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Amazon Fire Stick for TV


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We are evaluating our monthly cost of watching television. We currently pay Direct TV about $103 monthly for a plethora of stations that we don't even begin to watch. What we do watch are the Big Four broadcast stations, Turner TV, National Geographic, along with Lifetime TV and Inspire. Additionally, we enjoy CNN and Fox for the news. What I would appreciate hearing from you is your experiences and opinions on using the Amazon Firestick in lieu of satellite TV. Is using Netflix and Hulu worthwhile? How would we best receive the over the air channels? We are full-timers who travel roughly half time while enjoying the remainder at our homebase at the SKP Park, Jojoba Hills in Aguanga, CA.

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Also cut the cable.

Use the TV antenna for the networks when they are available. Free.

Use Roku. They claim to have access to over 2,000 channels. Much like cable TV, there are only a handful we have any interest in. Free once you buy the Roku hardware.

We have Amazon Prime so the monthly cost to watch most of the Amazon content is zero. Once you purchase the hardware. Of course there is an annual membership fee of $99.

Wife really likes Netflix. Access through Roku. $8/month

Tried Sling TV. $20/month. Not much interest to us but that's just us.

https://www.sling.com/?mkwid=ss7y8LkOx%7Cpcrid%7C57058500017%7Cpkw%7Csling%20tv%7Cpmt%7Ce%7Cpdv%7Ct&cvosrc=ppc.google.sling%20tv&cvo_crid=57058500017&matchtype=e&gclid=CLTp7-uUx8UCFQopaQodUFUAGA

 

Total monthly TV cost. $8 plus the annual Amazon Prime fee of $99.

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Don't all these work through the Internet? How much data do you use each month watching TV by downloading, or streaming, the programs you watch? For as much TV as we watch, I can't imagine we could do so on our 10GB per month!

 

And do you have to have a smart TV to use these devices?

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Background:

Have Verizon with the grandfathered unlimited data plan.

Samsung Galaxy 4

Amazon Prime member

Amazon Fire Stick

Avid user of BitTorrent for EZTV (normal TV shows, no advertising) I will not watch a show that contains advertising in the middle of the show. If the advertising is lumped at the beginning then none during the show I'll watch but interrupt the show and you've lost my business (hear me Hulu ??).

 

For streaming video off a cell phone, 4G is a must and I've still run into some buffering at times. Unlimited data means we don't have to worry about hotspot activity BUT, there are places we hangout at that don't have cell service or 3G at best. So...

 

When at a campground with a solid wifi I will set up BitTorrent to download our favorite shows and build up a bank so when no service we'll have them locally. With the same wifi conditions, Prime Video (fire stick) will allow us to watch a free movie or two (I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to pay an additional fee for a movie or TV Show. If its not free under my subscription, I will wait until it is; there are gobs of movies out there.

 

Note, will still get buffering, and streaming is still pretty tough at packed campgrounds when the wifi is tapped out.

 

Costs: $99/year for Amazon Prime - note, this pays for itself in about 4 months due to the free shipping, free music and free video. Cell is no cost other than the basic hookup. I estimate our data usage between 10-30gb/month if the weather is bad; much less when weather is good or the fish biting. Figure 1gb for a quality HD movie, 700mb for a standard one. 1 hour TV shows without advertising run between 215 to 350mb depending on resolution and compression. I lean heavily to MP4/DIVX for quality/size.

 

Lastly, all of this requires an internet connection of one type or another. We don't have a dish, don't hook up to cable and our antenna reception is marginal at best.

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We also winter at JJH in Aguanga. We pay for the wifi while we are there and download the shows from Amazon to watch while we are on the road. We are Amazon Prime members so we download a lot of the "free" programs in addition to our favorite ones that we have to pay for. We download the programs onto our Kindle Fires. That saves us a lot of money. We make up for that savings by paying for a lot of Verizon data while we are on the road. We don't have the benefit of an unlimited plan.

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My experience is, on the technology side, non-homebase wifi doesn't make for a real good viewing experience. While we've had success in watching something uninteruppted, in even in those parks where there is a reasonable connection you still get some buffering. We've got unlimited Verizon and there is lots of 4g out there but here I think my phone limits me - Samsung Stratosphere tends to drop the connection on PDAnet randomly. This hasn't been a big deal because on the content side, even as Prime members, there just isn't a lot we want to watch thats free.

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IF you have a relatively fast internet connection, NOT using campground wifi!, then it should work great. We're no longer full timing and living in a S&B now. Have a smart tv and using our Amazon Prime membership to stream and purchase a few "season passes" of shows we enjoy. Much better than satellite ever was. We don't watch sports so that is not an issue for us. We use an HDTV antenna to pick up local channels for other shows. But most of these are available on AP or other streaming services for a fee. The total fees for AP and season passes we watch are much less than 2 months of satellite fees.

