Sling TV, Privacy.com and Republic Wireless

While seemingly off-topic, if you bear with me, I’ll do my best to tie it back to Republic somewhat.

I suspect, like me, many of my fellow Republic members are also cord-cutters when it comes to TV. Many here also know I’m a hockey (specifically a Boston Bruins) fan. I’ll admit my enthusiasm for the NHL’s regular season this year wasn’t what it typically is. The adjustments (reduced number of games, division realignment, games played in empty or near empty arenas, etc.) made to accommodate the past year’s events are behind that lack of enthusiasm.

Nevertheless, the regular season is over, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are underway, arenas are filling up once again and the Bruins remain in the hunt. Typically, I subscribe to NHL.tv but failed to do so this year. Consequently, I was looking for a solution for streaming NHL playoff games. In the spirit of Republic’s pending acquisition by DISH, I decided to give Sling TV (also a DISH brand) a shot (pun intended). The first month is $10.

I remain non-committal regarding Sling TV beyond my initial $10 investment. Obviously, I could simply put a reminder on my Republic phone’s calendar to cancel service prior to the end of the first month should I decide not to continue with Sling TV. That said, I believe I’ve found a more elegant solution that may interest others as well.

I paid for the initial month with Privacy.com. Privacy is a service that allows one to create virtual debit cards tied to one’s checking account (presuming Privacy works with one’s bank). Among other features, Privacy’s virtual debit cards can be set up as one-time use (a/k/a a burner card). One can also place transaction limits on a Privacy virtual debit card. I opted to place a $20 per transaction limit on the virtual card I created to pay the initial $10 for Sling TV. Should I decide not to continue with Sling TV but forget to cancel, the $35 charge for future months of Sling TV will fail unless I adjust that limit. The scenario I’ve outlined can be used regardless of whom one is paying. Further, if there’s a security breach somewhere one has used a Privacy virtual card to pay, it’s very easy to close a current virtual card and create a replacement if desired (no waiting for a physical card to be replaced). The merchant sees the virtual card and has no direct access to one’s checking account. It is my opinion, Privacy is an excellent way to pay online.

In conclusion, the promised attempt to tie this back to Republic. I’ve written about Privacy before as Privacy virtual cards can be used to pay for Republic service. More on that is linked here:

One last thing, both Privacy and Sling TV offer apps in Google’s Play Store that work on Republic compatible phones.

Please note I have no relationship with Privacy other than as a satisfied customer. The same is true of Sling TV though it’s too soon to tell if I’ll remain a satisfied Sling customer.

4 Likes

We cut the cord in our house well over a year ago and replaced our expensive Comcast TV service (with an extra cost per TV) with Sling Blue + TotalTV package with an AirTV and OTA Antenna in my attic and a 1TB HD attached to the AirTV as an OTA DVR. It really has been pretty great for us and we’re saving a ton.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing a reminder about using Privacy.com for Republic payments, and some insight on another way to use Privacy.com to manage the expense of subscriptions after a trial period, @rolandh.

I’ll point out that Privacy.com also has a referral program that advertises that both the referrer and the referred receive $5 after the first purchase. While we don’t allow the public posting of referral links in Community, (because otherwise, Community would quickly become nothing but a long list of referral codes) if anyone is interested in joining Privacy.com based on the knowledge Roland has so kindly shared, I’d encourage you to message him privately to request his link. (Hover your mouse over his username and click “Message.”)

Oh, and Go 'Canes! :ice_hockey:

4 Likes

We cut the cord years ago and mostly watch over-the-air TV. Sling TV is the best addition we’ve found, especially since we can watch from the Roku TVs in both our FL and NJ homes without the local change restrictions imposed by some services like Hulu Plus. The one thing missing is an unlimited mobile data plan so that we can reduce our internet costs at both locations. If we could cut the two $70/month internet charges and replace with one economical Republic unlimited data plan, we’d be set.

While it wouldn’t at all surprise me to see a DISH owned Republic offer an “unlimited” mobile data plan, despite the use of the word unlimited there really is no such thing. Most “unlimited” mobile data plans are capped at between 20 GB and 50 GB per month. There are also acceptable use policies involved.

In short, finding an “unlimited” mobile data plan that would provide enough useable cell data for regularly streaming might not be practical. Do you know how much Internet data you’re currently using at home? For example my home ISP tells me I’ve used 27 GB in the past week. At that rate, replacing my home Internet with an “unlimited” mobile data plan would require finding one offering over 100 GB per month for less than what I pay for home Internet now (something that to the best of my knowledge isn’t possible).

