Amazon Prime: Something for Everyone

Prime Channels and Philo TV integrate perfectly into the Live TV EPG

Updated to add Pluto TV…

I thought I would be doing a review of the Amazon Recast by now.  I’ve been using one for more than a month.  Let this first paragraph serve as the Recast review.  It’s nothing special.  It works as advertised.  The Recast requires internet access, only supports two concurrent streams, and requires you own an Android or IOS device for initial setup.  BUT, the Amazon Prime ecosystem is growing on me and the Recast is the best DVR for the Prime ecosystem…and streams OTA to my Echo Shows.

The Prime Ecosystem is the universe of all devices and services that interact with the Prime service.  Prime is an Amazon service which includes free shipping for eligible purchases, streaming of movies, TV shows, and music, shopping deals, unlimited reading, and lots of other stuff.  You get this for $10/month if you pay annually.  Amazon also integrates premium channels into its Prime streaming media.  Cinemax ($9.99/mo), HBO ($14.99/mo), Showtime ($8.99/mo), and Starz ($8.99/mo) plus many other channels can be added to Prime.  Vue and Philo skinny cable packages can be integrated into the Fire TV grid style guide as well.  The Recast, Fire TV Stick, Echo Show, and Amazon tablets are among the devices in the Prime ecosystem.  The Prime Ecosystem extends to third party lights and smart devices which can be controlled using Alexa.

My Prime Universe includes a 1T Recast, five 4K Fire TV Sticks, and seven Echo Shows plus lights and other smart devices.  A typical evening at my home sounds like this…

  1. Alexa, turn on kitchen (or turn on stove or turn on sink)
  2. Alexa, show channel guide (for the Recast)
  3. Alexa, down (scroll the guide)
  4. Alexa watch WBZ (local news)
  5. Alexa softer (or louder)
  6. Alexa, set a Roast timer for 45 minutes
  7. Alexa, add rosemary to my shopping list

That’s the Prime Ecosystem.

The 4K Fire TV Stick is a nice streaming stick.  CEC volume and power control mean you only need one remote when watching television via a Fire TV Stick.  Integration of OTA and OTT including premium and free content plus games and other apps make the Fire TV a good choice for a TV OS.

For most hoping to cut their entertainment costs, the Fire TV is an attractive option.  Put up an antenna, install a Recast close to the antenna, plug a Fire TV Stick into each television, and start saving money.  Want premium content?  Add Amazon Prime for $10/month (three concurrent streams).  For those addicted to cable channels, Vue (five concurrent streams) or Philo (three concurrent streams) can add those channels to the Recast’s Live Channels grid style guide.  Need HBO for Game of Thrones or Cinemax or some other premium channel?  Add the Prime Channel (three concurrent streams).

The price is right, too.  The retail price of the Recast is less than the cost of a TiVo with Lifetime — about half, actually — and you can buy a house full of Fire TV Sticks for the price of a TiVo Mini.

I paid $229.99 for my 1T, 4 tuner, 150 hour Recast.  I used Staples Rewards to buy a 4K Fire TV Stick at Staples after getting two for $15 using a $25 off $75 coupon and $40 in Rewards a month earlier.  My fourth and fifth 4K Fire Sticks were $29.99 at Amazon.com.  So, five televisions for $305.  I have to have high speed internet for this to work at all and that costs me $50/month.  Prime adds $10/month.  So, $60/month.  If you want all those cable channels, Pluto integrates into the guide adding cable tv channels for FREE…

New channels on Pluto TV

  • Paramount Movie Channel (75)
  • MTV Pluto TV (80)
  • MTV Guy Code (81)
  • MTV Teen (82)
  • MTV Dating (83)
  • The Hills MTV (84)
  • Comedy Central Pluto TV (86)
  • Comedy Central Stand-Up (87)
  • Spike Pluto TV (90)
  • Spike Outdoors (91)
  • BET on Pluto TV (93)
  • CMT Westerns (95)
  • Nick Pluto TV (97)
  • Nick Jr Pluto TV (98)

Pluto TV channels list: News

  • Today’s Top Story (105)
  • News 24/7 (108)
  • CBSN (109)
  • NBC News (110)
  • CNN (111)
  • Cheddar News (112)
  • The Young Turks (TYT) Network (116)
  • NewsmaxTV (121)
  • Top Stories by Newsy (127)
  • RT America (132)
  • Sky News (135)
  • Bloomberg TV (143)
  • Weather Nation (150)

