Sports on Directv Now, Vue, Sling

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by starkmj, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. starkmj macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Okay, as a big sports fan, I've yet to be convinced that the streaming options are good choices for me.

    While all the sports options are there (ESPN, Fox Sports, B10 network, etc), when I have watched sports on any of the 3, I feel like the quality is just NOT the same as when I watch on Comcast.

    Am I crazy? I know it's supposedly 60FPS 720P, but something just feels lower quality to me.

    And the other thing is i have several other buddies of mine that are sports fans, and if something huge happens in a game, I usually get a text about it, only to see it happen a minute later when streaming. I really dislike that streaming sports is a good 30 seconds to a minute behind vs watching it on antenna or cable.

    Am I the only sports fan that feels like these streaming TV options aren't that great?
  2. AlliFlowers Contributor


    Jan 1, 2011
    L.A. (Lower Alabama)
    That may be a regional thing. My daughter and I often text during games, but it seems that some weeks things happen earlier for one of us than the other. (She lives in NY and I'm in AL.) I've also had times that I've gotten a notification from my NFL app about a score before seeing it, or reading a tweet about it before it's happened on my non-streaming TV screen.
  3. nburwell macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2008
    In my experience, I feel that the quality of sports streams is on par to what I was experiencing when I had tradition cable with Comcast.

    Granted there are those rare times when the pictures gets distorted, but other than that, I've had no issues with PQ.

    This was my experience when I had DIRECTV Now and most recently, Playstation Vue.
  4. HobeSoundDarryl, Apr 19, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Test for yourself with the free trials. Note that if you like the 5.1 surround sound aspect of sports (which I do), only 1 of these seems to be offering some 5.1 surround. Picture quality is such an eye-of-the-beholder thing that you better just see for yourself on your own TV.

    Note that while you still have whatever you have now, you could free trial the apps and look at some games head to head on your own TV and see what you think.

    Personally, I'm still not convinced "the future" has arrived with any of these options unless the big win is maybe $10-$30/month savings with a variety of tradeoffs, like quality, 5.1 sound, (most have no or modest) DVR capabilities, missing a desirable channel or 3 (or more), and so on.

    Still enjoying quality HD and great sound on a real, full featured DVR, that integrates all local channels and regional sports via DISH for less than $80/month. Yes, I have access to a bunch of channels I rarely watch but they are easily hidden outside of a FAVS channel list. I also get to see everything when it first runs instead of a day or week+ later, and I don't burn a byte of broadband for any of this video.

    From my experience, $10 to maybe $30/month savings is just not worth it. Too many tradeoffs to get to brag about saving a few dollars and giving up better quality picture & sound, some of the better channels, a real DVR and so on. I'd get it if my savings was hundreds but the difference would be relatively "skinny" money each month for me. I can spare $10 or $30 to cover what I have rather than roll with the tradeoffs.

    But to each his own. Some seem to be thoroughly satisfied and appreciate some dollar savings. With free trials, it's easy enough for anyone to test most of them against whatever they use now and see for themselves.
  5. Cosmosent macrumors 6502


    Apr 20, 2016
    La Jolla, CA
    I concur 100% !

    We have the latest Apple TV in-house, and for MAJOR sporting events, it absolutely sucks !

    The bit rate is EXTREMELY inconsistent !

    For sporting events that aren't as popular, it works fine / almost good enough.

    The ESPN app streaming feed used to be fantastic, but NOT anymore ... most of the time now we stream from Sling TV's ESPN feed.

    Sling's TNT feed is good, but NOT great.

    Streaming of Live Sports is generally NOT ready for prime time, IMO ... I'd give it a solid B, though, for NON-popular sporting events ... C+ tops for MAJOR sporting events (too many Users simply tapping-into the available BW).
  6. starkmj thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2007
    Glad someone responded in agreement with me.

    I pay about $190 a month for HD Cable, Phone, and 150 MB/s internet from Comcast. I have two HD boxes with DVR, and all the major channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, etc), and all the sports networks (NBA, MLB, B10, NHL, NFL, NBC Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports, etc).

