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I'm currently using NimbleTV which is, in effect, Dish Network over the internet. Anyone in the US can get cable channels via Nimble, but in order to get the broadcast networks, you need to have a New York address.

 

It doesn't work as well as Aereo did for me, but it seems to be legal by our current laws.

 

What are other people using to watch real TV via software?

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Wow, i'd never heard of Nimble.  They seem to charge a fair penny for service unfortunately.  Their plans seem to work just like a cable company, though perhaps a little cheaper as stand alone tv subscriptions?  

For what it's worth, I use a simple.tv for over the air channels.  I was an early adopter and the product sucked for the first year+.  It's now working very well overall, though I did have a recording of a football game fail last thursday night which was disappointing. And there is still lots of room for improvement.  Otherwise I supplement with hulu, netflix, and occasional itunes buys.  I swear that I don't use my girlfriend's hbo go account. 

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Pro: It seems to pad all recordings with 2 minutes on either side and allow for multiple recordings at once.

Con: You don't have access to the recording until after the show completes.

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Thanks for bringing up nimble tv, folks, I am really surprised it didn't get a lot more publicity after Aereo folded.  I took out a $5 a month plan so I can Cloud-DVR 10 hours and it looks good on my Roku and Ipad Mini.  They don't explain up front, though, that even if you have a cable subscription in New York for example, you are only getting a few channels, almost totally over-the-air like Aereo.  However, I can record some late night shows I like so it's good.  I did ask them in an email to consider adding METV since they are now broadcasting from Times Square and I hope they will consider it; they said they would pass my request along.

Edited by roseha
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I was thinking of signing up for Hulu and giving that a trial, is it any good?  I have Netflix now but it's frustrating because none of the shows or movies I wanna watch seem to be available for instant streaming.  I can understand not having current movies available (Guardians of the Galaxy, etc.) but none of the shows I like are available in old seasons.  No Project Runway, no Rupaul's Drag Race, no American Pickers, nothing like that.  I mainly keep Nextflix for Orange is the New Black....

 

Do any of you guys use Hulu?  Do they have popular tv shows available?  Do they have old seasons available for viewing or is it just new stuff?  They don't have movies though do they?

 

 

 
 
 

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I've been very happy using Nimble TV especially when away from home, but just now I received a mysterious email telling me they are temporarily suspending their service while working on improvements (?).   I don't know what's up, but it's disappointing especially since they are actually pro-rating monthly payments.  That makes me think they're not resuming in a month or so...

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I soooo want to cut the cord, especially since the last cable bill went up again. I think I could save a lot if I did a combo of Netflix and Hulu and an antenna for over the air channels. One problem, I am a cable news junkie and I'm not sure how available those stations might be. I did just learn about SkyNews and how easy it is to stream, so that's something. I will be checking back here often for any news or tips :)

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I soooo want to cut the cord, especially since the last cable bill went up again. I think I could save a lot if I did a combo of Netflix and Hulu and an antenna for over the air channels. One problem, I am a cable news junkie and I'm not sure how available those stations might be. I did just learn about SkyNews and how easy it is to stream, so that's something. I will be checking back here often for any news or tips :)

 

SoSueMe, I cut the cord a couple of months ago because Comcast and their price gouging finally got to me. I really haven't regretted it, though we'll see if I'm singing a new tune once baseball season starts. I'm not a cable news junkie, so I might not be able to give a lot of insight on that front, but I have been watching SkyNews on my AppleTV. It's UK-based, so more from a Euro perspective. I like that from a fresh-perspective basis, but end up knowing more about what's going on in Great Britain than in the US. It doesn't bother me too much, since I feel like I can get a lot of real-time news on the Net, but I do miss being able to turn on CNN when something big happens. 

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SoSueMe, I cut the cord a couple of months ago because Comcast and their price gouging finally got to me. I really haven't regretted it, though we'll see if I'm singing a new tune once baseball season starts. I'm not a cable news junkie, so I might not be able to give a lot of insight on that front, but I have been watching SkyNews on my AppleTV. It's UK-based, so more from a Euro perspective. I like that from a fresh-perspective basis, but end up knowing more about what's going on in Great Britain than in the US. It doesn't bother me too much, since I feel like I can get a lot of real-time news on the Net, but I do miss being able to turn on CNN when something big happens. 