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I estimate our data usage between 10-30gb/month

 

 

I don't have any idea how much TV you watch, but at 10-30 GB per month, that would put it out of the realm of possibility for us. We typically watch about 4 hours of TV a day...national news, Jeopardy, and 3 prime time hours. At home in the summertime, it's more, because I usually have the TV on during the day when I'm at my computer (although I'm not really *watching* it...it's just noise). I don't do that during the winter, though, when we're boondocking.

 

I think we'll stick with satellite TV.

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We have the Amazon Firestick and love it. We got tired of paying for garbage on DirecTV and now use over the air TV with an enhanced antenna and stream movies or TV series when nothing we like is on over the air. While in Quartzsite we used the Firestick thru our Verizon MiFi and it worked great since there is very little TV that you can grab in the desert. When we are in campgrounds with WiFi we find it works just as well. We have 20GB plan with Verizon and have yet to go over the plan usage.

 

 

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We have the Amazon Firestick and love it. We got tired of paying for garbage on DirecTV and now use over the air TV with an enhanced antenna and stream movies or TV series when nothing we like is on over the air. While in Quartzsite we used the Firestick thru our Verizon MiFi and it worked great since there is very little TV that you can grab in the desert. When we are in campgrounds with WiFi we find it works just as well. We have 20GB plan with Verizon and have yet to go over the plan usage.

 

 

How many movies can you stream and stay within the 20 GB? How much data does an average movie consume? Thanks.

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We have 20GB plan with Verizon and have yet to go over the plan usage.

 

 

 

How much TV do you watch during a month?

 

Another question: Can you get network TV programming when it's aired? For example, on Tuesdays, we watch NCIS. Can you watch NCIS on Tuesdays using a Firestick, or any of the other products being discussed here? Or do you have to wait until a later date to view a first-run network show? Are they even available?

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If you are streaming on Netflix, you can chose from three "speeds"

0.3 gigs per hour

0.7

3.0

 

At home we go with the fastest, 3.0. On the road the slowest 0.3. Saves lots of data and still gives a decent enough picture.

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If you are streaming on Netflix, you can chose from three "speeds"

0.3 gigs per hour

0.7

3.0

 

 

 

Y'all must not watch much TV! :P

 

I can see streaming a TV program here and there, but even at the lowest speed, we'd use ~36 GB per month at a minimum (.3 x 4 x 30). That's assuming, of course, that one can view network programming (ABC, CBS, etc.) using Netflix, Firestick, or the other products mentioned here.

 

I just checked Verizon's rates and *just* for 50 GBs per month (gotta have enough left over for surfin' ya' know!), it would cost $375! I don't come close to spending that kind of money between cell phone, data, and satellite TV now.

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I have looked and researched into this for the past 6 months. I'm going with Direct TV. It is reasonable and I can record up to 5 shows at a time. As I do not watch live TV. As watching TV by using data IS NOT COST EFFECTIVE.

 

Not to mention - if you're a heavy internet user (i.e., folks who use their coach internet for day jobs, etc.) - stream video over your data connection often causes contention issues affecting both. Our approach is DirecTV for video ... and Verizon Wireless for data.

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The answer is not the same for everyone. Even if you shout, data IS cost effective for some.

 

My hubby and I each have a Verizon smart phone, both with a grandfathered unlimited data account.So for ~$130/month, we have streaming video and unlimited Internet. Not sure how much satellite TV costs now but we're happy with our choice and not interested in a clunky TV setup. Hubby even threw away the receiver antenna that came on our bus to make room for another solar panel.

 

edited to add:

But we are very picky about what we watch. I don't use TV as background noise like some do. If hubby wants the TV on just for noise, he plays an OTA channel. We watch about an hour or two a day of streaming video.

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The answer is not the same for everyone. Even if you shout, data IS cost effective for some.

 

My hubby and I each have a Verizon smart phone, both with a grandfathered unlimited data account.So for ~$130/month, we have streaming video and unlimited Internet. Not sure how much satellite TV costs now but we're happy with our choice and not interested in a clunky TV setup. Hubby even threw away the receiver antenna that came on our bus to make room for another solar panel.

 

edited to add:

But we are very picky about what we watch. I don't use TV as background noise like some do. If hubby wants the TV on just for noise, he plays an OTA channel. We watch about an hour or two a day of streaming video.

I think the key April is you still have unlimited data. Many like ourselves do not

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There's no particular reason to use an Amazon Fire Stick for streaming; IMO a Roku is a more flexible solution. We've had a Roku 2 for 4 years for our front TV and last fall I purchased a Fire Stick for our new TV in the bedroom because I needed something extremely compact. Admittedly, I had the first software version and it's probably better now, but my Fire Stick would repeatedly freeze and have to be rebooted. Furthermore, there were far fewer channels available than there were for the Roku. I returned the Fire Stick and purchased a Roku Stick which perform better than my old Roku 2.

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