I agree that it’s not quite there yet. With the major carriers all building out fixed wireless networks (to compete with cable & fiber) it won’t be long before we see this as a pretty universal option. Verizon is doing it now with mm wave 5g, and charges $50/month for gigabit home service if you are a mobile customer. Next step is to merge the mobile and home networks into one plan. As Dish builds out its 5G network, it’s clear that they are thinking about not only mobile, but fixed wireless as well. And at some point (I predict) they will merge their MVNOs (Republic, Ting, Boost) into a single mobile network, then eventually add the fixed wireless when available. That’s just my guess.

I have used sling, Hulu live TV, and YouTube TV back and forth with Xfinity depending on Xfinity upgrade offers over the past several years.
Currently using Xfinity internet only and my favorite YouTube TV, which is $65 a month but it’s the only one I can share with a family member at a different location and allows 3 separate device feeds at the same time. I also like the channel lineup display the best, with Hulu live TV 2nd.
They all have free trial offers with limited and different time frames.

I gave up on paying for live tv retransmission, for the most part. I’ve tried Hulu, YoutubeTV, Sling, Playstation Vue, Fubo, and AT&T. Prices keep going up, and I’m no longer willing to pay (back to the antenna for me). I do find the live streaming from ESPN+, Peacock, and Paramount+ worthwhile when combined with their on-demand content. I use a lot of other on-demand providers, but am having trouble justifying paying for Netflix anymore.

As far as Privacy.com, I’m not sure who’s behind their product, so I’m leery. I also don’t find it particularly enticing. I guess for those who are more privacy concerned than myself it might be a good option. I usually just put a reminder on Google Calendar when I want to be reminded of recurring payments I might wish to avoid.

My outside antenna gives me the channels we watch 95% of the time. Unless the wind changes reception. Also another reason I like YouTube TV because of the local channels.
I agree about the cost going up.
They all advertise to cut the cord, but you still need internet service to watch the cord cutters TV service.
My wife needs to watch Nascar, and we need to watch our sports.
Like JMU softball in the Women’s College World Series now!
Go Dukes!

2 Likes

Yeah, I like most forms of motorsports, and baseball. Between Peacock and F1TV I can get my open wheel fix, and there’s enough NASCAR available on the antenna. The thing I’m really missing is my area MLB broadcasts. But ESPN+ and Youtube have enough baseball games that I’m OK. I’m even back to appreciating how good baseball is on the radio. I’m the only one missing my cable channels. My wife and son pretty much watch everything on-demand.

2 Likes

For what it’s worth, I wrote Alternative Payment Methods highlighting Privacy.com as a payment option for Republic service just over 4 years ago. In that time, I’ve alternated between using Privacy and a PayPal debit card to pay for Republic service. I also use Privacy as a payment method for other online services. In that time, I’ve never had anything charged that should not have been. Additionally, Privacy payments are settled to one’s checking account via ACH. An unauthorized ACH payment to a bank account (checking or savings) is generally easy to get reversed by one’s bank. It’s typically easier than disputing an unauthorized charge to one’s physical credit or debit card. I say this as someone whose professional background is banking.

True, however, for some of us putting the reminder on the calendar is only half the battle. One must still act on it. Using Privacy allows me to mange recurring payments I might not wish to continue without being proactive about it.

I am a person who looks for good values but sounds like your looking for something for nothing… if it enhances your life, pay a little bit. Businesses are in business to make money . Everyone want a free ride.

Good Morning @patricks407,

Respectfully, not at all. I paid Sling TV its’ $10 asking price for an initial month of service. If during that initial month of service I decide Sling TV offers sufficient value to pay $35/month on a recurring basis going forward, I’ll lift the restriction on the virtual card I used for the initial month’s payment and do so.

Use of a Privacy virtual card as described in my initial post simply allows me as the consumer to create an opt-in situation going forward rather than needing to remember to opt-out by canceling should I decide Sling TV isn’t worth $35/month. By the way, companies prefer opt-out as opposed to opt-in because they know a significant percentage of folks will not remember to cancel.

5 Likes

Marketing … makes one wonder how many of the 1.5 million people paying a monthly subscription service fee for AOL, because they haven’t figured how to opt out :wink:

Just want to add some notes about Sling - I wanted to try their services one year and asked for Sling gift cards for Christmas, only to find out that the gift cards cannot be used with any of their promotions! Such a bummer, when they run decent promotions so often. Also, I recently signed up under a Verizon promotion offering Orange or Blue free for two months for Verizon Internet customers. When I went to check out, it looked like other promotions stacked, so I added some of their add-ons. Even when I hit the “Pay Now” button, it looked like I was paying $1, but they charged my Credit Card $16. Promotions don’t stack, but they look like they do when you check out. I got it straightened out only after a chat with their help and subsequent emails with billing department. So, take screenshots, and check your credit card.

