HDHomeRun Scribe DVR vs Connect and Extend (Comparison Review)

hdhomerun

What is HDHomeRun?

HDHomeRun tuners and DVRs have evolved quite a bit in the last few years. They’ve quickly become a go-to device for cord cutters who rely on a TV antenna for free over-the-air channels.  

This review compares the pros and cons of the HDHomeRun Scribe DVR versus a HDHomeRun Connect and HDHomeRun Extend.

HDHomeRun boxes can turn almost any screen in your house into a portable TV. You can watch live TV channels on your smartphone, tablet and PC, and of course, your TV. 

I have been reviewing HDHomeRun hardware since 2017. And I own a couple of Tablo DVRs, a Fire TV Recast and AirTV2. 

Two or three over-the-air DVRs are usually running at my house at any given point in the year because I’m just generally interested in how they perform on a day-to-day basis.  

HDHomeRun tuners and DVRs are made by SiliconDust, and they were around making these tuners way before cord cutting became as popular as it is today. 

Part 1: Overview & Setup

Setting up an HDHomeRun is pretty simple. Connect the antenna to the back of the HDHomeRun box. Hook up an Ethernet cord that runs to the WiFi router. Plug in the power adapter. 

Once you have everything plugged in, you just need to run a channel scan at my.hdhomerun dot com. Now you can watch your over-the-air channels on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and a NVIDIA Shield.

One big difference off the top is that the HDHomeRun Scribe is a full fledged DVR. It has a built-in 1TB hard drive. So you don’t need any other hardware. 

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HDHomeRun Scribe DVR (left) connects to a TV antenna, and a WiFi router by Ethernet.

The HDHomeRun Connect and Extend are actually TV tuners with no hard drive. So that means you’ll need to dedicate some hard drive space either on a computer or server. You can also add an external hard drive to a PC as well for recordings. 

I personally like to watch my local channels on my smartphone because I might be out in my garage, or manning the grill outside and I want a little bit of TV to watch. 

If you want to see different HDHomeRun models in action, then you can just watch the video version of this review.

Channel guide: HDHomeRun app

The channel guide for live TV runs on the right side of the screen, something the company calls “Slice View”.

It’s pretty different from the old-school channel guide that you’d see on a cable box.  

You’ll find the Slice View guide on the Amazon Fire TV and Android TV software.

Slice View menu on the HDHomeRun app running on a NVIDIA Shield TV.

On a Roku, the menu is a little rougher around the edges. But it works.

Managing recordings

To manage recordings, head down to the hamburger shaped icon on the bottom right hand of the screen. Head to the Discovery tab, and you can get a bird’s eye view of what’s on TV right now.

The sub-categories are broken down into upcoming shows, movies and sports. I really like these kinds of guides better than the old-school channel guides because you get a chance to find out about shows and sporting events that you didn’t even know were available through your antenna. 

You don’t always have to rely on the big streaming service to watch a favorite TV show or even live sports.

Just about every week for the last year and a half, you could read stories about how the TV show Friends was disappearing from one streaming service and going to another — the same thing with Seinfeld.

I’ve actually never watched an episode of Friends in my life. But I set up the HDHomeRun to record the show — just to prove that depending on where you live, a DVR can record some of the most popular shows on TV and on streaming. And they’re in HD quality and free. 

In terms of day-to-day use, the thing I love most about having an antenna plugged into my HDHomeRun is that I can watch local channels on my TV and pretty much anywhere else inside and outside of my house. 

It basically turns your smartphone, tablets, laptops and PCs into portable televisions. Being able to watch a local CBS or NBC station in my backyard or garage is super convenient. 

I can even watch nationally broadcasted sporting events on a projector through the HDHomeRun app or Plex. 

At the time of this video being made, SiliconDust was offering a free year of its DVR service. It usually costs $35 per year.

It doesn’t look like the slickest interface, but it works. And I am a big fan of its “Discover” tab because I can easily get to sports or find other shows and movies to record. 

Part 2: Hardware Comparison

So is there one HDHomeRun model that’s better than the others?

To me, the answer really comes down to two things: your budget, and what kind of setup you want to have around your house.

I’ve lived in both large and small homes over the years, and I usually have at least three TVs operating at my house. For most people, the HDHomeRun Connect models are going to work just fine for you. 

Here are a few key things that I think you should consider if you’re going to buy an HDHomeRun. 

