I generally have my bills automatically charged to a credit card that earns points, then pay the credit card bills when they're due. As a result, I don't normally inspect my recurring utility bills that closely. After all, they're monthly services that really shouldn't change much in cost. However, after that credit card was recently compromised, I had to redirect charges to another card. As I did so, I got a much closer look at recurring bills. When I saw my cable TV/internet bill, I almost fell over.
I imagine I'm not alone here. We've all signed up for cable TV services, received unbelievable promotions typically for the first 6 months to a year (in my case, it was 2 years this time), then we forget all about them...just like the provider wants us to. But when I saw this bill, knowing of the more recent technologies in this space, I knew there had to be a better way.
So I did some research on what was available for those wanting to get away from the cable TV cost escalator. Initially, I was set on Amazon Fire TV. I buy pretty much everything on Amazon, I'm an Amazon Prime subscriber, and I have a few Amazon Echo devices. I figured that may benefit me with product integration between these devices and services. Plus, Fire TV was inexpensive, it looked easy to setup, and there appeared to be some good channel packages available which covered what I typically watch. I know what you're probably thinking, "But I have 280 channels now, and these streaming TV devices don't even come close to that!" Big numbers may look good, but does anybody REALLY watch all 200+ channels that they have? Can anybody even name all of the channels they have access to? Probably not, so why pay for them?
You probably don't even realize that many of these channels aren't unique channels that you can actually watch. In my case, I had "access" to 373 channels. Of those, 110 were the HD equivalents of SD channels (so in other words, 1 channel in 2 formats, which hardly counts as 2 different channels in your package, but your cable provider counts them that way, of course). Another 55 were music channels, and 44 were channels that required an additional paid subscription (such as paid movie channels). So if I am counting unique, non-music channels that I have access to without an additional fee, that number is just 164 channels. If I wanted to count only the HD channels, that number is just 110 channels. Does anybody buy 3 or 4 hours, and only ever live in one of them? Do you guy 3 or 4 cars, and only ever drive one? ;)
After a bit more research and consulting Consumer Reports and a few other sources, I discovered Roku Premier. I had heard of it before. I even know people who have it, but for whatever reason, I never became interested in it. Now I know what I've been missing all along.
Ease of use: