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 in the bedroom. 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 like SyFy are on-demand only. I do love The Expanse on SyFy and the episodes are available, but not until the next day after live broadcast. That’s not a deal breaker for me, but it is an annoyance. I like that I still have access to provider apps like CNN, Fox Sports, AMC, TBS, TNT, etc. That was not true with Sling TV. It makes things easier to find for the Apple TV voice search features which seems unaware of the upgrade to Hulu Live.

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?

The Android TV interface on our 2015 Bravia in the living room is awful. It’s hard to tell the account was upgraded to Hulu Live. There I don’t see the channels I can view live. The accoEverything appears to be on demand only. Nearly the same as the app access I get with my Frontier TV account. I’d have to get another Apple TV to make this useful. The Adroid TV interface needs serious help.

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 don’t have issues with those with Netflix or Prime, 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. It also could be some other upstream issue.

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. I doubt I’d learn anythng new by going to that length. The idea of doing in-depth network analysis sucks the fun out of my time off.

Update:

I used Hulu TV again for a few month. We terminated it last week. The DVR & on-demand offerings just didn’t work 90% of the time. My wife loved “Only Murders in the Building,” but it simply would not play the huge majority of the time. I even switched internet providers, it did not help. I have a good quality internet connection +100mbps measured from our living room TV.

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