4 Easy Steps to Cutting the Cord to Cable
And Still Watch What You Want
According to eMarketer, over 22 million will have ‘cut the cord’ on cable and satellite TV by the end of 2017, up 33% from the previous year. This statistic indicates that American consumers are cancelling traditional pay-TV service at a much faster rate than previously expected. Other studies indicate that approximately 61% of young adults ages 18 to 29 in the U.S. has never paid for cable TV and use primarily online streaming to watch TV and get their news.
If you’re tired of the increased costs of Cable TV or Satellite, but don’t want to give up your favorite shows, movies, concerts, and sporting events, we’ll show you just what you need to “cut the cord” to your cable company and start saving money.
1. High-speed Internet Service
To stream your entertainment, you still need your ISP (Internet Service Provider) such as Comcast, Verizon, or Optimum to provide a high-speed Internet connection and a good Wi-Fi signal. For today’s families having multiple devices, including computers, tablets, phones, and TVs, a good home network is recommended.
2. A Streaming Device
To connect your television or home theater to the Internet and ‘stream’ video and music from a streaming service, you’ll need a streaming device. This device also controls the streaming application with a remote. Unlike a cable box where you pay a monthly ‘rent’ to use it, a streaming device is a one-time purchase. While there is a dizzying array of such devices to choose from, the more popular devices include Roku and the Amazon Fire Stick, both under $50. You will need one device for each TV.
3. A Streaming Service
A streaming service is an application that streams video content from the Internet to your TV (or other device). Currently there are a few big players (and several smaller ones). While they offer hundreds of channels to choose from, most are bundled—their way. But be careful. To please everyone in your household, you may end up buying additional bundles and your costs will add up. In fact, one of the ways the big streaming services vie for your business is to pay millions of dollars for exclusive rights to the shows you’re interested in. So each has exclusivity to certain shows, as well as their own “original series” that can’t be seen anywhere else. Choosing a service boils down to “what you like to watch.” For avid TV fans, you may need all three, which kind of defeats the purpose. Here’s the skinny on some of the more popular streaming services…
- Netflix –the pioneer in streaming; the largest selection of movies, standup comedy and TV; prices range from $7.99 (no HD, view on one screen) to $11.99 (Ultra HD, view on four screens) per month.
Originals include: Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, 13 Reason Why, The Defenders, and many more. This original programming has earned Netflix 37 Emmys and one Oscar.
- Hulu –offers many of the TV shows Netflix doesn’t, plus live network TV (one day later), including SHOWTIME®, HBO®, and hit movies; videos can be viewed from the U.S. only; prices start at $5.99 month for the first year, then increase to $7.99. Hulu is now offering live TV for $39.99, which is basically like cable. Originals include: The Handmaid’s Tale (which landed five Primetime Emmys), Difficult People, and Marvel’s Runaways. Amazon Prime Video – included with Amazon Prime membership for $8.99 per month. So if you’re already a Prime member, this is a nice bonus. Though the movies and TV offering isn’t as substantial as Netflix and Hulu, you can watch Thursday night football.
Originals include: Transparent, The Tick, The Man in the High Castle, and Mozart in the Jungle.
- YouTube – like cable, you have access to all the TV channels for a monthly fee. The difference is that all of these can be viewed on your mobile devices whenever and wherever you go, where it’s available in the US. A strong feature is unlimited storage for your favorite shows for nine months (think Tivo). Currently not all devices are compatible with this service yet, but they are working on it.
YouTube Red Originals: Scare PewDiePie and exclusive films
- Verizon FIOS – very similar to a cable with both free and subscription programs. Like YouTube, you can watch on any device, anywhere, anytime. This isn’t exactly “cutting the cord.” Prices start at $79.99 bundled with your phone and a 2 yr. agreement.
- Sling TV – Finally, an al a carte service starting at $20 month with no contract! Sling TV offers two services: Orange is single stream with 30 channels, Blue is multi-stream with 40 channels, and there are some extras for additional minimal fees. You can try this service free for one week. Sling TV can be viewed anywhere, anytime, on any device.
- SET TV – SET TV gives you the biggest bang for your buck—with no contract or commitment! For just $20 per month, you can view over 500 channels on up to three devices. This is the least expensive and only all-inclusive service we have found. You can try it free (with full access) for 24 hours, no credit card required. And if you love it, you can purchase 3, 6, or 12 months in advance for even more savings.
These are just the highlights. Before you decide, do your research. Not all services work with all devices. Some services allow you to view on only one device at a time, while others accommodate multiple devices. And for multiple devices, more bandwidth and faster download speeds may be required.
4. An Indoor TV Antenna
If your viewing preferences are the smaller selection of your major broadcast TV networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX, where you can view your favorite sitcoms and the evening news, an indoor antenna will allow access to those channels without cable. That’s right. FREE. These channels are broadcast with digital signals, giving you great sound and picture quality. In addition, many of these stations broadcast sub-channels such as 4.1, 4.2, etc. offering even more to watch.
There are many types of antennas to choose from and many things to consider when choosing one, so you’ll need to do your research. One of the biggest factors is the location of your local TV towers relative to your home. Entering your address and zip code in sites such as antennaweb.org or antennapoint.com will help you select the right antenna and see what and how many channels are available.
While streaming services continue to evolve and improve, bringing you more movies, shows, concerts, and sports, there really is no need to pay for cable TV. ‘Cutting the cord’ from expensive cable service and converting your home entertainment to a streaming service—or a good old-fashioned antenna—can save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Ready to Save?
Most of the streaming devices claim easy setup right out of the box, and they are—for those who understand the technology. For the rest of us who may be frustrated by technology, Ambiance Systems can help. We can even help you choose a device and/or service based on the needs of your household. Click the button below if you’re ready to cut the cord and start saving money.