Streaming plan for Coupe Family

Note: this page contains Amazon affiliate links.  That means if you buy something using one of the links, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

I know that jumping into streaming can be really overwhelming. For a quick overview on how to use a Roku to stream TV, I made this video. Sorry for the poor production quality.

Now to get into the details. At the bottom of the page, there is a summary.

Internet

The first thing you’ll need to stream TV is a fast and reliable internet connection, especially since you work from home. Unfortunately, there are only 2 internet providers for Northfield, AT&T and Comcast/Xfinity. I would suggest that when you move, you completely cancel your service with AT&T. That way, you will be able to take advantage of new customer pricing at your new house.

There are 3 things that take up the most internet bandwidth: online gaming, video conferencing and 4K Streaming. HD streaming comes in 4th place but much below streaming 4K. Depending on whether or not you use video conferencing for work and if you have 4K TVs, I would suggest between 100-200 mbps for your home internet. We have a 100 mbps plan from Xfinity and our internet speeds are typically 100-125 mbps.

I quickly checked AT&T online and they are only offering a 50 mbps internet only plan. I find this surprising. I think that if you call them, they should have other internet only plans available.

Here are the current rates for new Xfinity customers (for one year):

  • 100 mbps – $40/month
  • 200 mbps – $50/month
  • 300 mbps – $60/month
  • 600 mbps – $70/month
  • 1gb (1000mbps) – $80/month

Rates typically double after the first year.

Modems and Routers

Modem: brings the internet into your home, devices need to be plugged into it

Router: connects to the modem with a cord, puts out a WiFi signal

Modem/Router combinations are also available, we use one at our house. When choosing a modem (or a modem/router combo) you need to make sure that it is compatible with your internet service. I suggest choosing an internet provider before a modem.

The 2 advantages of owning your own modem are: 1) saving money, you’re not paying to rent equipment and 2) having control over the quality of your equipment

I have had a lot of trouble finding modems that are compatible with AT&T. I talked to one of my friends that has AT&T Uverse and she said that they routinely upgrade their modem every few years. So, getting a modem from AT&T might not be the worst idea, since they will upgrade as new tech becomes available.

There are many more modems that are compatible with Comcast/Xfinity. For the best/fastest speed, look for 32×8. That’s 32 download and 8 upload. Here are my recommendations:

Modem: Netgear CM700 (compatible with Xfinity, not AT&T)

Router: TP-Link Archer C2300

Modem/Router combo: ARRIS SURFboard SBG7600AC2 (this is the newer model of what I use at my house) Compatible with Xfinity, not AT&T

Streaming Devices or Streaming Players

I highly recommend Roku as a streaming device. Even if your TVs are Smart TVs, I still recommend getting a Roku for each TV. Smart TVs work great but they are made by TV companies. They sell you a TV and that is the end of the transaction. Roku is a tech company, they are committed to giving you the best user experience. Their tech is constantly upgraded and they want to keep you happy so you keep using their products. There is no monthly fee for Roku.

Roku allows you to download apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Disney +, etc. All of your streaming subscriptions are in one place and easy to access from the home screen.

There are lots of different Roku models. Here are the ones I recommend.

Main TV: Roku Ultra – this is the most expensive Roku model. I recommend this one for your main TV, only if it is close enough to your modem to be plugged in with an Ethernet cord. Using an Ethernet cord will give you the fastest and most reliable connection to the internet. The Roku Ultra can also connect to the internet via WiFi.

Other TVs: Roku Streaming Stick or for 4K TVs Roku Streaming Stick + these 2 models connect to the internet via wireless connection. The only difference is that the Streaming Stick + can broadcast in 4K.

Streaming Services

The next choice is what streaming service (or services) you want to subscribe to. There will be a live TV guide (like cable). You can watch TV live (as it airs) or On Demand or on the DVR, if you record it.

This is the most complicated part, but also the easiest to change. Most streaming services have a one week free trial. After that, they are billed monthly. So even if you end up not liking a certain service, you can change it after a month (just make sure to cancel before that month is up to avoid being charged for another month!).

One issue that I’m running into is Nick Jr. It is available on Sling TV and Philo. However, these two services don’t have the sports channels that you need.