The Scribe and Connect models come in two versions. The Duo model means there are two internal TV tuners, so you can watch and record up to two television programs at once. 

The Quatro models have four tuners, so you can watch and record up to four programs at once.  The HDHomeRun Extend only comes with two tuners inside. I’ll explain why in a minute. 

One challenge for some people is that HDHomeRun devices have to be hardwired into your WiFi router.  

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(From left:) HDHomeRun Extend, HDHomeRun Connect, Scribe DVR and Servio.

For me, it’s never been a problem. You can have a really long run of Ethernet cord if you need to. And if you’re someone who is hiding their WiFi router in a closet or entertainment cabinet, get it out of there. You’ll definitely improve WiFi around your house if you have it placed out in the open and high off the floor.

Picture quality: Streaming OTA

Digital broadcasts deliver up to 720p and 1080i picture resolution. There are some cities now rolling out ATSC 3.0 which promises 4K resolution, but these HDHomeRun boxes are for digital broadcasts, not ATSC 3.0. (HDHomerun is working on an ATSC 3.0 tuner.)

The Connect Duo and Quatro models stream raw MPEG2, so when you look at your TV — it’s bright and crisp. Most over-the-air stations still broadcast with MPEG2 encoding. 

I have one TV in my house that’s just hooked up to a TV antenna. And I don’t think you would be able to tell the difference between streaming through an HDHomeRun app, and plugging a TV antenna in the back of your television.  

The advantage to going with Connect Duo and Quatro is that you can put together an inexpensive set up, and upgrade your storage space later. 

So for example, if you want to go really cheap, I paid about $18 for a hard drive case, and took a 500GB hard drive out of an old computer that my parents were getting rid of. They barely used the hard drive so it was great for some basic recordings. 

If you have the budget for it, I would say hard drives from Seagate or Western Digital are also very good. I use both of them for different storage setups around the house.  

If you just want over-the-air channels on a couple of TVs in your house, and you don’t live in a mansion, the Connect models are the way to go. Just think about whether you want the Connect Duo with two tuners, or the Quatro with four tuners.

HDHomeRun Extend 

The HDHomeRun Extend has two tuners, and the key difference is that it has a built-in h264 transcoder, which compresses video in real-time. 

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HDHomeRun Extend has a built-in transcoder.

By transcoding video, you’re using less bandwidth. So why would that matter? 

Let’s say you’re running a Plex server on an older computer like this 2008 HP desktop that I have kicking around. This thing is 12 years old, and there isn’t much in the way of processing power. 

A setup like this might struggle with delivering a live MPEG2 stream especially if you’re doing it over WiFi and you have a couple dozen other Internet connected devices in your house. Your old Plex server is competing for bandwidth against newer, and probably faster hardware around your house. 

So when it comes to watching live TV in a situation like this, I could definitely see an advantage to having an Extend because you can set it up to transcode from MPEG2 to h.264. Transcoding to h.264 is also going to reduce your file size for each recording, and it’s easier to transmit live TV over WiFi. 

The built-in transcoder is pretty much what makes the Extend a more expensive unit compared to HDHomeRun Connect. And you know, the example I’m giving you with the older Plex server isn’t the only reason why someone might prefer an HDHomeRun Extend

If you have an older WiFi setup — that’s not on the AC WiFi standard — an Extend might be a better buy. Or if you have some older clients that struggle with playing MPEG2 files, then an Extend might be what you need. 

The question or concern I see most on online isn’t a matter of compatibility — it’s whether the Connect models are powerful enough for watching live TV over WiFi. 

Based on my own day-to-day use over the last few years, I would definitely say yes. In fact, the Connect models are the ones that I’ve been using the longest. 

I’ve been watching live TV on my phone using the Connect Quatro for a couple years and I switched over to the Scribe DVR about 8 months ago.

Choosing which HDHomeRun to buy

Here’s what you really need to think about in terms of choosing a HDHomeRun Connect or Extend versus the new Scribe DVR. 

If you want to record live TV using the Connect or Extend, you’re going to need a PC, mini PC or some kind of server set up like a NAS box that’s always on. 

Having a computer that’s always on to record shows isn’t a desirable thing for everyone. There are some decent server options that you can set up on your own with an older PC desktop. 

But if you don’t want to go down that path, then spending the money for the HDHomeRun Scribe DVR is probably the better buy. 

