Posted in Product Reviews

To Stream or Not To Stream….

stream

As a large family we are often living on a very tight budget.  Recently me and my husband spent some time looking at our monthly expenses and one thing that became clear was that we were spending a lot of money on television.  Now don’t get me wrong we are not one of those families that thinks the TV is some evil invention by Satan himself.  We enjoy our TV time and so do our Children.  In fact I would go so far to say we are a TV loving family so when looking at our budget and seeing a large expense was television my initial response was well that is a necessity so we need to keep looking.  My husband on the other hand brought up the great point that with so many inventions over the last few years for streaming why are we spending so much on our satellite service?  Of course it so easy to walk in and turn on my TV and have instant shows, I love my DVR, and will I be able to watch the shows I love?, were just a few of my initial questions.  After several months of research we finally decided to take the plunge.  I was very skeptical about this so I decided maybe I should share our experience so if others are on the fence maybe this will help offer some information.

Amazon Fire Stick:

First we purchased an Amazon Fire Stick from Amazon.com.  This was a $39 investment that I have to say I was glad I made.  Now I am a blogger and avid Amazon reviewer so I already had Prime.  This is a $99 a year service that has several perks but one of them is access to hundreds of TV shows and movies via the Amazon fire stick or Amazon TV box (as well as via a laptop or computer).  They have a very unique library of movies and shows.  Personally though I have not found a lot that I watch on their programming.  Other friends of mine though say they love some of he programming.  I do find that it is usually older shows not current seasons.

The one thing that I really do love and why we really enjoy our Fire Stick though is that you can download apps from the kindle store.  So you can download Netflix, HBO Now, Showtime anytime, Sling, and lots of other programming type apps.  The interface on the fire stick is very easy to use and I love how user friendly it is.  My six year old can easily operate the fire stick and find her favorite shows on Netflix.  Of course we have a kids account set up on Netflix that has safe content just for her.  All of the other systems we have tried are to difficult for her to operate on her own.  The downfall of these apps though is that each one has a subscription fee.  Of course we have had Netflix for a long time even before we made the choice to stream.  We love all the old shows and movies.  The kids have a lot of cartoons they watch and for $8 a month it’s a great price for how much we use it.  HBO Now is a great app if you watch a lot of movies or like the shows they have on HBO.  You can access new movies every week, older movies in their library, and you also have access to all of their series shows (every episode).  Same with Showtime.  Sling I was not a huge fan of myself.  It has several channels that they feature like AMC, Food network and handful of others.  You can watch live television or access their libraries to watch older episodes of your favorite shows on those stations.  I was in love with the idea of it but the quality is very poor and half the time it didn’t work.  I got very annoyed with it very quickly and discontinued our subscription after our free trial.  These programs have fees associated with that vary from $12-20 a month that is paid through your Amazon account.  We tried several (they all have free trial periods) but we eventually decided that the reason we wanted to stream was to save money and if we kept all the apps we would be paying close to what we gave up with less quality.  So that left us looking for better options to watch our TV shows that were currently running.

Android TV Boxes:

As I mentioned I am an avid Amazon reviewer.  I often get asked to review items in exchange for a free item.  (Disclaimer).  The following reviews are my own opinion.

I tried out two smart TV boxes with the app Kodi pre-installed.  This has become our best option when it comes to watching current TV shows.  Kodi is an amazing app.  It features just about any TV show or movie you can think of.  Even movies that are still in theaters.  I’m not sure how they do it honestly.  It reminds me very much of when Napsters became very popular for streaming music.  It is set up very much like that were you can browse content added by different users and view the content off their perspective channels.  So I can not say if Kodi will always be around but for now it’s great for streaming.  Many smart TV boxes feature this app and in my opinion it is best to get one that has it already installed so all you have to do is plug it in and go.  Our favorite app for Kodi is genesis it has a huge variety of TV shows and movies, it’s very user friendly and it is organized very well.  However, there are thousands of channels if you are looking for a specific channel or kind of show you can choose a channel specific to your liking.  Genesis is just the one I use most often.

Please find below my review of the two boxes that I have used:

ETTG Android TV Box

PowerLead Android TV Box

So to sum up:

We do a combination of Amazon Fire Stick & the ETTG android TV box.  We mostly watch Netflix on the fire stick and everything else on the TV box.  I would say overall I am happy we decided to stream and not pay for Satellite anymore.  It’s been a saving of about $125 a month which is awesome.  I can still watch just about anything I want.

The only negative I have is that now watching my shows takes some effort.  It’s no longer as easy as flipping on the TV to my favorite station.  I have to know what channel it’s on, go look for it, sometimes the TV box takes a few days to get my show updated so I have to wait and try to avoid spoilers on social media, but when I consider how much we are saving I feel like it’s worth it.  If I get desperate and really want to watch something like The Walking Dead right away I can always pay $2.99 an episode and buy it on Amazon.  For a savings of $1500 a year I feel like I can wait a day or two.

Hope this was helpful.  If you feel like it was I’d love to hear your comments or even a like.  Thanks for reading!

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