I’ve been without cable for a while now. At first, it was pretty hard, especially during football season, where I missed my doses of ESPN and NFL Red Zone. But there’s an interestingly eclectic mix of over-the-air HD channels available here in town, a lot of which are nostalgia-based, which really makes it feel old school. I watched these shows as a kid over a set of rabbit ears, and here I am now doing the same thing. With another football season on the way, though, I started feeling that old familiar itch, and thought about getting back on the coax.
And, well, the prices were ridiculous. Bright House wanted to add another $70 to $80 a month to my bill, a lot of which would go to channels I didn’t really want. U-Verse had a great deal with lots of incentives, but they wanted to charge me for the privilege of getting HD programming, and I’d be stuck with them for a year, after which the price would skyrocket. And those were pretty much my options.
Then I saw Sling Television and that if offered ESPN and ESPN 2. And a bunch of other cable channels, with the option to expand to more. And started at $20 a month. So I jumped on the seven-day trial, added the HBO and movie packs, and gave it a whirl.
I’m sold. Yes, as I was writing this tonight, the service went down for about twenty minutes at the start of the Bucs pre-season game. But you know what? So does my HD antenna signal when it’s raining. And so did my cable from time to time. It was the first problem I’ve had in the five days I’ve been using it, and my cable-free exodus has instilled me with a lot of patience for these kind of things anyway. Aside from that, the connection has been solid, the picture looks good, and the selection is satisfying. Saturday morning, I laid in bed with my tablet and watched the end of Around the World in 80 Days, the end of the last Hobbit movie, and From Russia with Love, with nary a blip or stutter.
I’m so pleased with it that I ordered a Fire Stick to plug into my TV in the bedroom so I can stream to that screen (my living room TV has a direct HDMI connection to my PC). Yeah, I still don’t have my Red Zone, and there are still some channels I wouldn’t mind having that aren’t available. But Sling has managed some good gets so far, and I can only assume they’ll add more channels as they become more popular. As it is, it’s scratching that cable itch rather nicely. And without raking the wallet like cable did as well.