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Subscription services that are worth it


Spaceman Spiff

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Can't go anywhere these days without seeing something that'll cost 10-15 bucks a month.  Everything from razors and household items to news services like Apple's News+ or sports coverage from The Athletic...10 bucks here, 5 bucks there...it adds up.  And it can get hard to make sense of what's good vs. what's crap.

 

So let's hear it, Tailgate.  What subscription services do you recommend and why?  

 

 

 

 

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This is a great idea for a thread.

 

I use and like:

 

Amazon Prime (cannot live without it)

Netflix and Hulu

Dollar shave club

The Washington Post

I have a subscription to CBS Sports/247 Sports' college sports pay site, mostly because ESPN doesn't cover non-powerhouses anymore and a friend of mine from college is the main writer for WVU.

Audible (I get a 1 year subscription for Xmas every year)

 

 

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Internet -- I use cable, wish there was a non sucky fiber option.

YouTubeTV - need it for the sports, their cloud DVR is awesome, except my World Cup recordings disappeared...

XBox Live Gold - its about $45 to $50 per year

Netflix - less and less movies. For those their physical disc service was always great

VPN - similar price to Xbox Live Gold

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Amazon Prime and Costco.

 

They both deliver groceries (Amazon through WholeFoods and InstaCart for Costco), so when I'm at work I can plan my meals for the night....and the delivery is free. Works out great and I don't waste money buying stuff ahead of time that I don't eat in time.

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NFL game pass. You watch all preseason games live. During the regular season you get the games when theyre over. There's breakdowns, hard knocks, America's game and many other football shows.

 

I'm not exactly sure how the exactly the regular season works yet cause this is my first year. But it's a lot of content for $99 a year.

 

This has allowed me to dump direct TV, which I never watched except for football. $99 a year sure beats $150 a month 

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I cancelled Netflix after finishing the last seasons of Stranger Things and Suburra. HBO is awful now....how the mightiest has fallen.

Amazon Prime and Great Courses Plus are the two I am sticking with.

 

Edit: Oh, and the Washington Post.

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I'm one of those dummies who pays for EVERYTHING. Full cable TV, Netflix, HULU, Prime, Sirius satellite radio. My media bills every month are through the roof. I've been counseled about narrowing but I can't help myself. I stay home a lot at night and I don't want to miss anything. 

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I add my vote for Amazon Prime too.  I use their music service as well.  I used to be subscribed to kindle unlimited too, but I found that I couldn't read fast enough to keep paying for it.  I've got tons of unread books already paid for anyway.

 

I might subscribe to audible too, but a lot of the books I've bought through kindle already have free audio formats that come with the purchase.

 

The UIs on the amazon video and music apps suck and don't have as many features as their competitors, but they're good enough for me.  The content and services are outstanding for the price.

 

I also like how easy it is to manage my subscription services through my Amazon account.  I've been starting and stopping various streaming services like HBO and Starz and PBS and CBS and Hulu based on when they release content through Amazon.  It makes it much easier to not forget about what you've subscribed to.

 

I add my vote for Costco too.  I don't think any one thing has improved my standard of living more than Costco, and it feels like you always make back the annual subscription fee in your first trip.

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Netflix

Amazon Prime

Apple Music

Gym

Wapo

Tivo Service 

 

Plus cable/internet.  Would love to pair down my TV options, but I also like the ability to say “Alexa, turn on the TV and then the TV comes on and it’s instantly playing whatever channel it was on last.”

 

The top 4-5 in my list are absolutely mandatory.

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Pandora for exposure to different music I didnt know I liked, been with them for a very long time.  That and Washington Post are the only ones worth it to me.

 

I'm this close to giving up netflix, if I do a search for Bruce Lee and nothing comes up, you are a useless video service to me, and stuff like this keeps happening.  I dont watch a lot of movies, jus have specific curiosities, so I'm about this close to going back all in to Kodi.  They are spreading out what I want to watch too much, it already reminds me of cable getting a whole package for one channel.

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The issue moving forward is if/when companies start providing content only on their streaming channel counterpart or vice versa.

 

Current example is CBS.  They reboot twilight zone, but only make it available on CBS all access. (I think they did that with the new Star Trek too, or was that a different network?).

 

Same with ESPN.  They sign a huge deal with UFC but 90% of the fight cards you have to subscribe to their streaming channel ESPN + to get them.

 

10 years ago, if you had a cable/satellite subscription and ESPN was in your paid subscription, it would include access to their streaming version at no extra charge.

 

The golden age of paying less for streaming content is rapidly coming to a close, and sooner than later you are either going to be subscribing to 20+ different streaming services, costing you close to what you were paying for cable/satellite in the first place, or you are going to be constantly playing streaming channel roulette at the end of every month trying to figure out which ones you can cancel and/or re-subscribe to based on which specific shows are premiering that upcoming month.

 

Now the double-whammy in all of this is that this doesn't take into account the cost of the internet itself, because as mainstream consumers start converting more and more to a majority of content through their internet, you better believe these ISPs are going to get more creative (devious) in how they price structure and set data caps and all that kind of stuff in order to maximize profits.  

 

I am a bit lucky at the moment because I am grandfathered into a plan with U-verse, bundled with DTV that includes unlimited amounts of data. The plan is no longer even offered, and as soon as I decide to upgrade or modify my plan, I know they are going to tell me that it will take the unlimited data part of it out of the equation.  I have been on the cusp of just cancelling DTV all together and just bite the bullet on the willingness to pay more for the best internet connection possible, but I am holding off until I see where the landscape of all this goes in the next handful of years.