The good thing, though, is that if you just want it for a couple months (like for NBA playoffs), you can do that, and pretty easily. And theirs is the closest to “a-la-carte” programming you can get of the TV over Internet services. I still have about 20 channels I won’t ever have time to watch, but it’s better than 50.

Also, wanted to point out that Sling’s parent network is Dish network, who recently acquired Republic - so I am still hoping for some bundling offers in the future, and maybe y’all can help them with their shopping cart on their website.

Thanks @rolandh this is good to know. Several years ago I ditched Dish and switched to Philo for $16.00 a month. Their prices have gone up, but I’m grandfathered in at $16.00, so I’m happy with them. I get the same channels and a few extra ones that I had when I was with Dish for a lot less a month. I also signed up with Hulu for $1.99 a month. As much as I would like to get rid of Prime, I still renew every year.

As much as I like the concept of Privacy, I don’t allow apps to get anywhere near my checking account. It still makes me cringe that Paypal has access to it. Now don’t disabuse my view on this. As an older person it’s a necessity to be overly cautious, too many baddies out there trying to get into older ones wallets.

2 Likes

I would characterize both Privacy and PayPal as services that have apps to make using their services more convenient. Both have been around longer than their apps and both may be used independently meaning use of the apps in order to use the service isn’t required.

It’s not my intent, however, others are reading here also. Of course, one must trust the services one grants access to their checking account. That said, there are substantial consumer protections built into one’s checking account. Generally, if one reports an unauthorized transaction within 60 days, a bank must restore the funds to one’s account. If you still receive them check out the back of your bank statement for language indicating that. With online access to one’s bank accounts spotting an unauthorized transaction is much easier for the consumer than it used to be. The aforementioned 60-day window precedes the widespread availability of online banking access by decades. Banks, like telecom, are highly regulated. So long as one is vigilant about watching their accounts, they should feel confident about the security of those accounts and should that security be compromised about being made whole. Banks go to a lot of trouble regarding fraud prevention. As much as they’ll say that’s to protect the customer, it’s really to protect themselves because in the vast majority of cases, they know they not their customer will eat the fraud loss.

Anyone can be a target. You mention Prime. Do you really think Amazon is more trustworthy?

1 Like

The elderly are more targeted than younger people. Trust Amazon, HA! You must be kidding?! None of the services I subscribe to have access to my checking account, not even my electric company! All automatic payments go through my credit card, other payments I have to initiate and schedule through the banks website. These days my trust is in limited supply and has to be earned. That’s my 2 cents.

1 Like

The thing is payments made via a credit card as opposed to a debit card or direct charge to one’s bank account are not inherently safer. I spent 20+ years in banking including setting up one bank’s fraud prevention monitoring. Said monitoring included credit, debit, ACH, wire transfers and paper checks. All are potential vectors of fraud and, generally, fraud is ultimately eaten by the bank not the consumer.

In fact for those still writing paper checks, they’re not inherently more immune to fraud either. Anyone to whom one has ever written a paper check has all the information necessary to fraudulently access the account the check is drawn on. I mention this, in part, because some payments initiated through a bank’s electronic payment process still involve mailing a paper check.

1 Like

Cable companies are dirtbags. They connive less than honorable and sometimes downright deceitful ways to separate honest people from their money. For example, if someone calls customer service and complains that their bill is too high, they almost never reveal their lowest tier “basic” cable rate, because there is little profit in it for them. In my area, a single cable company has a monopoly on cable TV and internet services, and they take advantage of that monopoly in various ways… most of all, with non-competitive pricing. People hate cable companies because cable companies give them good reason.

Originally, cable was cheap. That is, until nearly everyone was on cable and forgot how to climb up on the roof and mount and antenna. Then, they started pushing prices up and up, adding bogus and mysterious fees, until class action lawsuits and the FCC basically put a halt to that shite.

No. Rather than charge an honest and reasonable price and find ways to build confidence and trust in the customer relationship, like Republic has done since they began, they look for every way possible to raise fees and rip off their customers, in the interest of corporate profit and executive bonuses. Screw cable… every chance you get.

Message an
Expert customer