    I LOVE the high speed I get from Comcast, so I don't really want to lose that.

    If I were to try to keep the high speed internet from Comcast, I'd be charged $99 a month without the package.
    Cheapest service that has DVR and MOST of the channels I want is Vue, for $35. Add $15 for HBO, and $9 for Showtime (through Hulu), and I'm at about $160.

    So, I'd save around $30 a month. BUT, still have inconsistent quality on my sporting events, and still not have a couple of channels I want. (Each of the three...Sling/Vue/Directv Now, have a some channels they don't have in their package).

    $30 is just not worth it, for everything I'd be losing.

    I'm sure others would say $30 is worth it, or to get cheaper, less speedy internet, and I'd save more.

    But I don't think either is worth it.
  7. HobeSoundDarryl, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #7 which I'll add that if the masses move on this to save the $10 or $30 or even $50 so that the Comcast's etc really start feeling the revenue pain, what do you think they'll do with the pricing of broadband? And if they do what you know they will do (because they can), what are you really going to do but pay up (because how many high-speed broadband alternatives do you have that won't follow suit with higher broadband prices)?

    Where this takes us if we all go is eventually we just get less at lower quality for the same or higher pricing. Oh, and we get the faux satisfaction claim of sticking it to the cable company while paying that cable company the same or more for the broadband on which any of these options entirely depend (thus in actuality the cable company sticks it to us because they then deliver less service for the same or more money).

    It works for now because they don't feel enough pain to really put the pinch on. But just watch how it plays out. As starkmj just did the math for his seemingly very high $190/month bill: while he might be able to "save" $30 if he changes, he gives up a number of desirable things to do so... making the $30/month just not worth it to him.

    Of course this works for some... just as 3G works for some... or mp3 works for some... or windows phones... or SD televisions... etc. Those happy with it, enjoy. It just doesn't look like the "the future" answer for all... and probably never will be as long as the dominant desired benefit per us consumers is how much we can "save"- something that only matters to just us (everyone else in the chain is looking for ways to make "more money" not less).
  8. starkmj thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2007
    I'm still amazed you get everything you mentioned earlier for $80/month. Pretty good.

    How many HD boxes do you have?

    How much do you pay for internet?
  9. HobeSoundDarryl, Apr 20, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    1 Box (Hopper DVR). And internet + voice adds $60 to the bill, partially built into a HOA fee that I can't opt out of. So net is about $100/month for the TV+Broadband+Voice "bundle."

    Dish offers a Dish Anywhere app for iDevices which makes it work on any mobile devices- I just watched something on the DVR via free wifi while flying recently. If they ever release that app for :apple:TV, I think they crush just about all of these options (except those that feel they just MUST "put it to" cable & satt, which is humorous to me as many are "putting it to cable or satt" with DirecTV Now which is basically run by DirecTV (satt) and owned by ATT ("cable")).

    Of course, should promotional pricing end (which DISH will now lock in for 2 or even 3 years if you do some shopping), I have to be ready to switch- and am... or just threaten to switch and see if they'll offer a special accommodation... or drop it for a few weeks, go on some vacations and then come back and find that I can get maximum promotional offers again. So far, all I've had to do is threaten to switch to persist lower-cost deals beyond my promotional term.

    What I get is real HD, most with 5.1 surround sound so it can sound like I'm at the arenas, a real & pretty fully-featured DVR without weird limitations like having to watch saved stuff within a few days or weeks and all the channels I do like plus all the channels I don't (but might rarely watch if they just happen to have something good on them). The dud channels are easily hidden from a FAVs (channel list) in the on-screen guide, so I don't even notice "500 channels I never watch" but just the ones that I do want to see. Local channels are integrated into the same guide both via satt AND via over-the-air (antenna) and regional sports (Sun Sports and Fox Florida for me) are in the bundle too.