Like I mentioned, the Scribe has a 1TB internal hard drive so you don’t need to set up an external hard drive or have any kind of server setup for recordings. 

The Scribe is super easy to hook up and start using. The Scribe Duo, which is the two TV tuner model, retails for about $180. 

HDHomeRun Scribe Quatro with 4 TV tuners retails for about $230. 

Going with the Scribe might be your best option if you don’t want to set up a computer or server for recording live TV. 

HDHomeRun Servio

When the Scribe came out, SiliconDust also released the HDHomeRun Servio.

From the outside, it looks just like other HDHomeRun devices. But it’s actually made for expanding your HDHomeRun tuner or DVR.

It’s not a standalone piece of hardware.

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HDHomeRun Servio (right) eliminates the need for a server.

The Servio is basically an alternative for HDHomeRun owners that don’t want to set up a PC or NAS server for recordings.

So let’s say you’ve already bought HDHomeRun Connect or Extend, and having your PC on all the time isn’t working for you. 

You hook up a Servio and get a fully functional OTA DVR with an internal 2TB hard drive. That’s about 300 hours worth of recordings. The Servio was initially priced at about $150, but recently I have seen it a few dollars cheaper. 

Anyway, I think the real benefit here is that it’s an alternative to consider for people who don’t want to set up a server. And it’s definitely cheaper than say buying a mini-PC and adding a hard drive to it. 

Scribe DVR & Servio limitations

There are some limitations to Scribe DVR and SERVIO that you need to know about. 

The Scribe and SERVIO only works with the HDHomeRun app for recordings.

You can watch live TV through Plex and other third-party apps, but you can’t record using them. And you can’t offload TV shows and movies.

Part 3: Plex and Other Options

One unique aspect of HDHomeRun — whether you’re talking about the Extend or the Connect — is that you can use third-party software instead of the HDHomeRun DVR service. 

I think when it comes to picking a DVR service, it comes down to two things. How much do you want to pay per year, and what do you want to accomplish? 

The HDHomeRun DVR service is definitely the cheapest at $35 per year, and you’re getting a 14-day channel guide. 

And remember, you could go without a DVR service and just use the 24 hour channel guide. But the HDHomeRun DVR service is less than $3 per month.

So I mean, how many other ways do you burn three bucks a month without thinking about it. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are eating way more into your wallet than SiliconDust. 

Plex Overview

Plex has a Live TV & DVR guide that costs $4.99 per month.

Plex has a “Live TV & DVR” service that sports a grid-style channel guide. It’s a pretty intuitive interface for tracking down upcoming TV shows or sporting events to record. 

I can head over to the sports section and quickly see that some NFL games are coming up.  

To use Plex’s Live TV & DVR service, you need to get a Plex Pass, which costs $4.99 per month. Or you can get a lifetime pass for $149.

With Plex, you can pause and rewind live TV. And if you set up port-forwarding on your router, you can also watch live TV outside your home. Once on a vacation in Aruba, I was able to connect to my server back home and watch live TV channels. Pretty cool. 

Plex is also a hub where I can centralize all my music, my personal burned DVD collection, favorite podcasts, a Tidal subscription — all in one spot. 

Plex has also added a huge ad-supported/on-demand library of movies and TV shows. They’ve recently partnered with Crackle to fill out their movie library. 

There are a number of other perks that come with Plex Pass in addition to the Live TV & DVR.

You might find yourself experimenting with different DVR services, and I think that’s the best way to start out.

Just remember that all your free over-the-air channels are coming to you in 720p or 1080i. So you’re going to have HD picture quality that’s going to look really crisp. Even better than cable because your picture isn’t going to be nearly as compressed. 

What streaming devices support HDHomeRun?

Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV aren’t your only options for watching and recording local TV channels.

PCs running Windows 10, and Xbox One are on the long list of compatible devices with HDHomeRun tuners.

The official HDHomeRun app supports Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, Android TV and third-party software options.

You can stream the HDHomeRun app on Android TV devices like Xiaomi Mi Box and the NVIDIA SHIELD TV.  

Windows 10 devices include: Windows 10 PC, Xbox One or One S, Surface Tablet or Windows PHONE.

Android: NVIDIA SHIELD TV, Amazon Fire TV, Sony Android TV, Android phones and Android tablets

Apple:  Apple desktops, Apple laptops, Apple iOS (like iPads) and Apple TV 4

For more news on streaming, how-to guides and reviews, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report or follow the CCR on Google News.

