We recently tried Fubo TV, a streaming service. They offered a free 7-day trail. We were interested because we have been having troubles with YouTube TV, the streaming service we use in lieu of cable TV. Both carry a full set of channels (ABC/NBC/CBS and the usual cable channels). In the end, we decided to remain with YouTube TV for now.
Our biggest complaint against YouTube TV (YTTV) is that it often freezes and locks up the TV. This happens when we rewind and then try to start again, such as when we missed something and want to review it. Sometimes we can turn it off and back on with the remote and it will be okay, but other times the TV is so frozen that it won’t even respond to the on off button. When that happens my wife or I have to get up and unplug the TV, wait a full minute for the capacitors to drain, and then replug it. This is obviously a serious annoyance. Occasionaly YTTV won’t even play at all. I’ve complained repeatedly to YTTV support but got no help. So that’s why we tried Fubo.
I’m happy to say that Fubo did not have that problem. We could rewind and then play without a problem. The interface is also more intuitive and easier to navigate than YTTV. But there were a few difficulties with Fubo not present with YTTV. The biggest one – in fact the deal killer – was that it doesn’t support in-show closed captioning. In order to get closed captioning with Fubo you have to go to the TV’s settings and navigate to the Accommodations page and then to the captioning option and select on or off. If we always wanted captions on or always off, this wouldn’t be a problem, but there are shows we must have the on for, and others where they must be off, so we need to do this repeatedly. On my Samsung TV it takes 24 button pushes to make this change and then return to the show. 24! This not only is a big interruption, but for me it’s painful. I work the remote while my wife crochets, and I have arthritis in my thumbs. It literally hurts to do this. YTTV has captioning embedded in the app, so it’s only two clicks to turn it on or off.
Other significant differences include picture quality and ease of fast forwarding. Fubo’s picture was sometimes (not often) fuzzy, while YTTV did not have this problem. With YTTV when you fast forward the screen dims and there’s a progress bar at the bottom. As you move along the bar, a snapshot picture shows above the cursor so you know where you are and when to stop or go back. Fubo has a similar feature, but it only pops up on some shows and even then, only every few clicks, not every time. It’s much harder to find the exact spot you want with Fubo. Fubo also buffers for several seconds every time you fast forward or reverse. Things move faster with YTTV, With YTTV each click goes forward 15 seconds; with Fubo it’s 10 seconds. That means more painful pushes for my thumb on Fubo to go the same distance.
We’re still not entirely happy with YTTV and are looking for an alternative. I looked into Sling TV, but its only real advantage is a lower price. That comes with the absence of CBS, a channel we watch regularly. It also requires a special digital antenna. We live in a hilly area and don’t get good reception over the air (OTA) so I’m not going to take a chance on untested hardware that may or may not work, especially since one of our favorite channels is not included. The only other option out there that I know of is cable TV, but that had its problems, too, the biggest being twice the monthly cost or more for an equivalent package and a long-term contract. It also had a finicky DVR taking up counter space in our kitchen and not always working. YTTV and Fubo don’t require contracts and their recordings are done in the cloud. No hardware is required for them beyond normal household wi-fi.