Are you tired of your cable TV provider pushing you around? Have you been thinking about cutting the cord? Before you go ahead and cancel your cable TV service, let me tell you that quitting cable is a lifestyle change that requires some time to adjust to.
It could even get frustrating at the start when you are not able to click through channels mindlessly, something we have been accustomed to for our entire lives. It feels unnatural to decide what you want to watch, but you’ll grow accustomed to it quickly and never want to look back; I know I don’t.
Although live TV streaming services available nowadays are meant to provide you with a similar experience to cable TV, they are still different. One of the differences highly noticeable is that your feed is a bit slower than cable. Therefore, you may find it awkward to watch something together with a friend who has cable in his or her house. Another issue you may face is that if your internet connection goes down, so does your TV. You can’t turn to a cable connection to flip through channels and pass your time.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that while you may want to cut the cord due to high bills, you may end up spending the same amount of money on streaming services, as only one would not suffice.
At least for now, there isn’t a single streaming service to fulfill all your requirements. However, you do receive more options when you venture into the world of streaming services and can build your entertainment empire per your needs. New options are added often, so once you get the hang of it, it will be a rather enjoyable experience.
Hence, cord-cutting is more about a wider range of options than cost-cutting. If a lower bill is all you’re looking for and has no problem with your provider otherwise, the best option would be to negotiate with your cable service provider (ISP) to bring the price down to something affordable.
You can also look into switching to a new provider that would allow you to take advantage of promotional rates offered to new customers only. Just like Spectrum offers a much lower price for the first year of service, several other providers offer the same deals.
However, if you’ve looked into everything and decided that cutting the cord is the way to go, then read on to find out what options are available to you.
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This is the best option if you want to go the frugal way. An HD Antenna will cost you anywhere between $20 to $50, and you can enjoy a lifetime of high-definition entertainment from then onwards for free. Just like the antennas our grandparents used, these antennas also pick up broadcast signals over the air.
However, unlike those antennas, these modern ones allow you to watch programming in HD without a cable TV subscription. You can get all the local channels through the antennas, including news, daytime shows, sports, syndicated shows, network TV, and network affiliate programming in your area.
They’re easy to install, and you just pay once, never to receive a bill again. However, the distance between your location and the local broadcast tower affects the reception and number of channels you can receive. If you are involved in your community, enjoy channels like CBS, NBC, ABC, etc., and are a fan of games like football, basketball, and baseball, then you’ll be happy with what’s offered.
Like your smartphone or tablet, a smart TV can be connected directly to the internet. They come with built-in streaming apps like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Netflix that allow you to watch content on your TV without a set-top box or satellite dish antenna. To access their content, you will need subscriptions for these apps, but having them pre-installed on your TV helps you get started quickly. Smart TVs could cost you anywhere between $100 to $1000 and even more, depending on the brand, screen size, and features you choose.
If you want an all-in-one live TV and on-demand streaming experience and don’t like switching between devices, then a smart TV will work well for you. The only downside is the extra subscription fees and rapidly evolving television technology.
Streaming devices are technically media players that let you stream content on your TV. These include devices like Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, etc. These devices can be used to stream a wide variety of video and audio content. For example, you can use them to watch movies on Netflix and listen to music on Spotify. Prices start from around $30 and can go up to about $200 depending on the features and brand you buy, just like smart TVs.
If you’re a gadget person, then this will be a good addition to the collection. It will allow you to stream online content without a smart TV. However, the video quality of content will be highly improved when a smart TV and streaming device is combined. Just like smart TVs, the extra subscription fees for streaming services and the quality of your internet connection dictating the streaming experience is the only downside.
Streaming services are technically the online version of cable TV. Like cable TV, you can watch live TV and on-demand content whenever you want, with the added advantage of being able to watch it wherever you are. Services like Hulu and Sling TV offer several cable TV channels for online viewing, whereas you can also find network-specific content like HBO Now. There’s also FuboTV for sports fans to get the daily fix of their favorite sports.
Streaming services can cost as low as $5 and go up to $80 per month, depending on your chosen package. You can choose to access a single network or a wide array of live TV channels plus on-demand choices with the price increasing simultaneously. Streaming services offer you a similar experience to cable TV but with fewer channels available now, but the lower prices justify that.
The downside to these services is that usually, one is not enough, and when you start piling subscriptions, the cost could end up being the same as cable TV or even more in some cases. However, if you previously had a cable TV connection and used Netflix or Hulu, then the choice to cut the cord can be beneficial for you indeed.
Now you know your options; of course, only you can understand your needs and budget. So go ahead and cut the cord to join the next generation of streamers.