This review was published Feb. 7, 2017 and has been updated.

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9 Comments

  1. Exactly the kind of information I’ve been looking for! A former (12-years) DirecTV subscriber, then a short-term SpectrumTV customer… I’ve been looking SERIOUSLY at all TV viewing options. Currently “testing” a YouTubeTV (via Internet) subscription but unsure of our ultimate choice in TV viewing, recording, storing, etc. Thanks for THIS information!

  2. I have to say WOW!! What a fantastic article and fine responses from you guys! I was using Microsoft Media Center and I just bought a new computer for it, to still run Windows 7 because of MC. IMO, that was the BEST program that Microsoft ever made! A reasonably intelligent 8 year old could figure out how to use it without reading anything. The most user friendly software ever, which these others can’t match for DVR.

    Now the evil Microsoft, (just kidding) dumped it going into Windows 10. There is a hack for it, done by people who are way above my paygrade! It looks to be very problematic though, so I say a FOND farewell to MC. I created two monster computers, and I have decided to leave MC/7 in the silicon dust. My first one is an Asrock Formula 3.1 with a 5930K. The 2nd one is the Win 7 one with a Asus Z-97 Deluxe, 4790K.

    The 7/deluxe one has many problems that I am sure is the OS. It has the exact same problems/pop ups that My ANCIENT P6T Deluxe Ver II had, and that was nine years old! My Win 10 machine runs just fine, so I am going to put 10 on my Asus/deluxe.

    Now, I have the extend, just for starters. I noticed I can set the bit-rate to native, which I think is just STUNNING to view! (the MC-7 was stunning on my 7 foot projector screen at 10 feet away.) I suspect this looks noticeably better, but will experiment.
    NOW I have the Homerun Prime 3-cable tuner one. LOL I am waiting for Comcast to open so I can get a cable card. I have LOVED my DirectTV but it just keeps going up in cost.
    Anyway, thank you for all of this information. It is FAR better than what is on the Dust web page, and they are the ones trying to sell these.

    BTW, here near Chi-town the local CBS, Ch 2 is a basket case. They got sued for interfering with a station in Wi, and dialed the power down to about 5 watts. I had to do any recording off of DTV. NOW, this Extend brings it right in! I have not watched CBS on MC in a LONG time, in which case I was using four Cat’s Eye, 3560 Tuners. Now I see, much of the problem was THOSE.
    Sorry for the previous love rant, but now and then something comes along and it is BETTER than what the company says it is!!
    ?

  3. I purchased a Home Run Extend, and was wondering if I could connect our TiVo Series 3 to it (kinda like a NAS). We lose internet on a fairly regular basis (very rural). I want to be able to watch recordings when this happens. Please be patient with me whereas this is all new to me.

    • Hi Lynna, I don’t think there’s a way to connect the TiVo Series 3, but I could be wrong. You may want to consider getting an external hard drive and going with DVR service from either Silicon Dust or Plex. Hope that helps.

  4. Good comparison, with one exception

    HDhomerun products require a server with a fast processor to DVR shows. All Tablo requires is an inexpensive hard drive connected to the unit to record shows.

    Both products are good, but the cost comparison above is backwards. Tablo is typically less expensive to set up. HDhomerun is more for the power user. HDhomerun with Plex on a server is great.

    Choosing between the HDhomerun products is confusing. The potential buyer needs to research the differences.

    I have both Tablo and HDhomerun Connect. I’m giving Tablo to a relative because I am a “power user”. My relative would need to buy more hardware to run HDhomerun and also record shows.

    • Thanks Don. I appreciate it. There’s definitely an argument to be made that Tablo can be less expensive. It really depends on what kind of hard drive space you buy (if you need to buy any), and whether you subscribe to the channel guide. Also, Tablo has dropped their prices a little since I wrote the review.

      I tend to view things through the lens of cutting down/out any long term expenses, but that’s just my preference. Now that Plex has added DVR/Live TV capabilities to HDHomeRun, it definitely adds more long term overall value. I don’t have any vast media library, but it’s neat to be able to see what’s on TV and check out my own movie collection in one place. So I could also see someone springing for a lifetime Plex Pass and getting many more benefits than shelling out for just a channel guide for a few years. As Plex grows, the user will get more benefits. To your point, not everyone wants or needs all that. So Tablo will still get under a lot of Christmas trees in the years to come.

