I have a 50Mbps internet connection provided by PLDT that I am paying PHP 3500 monthly for. It’s their POWER PLUS PLAN 3500 offer that comes with a 2-year lock-in. It’s internet + cable TV bundle, similar to the one I had before with SkyCable. I was very disappointed to learn though that Cignal’s set-top box (STB) is an additional PHP 199 on top of your bill - this is after I had everything installed. So I held with my frustration and did not avail the STB and I’m stuck with paying full price even if I don’t avail Cignal. I look silly especially now that they also offer the same 50Mbps sub without Cignal for PHP 2899. This experience made me more desperate to look for alternatives. I have decided to cut the cord (that I never had in the first place) and start consuming everything via the internet.

I first bought a digital TV box from RCA which lets me watch free-to-air (FTA) channels. As you may know, ABS-CBN TVplus has exclusive channels (DZMM Teleradyo, CINEMO, YEY, and KNOWLEDGE Channel) which I won’t be able to watch with this device, but I’m all for openness so I skipped that and went with a generic tuner. Maintaining 2 remotes is a big hassle, so I don’t use it often - good thing ABS-CBN, GMA, and TV5 has live streams - they’re only SD though. DZMM has it too (audio only) if you think you’re missing DZMM Teleradyo from TVplus. Check this YouTube channel for a list of other local streams.

Ok, TV is antiquated, we all know that. The world has moved on to video on demand (VOD) like Netflix. But before jumping into the Netflix and chill bandwagon, make sure (1) you will be able to meet its connection speed requirements and (2) has a device you can use with the service. Also, because of DRM, Netflix may or may not stream HD or Ultra HD content to you even if it is available. This is not the case with other VOD services available locally like iflix and HOOQ so you may want to check those first. As for me, fortunately I have a Sony X8300C 4K Android TV that is able to do any of these.

With FTA, free live streams and a VOD sub, I have access to (almost) everything a cable TV sub can offer plus a lot more. 99.9% of people can live with this (I am part of the greedy 0.1%). I have more to share about these things on future posts. But the reason why I wrote this is because of IPTV. This tech is nothing new, and I just discovered it and am still on the iceberg’s tip.

Somebody in a forum offered me an IPTV sub. The company, named Sudbury Streams, offers a huge list of TV channels - US, UK, Filipino, etc. - all for only CAD 15 a month (PHP 541.45). This is basically cable TV in steroids. You get live TV channels from around the world, and amazingly, the pay-per-view (PPV) channels are included too. There are even channels that are in HD. These streams are very stable, even the PPV channels that are expected to have very high demand are smooth sails.

You might say this isn’t a good deal - PHP 199 for an STB compared to this, Cignal looks like a steal. On SkyCable, UEFA EURO 2016 Season Pass costs PHP 999, IPTV has it for free. UFC 200 costs PHP 690 on YouTube, IPTV - free. TFC costs $29.95 monthly, it’s free on IPTV. This has probably 20 times more HD channels than what I’m supposed to get from my bundle. There’s electronic program guide (EPG) too for most of the channels. And the best thing for me is I can pay for a year in advance and get 30% off (CAD 127, PHP 4587.6).

For those who have at least 20Mbps connections, and you follow a sport, the service would pay by itself. In the advent of fiber optic internet in the Philippines, let’s all IPTV and chill.