Thank you so much for the reply. We are not a sports oriented family so I guess that's lucky. You are absolutely right about Comcrap, as a family member calls it.

Over a thousand dollars a year, just basic cable, maybe 125-150 channels. We don't watch the 5 Spanish language channels or the 5 kids' channels, the 3 or 4 religion channels or the 6 or 7 sports channels. Sooo, that doesn't seem like a lot for the money, at least for us. A La Carte would be really nice if they would do it for a reasonable price.

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A La Carte would be really nice if they would do it for a reasonable price.

A La Carte is a long way off from being a possibility.

 

The actual programming isn't sold to the cable and satellite companies in a way that lets them turn around and sell it to us that way.  HBO sells itself to the cable company so that it is ONLY sold a la carte.  HBO can't be included in a bundle other than maybe wrapped up with Cinemax and the other similar services.  All of the rest of the cable channels are sold with very specific rules that are tied to the percentage of customers who must receive the channels.

 

What that means is that Disney bundles up their channels in a single contract.  The contract will say something like Disney Channel will be $X.XX per subscriber, and it will be distributed to X% of the cable company's subscribers.  The contract may have a different way of saying it, but the point is that Disney won't sell the Disney Channel at the rate it is offering unless it is guaranteed to go to most of a cable company's customers.  At this point, Disney probably also forces ABC Family, Disney Jr., Disney XD, and God knows what else under the same terms.  They'll also tack on the rest of the lesser Disney properties to the deal, but they'll allow them to be carried on a tier that reaches a lower percentage of customers than the flagship channels.

 

All of the big companies do the same thing.  Viacom insists that Nick, BET, MTV, VH1 and Comedy Central go into the majority of homes, and that the secondary channels MUST be carried but it is okay to put them into tiers.  By the time you look at all of the contracts, you will find that the big companies have all insisted that somewhere around 50 of their channels must be carried in the basic cable bundle, or they won't let the cable companies have them at all.

 

Having said that, here's why A La Carte isn't coming soon:  Doing the math for ESPN, they are going to get about $6 from every home they are in per month in 2015.  Since, as I described above, they contractually insist on being carried in all 100 million homes in the United States, that's $7.2 BILLION of revenue before the first dollar of advertising revenue.

 

If ESPN decided to allow itself to be pulled out of the basic bundle and instead be sold a la carte, they would still need to figure out a way to make $7.2 billion each year, plus they'll need to pick up the slack on advertising money lost because they'll reach fewer casual viewers than they do in the 100 million homes scenario.  If ESPN managed to get 25 million homes to willingly pay for them a la carte, the starting point for would then be $24 per month.  Toss in a couple dollars for the advertising shortfall and a few more for the Cable and Satellite companies for delivery and you are looking at $30 per month for ESPN alone.

 

And the fact is, ESPN could probably pull this off because they have live sports and people would actually pay a lot of money to keep it.  Most of the other cable networks would struggle mightily if the were to give up that steady stream of 100 million homes times a monthly rate.

 

So they're going to just keep holding the line until enough people cut the cord and it drops that number way down. My guess is that it would be 10-20 million before they finally cave in.  Until that point, they'll just recapture the loss of subscriber revenue to cord cutters by raising the rates to cable and satellite customers (which of course accelerates the problem) and by dramatically increasing the rates they charge companies like Netflix for their content.

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@JTMacc99

 

Thanks for the informative post. ( I am amazed that you or anyone 'gets' this whole thing :) ) It does make me feel somewhat powerless and even more cranky, though. Unfortunately I am a TV person and my humble little cord-cutting wouldn't have much impact, I guess.

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The loss of Nimble was a real set back for us. We tried USTVNow but it was not as good. Neither was as good as Aereo, since with that I actually got local channels. .Maybe SlingTV from Dish will be a good system.

 

We've gone back to cable for the time being.