      • Many/most people no longer have stationary computers to use as a server. Even TV set purchases are decreasing among some demographics. It’s become a world of tablets and laptops. All the millennials in my family would need to buy a NAS or other fixed device to use HDHomeRun DVR. Tablo only requires the addition of a $59 drive to have a 1TB DVR.

        I think a 4 tuner Tablo with upgraded hardware (better thermal management, more RAM to improve guide performance) is about the ideal device for most multi person households. A $350 Tablo would be better than the current $250 tablo.

        The new Tablo Dual is a poor value with the added small amount of internal storage.

  5. I Dumped my DirecTV Service this week!

    I had the most basic DirecTV channels package DirecTV offers and had 1 High Definition (HD) Digital Video Recorder (DVR) unit and 1 Standard Definition DVR unit which cost me about $90 per month. Almost half of the cost was hardware rental fees, taxes, and other crap fees every single month! Of course for that price, there is NO ESPN, or FS1, FS2, etc… Just pretty basic channels plus a few of my Orlando Local Channels.

    I finally pulled the plug on the old satellite after being a loyal subscriber ever since DirecTV started operating.

    But today, I fired DirecTV, and became an official (Semi) Cord Cutter!!

    Cutting the Cord does require some basic investment in hardware if you want to have equal or more capability and features than you did on Satellite or Cable service, and below is a list of my costs to convert. These are all one time costs. This means I will OWN all of the equipment instead of renting it and wasting money each month. My new Whole Home TV / DVR System is made up of the following components:

    Hardware Costs:

    $ 75 Outdoor Antenna, 20′ Tall Mast, Cable, Connectors, etc… (I already had this in place)
    $ 180 New All Metal SiliconDust HdHomeRun Extend Dual Tuner Unit #1 (Local Channels)
    $ 180 New All Metal SiliconDust HdHomeRun Extend Dual Tuner Unit #2 (Local Channels)
    $ 90 Amazon Fire TV HD Box, Gen 2 for Primary TV
    $ 40 Amazon Fire TV HD Stick, Gen 2 for 2nd TV
    $ 0 Old 2005 vintage PC re-purposed to MythTV DVR system
    $ 0 Mythbuntu MythTV DVR Software (Linux) to install on old PC
    $ 86 New 2TB 5400 RPM WD RED NAS Grade Hard Disk for DVR

    $ 651.00 Total cost for new Hardware/Software

    Remember the old rabbit ears on top of your TV, or the outside TV Antenna your mom and dad had on the roof when you were a kid? Well, guess what? Since all of the TV Broadcasters were forced to switch to a Digital Signal Broadcasts from the old Analog Signal years ago, local Broadcast TV has gotten better than ever. I think we all know that using an outside or inside Over-The-Air Antenna will NOT give you the name brand cable channels like ESPN, CNN, CNBC, etc., but all of the Major Networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, MyTV, PBS, CW and many more are available for FREE, and broadcast a big, beautiful signal and picture right into your home! All you have to do is grab it!

    Years ago, you would have only been able to pick up the Big 3 or 4 TV stations, but today with Digital Broadcast TV, often, each of these channels have “Sub Channels”. For example, here in the Central Florida area, we have Channel 6.1 which is our local CBS Affiliate. This affiliate also broadcasts on Channel 6.2 Cozi TV, and 6.3 Decades TV.

    In total, I can pick up nearly 80 Digital Local Channels that are crystal clear and have a huge variety of content available.

    Unlike the old Analog signal TV of yesteryear, with digital broadcasts, the days of snowy pictures are pretty much gone. With Digital broadcasts, you generally get a beautiful High Definition Picture up to 1080P with full Dolby Digital Surround Sound, or nothing at all. On ocassion you may get some pixelation if your signal strength is right on the edge, but for the most part, its pretty rock solid. I’ve heard that about 80% of the shows people watch on Cable or Satellite are available as Local Broadcasts for FREE!

