TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

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Mike Gebert
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TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:02 am

I pay an ungodly amount for cable internet phone whatever. The cable is full of things I never watch, the internet gets slower and slower, the landline exists only so I can not answer calls from Unknown Name and J.B. Pritzker's campaign for Illinois governor. And meanwhile we keep adding other things like Netflix and Amazon Prime and HBO Go.

In short, I am the very definition of someone who should be cutting the cable to cable. But... I have to have TCM.

There are various ways I can knock my cable bill down by switching to my only other highspeed internet choice (RCN Chicago) and getting rid of as much cable and the landline. The price will go down and the speed will go up, in theory. But I seem stuck at a base price of $75 a month:

• RCN Signature Internet/Cable Package that includes TCM, $75

• RCN High Speed Internet, $35, plus Sling or Direct TV Now or some other thing that has TCM on it, around $70-75

Either way I have to pay for a boatload of other channels. The other choice, it seems to me, is to go pure internet, and subscribe to Filmstruck and get all that Criterion and TCM sweetness. But I know that Filmstruck's TCM does not duplicate the channel, it offers selections from the channel. Am I going to be satisfied with that, or will I be bitterly regretting not being able to see really obscure weird stuff they squeeze in? Any Filmstruck users have any insight into this dreadful dilemma I face?
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by R Michael Pyle » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:16 am

I'm in the same predicament, Mike, and I'll wager that at least three-quarters of those who are on this site have the same problem(s) exactly!

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Bob Furem » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:29 am

R Michael Pyle wrote:I'm in the same predicament, Mike, and I'll wager that at least three-quarters of those who are on this site have the same problem(s) exactly!

yup

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by s.w.a.c. » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:03 pm

Same here. Without TCM, I'd have no problem dumping cable.
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by boblipton » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:21 pm

s.w.a.c. wrote:Same here. Without TCM, I'd have no problem dumping cable.
Without Jim Cramer on CNBC, I’d have no one to shout at it the morning.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by mwalls » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:47 pm

I kept Directv for a long time to keep TCM and the ability to DVR. I would watch something else every now and then but in the end it was $125 a month for a channel. I had the internet anyway for the computer and some streaming so that was already a sunk cost.

I cut the cord. I have not had Directv for over a year and have not missed it one bit. I went with SlingTV for the $25 base plus $5 extra to get TCM and DVR capability. I pay $32 a month for everything including tax. I do not have a home phone and just use my cell phone and I also don’t miss the home phone. So, in the end I still get TCM and now save about $100 a month. Fast forward the year since I cut the cord and I have saved over $1,000. As an aside I just did resubscribe to Filmstruck because it added a great deal more classic TCM type films than it had previously. Even with that I am still way ahead money wise.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by missdupont » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:08 pm

AS many have posted here, many libraries provide access to Kanopy with a library card, like the City of Los Angeles. It has access to the Criterion Collection. Perhaps Chicago does too.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by MaryGH » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:22 pm

TCM was pretty much the only channel DH and I had to consider when we cut cable back in 2008.

I think because of my penchant to collect DVD's of favorite movies/actors, plus watching films online, it wasn't too much of a problem.

And the money we saved!

Nothing like rechanneling entertainment expenses.
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:27 pm

mwalls wrote:I went with SlingTV for the $25 base plus $5 extra to get TCM and DVR capability. I pay $32 a month for everything including tax.
But what do you pay for internet? That's basically what I'm looking at-- any package is about $30-35 for TCM and stuff but on top of about $35 for internet. The only way to get it down from $70-ish a month is internet and Filmstruck, but then I'm not really getting TCM.

