The past year has been all about getting digital for me and one of the key aspects of life that gets better when you go digital is the consumption of video content. I recently decided to “cut the cord”, get rid of my costly DTH subscription and go fully digital with streaming content. The key enabler in the implementation of that was the Amazon Fire TV Stick. Two of them to be precise. Let me tell you why and how I did that
I used to be a premium subscriber with the leading DTH (Satellite) provider with two QHD TVs subscribed to their top level HD content package. Initially I was very happy with it and even my neighbors were jealous of the unlimited content that we had access to at home. People used to drop in all the time and we had fun watching TV together. Having 55 inch QHD TVs helps a lot there. And then work started getting hectic and my son became a teenager.
The whole idea of being tied to a time in the day in front of the TV to watch something became outdated at home. I then started to work out the finances and figured out that I was paying a small fortune every year just to get access to video content. I then seriously thought about alternatives. There were just two options
- Going back to traditional cable TV : This is not even worth a consideration because HD content on conventional cable is a pipe dream and something that is rare and never reliable. The most irritating and infuriating part of conventional cable is that in India, someone else decides what content you can and can’t see. There have been instances where people had to travel to another locality to see something on TV that their cable operator didn’t care to give them
- Getting a more economical package with DTH: This sounds like a great idea at the outset, but then what happens is that the DTH companies very smartly keep modifying the packages to make more premium content excluded from them and then they make you pay to get the content. So in the long run, there really is no cost benefit and then there is the fun fact that whenever it gets cloudy or rainy, you can’t watch anything at home if you are on a satellite DTH.
Now that we got that out of the way, I started thinking seriously about moving to a streaming service full time. The key here is to get a device that does not tie one down to one platform and enables the freedom to pick and choose. If that device comes with a large enough media library that can be used, it will be a great plus. The other biggest factor is local availability and local support. On all these counts, the Amazon Fire TV stick is a winner. The additional fact that you can carry it when you move and all you need is a HDMI port and a strong WiFi made me decide to go for it.
Setup was done in a jiffy
Something is Always On
Then there were two other things I did
- Got separate Amazon Prime Accounts and Fire TV Sticks for me and my son. That way, we can stick to what we like to stream and not mess up each others playlist and history
- Got annual subscriptions to three of my favorite streaming apps (with a healthy mix of US, Indian and South Indian content)
I then did the math and saw that the total cost for all this was still less than 50% of what I used to shell out for my satellite DTH subscription on an annual basis. Fire TV Stick itself costs only Rs 3,999/- and The prime subscription is Rs 999/- a year
There were a few other side benefits to this.
- The ability to sideload any android app
- Guests at home could choose a room with “young”content or one with more “mellow”content without much fuss
- Rainy days did not mean the end of TV for us
- We were no longer tied to timings to watch our favorite shows
But please remember that a strong WiFi with at least 4 Mbps is recommended by Amazon. If that is there, then you are cool. We are now a fully Fire entertained family and I do not see us going back to traditional cable or even DTH after this at all.
Give it a try at home and I assure you that you will not regret it. Let me know what you think.