Pluto TV channels list: Sports

  • Pluto TV Sports (201)
  • Fox Sports (202)
  • Major League Soccer (203)
  • Impact Wrestling (204)
  • Fight (205)
  • Combat World (206)
  • Stadium (207)
  • Surf Channel (209)
  • Sports News (213)
  • World Poker Tour (214)
  • Glory Kickboxing (215)
  • Lucha Libra Worldwide (217)
  • Big Sky Conference (230)

Pluto TV channels list: Movies

  • TV Spotlight
  • Pluto TV Movies (51)
  • Pluto TV Movies 2 (52)
  • TV Family (53)
  • Action Movies (54)
  • TV Comedy (55)
  • TV Drama (56)
  • Flicks of Fury (57)
  • TV Thrillers (58)
  • Horror 24/7 (59)
  • TV Documentaries (60)
  • TV Indies (61)
  • Classic Movies Channel (62)
  • TV Romance (63)
  • 80s Rewind (65)
  • TV Cult Films (66)
  • Black Cinema (67)
  • TV Cine (69)
  • Pluto TV Cine Dos (70)
  • Gravitas Movies (71)
  • Paramount Movie Channel (75)

Pluto TV channels list: Comedy

  • Funny AF (250)
  • TV Sitcoms (255)
  • Stand-up TV (261)
  • MST3K (264)
  • RiffTrax (265)
  • FailArmy (267)
  • Cats 24/7 (268)
  • The Onion (269)
  • Cracked (272)
  • Pet Collective (273)

Pluto TV channels list: Geek + Gaming

  • The Feed (301)
  • Hive (304)
  • Anime All Day (322)
  • Anime All Ages (323)
  • MinecrafTV (325)
  • IGN (330)
  • CNET (333)
  • Geek & Sundry (336)
  • Nerdist (341)

Pluto TV channels list: Entertainment

  • Chassy (501)
  • Man Up (502)
  • Man Up Outdoors (503)
  • Crime Network (504)
  • The New Detectives (505)
  • Unsolved Mysteries (506)
  • Forensic Files (507)
  • Dog The Bounty Hunter (508)
  • TV Conspiracy (509)
  • TV Animals (510)
  • Cold Case Files (511)
  • Shout! Factory TV (512)
  • Buzzr (514)
  • Classic TV (515)
  • ConTV (516)
  • Live Music Replay (517)
  • Wipeout (518)
  • Kids TV (520)
  • After School Cartoons (526)
  • Classic Toons TV (531)
  • Awesomeness TV (534)
  • Nosey (536)
  • WHAT?! (542)
  • Revry (543)

Pluto TV channels list: Life + Style

  • TV Cars (600)
  • PeopleTV (602)
  • Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen Uncensored (603)
  • Complex (604)
  • Wahlburgers (605)
  • TV Her (606)
  • TV Her Dramas (607)
  • Logo Puto TV (608)
  • TV Travel (610)
  • FrontDoor (615)
  • Adventure TV (619)
  • Food TV (621)
  • Faith TV (625)

Pluto TV channels list: Curiosity

  • Voyager Documentaries (635)
  • ScienceTV (636)
  • TV History (637)
  • DocuTV (638)
  • TV Biography (639)
  • Law and Crime (640)
  • NASA TV (643)

Pluto TV channels list: Miscellaneous (“Chill Out”)

  • Internet Gold (401)
  • Vibes (411)
  • Monstercat TV (418)
  • THC (420)
  • Eye Candy (426)
  • NatureVision (TV)
  • Slow TV (437)
  • 4K TV (439)

add Philo for $20/month for three concurrent streams.  Philo adds a lot of programming…

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • AXS TV
  • BBC America
  • BBC World News
  • BET
  • Cheddar
  • Cheddar Big News
  • CMT
  • Comedy Central
  • Discovery Channel
  • DIY Network
  • Food Network
  • FYI
  • Game Show Network
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Hallmark Drama
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • HGTV
  • History
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • Lifetime Movies
  • MotorTrend
  • MTV
  • MTV2
  • Nick Jr.
  • Nickelodeon
  • Oprah Winfrey Network
  • Paramount Network
  • PeopleTV
  • Science Channel
  • Sundance TV
  • Tastemade
  • TeenNick
  • TLC
  • Travel Channel
  • TV Land
  • VH1
  • Viceland
  • WE tv
  • American Heroes Channel
  • aspireTV
  • BET Her
  • Cooking Channel
  • Destination America
  • Discovery Family
  • Discovery Life
  • Law&Crime
  • Logo
  • MTV Live
  • Nicktoons
  • REVOLT
  • UPtv

Need Sports and News?  Sony’s Vue also integrates into Amazon’s Live Guide.  Vue allows five concurrent streams!  The $50/month Core package includes sports and news in addition to local channels and all the expected cable channels.

