How can you cut the Cable cord while still providing the services that your guests expect? The answer: subscribe to a streaming service that looks like cable.
We are firm believers in suppling “cable tv” because there is still a major portion of population that does not carry around “streaming service passwords” and yes they may be on the older side.
So why I am I writing about this? Why not just pay for cable (Direct TV, Dish, Comcast etc)…
Well, it all started because at one of our cabins Dish stopped carrying the local channels and therefore the game was not available…We had upset guests and we were paying for “cable” that didn’t actually work. We are sports fans, so we get it, and this was a just not going to fly.
The other thing that happened at the same time was that our Direct TV DVR died after 10 years. I called Direct TV and expected they would just send new equipment… to my surprise that was not the case. It was a whole issue and of course required a charge.
At this point I figured we needed a change for both our STRs and our home. I researched a bunch of options but came back to Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV.
In this post, we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of both services and discuss which plan is best and why…
Advantages of Hulu Live TV
1. Wide variety of channels and a guide:
Hulu Live TV offers a wide variety of channels, including local networks, sports channels, and popular cable channels like ESPN and FX. The set up looks like a TV guide. Guests feel like they are just just watching regular TV.
2. Affordable pricing and bundling:
Hulu Live TV has a relatively affordable pricing plan when compared to cable TV and becomes attractive when purchased with the Disney Bundle. The Disney bundle includes (Hulu live TV, Disney Plus and ESPN Plus). It starts at $84.99 per month. It is a nice option to provide your guests with Disney Plus ready to go for the kids. The key is to send your guests clear instructions on how to access Hulu Live TV and ask them to not log out of the streaming services. We use a separate email per property and can change the password as needed. The same email and password works for the whole bundle. If you have to change the password, it changes it for Hulu Live TV, Disney Plus and ESPN +.
3. Unlimited screens:
For $9.99 you can have unlimited screens. This is a nice option for large STRs with more than 3 TVs.
4. No cable and no cable boxes:
You can mount a TV anywhere inside, or outside the house and have “cable” without the cords. You just need wifi.
5. On-demand content:
In addition to live television, Hulu Live TV also offers a wide selection of Hulu content for on-demand viewing.
6. DVR included:
Hulu Live TV includes a DVR service, which allows your guests to record live television and watch it at a later time.
7. Add-on options:
Hulu Live TV has a ton of add-on options, including HBO, Showtime, Sports packages, Spanish packages and more…
Disadvantages of Hulu Live TV
Hulu Live TV is only available in certain areas of the United States, so it may not be an option for everyone.
2. Location dependent:
Unfortunately, Hulu Live TV is trying to be like cable companies. Part of the set up requires that you set a home location. You, your handy man, or cleaning crew can do this during the initial login. It involves logging into the TV and setting the home location. Sometimes you may need to use a browser on your phone or laptap (NOT the iphone app), to set the location. You will need one account per property. This works out well for individual STRs but this is also the reason why we chose YouTubeTV for our personal use… (see below)
3. Limited screens:
Hulu Live TV limits you to 2 screens unless you upgrade to the unlimited package.
4. Some locations may not carry NBC:
This is market dependent. With that said, we provide the Peacock app for $4.99. If offers a ton of sports, the olympics, and soccer. It is a nice bonus at a low cost.
Advantages of YouTube TV
1. Wide variety of channels and easy to use guide:
Like Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV offers a wide variety of channels, including local networks, sports channels, NFL Network and popular cable channels.
2. Unlimited DVR storage:
YouTube TV includes an unlimited DVR service. This service is pretty cool and allows you to easily set up DVR lists. It also offers a bunch of streaming options for popular shows. For example: the Walking Dead on AMC.
3. No cable and no cable boxes:
You can hang a TV anywhere inside, or outside the house and have “cable” without the cords. You just need wifi.
4. Multiple device support:
YouTube TV allows for streaming on THREE separate devices at once and is compatible with a wide range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs.
5. No location restrictions:
Unlike Hulu Live TV, the home restrictions are not as strict. YouTubeTV functions more like your typical streaming services while Hulu Live TV is more like a cable company. For example, Hulu Live TV limits the number of times you can move your “home” location to 4 times. So, if you spend time between two homes you would only be able to change locations 4 times in a year . In addition, you can not be logged in at multiple locations at the same time.
YouTubeTV is a more relaxed with this option:
With YouTubeTV, you set a home location which will be where your DVR is based and determines what can be recorded. The best example is sports. If you live in LA then the local football will be the Rams and Chargers. You can record these games because you designated LA as your home.
When you travel to another location, you login is as “traveling” and the feed will change to the local sports. For example, the Raiders will show up as the local feed if you went to Mammoth Lakes, CA.
In this case, you can watch the Raiders, but can not DVR the Raiders game because the home DVR has been designated to the LA feed.
A cool feature of YouTubeTV is that it allows you log in at two locations simultaneously. Lauren can be at home watching YouTubeTV and I can be in Mammoth watching YouTubeTV “traveling”. This is a great set up for those of you spend time between two homes. It essentially allows you to purchase ONE “cable streaming” service that can be used at multiple homes.
6. NFL Sunday Ticket:
YouTubeTV won the rights for NFL Sunday Ticket which used to be owned by Direct TV. I think this is a sign that YouTubeTV will be huge. DirectTV was able to provide the NFL a national market rather than have to deal with regional cable companies. YouTubeTV is the next level up because it is national and anyone with internet access can sign up… no satellite dishes required.
7. Add on options:
Similar to Hulu Live TV, there are additional add-on options available: including HBO, Showtime, Sports packages, Spanish packages and more…
Disadvantages of YouTube TV
1. Similar pricing to Hulu Live TV:
YouTube TV has a similar price point to Hulu Live TV but without the Hulu original content.
2. Limited screens:
YouTube TV limits you to 3 screens and does not allow for an unlimited screens options.
3. No bundle:
YouTubeTV does not have the Disney bundle so you do not get Disney plus, no Hulu content, and no ESPN plus.
Overall, both Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Hulu Live TV is a better fit for STRs
Hulu Live TV is a better fit for STRs because of the Unlimited screen option and the Disney Bundle (Hulu Live TV, Disney plus and ESPN Plus). Combining this with the Peacock app provides a full range of entertainment and covers most sports. The disadvantage of Hulu Live TV is that it is location specific (acting more like traditional cable) but this works well for STRs.
To make this work, you set up a separate account for each property. The price savings compared with regular cable was not much but it did allow us to offer Hulu live on all of our TVs, including areas where running cable was not possible. In addition, we added Disney plus, ESPN plus, Hulu content and Peacock for less than cable.
YouTube TV is the way to go for personal use
YouTube TV is the way to go for personal use, especially if you travel between properties. It allows you and your family members to be logged in at separate locations. It is like buying one cable option for multiple homes. In addition, YouTubeTV will have NFL Sunday ticket next year for all the football fans. The downside is that it allows for only three streaming devices per login.
This will work for most families but it is not ideal for Short-term rentals. As for the other streaming services most of us already have those ex. Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime etc. We cancelled our DirectTV and cable at another property and replaced both with one YouTubeTV subscription. We saved around $300/month with that one change.
There are other cable streaming options available but we think these are working out well. Hope this helps you with cutting the cord.
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