When we moved to Portland, one of the things we were adamant about was that we weren’t going to carry a cable contract. Cable is expensive and it also comes with long term contracts.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for people cutting the cord is access to sports. A lot of sports are on cable channels such as ESPN, NBCSN and FOX sports, so losing cable can mean that a loss of access to a lot of sports programming.
I’m not a massive sports person, however I do like to watch the English Football on a Saturday morning. I’m also a big Olympics junkie. While there is prime time coverage on NBC that I can get over rabbit ears, in order to access the full suite of programming as well as the broader reach that comes with the app (more on this later) a cable subscription is required.
Luckily there is now a range of contract free cable over the internet services that enable you to have effectively a cable package but streaming over the internet. The most popular suppliers are Sling Tv, Playstation Vue, YouTube Tv and fubo and all are pretty similar with a range of channels that are comparable with a basic to mid range cable package. Typically they run around $40 with various extra add ons, so the price range is a bit cheaper that a similar cable package. Most of the internet services are similar, and most even come with cloud DVRs; however the biggest thing is there are no contracts so should you want a package for a big event for something like the Olympics, you can get a package for a month and cancel with no hassle.
We went with Playstation Vue but there wasn’t much in the decision. We already have a Playstation 4 so it was easy to set up our account through this. However access to a Playstation is not required, you can just down load an app to a Roku stick or smart TV.
So back to the Olympics. One of the big things that the internet services gives you is access to all the channel lineups apps. The apps almost all require you to login with a cable account, and these services mostly count as that. I haven’t checked all of them, but Playstation Vue definitely allows you to do it.
So for the Olympics this means that I can log in to the NBC Sports App and have access to every event live and on replay in full. Want to watch the entirety of the Biathlon? No problem.
The other advantage of the app is that is access to the “World Feed”. The IOC effectively have their own broadcasting service with their own team of knowledgeable non partisan commentators (usually British or Australian). This is the coverage that is effectively “sold” to countries that don’t have the resources to supply their own commentators or cameras.
The thing is the NBC coverage just isn’t very good in my opinion. I don’t think this is a terribly controversial statement. They clearly design their coverage for people who are not really sports fans but are more interested in the “journey”. It’s also terribly jingoistic and other country’s athletes are frequently ignored.
So having access to the world feed is a godsend and enables me to watch what I want when I want in whatever level of detail I want.
Having our PSVue account does cost us $45 a month and maybe some months we don’t necessarily need it. But as a luxury for months like this (and the soccer season!) it something we are comfortable paying for.