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I just subscribed to Sling TV, and as a result downgraded to basic or "starter" cable with Time Warner.  This way I can watch ESPN, TNT or HGTV if I want to see them occasionally, and otherwise I still have streaming services as well as the OTA channels (I also have a Tivo, which helps with DVR).  I think Sling TV is a great solution, I just hope it remains popular enough that it continues to gain subscribers. The cable increases have been getting way out of control for the higher level packages.

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Sling TV is fascinating. I am amazed that TNT and especially Disney/ESPN stuck its foot into something like that. I'm less shocked that Scripps did it.

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If you miss something live on Sling, is there a way to record or go back and watch?

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If you miss something live on Sling, is there a way to record or go back and watch?

Not much, it sounds like.  

 

http://www.cnet.com/products/sling-tv/

SLING TV CHANNELS THAT ALLOW PAUSE, REWIND AND 3- OR 7-DAY REPLAY

Core channels Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, El Rey Network, Maker, Galavision

Add-on channels Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In, Cooking Channel, DIY, Bloomberg TV, Baby TV, Duck TV, Euro News, France 24, NDTV 24/7, News 18, Russia Today

Those channels also allow you to watch any show aired within the past three days, an extra Sling TV calls "3-Day Replay."

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It looks like in July, Hulu will be adding Showtime as an add-on package. I subscribe to Hulu and Netflix and never bothered with cable and I like the idea of the premium channels partnering with platforms I already have.

Edited by funkopop
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I cut the cord (or removed the dish, rather) in June, and have been fine with Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus, using a Fire stick.  I might get a Roku, because I don't like how with the Fire interface you have to search each service separately when looking for a show or movie.  Otherwise, I like the interface.  

 

I don't know if I'll miss full network access in fall but I'm hoping with Prime I can just buy shows piecemeal, if I miss them.  I don't mind the delay much, but it does limit the 'next day' discussion of episodes here.  

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I might get a Roku, because I don't like how with the Fire interface you have to search each service separately when looking for a show or movie. Otherwise, I like the interface.  

 

Unless I'm doing something wrong with my Roku (which is totally possible!) you still have to go into each service to search for a movie. I generally search on my computer/phone and then only open the app on the TV once I figure out where the movie/show is streaming.

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Unless I'm doing something wrong with my Roku (which is totally possible!) you still have to go into each service to search for a movie. I generally search on my computer/phone and then only open the app on the TV once I figure out where the movie/show is streaming.

http://www.cnet.com/products/roku-3/

 

I read it in another cnet review but this link above goes into detail, too.  See the little table on p. 2.  It looks like both Roku 2 and 3 search 17 services at once?  

 

I decided I'm going to keep searching on the pc for a while longer.  I just got the Fire stick a couple months ago and it works pretty nicely, except for that one gripe.  But when I decide to move on, I think it'll be to Roku.  They sell refurbished Roku 2s with the fancy remote from the 3 for like $69.  That's like the cost of one month of my cancelled DirecTV.  

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You know... I've seen that "Search" option for the entire time I've had the Roku (which, I'm an early adopter and have had at least 1 of every iteration because I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to streaming apparently... I also have a Fire stick and like it a lot) but it has never even occurred to me to search for anything other than "stations" or apps there. I'll try when I get home to search for a show or movie and see what happens! 

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Sling has added Turner Classics so I re-subscribed to them. However, disappointingly they don't have the 3 day replay for TCM.  I'm going to hold on for a while and see if that is added, a lot of classic films are shown late at night or very early in the morning so the replay would be welcome.

Edited by roseha

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http://www.cnet.com/products/roku-3/

 

I read it in another cnet review but this link above goes into detail, too.  See the little table on p. 2.  It looks like both Roku 2 and 3 search 17 services at once?  

 

I decided I'm going to keep searching on the pc for a while longer.  I just got the Fire stick a couple months ago and it works pretty nicely, except for that one gripe.  But when I decide to move on, I think it'll be to Roku.  They sell refurbished Roku 2s with the fancy remote from the 3 for like $69.  That's like the cost of one month of my cancelled DirecTV.  

 

I forgot to come back and update that yes. Roku does in fact search for things across all platforms in its search box. I feel dumb for never trying that before! Thanks for the heads up! 

 

I will say I do prefer the Fire Stick but they're both really great options. 

