional DVR. If you can see the channel, you can record it. And although the ability to search for stuff to watch in fuboTV is really easy, and they actually have a lot of good content available, there are limitations. For example, we found Deadpool available to watch for free on demand via FXX. This was great. Like having Netflix but included in the price. Bonus. However, you can’t fast forward or rewind. So if you can watch the whole movie in one sitting, you’re set. If you want to watch half now and finish the other half later, you’re out of luck.

Cost is another issue. Because Braden was using Tivo and not the Cable company DVRs and boxes, he was paying about $80 a month for whole house DVR on 4 screens with HBO. The $40 reduces the savings from cutting Cable in half. If you’re paying more every month for cable, obviously your saving would be more dramatic. But fuboTV also charges extra for the Family option that allow you to stream simultaneously on different devices. So you’ll have to pay up to get TV on, say, 4 screens. If you’re streaming more, and your provider charges you more for increased bandwidth consumption, that could eat into your saving as well.

 

Conclusion

If you decide to cut the cord and realize you really miss live sports, fuboTV is a dream come true. That is, assuming you don’t need ESPN. If you’re looking for a way to replace live television from a Cable or Satellite provider, fuboTV probably isn’t the droid you’re looking for. The great thing is that you can try it out for 7 days totally free and totally risk free. If you don’t like it, you quit and pay nothing. Braden loves it for filling the missing live sports need, but he’ll more than likely quit it and try a few others to see if there really is a legitimate Cable TV replacement available via streaming.

 

 

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