    By attaching two SiliconDust HDHomeRun Extend Dual Tuner network attached devices to my home network, (I could have gotten by with just one, but it’s nice to have extra capacity), I can watch all of my local stations on any device, and Record (DVR) anything I want on the Mythbuntu MythTV DVR I built from an old vintage PC. Playback is handled beautifuly on all devices using Kodi Free software which will run on just about any device you own. Additionally, I can DVR up to 4 primary channels at once with the ability to record many more “Extra” Subchannels off the primary Channel. For example, Channel 2 is 2.1 as the primary channel, but I can also record 2.2, 2.3, etc at the same time, so really the number of total channels I can record at once is only a limitation of my SD Tuners, Storage Capacity and power of the DVR Computer Hardware. I have recorded 6 channels at once (3 primary and 3 sub channels) on this old hardware and it actually did okay. Additionally, the MythTV software has the ability to go back and tag all of the commercials after the recording completes so later when you watch the show on Kodi, virtually all of the commercials are automatically skipped !!! Way Cool !!!

    So, how do you get your favorite Cable or Satellite Channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1 and 2, CNN, CNBC, DIY, etc…? Well, there are several new Content Providers available that you can subscribe to or get for free over the internet. A couple of the most popular ones are Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu for On Demand watching of Movies and TV shows. But for LIVE TV, you may want to look at Sling TV or Playstation Vue subscription services. I decided to subscribe to Playstation Vue for my service for a number of reasons including the ability to stream to 5 devices concurrently as well as Free Unlimited DVR Service in the Cloud. But in order to make it work well, you have to have a decent Internet Subscription.

    You MUST have an Internet Service with sufficient bandwidth AND Unlimited DATA (or a lot of Data usage available per month) at a reasonable cost. Lets face it, we’re trying to reduce costs here, and this is a key one. One important thing is to get an internet subscription with a Download Rate of at least 10 Megabits per second if you only intend to stream one HD Signal into your home from one of the several content providers out there. If you want to concurrently stream additional content to other devices, consider increasing your download speed by an additional 5 Megabits per second for each additional device that will be in use “Concurrently” to assure you have enough “Pipe” or data flow to satisify the need in your home.

    Of course, faster is better, but only to a point. Don’t buy 50 or 100 Megabit service unless you really need it because you will be simply be throwing money away by purchasing lots of unused capacity. I purchased 25 Megabit Download speed, and 5 Megabit Upload speed which is plenty fast enough to stream multiple High Definition TV Streams concurrently. My Plan also provides 1 Terrabyte of Data Download per month, so after my first month running mostly 1 TV streaming for a 5 – 7 hours per night, I’m using about 1/2 of a Terrabyte of Data per month. Internet Data is only used when surfing the web or watching TV using one of the Streaming TV Services. No Data is used when watching Local TV gathered by your Over the Air TV Antenna/HDHomeRun Tuners and local DVR PC.) I’m paying 29.99 Per month (Incl all taxes and fees) to my local cable provider for INTERNET ONLY service, and that rate is guaranteed for 12 months on a month to month basis, but with NO Contract!!! At the end of the 12 months, I’ll renegotiate for another year at the same or better price. I have been doing this for about 5 years now for my internet services. Several years ago, I purchased a Motorola SB6141 Cable Modem for about $60, and that saves me about $10 per month in Modem Rental Fees from the Cable Company. That simple purchase alone saves me over $120 per year!

    Getting a good Internet Deal will take some negotiation and a little backbone on your part, but you can do it. That’s right, you have to call your Internet Service Provider and get a better deal.

    If you can’t get what you want from the normal first level sales reps, you must ask for the “Customer Retention Department”. These folks have the authority to negotiate price and packages with you because they know that it costs a small fortune to acquire new customers, so it’s often in their best interest to retain you as a client, even if they have to do so at a little lower profit margin. However, BEFORE I call them, I usually login to the internet from my cell phone or my friends home who is using a DIFFERENT Internet Service Provider than I am, then surf on over to my ISP’s site to see what is being offered to “New Customers”. “New Customers” are those who have not had the service in their name in a few months…, like your spouse or mother… You get the idea. The “New Customer” prices are normally blocked out to you if you login from your home network because they don’t want you to see how much more your paying for your service than a brand new customer. Believe it or not, just like car insurance, the longer you stick with one Internet Service Provider or Cable TV or Satellite Company, the worse deal you get every year!! Shop every year for better deals and you’ll come out way ahead.