Disney + has all of the shows from the Disney channel, plus more!

Option 1: YouTubeTV – $50/month

YouTubeTV is the streaming service that we use and are very very happy with. It has all the sports channels you will need to watch golf, NCAA basketball, NFL and the NBA. It includes local channels ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.

It does not have Nick Jr. It does have the Disney Channel.

I really like the interface of YouTubeTV. The one downside is that it does not have channel numbers. This is the case with all streaming services.

Until 3/15, YouTubeTV is offering a 2 week free trial. Normally, they offer a 1 week free trial.

Option 1B: Add Philo or Sling for Nick Jr.

To gain Nick Jr. content you can add a second streaming subscription.

Philo: $20/month

Sling: Sling Blue package: $20 for your first month, $30/month after that

Option 1C: Buy shows or episodes on Amazon Prime

Depending on what shows your kids like, you could purchase seasons of their favorite Nick Jr Shows on Amazon Prime. This would probably be the most cost effective option.

Option 2: Hulu Live – $55/month

Hulu Live also has all of the sports channels you need to watch NCAA basketball, NFL and Golf. It has local channels as well. Don’t confuse this with (regular) Hulu that is $6/month. Regular Hulu will not get you live TV or sports!

It does not have Nick Jr. It does have the Disney Channel.

Personally, I don’t like the interface of Hulu Live. I find it confusing and hard to find upcoming shows. It does have a 1 week free trial, so it’s worth checking out!

Option 2B: Add Philo or Sling for Nick Jr.

To gain Nick Jr. content you can add a second streaming subscription.

Philo: $20/month

Sling: Sling Blue package: $20 for your first month, $30/month after that

Option 2C: Buy shows or episodes on Amazon Prime

Depending on what shows your kids like, you could purchase seasons of their favorite Nick Jr Shows on Amazon Prime. This would probably be the most cost effective option.

Other Apps

When you look at the Roku app store, there are apps for virtually every single channel out there. You don’t need them! Don’t let it get overwhelming. These apps require a cable or streaming provider log in. You won’t be able to view content unless your cable package or streaming package includes that specific channel. If your streaming package includes that channel anyway, then the content is redundant.

For the following apps, there are several ways to subscribe. They are all the same price. You can subscribe using your Roku account, Amazon Prime (for some) or subscribe straight from the app. The only difference is where they are billed from. If you subscribe to HBO via Amazon Prime app, it is billed to your Amazon account. I tend to subscribe straight from the app, I find that’s the easiest way for me to keep things straight.

ESPN+ – $5/month – I would not bother downloading or subscribing to this unless you find that you need it. There was one football game this fall that aired only on the app (I can’t remember which one) so we signed up for the free 1 week trial then cancelled.

HBO Now: $15/month – Very easy to subscribe and unsubscribe using the app on Roku and your smart phone. I recommend subscribing when the show you like is airing, then unsubscribe when it’s done.

Showtime: $11/month – Same as HBO Now, very easy to subscribe and unsubscribe using the app on Roku and your smart phone. I recommend subscribing when the show you like is airing, then unsubscribe when it’s done.

Disney+: free for one year with your Verizon account

Netflix

Amazon Prime

PBS Kids: Free (limited content, usually only 2-3 episodes available per show but there are a lot of shows!)

Antenna

I don’t think you will need an antenna. The streaming packages that I recommended have local channels, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.

Ease into it

It is easy to ease into streaming without cancelling your cable just yet. You can buy a Roku (or check one out from the library, Glenview has them!) and start getting used to it. Download Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, log into your accounts and see how it works. You can download some of the streaming services and sign up for a free trial. You can cancel your free trial almost immediately and still have access for the entire week.

This definitely isn’t a required step, but it’s a nice option to have. There is a learning curve with streaming. My kids have adapted really well. We cancelled cable 3 years ago and haven’t looked back! My (now) 3 year old mastered the Roku when he was 1 1/2 (I’m not sure if I should be horrified or proud of that, but it does go to show that it’s relatively easy).

Summary

I hope all of this was helpful and not too overwhelming! Please feel free to email me with any other questions you might have. We can also follow up with a meeting or phone call!