How To Watch TV When You Are Nowhere Near a TV
It’s Fall. And Fall is TV season. It is the time of year when new shows get their chance to shine, and old shows get renewed with new episodes. It is also the beginning of the most popular sport in America: football. When it comes to the relationship between Fall and television, little has changed over the years. But when it comes to how we work and play, everything has changed. The big rectangular panel of glass in the living room is not necessarily the center of attention anymore. We are not home by 5:30 and done with dinner by 6:00.
There are soccer matches, music recitals, and late shifts at the office. It changed everything about the way we consume entertainment, and where we consume it. These days, prime time is rapidly losing its meaning. Thanks to On-Demand programming, no one even knows what time and channel their favorite shows come on. It’s all about streaming. Before you step into the anytime, anywhere entertainment stream, here are a few things you will need to know:
It Is Still Too Early to Cut the Cord
What you really want is to be completely untethered from the cable companies that lock you into contract pricing filled with packaged channels that you don’t watch and don’t want to have to pay for. Here’s the thing: It is simply not possible to do that right now and still get all the content you want, at a price you are willing to pay.
Once you start adding up the cost of Netflix, Hulu+, HBO Go, CBS All Access, and everything else you might want to watch from iTunes, you will find that you are paying more for the service while getting a lot less content than with a traditional provider. Once you have kludged all that together, you still won’t have access to what you really want: football.
The NFL Sunday schedule you crave requires a satellite content provider that can offer you a package with every game in the league. Cutting the cord may be your goal. But for the moment, it is a big mess that costs more than the traditional method you are trying to replace. It will eventually happen. But it is way too early right now.
Beware of Data Caps
When streaming the big game over your smartphone’s cellular connection, you need to be aware of how much data you are using. That’s because the big U.S. carriers impose huge fees based on the amount of data you use. According to the Netflix Chief Product Officer, one hour of standard def streaming uses about 1 GB. That amount is doubled for hi-def. An average football game lasts about three and a half hours. Watch it in hi-def and you’ve blown through your data cap before the 4th quarter.
Depending on where you live, T-Mobile is probably the best bet for mobile streaming. That is because they offer unlimited streaming over the phone with no data caps or throttling. That means you signal will not slow down just because you use a lot of bandwidth. If you stick with Verizon or AT&T, get the highest available plan, and watch over standard def when possible.
Don’t Get Boxed Out
It is possible to do everything suggested in this piece, and still miss out on the big game due to restrictions. You may get 200+ channels at home. But on the go, you only get a subset of channels, networks are often not included in the mobile viewing package. SlingBox is the most popular and legal way around this problem.
With this product, you can watch all of your channels and DVR recordings from any service, on any device. To be sure, it is an extra expense and hassle. But if you are going to go all in on streaming TV, you have got to keep from being boxed out of the content you paid for. At the moment, there are no other competitors to recommend.
Cord-cutting is a ways off. But streaming is here today. Choose the right content and cellular provider, and enjoy TV anywhere, anytime, without the TV