Is it time to cut the cable cord? When you consider the choice of streaming services available on the market, cost savings and access to acclaimed streaming-only TV shows and movies, the switch is tempting.
Platforms like Disney+ and Apple TV+ are giving cable companies a run for their money.
“This really is the golden age of content,” said Seana Norvell, director of consumer public relations for Roku. “There’s an incredible amount of great content out there available to watch for free or on paid channels…you have the ability to customize your experience based on what matters to you.”
On the other hand, the bundles provided by cable companies, which consolidate TV, phone and internet to one bill, may be worth the added price for convenience.
Before you start shopping, consider the options.
Why Cut the Cable Cord?
If you’re thinking about cutting the cable cord, you’re not alone. Streaming and cord-cutting surged during the COVID-19 crisis for access to original content that couldn’t be found elsewhere and continues to increase.
But for many cable converts, the most common reason is to save money. Streaming services are available without expensive fixed-rate contracts. And as cable TV subscriptions fall, monthly costs are increasing. The average monthly cost for cable and internet in 2021 was $116 per household, according to a report by the bill payment company doxo.
Of course, as streaming services become more popular, their prices are increasing as well. “In the early days of live TV streaming … streaming [was] cheaper than cable,” says CableTV.com in their comparison. “With top services like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV regularly raising their rates, that price gap is closing. Side-by-side, though, live TV streaming still has the edge.”
How to Cut the Cord
Keep in mind that if you want to cut the cable cord completely, you will still need to pay for internet. If you are currently paying for a cable bundle that includes TV, phone and internet, think of how much you will save just by cutting out the non-essentials.
Fast and reliable internet is key to taking your cord-cutting experience to the next level. Ask yourself if your internet connection is fast enough to stream content. If it seems slow, reevaluating your internet power and Wi-Fi set up can help you get a better sense of how much broadband you need for your household.
Then it’s time for the fun part: customizing your content. Try to mimic the things you like about cable TV, while removing the things you don’t. You’ll also discover a lot of new things to love, like original series and movies exclusive to certain streaming services. If you are new to streaming and want to explore what’s available, many services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube Premium offer free 30-day trials.
If you don’t want to lose live TV channels, some streaming devices have free TV streaming options, such as The Roku Channel. Services like SlingTV and YouTubeTV also offer skinny bundles, a customized cable TV package that usually includes major broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, Fox and more.
If you’re looking for an easy way to compare streaming services and TV and internet plans and providers, sites like CableTV.com and Allconnect are great examples of free services that allows you to review all your options in one place and find what works best for you.
Popular Streaming Devices
Once you’ve committed to cutting the cord, assessed your internet speed and have picked picked the streaming services that you want, you’ll need a device to stream on. Streaming devices allow you to access all of your favorites in one place by simply plugging into the HDMI port of your TV. They are generally inexpensive and once you buy it, you own it – no monthly rental fee.
Consumers with smart TVs may be surprised to learn that their device already supports all streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and more.
You can also watch most streaming services from your phone, tablet or computer.
Roku offers an impressive selection of streaming services and even more through the Roku Channel, while remaining an affordable alternative to cable. Their most inexpensive model, the Roku Express, is under $30. To start streaming, you can get a Roku device that connects to your current TV or opt for a Roku TV with Roku streaming services built right in.
From the Fire TV Stick to the Fire TV Cube, Amazon’s streaming devices are the most versatile on the market, offering a range of features at an affordable price. Amazon’s streaming devices have some of the top apps for gamers and moviegoers alike, with Alexa integration via the remote – that means you can check the news, weather and sports scores using your voice. The Fire TV Stick has been one of Amazon’s bestselling products for years.
fuboTV is a live streaming television service that you can watch on your phone, tablet, computer or television. If the big game is on, fuboTV has a wide variety of sports channels to choose from. They also have a bevy of lifestyle entertainment channels to choose from, including the Hallmark Channel, Showtime, IFC or FX Movies. There’s also an on-demand section that you can browse.
Looking to bring cinematic value to everything you watch? Look no further. The Apple TV 4K delivers the best picture and sound quality today for those willing to spend a bit more. You can stream TV shows, movies and get access to Apple Originals in a clean and crisp 4K format. Plus, the Siri voice option and sleek design of the Apple TV remote offer an attractive interface. Don’t have a 4K television? Don’t worry. It’s is also compatible with HDR and Dolby Vision TVs. Available in two storage sizes.
Have you cut the cable cord? Are you still undecided? Tell us in the comments.
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