Anecdote: I have a 60″ plasma television in my living room.  It’s on an interior wall which is not near ethernet or cable/antenna.  I had a TiVo Mini attached to the television.  The Mini does not support wireless, so I used powerline adapters to connect my Mini to my router.  The Mini was $130 and the pair of powerline adapters cost $100.  I replaced both with a 4K Fire TV Stick which cost $29.99.

If you are thinking of leaving your premium entertainment provider, I recommend you consider Prime.  With its small initial investment, low monthly costs, ease of use, a la carte programming, and stellar customer support, Prime offers something for everyone.

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7 thoughts on “Amazon Prime: Something for Everyone

  1. Hi Len,

    Yeah the amazon ecosystem is great..

    I also have a couple of Fire tv Cubes… I can control my home theater via voice commands… “Alexa switch to DVR ” and it switches the input to my Tivo. “Alexa switch to Fire Tv” and it switches the tv input to the Cube.

    No learning curve for my wife. She has a hard time understanding how to switch inputs on the TV.

    For our network shows we record to Recast and cable channels to our Tivo.

    Since your in Boston, you should look at Locast and then check out Fitzy TV app for Fire TV. They even have cloud DVR. The app is well-written and it has a lovely EPG.

    Now I am not a cord cutter but am a cord shaver. I went with Spectrum Choice package with all locals and 10 channels of my choice and 100 mbps internet and phone and with 2 cablecards i am out the door at $115. Much better than the $200 i was paying.

    But the cool thing is I can use Spectrum tv app and watch programming and channels that are not in my package. I did have Philo to augment my cable but just dropped them because I can use Spectrum app for the shows I was watching on Philo. I will go back with Philo if need be, I found them pretty good!

    Like

    • Another friend is pressing me to get a Cube. Maybe when I get done with the Tablo TV DVR. (Hope your wife doesn’t follow this blog.)

      I looked at Locast. Not as good as my antenna for quality or quantity of channels. I did not like their relentless requests for financial support. I’ll check out Fitzy.

      Depending on what you are looking for, Philo and Vue are great alternatives to cable. I think Vue is a better value with so many more channels and a couple more concurrent streams.

      Like

      • Yeah she knows of my home theater and tv hobby. I go to meetings lol.

        Fitzy TV uses a television provider, for cord cutters with no cable or satellite or streaming provider on their list, you have to use Locast. I am not sure if Vue is on list of providers but you can check.

        But the Fitzy maybe better picture than Locast itself. The guide is pretty nice!

        Like

      • I have heard the Cube compared to an Echo plus a Stick. Here’s what Tom’s Guide had to say…

        The Fire TV Cube, on the other hand, is a bit expensive unless you specifically want Echo-like speaker functionality. If you have a smart-home setup, or want your very own digital assistant built into a versatile streaming box, the Fire TV Cube makes sense. But that’s probably a limited market, especially since I imagine a lot of Amazon aficionados already have an Echo speaker, or something similar that can respond to Alexa commands.

        In the battle of Fire Stick 4K vs. Fire Stick vs. Fire TV Cube, the $50 Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K represents the sensible midpoint that should work best for most viewers. It has the best balance of price and functionality.

        Of course, the Cube will be $56 and the 4K Stick $28, so we are talking about $28. If this thing supported Drop In, I’d be All In. Any rumors of adding Drop In to the Cube? I know Amazon has added it to the tablets.

        Like

      • Actually it’s voice command and control albeit it’s somewhat limited.

        One thing my wife can do is now switch inputs on the tv, she has been challenged in doing that.

        So now she can say “Alexa switch to Fire tv” or ” Alexa switch to DVR” to switch input to our TiVo or switch to Bluray. Or turn off or turn on the TV. Nice to do hands-free at times. I still pick up the remote at times so keep them handy.

        It’s the voice control that’s the advantage.

        Also controlling lights and outlets.

        With j

        Like

  2. Pingback: Prime Day: Free TV on Parade! | Free TV For Me!

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