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I brought a Roku on Black Friday. I still prefer the Chromecast. I find having 2 remotes awkward. I only use Roku for Sling Tv, which I luckily subscribe for through Chromecast. It was free for 2 months. However, the stream really sucks via Chromecast. I also use Hulu with Showtime, and no commercials! No commercials option is the best thing ever! Other apps that I use, Modbro (it's not available on the app store, but you can stream MANY channels) Crackle, Netflix of course, Dailymotion, and the CBS app occasionally. I really can't pay an app to watch commercials anymore. I'm hoping that CBS offers a no commercial plan soon. However, I'm doubting that they will. If they offer Chicago Hope, I will subscribe. They removed CH from all platforms last year, and I really, really, miss it.

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I forgot to come back and update that yes. Roku does in fact search for things across all platforms in its search box. I feel dumb for never trying that before! Thanks for the heads up! 

 

I will say I do prefer the Fire Stick but they're both really great options. 

I went back to the Fire Stick from the Roku, though I think I was overestimating its home screen abilities above.  I just like the remote and the interface a little better.  Though I do sometimes fire up the Roku for that all-services-search.  

 

I cancelled CBS All Access after Survivor ended.  They not only have long commercials, a lot of them are drug commercials, which are doubly annoying.  For only a few bucks more, I added HBO Now.  

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The only person I know who tried it--last year, so a while ago--had trouble with buffering and dropped signal. 

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On 10/16/2016 at 0:28 AM, friendperidot said:

any opinion on Sling TV?

We got it over the summer and haven't had any problems with it.  It has all the channels we want for about $30 a month.  Even a few we don't, but it's better than 200+ we don't.

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thank you, I'm getting a new tv this week, it may be another month, because I'm switching Netflix back on first. My tv had a broken remote sensor, so I couldn't get any remote to work, then then sound went out, so it's new tv time. I've missed Longmire and it has a new season, priorities. But I like the idea of cable channels without ESPN even if I have to pay $5/month extra. ESPN is useless to me.

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As much as I love my DVR, I think I'm ready to cut the cord again. I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime and can add Hulu and maybe other things through the Roku. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a list of current shows I can't live without and figure out how to watch them. It's not as many as it once was. If anyone have any tips about digital antennas and things that could replace a DVR, please share.

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On 11/9/2016 at 4:00 PM, ABay said:

As much as I love my DVR, I think I'm ready to cut the cord again. I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime and can add Hulu and maybe other things through the Roku. Maybe tomorrow I'll make a list of current shows I can't live without and figure out how to watch them. It's not as many as it once was. If anyone have any tips about digital antennas and things that could replace a DVR, please share.

There are a couple of over the air DVRs. I'm using Tablo, which works well. There is a $5 a month charge for the guide that allows you to schedule recordings. It also only gets as good of a reception as you can get from a digital antenna. 

There are several others available now but I haven't researched any of them.  

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I recently picked up a new digital converter box (the one I bought at the beginning of the change-over burned itself out), and it has built-in DVR functionality, with pseudo-guide information included.  But it doesn't have a built-in hard drive; in order to use that function, I had to connect a USB drive.  I used a spare thumb drive to test it, but I'd need to get a larger external hard drive to make any real use of it.

I say pseudo-guide information because the actual recording itself was scheduled like an old VCR; date, time, and channel only, no program name and no tracking of program changes.  But it could be accessed from the program guide which does receive information from the signal received by the antenna.

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Cable finally financially broke me. I have had Netflix and Amazon Prime for years and have recently decided to pick up Hulu Plus and Sling (blue) with HBO Now. Trust me, this has placed me well below what I was paying for cable and has left me with channels that I actually watch.

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I've been keeping my cable for the moment, though I know I could probably get by with over-the-air plus streaming most of the time if I really wanted to.  I may yet go back to internet only though I'm waiting since Time Warner has turned into Spectrum in New York and I know that the new deals will mean fewer channels in the long run.  I won't be able to get a basic channel plan anymore for instance.  I do have Tivo and if you get a model that lets you connect an antenna (I think some models of Tivo Roamio currently do) it's a good way to have shows recorded to watch even over the air.

