I am trying to lower my Home Budget. I have cancelled my tv service and everyone is telling me that I should get an Amazon Fire Stick, NetFlix, Hulu, Roku or some such streaming device. I was thinking that I would just get the highest data package I could get and stream movies. Now that I've read through the Community on such practices I am discouraged that there is no data plan that is going to provide us with any sort of dependable tv watching. We watch mainly in the evenings which seems it is the most congested time of data useage. So, does anyone have any positive suggestions for me so that I can provide my family with dependable tv viewing? We live in a rural area where Hughesnet is the only choice we have for internet.
About the only thing I can suggest is looking into PlayOn Cloud, which records your streamed items to a cloud based DVR, then converts them to mp4 files, which you then download and watch on a device that can play mp4 files (many devices can today). There's no buffering while doing it this way, and you keep the files, unlike regular streaming. You can either download the files manually, or you can schedule the file downloads to a SmartPhone, if your phone has enough storage. But the phone is the necessity, as a Smartphone is required for the PlayOn Cloud app, which is how you schedule the items to be recorded. As well, you still have to have a subscription to the streaming service, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc. I use a cheap Tracfone Smartphone, and I've recorded from Netflix and HBO Go, which works fine, though the Netflix recordings tend to look better. I think it's the codecs they use.
PlayOn Cloud can utilize most of the popular streaming services of today. The service itself is free, but you buy credits, with each credit being for one recording, though I don't know if there is a time limit for each credit, as in whether a 3.5 hour movie, for example, might cost two credits instead of one. All of the TV show episodes and movies that I've downloaded have only used one credit for each, but I've not downloaded any really long movies. After the initial credits purchase, you tend to get emails on credit deals that are much better than the regular price.
It might be worth checking out. If you have a newer Smart TV, the TV itself may have an app that can play the mp4 files directly from a USB flash drive or external HDD. Or, you could play them on a Windows based computer (or other OS), and either cast wirelessly to the TV, or connect the computer to the TV with an HDMI cable, and use the computer to play the files on the TV like it's a second or alternate screen. I can do either, though I prefer playing them directly from an external HDD, as it holds a lot of files and it's easy.
Hope this helps.