    Is this for everyone? Probably not. But, like you, I do like sports and I didn't pay up for a quality television and quality surround sound system to then feed it modestly cheaper, pseudo-HD and stereo-only sound. Family members don't have to hop app-to-app or box-to-box to get to what they want to watch- it's all in one guide and on one DVR. That also makes "training" the family easy since that's a proven system they already know that- IMO- is far superior to the alternative of "the future" which is apparently hopping app-to-app and box-to-box.

    I appreciate the drive to save some money (though it seems hilarious on an Apple fan site where we gush about being ready to pay up for every new item from Apple that barely does anything more than the version we already own) and I'm right with those who see the Comcasts, AT&Ts, etc of the world as practically the Devil. But, when it gets right down to it, the difference for me would be about $10/month and I'd lose some channels I like... and I'd lose the same quality of picture... and I'd lose 5.1 surround sound... and I'd lose a real DVR. It's just not worth the $10, or $30 or even $50/month to me.

    Where I think it can make more sense is in households that don't care as much as picture & sound quality, real DVR and so on and especially if the households have 4+ connected TVs. Many TVs can mean many STB lease fees to watch and at about $7-$12/month just the boxes can be $28-$48 for 4 TVs. I don't have that issue with just one connected TV but I do hope for apps like DISH Anywhere to arrive for :apple:TV so that guest room TVs can as readily connect and watch something other than what's on the main TV's screen, free OTA and basic cable bundled into my community's HOA (too).

    Bottom Line is this:
    • $100 for pretty much all good traditional "as is" vs...
    • $35 for DirecTV Now + maybe $25 for Vonage VOIP + maybe $44 for mid-speed broadband = $104 OR
    • $20 for one half of Sling (dropping a number of channels I like and 5.1 Dolby) + maybe $10/month for magicJack VOIP (losing alarm system capability and dealing with magicJack issues) + maybe $44 for mid-speed broadband = $89 OR
    • $20 for one half of Sling + maybe Ooma or one of the Google Voice VOIP options for $0/month + maybe $44 for mid-speed broadband = $64 (or about $36/month savings with this probably about the max possible with all kinds of noticeable tradeoffs).
    As you can see, in my own situation, the savings are so modest even with a lot of sacrifices that I just can't justify giving up so much. It's just not worth it for me.

    In your own situation, you are paying much more than me because you are subscribing to some extra stuff and demand faster broadband but you too are seeing that maybe you can get your bill down to "save" $30/month... and finding $30 not worth what you have to give up.

    Again, it apparently works for some but to really save a lot of money seems to require a lot of tradeoffs (that may not matter to some), some shenanigans (such as "sharing" some access via someone else paying a bill), the hassles of jumping service to service, app to app, box to box, and playing lessor quality picture & sound, etc. I've wanted to find an alternative this whole time but none of them look very good to me vs. the "greedy," "the past" model I already have... and enjoy. To each his own.
  10. starkmj thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2007
    You mentioned that only ONE of the three options has 5.1 sound.

    Which one is it?
  11. HobeSoundDarryl, Apr 21, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    I'm told only DirecTV Now has 5.1 and online information implies that it is not as consistently 5.1 as it is on DirecTV but only some programming/channels are in 5.1 (even if they are available in 5.1 on cable/satt). But that's indirect info based on online posts, etc... some of which could be from people that don't know what they are talking about. You know how online "expertise" goes: I've seen many posts even from people here that :apple:TV plays full 4K because they run a video that says it's 4K in it's name or in an on-screen graphic and/or they are playing anything on their new 4K TV.

    Directv Now Q&A implies 5.1 is only on select "on demand" content: so that makes me wonder if any of the live programming really is in 5.1 DD. If not, then- best I know- NONE of these live streaming options offers content available in 5.1 DD on cable/satt in 5.1 via streaming.

    Perhaps someone with a good understanding of real 5.1 vs. faux 5.1 and DirecTV now could chime in and enlighten OP AND me on the breadth & depth of DirecTV Now 5.1 Dolby Digital?

    And anyone aware of any of these that really do have 5.1 on the live streaming channels?

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