A look at Sling TV (on the Xbox One)

sling-take-back-tv

So I should start off by saying I’m not a cord cutter, and I probably never will be one. I enjoy having a traditional “cable” service. We have DISH Network and enjoy it immensely. I love channel surfing and having a large variety of content, even if most of it I just leave on to fall asleep to (or leave on in the background). I also enjoy watching live sports, and so far it’s not very easy to do so outside of cable / satellite TV. MLB.tv and WWE Network are steps in the right direction, but the NFL is still locked down tightly (the only negative thing about having DISH is not having as much access to the NFL).

With that out of the way, you’re probably puzzled as to why I would sign up for Sling TV if I already subscribe to DISH (and pay over $100 a month). Well, I have to say I’m a huge fan of new ways to consume entertainment, and services such as Sling TV, Playstation Vue, HBO’s new cable free service and the forthcoming Apple streaming TV service are wonderful for all consumers.

These services are great for the college student who can’t afford cable, those in living situations where installing cable or satellite TV isn’t practical, and those who know exactly what they want and don’t want to pay for what they don’t watch.

Sling TV starts at $20 a month, and is completely commitment free. No contract, no extra fees, cancel any time. Heck, you don’t even have to deal with customer retention services to cancel, you can do so right from your account (though I haven’t tried canceling yet as I’ve just signed up).

The sign up process on the Xbox One was a breeze. I was signed up in a matter of minutes. Xbox One users are able to try out Sling TV for 30 days free. You can also add ALL of the add on packages ($5/mo each) for free for the first 30 days as well. Set up your package, enter your payment information and there you have it, you can jump right into watching live TV.

The picture quality is great. I have a 50mbps connection and I can’t tell the difference between a channel on Sling TV when compared to the same channel coming through my DISH. There is some buffering that causes a subpar picture for a few seconds when first switching to a channel, but it quickly clears up (I imagine this could be worse or better depending on your internet connection).

10985858_10108383496323054_6457871706898998282_n

If you have a data cap, using a streaming TV service might not be practical if you watch a lot of TV. We have a 400GB monthly cap that I already eat into a good bit by downloading games and watching Netflix. If I tried to use Sling TV as my primary TV service I would easily blow through my data cap. I checked my bandwidth usage on my Xbox after using Sling TV for about twenty minutes and found that I had used 638MB during that period. I wasn’t downloading anything else, but I wasn’t watching the data in real time so I can’t say for sure how much of that was used by Sling TV. Still, it’s a pretty high number so you can imagine how much data you’d use in a month.

11070530_10108383496472754_1534896083400072775_n

The Sling TV interface is clean and easy to navigate, though I think the DISH interface is easier to navigate (though not as good looking). I like that when viewing a channel’s schedule you’ll see pictures for most of the upcoming shows or movies. However, there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to see everything that is on all the channels without scanning through each one. I could be missing something, but I don’t see any sort of traditional guide.

Sling TV guide (xbox one)

 

sling tv xbox one

 

Sling TV’s base package includes a lot of high demand channels such as ESPN, TBS, AMC, IFC and Cartoon Network. With the $5 addon packages you can get even more content, such as the sports pack (ESPN News, ESPN U, Universal Sports Network among others), movies (four EPIX channels and Sundance), news and more.

So far I’m pretty impressed with the service. I’m excited to see if these services can affect the traditional cable services, possibly giving users more control over what they get for their money. We can only hope!

Watch on Netflix: Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot

iliza schlesinger freezing hot

Last weekend we watched Iliza Shlesinger’s Netflix exclusive comedy special, Freezing Hot. I loved her War Paint special and Freezing Hot is just as great. Iliza is smart, clever, original and outrageously funny! There isn’t a dull moment, and I was left wanting more.

Luckily there’s a great way to get more Iliza Shlesinger in the way of her weekly podcast, Truth and Iliza. There are currently 24 episodes on iTunes featuring guests such as Joe Rogan, Bob Saget, Diablo Cody and Jay Leno. I’m looking forward to adding it to my podcast feed and going back and listening.

truth and iliza

I highly recommend watching Freezing Hot if you’re in the mood for some great stand up comedy.