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1 hour ago, PleaseBlitz said:

This is a great idea for a thread.

 

I use and like:

 

Amazon Prime (cannot live without it)

Netflix and Hulu

Dollar shave club

The Washington Post

I have a subscription to CBS Sports/247 Sports' college sports pay site, mostly because ESPN doesn't cover non-powerhouses anymore and a friend of mine from college is the main writer for WVU.

Audible (I get a 1 year subscription for Xmas every year)

 

 

 

What's audible?  streaming music?  and the cost?

 

Dollar Shave Club is absolutely the best for people that shave every day or other day.  I had it years ago when I went into the office Monday - Friday.  No need for it now since I work from home and have a full beard.  Granted, their blades seemed to last forever with me only needing to shave my neck and the top of my cheeks. 

 

For us now, we have:

 

Netflix 

Hulu

Amazon Prime

DC Universe - some great shows and older content, plus you can read a lot of comics on there too - got it to watch Titans, my daughter loves all the animated shows/comics so we kept it.

CBS All Access - love it, has original shows not shown on the network like Star Trek Discovery, Twilight Zone Reboot (which was great imo, and they added a black and white version of each episode to give the old school feel), Strange Angel.  Plus older shows and current shows.

Britbox - my wife got that one as she is a huge Doctor Who fan and fan of British shows in general

 

And for the premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc.  we do an add on subscription through Hulu or Prime since it's usually cheaper than adding through Direct TV (with exception of HBO - unless they offer special prices).  And we rotate through those based on which original shows hit when.  So I just cancelled Showtime since I'm caught up on all my shows on there and we will add Starz back in a few weeks for Power.  Rinse and repeat so we don't pay for multiple channels that we won't watch.  

 

 

Edit:  Sirius and Xbox/PS4 subs too.   And YouTube Red when Cobra Kai has new seasons.  Then we cancel when we are done watching it.

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For news:

 

The Economist is my go to. Their digital subscription is AWESOME because it comes with really great audio transcriptions on their mobile app of each weeks issues. By far the best and most reliable place for literally everything.

 

Wired is another a good one for tech news. I also subscribe to a niche science magazine called Nautilus that publishes some really weird, cool articles.

 

I also have WaPo but don't really use that on a daily basis, as much as I hate the paywall. Recently cancelled NYT and this thread reminded me that I have a WSJ subscription that needs to be cancelled as well.

 

Music: spotify.

 

TV: I'm a cord-cutter and the following work well: Netflix, Hulu, HBO. Thinking of getting YouTube Red(?), since I've found myself finding a lot of really good channels on there.

 

Also subbed to a new VPN service, based on a review in Wired, for this app called the Guardian Firewall. Giving it a try to see if it actually works well enough to block data tracking and all other online BS. Here's the article for anyone interested: https://www.wired.com/story/guardian-firewall-ios-app/

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Definitely a big fan of Amazon Prime. I also like Spotify premium because as a music lover it is a dream service, and to get rid of ads is certainly woth the 10 bucks a month to me.

 

~Bang

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Oh in my previous reply I forgot to actually answer the question, I will throw one out there that hasn't been mentioned although it might be for a more niche crowd:

 

Shudder.  It is basically the netflix for horror fans.  It is only $4.99 a month but you can very easily find 30 days free offers. (I found a 60 days for free when I signed up).  If you are a fan of horror movies/TV/Docs/etc etc....this streaming service is so worth it.   They have a great library, it is curated by people who are obviously fans of the genre.  They brought back Joe Bob Briggs Drive-In show (which just got renewed for a 2nd season).  Creepshow TV series premieres next month. They get a lot of stuff first from the festival or limited release pool.   It is absolutely fantastic. 

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2 minutes ago, Renegade7 said:

So...is subscribing to failing New York Times worth it?  Lost count how many times I've either seen an article here or looking around that I found interesting and hit with that pay wall.

 

They publish really good articles, but it's not worth it at this point. Most of the higher ups at NYT are chuds, take the recent case of Jonathan Weisman who was just demoted: https://jezebel.com/new-york-times-demotes-bad-tweet-machine-jonathan-weism-1837225569

 

Their op-ed section is also just awful. It's just bad, expanded twitter hot takes from the least critically thinking people they can find.

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7 minutes ago, NoCalMike said:

Oh in my previous reply I forgot to actually answer the question, I will throw one out there that hasn't been mentioned although it might be for a more niche crowd:

 

Shudder.  It is basically the netflix for horror fans.  It is only $4.99 a month but you can very easily find 30 days free offers. (I found a 60 days for free when I signed up).  If you are a fan of horror movies/TV/Docs/etc etc....this streaming service is so worth it.   They have a great library, it is curated by people who are obviously fans of the genre.  They brought back Joe Bob Briggs Drive-In show (which just got renewed for a 2nd season).  Creepshow TV series premieres next month. They get a lot of stuff first from the festival or limited release pool.   It is absolutely fantastic. 

 

I thought about getting Shudder a long time ago, but held off.  Glad to hear it's worth it, I might just add it right now.

 

@NoCalMike  Question, does the subscription to Shudder include ShudderTV?  Or is that a higher tier sub or more money?

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I try very hard to not have monthly reoccurring bills I can avoid. It’s easy with these just 4.99 etc a month for them to add up. 

 

Weve got Amazon Prime and Spotify. Prime is well worth the time savings for when you need items and I don’t want to lug the baby to target etc. 

 

Spotify is great for access to all kinds of music. I’ve lost enough music with transferring computers so rather than purchase or anything this works great to manage podcasts etc. 

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