One thing I do like is the Hulu no-commercials plan for $12 a month.  I sometimes binge-watch a show especially if it's one I haven't seen before (I used to work at night for a long time so there were some shows I never really watched).  My tolerance for commercials has really gotten low so it's fun to watch that way.

Edited by roseha

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Got a new tv, but I don't know what I was thinking, I bought the dumb version, not the smart tv, so I then had to get a Roku, took me several days to figure out how to load, I just didn't know which device to set the tv to, once I got that straight, got Netflix and Hulu. I've already turned off the Hulu, just didn't find much there that I wanted to watch. I can always go back. I got Sling this week, want to be able to watch A Christmas Story, haven't had cable or satellite for a couple of years, I've missed it. Now the Roku unit is overheating. I can watch one movie or a couple hours of shows and it's done. I'm irritated, and of course this happened after I threw away the box and the receipt. I don't know how I feel about Sling, it's not nearly convenient as subscribing to cable or satellite and I'll probably adjust if I decide to keep it past next week's free trial ends. 

On the other hand I did figure out how to get YouTube on my tv and I love it except that after I watch a video and want to search for another, have to go all the way back to the "home" and start YouTube again. Is there an easier way? But I've enjoyed a John Denver concert, 2 versions of The Nutcracker, so far, and a few other videos. I'm old, so I like the old stuff.

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Depending on the store, you might still be able to return your roku for store credit or get a replacement. If the device is new, you can try a warranty replacement  with roku. They'll need to check the serial number most likely.

I had sling for over a year and liked it. I only got rid of it recently to sign up for directv now. I prepaid for 3 months for an Apple TV.

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Since DirecTV Now was offering either a free Amazon Fire Stick (the current model with Alexa built in) if you prepaid for a month, or the current AppleTV if you prepaid for three, I decided to give it a go.  Fire Stick is $40, the service is $35, and I actually sold my old Fire Stick (first gen) for $38 on eBay, so I made money.

The service was EXTREMELY rough the first few days, but it's stabilized a bit since then.  I don't know if I'm going to keep it past the initial month, especially if I can't figure out a way to make it default to something other than Fox News ever time I open it.

So, on the plus side, the new Fire Stick is awesome.

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I've had DirecTV for years and it stays set to whatever channel you were watching when you last used it. I have never had it revert to any channel I wasn't watching before. It just stays where you were when you turned it off. Or, it will change to a different channel if you set it to record something and it has to change channels to do that. But I've never had it default to anything on its own. If it's doing that, something is wrong.

I've also never had any problems with reception except briefly in very high wind or torrential downpours. Average rain or wind is not a problem. You do need a good line of sight to the satellite, though. They're very good about installing it properly here, so the dish is not obstructed by trees or other tall things. The guy who did my installation even checked my tv for decent reception before he drove away after the install. If you have frequent problems with reception, I would make sure they don't leave you suffering with that, because it really shouldn't happen.

I've found the customer service to be generally pretty good, though I did one time get one agent who was rude and clueless. I complained and they fell all over themselves apologizing to me and giving me free stuff to make it up to me, though. So overall I've been pretty satisfied.

No idea how the recent merger with AT&T might change things, though. I haven't had any reason to call them since that happened.

My only real complaints about DirecTV are:
1. It's expensive. But I don't really think it's more expensive than other services.
2. It doesn't offer any way to get very local channels like the public access station that broadcasts things like city council meetings.
3. It can get weird after a power outage-- after the electricity comes back on, DirecTV service takes a while to reset-- 10 minutes to half an hour usually (where cable is instantly back in business when the electricity returns), and sometimes needs to have its settings refreshed. We have frequent outages here, which is why it's a hassle. If your electricity is reliable, this should never become an issue.

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18 minutes ago, TimetoShine said:

I have dtvn and when I reopen the app it opens the last channel watched. Did you try uninstalling and re-instslling @starri?

Maybe I'll give that a go.  It seems to be only on the Fire Stick.  Perhaps that's the problem.

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On 12/23/2016 at 9:37 PM, friendperidot said:

Now the Roku unit is overheating. I can watch one movie or a couple hours of shows and it's done. I'm irritated, and of course this happened after I threw away the box and the receipt. I don't know how I feel about Sling, it's not nearly convenient as subscribing to cable or satellite and I'll probably adjust if I decide to keep it past next week's free trial ends. 

