Cable TV used to be the gold standard of entertainment. Today, there are plenty of other ways in which you can get all your favorite shows in one place and never miss an episode. Cutting the cable cord has become increasingly popular: but is it for you? Read on to find out why you should (or should not) cut the cable cord and 6 ways to do so.
Should you cut the cable cord?
There are a few things you need to consider before cutting the cable cord. First, look at your monthly statement to see how much your cable is costing you. Knowing what you’re currently paying is a good starting point for filtering out other options, which may be costlier than your current plan. Also check with your provider if perhaps there is a different, more affordable plan that still provides you the cable you want. Once you know how much your cable costs you, you are better equipped to decide if you want to keep the service or not. Keep in mind that if you decide to return to your cable plan after canceling there will be extra first-time fees, which can add up.
Second, if looking at your cable bill reaffirms your dissatisfaction with your current plan, check your internet speed. This is a very important step for a couple of reasons. It is highly likely that your internet and cable provider is the same company, so you might want to check how much you’re paying for both. If you cut cable, you will still be paying for internet, so know how much you are paying and how fast your current internet speed is. Testing your internet speed is key as you will need fast internet if you plan to rely on streaming services as a substitute for cable. Check out this quiz to get a better idea of what internet speed you need.
What are the alternatives to cable?
1. HD antenna
$20-$80, depending on the brand
An antenna will be your one-time investment for all the TV networks you could ever want. Plus, you’ll be getting all your shows in HD.
2. Cable replacement service
Some devices, such as a PlayStation, have streaming services already built into them. For Playstation, it’s PlayStation Vue.
3. Streaming player
Starting at $29.99
Consider a streaming device, such as Roku Streaming Stick+, as an alternative to cable. You can watch media from any app you download, including TV channel apps and live broadcasts. Since Roku is a neutral creator it works with most streaming services and almost any TV. In addition, there is a super compact version of the device, that comes in flash drive-like form which plugs into your TV.
4. Smart TV
$600-$900, depending on the brand
Smart TVs tend to come with streaming services already included, so you might not need anything else at all. You can also install streaming services if your Smart TV doesn’t have any. For example, Apple TV contains some of the brand’s fastest processors. Another cool feature of this product is the Apple TV app, which compiles your streaming channels and devices into one organized place. You can add to the library by installing additional apps directly from the Apple Store.
5. Streaming services
$14.99/mo.-$50.00/mo., depending on company
Streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Video are apps that you can install in most wifi-connected devices and watch your favorite shows. These services have considerable libraries, where anyone can find something to their taste.
6. Stream your way
Plex and other services like it allow you to stream things directly from your hand-held device or laptop.