The other dealbreaker for my wife might be our local PBS affiliate, or at least some PBS station... in theory I should be able to get that over the air but honestly, that seems like a lot of tech support showing her how to get it every time Call the Midwife or Midsomer Murders has a new season. How do people get a local station, typically?
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by mwalls » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:54 pm

Mike Gebert wrote:
mwalls wrote:I went with SlingTV for the $25 base plus $5 extra to get TCM and DVR capability. I pay $32 a month for everything including tax.
But what do you pay for internet? That's basically what I'm looking at-- any package is about $30-35 for TCM and stuff but on top of about $35 for internet. The only way to get it down from $70-ish a month is internet and Filmstruck, but then I'm not really getting TCM.
I pay $50 per month for the internet with Spectrum (Time Warner). That is for a lot of speed because my son does gaming plus I have a bunch of devices in the house pulling on the data. In my case I pay for internet either way so for me the internet cost is a non-factor.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by oldposterho » Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:44 pm

I actually still only use over the air after a brief stint with cable and TCM (sigh...) in the '90s, mostly for our comically inept local news. I do pay for top o' the line internet speed, but honest to dog, I don't miss cable at all (although further heavy sighs ensue after hearing you lot mention what you're watching on TCM...). It's amazing what is available on line, particularly from PBS.org, and most of my watching now is done via USB downloads or YT through my BD player with occasional Netflixing.

I have been contemplating Filmstruck as well and am following this discussion closely. I'm a cheap bastid though and it will take some convincing.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:03 pm

In my case I pay for internet either way so for me the internet cost is a non-factor.
Yeah, me too, I'm just trying to look at it as a total cost package. So far internet plus RCN's TV package that has TCM, and internet with a different TV package that has TCM, are basically the same. The only thing that's significantly less is getting TCM-ish via Filmstruck. I'd probably get that anyway ($10-ish for Criterion and TCM stuff) but if I really want TCM, looks like I have to double up on it-- a TV package that includes it, plus Filmstruck.

Does anyone get Filmstruck alone, no regular version of TCM? How do you feel about it?
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by MoviecollectorOH » Wed Jun 13, 2018 4:12 pm

I'm in the same camp as some of the first posters. There may be cheaper ways to get movies, but as a Directv subscriber I hold out for the rare and offbeat. Outside of some History channel stuff, and possibly one or two other similar channels occasionally, TCM is really the only TV channel I watch. Even then, some shows from these other channels are syndicated on local subchannels, so a friend tell me. TCM is indeed the pillar that keeps me paying for the junkyard that is Pay TV. :lol:

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Paul Penna » Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:10 pm

Mike Gebert wrote: The other dealbreaker for my wife might be our local PBS affiliate, or at least some PBS station... in theory I should be able to get that over the air but honestly, that seems like a lot of tech support showing her how to get it every time Call the Midwife or Midsomer Murders has a new season. How do people get a local station, typically?
PBS has a streaming service - I get it via my Apple TV box, but it's on Roku as well - there's no extra charge but you have to catch new things within the free period. After a couple weeks things go into their "Passport" service and are accessible only if you're a member of a local station and perhaps have to pay an additional fee on top of that - I can't find a definitive statement about the latter. Right now I'm paying close attention to catching the new season of Endeavour before it slips out of freebie land.

I haven't had any regular TV service, cable or dish, for over ten years, so I can't address the no-TCM situation directly. But I fell into the Filmstruck/Criterion package when Warner Archive Instant folded and I got my paid-up period credited to them.

I have to say I've been astonished by how much Criterion Collection material is available, usually with supplements and audio commentary. I've finally gotten around to watching so much Essential Cinema that you'd think I should have seen decades ago that I'm embarrassed to admit it, much less disclose the titles. I will say I went on a Guitry binge.

As for what usually shows up on TCM, all I can say it that major additions are made every week, and often things recently or still on the current TCM rotation, as a friend who gets TCM has pointed out. There's a lot that's there, and of course it's play on demand rather than scheduled.

Bottom line is that in the couple of months I've had Filmstruck/CC I've been watching A WHOLE LOT MORE movies than has been the case in a long, long time.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by brendangcarroll » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:32 am

How happy we British are.....we have NONE of these choices and TCM Europe really SUCKS....so we save an absolute fortune!!! :lol:
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:55 pm

So phase one of the plan has been initiated: we installed a Roku device (Stick Plus or something) and ordered Filmstruck, already having Netflix and Amazon.