    So, just to review, my Internet Service costs exactly $29.99 per month for No Contract, 12 Month Guaranteed Rate “Internet Only” 25/5 Megabit service with a 1TB Download limit. My subscription to Playstation Vue Access Slim Pkg which provides 48 really good Cable Channels (No Crap Channels like with cable or satellite) and with No Contract and NO extra monthly fees costs EXACTLY $29.99 per month. I can change Channel Packages any time I wish, or just cancel and try something else. This is a Great Package https://www.playstation.com/en-us/network/vue/channels/

    Note: Playstation Vue may provide some or all of the Major Network Broadcast TV Channels in Major Cities like Chicago, Dallas, Miami, etc. These may include some of the Networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, etc, so check your zip code at the Playstation Vue site before you go spend money for an Antenna, SiliconDust HDHomeRun Tuners, etc as you may not need them to satisfy your local TV needs. The price for packages including Local Channels may be a few dollars more in your area.

    So to wrap it all up, I now have more “Quality” Channels to watch for about 1/3rd of the monthly cost of Satellite TV and I can change plans anytime I want to, and watch TV on any Device I own including PC’s, TV’s, Tablets, Cell Phones, etc.!!!! I also have access to tons of “On Demand” TV shows and Movies that I didn’t have access to via DirecTV.

    For the purpose of this project, I don’t count Internet Service Provider costs as part of my TV watching costs because I would be paying for the exact same Internet service whether I used it for TV or not, so while getting a great deal is important, and needed to make the switch, since I would buy it anyway, I don’t consider it as part of the total monthly TV Access costs in my comparison.

    Playstation Vue has been terriffic and I love that it has built in Cloud DVR with unlimited recording as well as the ability to run on nearly every device I own. It also has a TV Guide of sorts that looks out about 2 weeks into the future. They have a Client for Android, Windows, Apple devices and IOS devices, and continue to add more. They recently began streaming to select Web Browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome on Windows PC’s, however I have been unable to get streaming to work on any of my Linux PC’s using any browser. I suspect this may have something to do with DRM Licensing, but I’m still trying to figure that out. I can run up to 5 different Like a PS4, PS3, Amazon fire TV Boxes and Sticks, Android based TV devices, etc. Each Device can run PS Vue and all can watch a different live stream or DVR’d programs or what they call “Catch Up” programs or episodes.

    While there was some out of pocket expense for hardware, I will save enough to pay for it in less than a year! And, the monthly cost for TV is now only $29.99 vs my old Super Basic DirecTV package that cost over $90 per month. Oh yeah, and NO Contracts or Rental Fee’s ! On top of that, the Channel Selection on Playstation Vue is great! I now have ESPN, FS1, FS2, etc… Check it out!

    https://www.playstation.com/en-us/network/vue/channels/

    Final Comparison:
    Old Annual DirecTV Cost $1080 per year with increases each year!
    New Annual TV Cost is $359.88 per year for Playstation Vue Subscription

    1st year savings of $720.12 minus initial hardware costs of $651 gives me a savings of $69.12. However, the Savings in the 2nd year, and each and every year thereafter, at least $ 720.12 per year!!!

    Yep, I’m a Happy Camper for sure!

    My home phone is also Free through a service called Google Voice. I had to do some work to get my home landline phone number rolled over to it, (check youtube for how to do this), but it has been worth it. We have had Free Home Phone Service for many years now. It does require a little $99 Obihai box attached to your home internet router to accomplish it, but other than that its totally free to use. It has voice mail, voice to text service, conference calling, supports 2 phone numbers, Free calls to US and Canada, etc…

    Here is a link to the box
    https://www.obitalk.com/info/googlevoice

    Anyway, I digress…. LOL Check out Playstation Vue and see if that might fit the bill for your TV needs. I purchased the Amazon Fire TV Box for the livingroom TV (very robust and fast device) and the Fire TV Stick for the bedroom since its a little less powerfull and cheaper and will be used less.

    The Fire TV Box and Stick connect directly to my home Internet and the TV via HDMI Port, (If your TV is relatively new, most likely your cable box is using this same cable and port to connect to your TV’s) and are used to stream the TV from Playstation Vue to your TV. It has a nice easy to use remote and enough expansion capacity to run other programs on it like Kodi and other TV services.

    If you are currently, or become an Amazon Prime customer ($100 /yr) you get free 2 day shipping on most everything from Amazon.com and also free access to their huge library of streaming Movies, TV Shows and Music!

    • This is how it’s done! Congrats. And thanks for sharing your breakdown on how you’re getting more quality programs and channels while saving some serious cash.

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