Iliza-Shlesinger-Netflix

You can now watch Netflix through Dish Network’s Hopper

I recorded this video the other week and just got around to uploading it. In it I take a look at the new Netflix app that’s available on Dish Network’s Hopper. The app is a convenient way for many to access Netflix if they don’t already have a way of using the service (such as a Roku, Chromecast, smart TV or video game console).

Amazon Prime is $72, today only!

Amazon Prime $72

I just found out about an awesome discount on Amazon Prime, effective today (24 January) only! To celebrate Amazon’s series Transparent winning two Golden Globes they’ve discounted the price of an Amazon Prime subscription to $72 from the usual $99. This $27 discount is a great deal for an incredible service.

I usually sign up for free trials of Prime when I can (especially around Christmas), however this marks the first time I’ve committed to an entire year of the service. The free two day shipping is awesome (and addictive!) but you also get access to Amazon’s video and music streaming services, which are pretty cool as well.

Head over to Amazon to take advantage of this discount while it lasts!

Girls Season 2

girls season 2 blu ray

I haven’t finished the first season yet (have three episodes left I believe), but I found a pretty decent deal on Season two on Blu Ray. It was $19.99 on Amazon and I had $20 in cash back credit on my credit card so I got it free! As I mentioned in the last post, I subscribe to HBO and do have access to all the seasons of Girls on demand, however I’ve been pushing the limits on my bandwidth cap lately so I decided I should watch the second season on Blu Ray.

girls season 2 blu ray

I haven’t bought a DVD or Blu Ray in years as I prefer to either download or stream everything I watch using iTunes or Xbox Video, but again I need to get my bandwidth use under control. Fortunately the Blu Ray pack came with an HBO Select code redeemable on the service of your choice. I redeemed it on iTunes (you also get a VUDU version) so it’ll be nice to be able to just go back and stream any episodes I wish to watch again later (I hate having to dig out DVDs, which is another reason I pretty much abandoned physical media).

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 2.44.33 PM

Looking forward to finishing up season one and digging into the second season. Love the show and hope to catch up soon!

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 2.44.28 PM

Wanting to get back into HBO’s Girls

Girls_HBO_Poster

Last year I started watching the HBO series, Girls and thoroughly enjoyed it after binge watching the first four episodes. Then, for whatever reason, I drifted away and never finished catching up on the show. Now that the fourth season has started, and Lena Dunham has been in the news, on talk shows and featured in magazines a lot lately, I’ve had a desire to get back into the show.

I’ve noticed a lot of hate being spewed on the internet lately about Dunham, and I don’t quite get it. I think part of it is fueled by this ‘anti feminist’ fad that’s cropped up on the web lately, and it’s just not cool. I know some people find some of her admissions featured in her memoir (Not That Kind of Girl) “sick” and offensive, yet I still think she’s not only an interesting and unique person but her character is also enjoyable to watch on the show.

Now here’s my dilemma. I have HBO and can watch Girls on demand, yet I’ve managed to exceed my internet provider’s sad 300gb data cap for the last three months and keep getting notices that my rates are going to be increased if I go over one more time (what a joke). In an age when physical media just seems silly to me (I download all of my Xbox One, 3DS and PC games, and stream all my movies) I’m facing a hurdle to enjoying the content I pay for. I could buy the seasons of Girls on Blu Ray (season one is just $10 on Amazon), but I already pay for HBO and have access to the first three seasons already. So do I sacrifice Netflix watching? Forgo downloading a game this month? What a first world problem to have right now…

Anywho, I’m probably going to download the rest of season one on demand and then see where I sit with the bandwidth cap before I start season two. At any rate I’m excited to get back into the show! I’m also pretty sure I’m going to pick up her memoir in the iBooks store, because I’m quite intrigued by her and want to know more.

20588698

edited. Incorrectly described the current season as being the third.

Fox News removed from Dish Network

If DISH Network is your TV provider, you may have noticed that Fox News and the Fox Business Network no longer appear in your channel lineup. Just a few weeks after CNN, Cartoon Network and other channels returned to the air after their dispute, Fox has been pulled due to its own contract dispute.

Luckily this is only affecting the Fox News channels and not FX or FXX which I tend to watch every now and then. Personally I wouldn’t miss Fox News if it never came back, but I’m sure it’ll be back in a matter of weeks for those who are missing it. It’s unfortunate when these things happen, but they always seem to resolve themselves before too long (though CNN was gone for quite awhile).