Phase two will come Tuesday, when RCN installs higher speed internet and we say goodbye to AT&T cable, AT&T slow internet, and an AT&T landline which exists solely for the convenience of telemarketers whose calls we never answer, and Illinois gubernatorial candidates (I understood the Pritzkers to have considerable money of their own, not sure why J.B. needs some of mine).

To celebrate, we watched Sunset Boulevard on Filmstruck. Even with current slow internet, the experience was comparable to watching a very good DVD. I think blu-ray is a little better, but the operative word, it seems, is little. Almost no technical issues—starting up again after pausing we had a brief moment, 20 sec. or so, where the frame rate perceptibly dropped, producing a slight strobe effect. If you were watching Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express, available on Filmstruck, you'd never notice it because of the strobe effect it already has.

The bill at present looks like:

• Internet, $45/mo.
• Amazon Prime, equivalent of $8.50/mo.
• Netflix, $13.99/mo.
• Filmstruck, $10.99/mo. (but you can pay for a full year, dropping it to equivalent of $8.50/mo.)

So that's about $76. Wife wants HBO so that may go up, though apparently it's cheaper if you get it through Amazon Prime. She's considering BritBox as well. Still, that's up to only around $100.

What might really jack it up is if we decide we gotta have live TV with TCM and other channels. Honestly, almost all cable channels I can do without. But my wife likes watching the Tour de France and such. Looks like the best deal is Sling Blue, which gives you TCM and NBC sports and a bunch of other channels for $30 a month. I'm torn on this. Objectively it's hard to justify just because there might be something on TCM not available through Filmstruck. On the other hand, there might be something on TCM not available through Filmstruck.

Anyway, even if the price starts to get closer to current cable and phone and internet costs combined— at present around $200/mo.— because we have no self-control when it comes to which services to choose... it's still at least a little less for service which is much more tailored to my personal desires. It sure seems hard not to see that as the future, compared to current cable where I am forced to pay literally a couple of bucks a month to ESPN, which I have never watched anything on, ever, in my life, other than while sitting at a bar, pretending to be paying attention while in reality eavesdropping on everyone else's conversations.

More to follow...
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by westegg » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:20 am

Not to pun, but I'm sort of lost in the Amazon. As in jungle. I have Verizon Fios for phone, net and cable. Triple Play I think it's called, or Triple Pay as it should be called. I'm too embarrassed to say what it costs every month. Of the 5 million channels I get, quite honestly I only watch less than a dozen regularly, including TCM.

I'd sure like to shake it up a bit, but I'm a bit overwhelmed. Roku sounds interesting; I'm a bit slow catching up with these things, ever since I upgraded from a crystal radio.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by mwalls » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:44 am

westegg wrote:Not to pun, but I'm sort of lost in the Amazon. As in jungle. I have Verizon Fios for phone, net and cable. Triple Play I think it's called, or Triple Pay as it should be called. I'm too embarrassed to say what it costs every month. Of the 5 million channels I get, quite honestly I only watch less than a dozen regularly, including TCM.

I'd sure like to shake it up a bit, but I'm a bit overwhelmed. Roku sounds interesting; I'm a bit slow catching up with these things, ever since I upgraded from a crystal radio.
I have several Roku devices in the house and one of the reasons I like them so much is their ease of use. I have Sling Blue with the Hollywood Extra to give me my TCM. I do not miss the hefty amount I used to pay to Directv to essentially watch a handful of channels. I have resubscribed to Filmstruck and am curious to see if with both that and TCM if there is overlap and that I only need one.

Mike, congratulations on cutting the cord. When I did, and I know some others who have done so, there is a degree of actual anxiety with cutting what you have become used to as your primary television source. It passes quickly though. One way to ease into it is to subscribe to Sling for the free week they give you while still having your regular service. Tell yourself that during the week you will only use Sling. If you find during the week that you are fine with Sling, it makes it easier to jettison the cable box.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Rick Lanham » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:42 pm

You can apparently get TCM as one of 30 channels on ATT's new streaming service.
It's $15 a month, but free for people with certain phone plans.