On the other hand I did figure out how to get YouTube on my tv and I love it except that after I watch a video and want to search for another, have to go all the way back to the "home" and start YouTube again. Is there an easier way? But I've enjoyed a John Denver concert, 2 versions of The Nutcracker, so far, and a few other videos. I'm old, so I like the old stuff.

On the Roku - I've had several of them over the years and I don't remember any of them overheating.    I agree that contacting Roku might get you a replacement; they're not that expensive.

On Youtube:  I watch it a lot over Roku by creating subscriptions on my Youtube account (if you don't have a Youtube account I think you have to make one through Google?  I'm not sure at this point but I notice a link to Youtube on my Google home page).  You can make different subscriptions of one person's/company's uploads, or you can make a category like "Music" "Television" or just "Favorites" and put as many different videos as you want on it.  Then you go to the Youtube channel on Roku (or Tivo, etc) and link them by putting a code they give you on your computer or tablet.  You can then have the videos play in a row.  Hope that helps.

Edited by roseha
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On 12/23/2016 at 8:37 PM, friendperidot said:

Got a new tv, but I don't know what I was thinking, I bought the dumb version, not the smart tv, so I then had to get a Roku, took me several days to figure out how to load, I just didn't know which device to set the tv to, once I got that straight, got Netflix and Hulu. I've already turned off the Hulu, just didn't find much there that I wanted to watch. I can always go back. I got Sling this week, want to be able to watch A Christmas Story, haven't had cable or satellite for a couple of years, I've missed it. Now the Roku unit is overheating. I can watch one movie or a couple hours of shows and it's done. I'm irritated, and of course this happened after I threw away the box and the receipt. I don't know how I feel about Sling, it's not nearly convenient as subscribing to cable or satellite and I'll probably adjust if I decide to keep it past next week's free trial ends. 

On the other hand I did figure out how to get YouTube on my tv and I love it except that after I watch a video and want to search for another, have to go all the way back to the "home" and start YouTube again. Is there an easier way? But I've enjoyed a John Denver concert, 2 versions of The Nutcracker, so far, and a few other videos. I'm old, so I like the old stuff.

What Roku did you get? I've had boxes for 2 & 3 and a Roku stick and I've never noticed that it was overheating. Certainly not to the point that it ceases to work. I would definitely suggest either taking it back to the store where you bought it (sans receipt) and see what they can do for you or contacting Roku directly and letting them know what you are seeing and asking if they have suggestions. 

You might also check the forums on Roku to see if anyone else with your version is seeing something similar, it might be a known issue with a resolution. 

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So my husband and I were talking about cutting the cord.  Our Verizon Internet/fios TV cost is over $200 a month and that's just ridiculous.  We already have Netflix and Amazon Prime, so we're halfway there with enough shows.  The main things we need is current shows, both on network tv (nbc, abc - I also already pay cbs $6 a month for all-access) and cable (usa, syfy, tnt, amc), and occasionally hbo for GoT and a few other things.

I did a bit of research and it looks like Direct TV Now might be our best bet.  While it is apparently limited to 2 devices at a time, it should be sufficient.  And since we use ATT for mobile, being able to use the streaming without using data plan is nice.

My main issue (and even if its applicable to Sling) is about being to watch shows after they've aired.  My DVR nearly always has at least 3-4 shows that I don't get around to watching right away and I'll have 2-3 (sometimes 4-5) weeks of episodes recorded before I get some time to 'catch up.'  I know some channels will allow you to watch their shows 'on line', but require you to 'sign in' with your cable provider.  If I cut the cable, will i be able to watch some shows a week or so later?  

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I have directv now and yes, you will be able to watch some shows after they've aired. Not all shows but many of the popular ones. Some times they are a little slow getting added to the app but they do eventually show up. You can also log into a handful of "tv anywhere" apps but not many right now. The DTVNow help website shows the list. Since the service is still very new, they are still working on adding more.

One thing to note: NBC is not available to everyone on their TVs yet (I have it on my firetv but not on my appletv), it should be available in the browser and on your phone apps. 

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