Hulu Live TV

I’ve been looking for an alternative to cable TV for some time. I want to be a cord cutter. I have no desire to rent cable boxes and pay for their overpriced DVR service indefinitely. I don’t want to pay for 300 channels of crap I never watch anyway. I want access to local TV, news networks, AMC, TBS, TNT, Comedy Central, Fox Sports, Food Network and few others.

I spent some time researching PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, Hulu Live TV & Direct TV. I’ve tried trials of Sling, Direct TV and now Hulu Live TV. None are really ready to be cable TV replacements without compromises. They have potential but fall short.

Hulu has a pretty nice interface on our 4th generation Apple TV. It automatically shuffles the channels around to show the last viewed ones near the top. Most of the ones I care about are shown live, but some are on-demand only. I like that I still have access to provider apps like CNN, Fox Sports, AMC, TBS, TNT. That was not true with Sling TV.

The problem for me is that the audio and video is often out of sync. This is to the point that it becomes unwatchable particularly for the first few minutes after changing to a channel. After 4 or 5 minutes it usually stabilizes. This is despite my house being fully wired with CAT5 Ethernet and Frontier 100 Mbps bidirectional fiber optic cable internet service. I can’t imagine how awful it would be on a slower connection. If my setup is slow, WFT do you need for it to work correctly?

We already were using Hulu for HBO Now. They had a special for $4.99 month. It’s a real bargain compared to Frontier cable’s $15 a month. HBO Now is also subject to drops and stuttering. Other on-demand apps perform correctly. We rarely have issues with those or Netflix, so I doubt if it’s something within my network. It appears that Hulu and HBO simply don’t have sufficient infrastructure to support the subscriber base.

I do speak from some knowledge of networks as a part of my work life. I suppose I could fire up Wireshark and capture the network stream from the cable modem ports. Since that’s something I need to do at work on a regular basis I find I simply don’t want to. The idea of doing in-depth network analysis sucks the fun out of my time off.

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