https://bgr.com/2018/06/29/att-watch-vs ... vice-2018/" target="_blank

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:08 pm

For a while it seemed like none of the devices like Roku, Amazon Fire, etc. was quite universal-- there was always something you couldn't get on a particular one. By now that's mostly been fixed and we looked at the Roku Streaming Stick+ and the Amazon FireStick. They're very similar in features but Roku's had several things we liked best-- the interface seemed clean, each service's app is separate so you can go straight to what you want, and it's more service-agnostic, so if you search for a movie and it's on several services you have, it shows you the free one first, where Amazon shows you the Amazon one first. And basically, I didn't need to help Amazon be in charge of everything; it seemed worth it to favor an underdog.
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by realist » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:30 pm

I tried Filmstruck for their 14 day free trial and liked it a lot. They were featuring a Godzilla Collection and my son is huge fan, so we enjoyed watching some truly "bad there's so good" films one night. Beside this highbrow entertainment, I was able to enjoy 3 versions of Orson Wells "Mr. Arkadin" (which also contained a commentary track). Between the TCM selections and The Criterion Collection there are some great classics to choose from. They change the selection of films quite often, so there's always something new to discover. Reading this thread has made me decide to subscribe again ($99.00 for one year). I don't have cable TV, but my internet is costing about $50.00 a month. I could go with Sling TV + TCM for $30.00 month ($360 for the year), but frankly, I just don't want the bother of scanning the TCM program guide and then setting up the "box" to record. I stream all my channels on a ROKU device. Just my 2 cents...

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:25 am

So it turns it I was underestimating how much I was paying. Between internet, cable, land line and all the taxes in Illinois, it was $260 a month. Right now, as soon as we get RCN and have the services we have, it will be quite a bit less than half that. Looking at the bill was quite revealing-- for instance, we get 250 free minutes with the landline and last month we used... 3.
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by wich2 » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:59 am

The Suits told Congress, "Give us the increased Bandwidth - and we'll give customers the 'choose your own menu' option that we've promised ever since Pay TV began!"

THEY LIED.

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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Donald Binks » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:52 pm

We have PAY-TV in Oz. The people who send it out have the technology to be able to bespoke the channels you actually wish to receive, but, do they do it? No! They give one the choice of packages which include one channel you would like and about 15 you wouldn't look at in a month of Sundays. It is not cheap either and one is locked into contracts to take the service on for a length of time. I had it for a while and then terminated it when I had (a) seen all of TCM Asia's repertoire and (b) my contract period had expired.

I have gone back to getting my television off the ether, which one would have thought should have improved since the advent of digital broadcasting and the plethora of extra channels created. What has happened there is that the networks now have one "good" channel - and four that are rubbish.

I worked it out - that the cost of paying anything to be received either on the television or the computer would cost me far more in the long run than the occasional DVD. As it is I pay $85 a month to get ADSL Broadband which comes with a landline telephone I have to have and don't use. Thank God we no longer have to pay a licence fee to receive broadcasts on the television or the wireless - I'd go bankrupt!
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Mike Gebert » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:05 pm

Phase 2 is complete. RCN was a real pleasure to deal with and they gave me a bunch of freebies as a new customer, the guy showed up in the first ten minutes of his 2-hour window and he got it done in 90 minutes. AT&T was pretty decent about canceling though I answering my security question ("What is your favorite restaurant?") forced me to try to figure what it would have been back when I first got their service; the answer was a place that's been closed since 2010.

Final tally: Faster internet, no cable but lots of services far closer to my actual wants, no useless landline, final bill somewhere around 40% of what it was.
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Re: TCM via cable vs. Filmstruck

Unread post by Roseha » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:21 pm

Mike it looks like you have your needs met, but just to contribute in general, I dropped cable in February and am now using YouTubeTV, which has a great variety of channels including TCM. I got it at $35 a month, no fees added (I think it’s now $40) and my grandfathered Spectrum internet is $41.95. As I’m in New York I also get many channels over the air which I can record with a Tivo. I ended up canceling Netflix and Hulu since I have more than I can watch anyway. I have kept Fandor who have a lot of silents though. Certainly it’s a great savings from my previous $125 or so cable and internet bill.
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