Can you save money by cutting cable?
Whether it’s Comcast, DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, Xfinity, or DISH Network, your cable service is expensive. It’s also the main reason people have been saying bye-bye to traditional pay-TV services. With the dramatic switch of viewers to online streaming, TV antennas, and other entertainment options, cable companies are struggling to retain subscribers and are quickly losing their financial foothold on the market.
Yes, cable still has some good shows like This is Us, The Walking Dead, and Survivor, but you don’t necessarily need a cable box to watch them. If you’re thinking of cutting the cable cord, here are a few options you’ll need to consider about life after-cable TV:
Consider an HD antenna
Antennas have come a long way from rabbit ears and tinfoil (which still works, BTW). Antennas provide free local and live network TV, but the most popular ones now provide it in HD. With just the cost of the antenna and no additional subscription needed, it’s the least expensive and simplest alternative once you call it quits with your cable provider. Just plug the antenna into your TV and point it toward the window. It’s ideal for news and sports but offers limited channels, and where you live has a lot to do with what you’re able to watch. Closer proximity to broadcast towers delivers better reception so those in urban areas can expect the clearest pictures and the best channel selection.
Choose your streaming service and your device
If you’ve purchased a TV in the last few years, it’s likely a Smart TV, which means you already have access to the streaming services that you need. Apps for popular services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, among others, come already installed on a Smart TV. With a monthly subscription of $8 – $17 per month or $119 per year, depending on the service, you’ll have more TV entertainment than you could possibly enjoy in any couch-potato life.
If you currently don’t have a Smart TV, it’s an easy fix. The simplest alternative is to download the streaming app on your laptop computer and watch online. If you prefer, you can also watch it on your TV if you attach your computer via HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, or DVI cable.
If plugging your laptop into your TV each time isn’t ideal, there are other reasonably priced options, like set-top boxes, streaming sticks, game consoles, or other devices, that accomplish the same thing. The most popular choices are made by Roku, Apple, Google, and Amazon and range in price from $35 to $400.
Replace your cable provider with another service
If you’re nervous about cutting yourself off from the cable world and your favorite daily channels, consider a cable replacement service. It’s a subscription service, just like the cable company, but somewhat less expensive. Services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV fall into this category and subscription prices range from $25 per month to $80. The services include different channels, so if you’re hooked on ESPN or need to watch Nickelodeon on Saturday mornings, it’ll impact your selection.
Another service to consider is Plex, which allows users to create their own media library on their personal computer and then stream it to their web browser, game consoles, or other media players. The service allows for screen mirroring, recording live TV, and sharing libraries with friends. Best of all, it’s basic service is FREE.
With so many options, we can see why people are making the switch. If you’re paying for a service and there may be a better option that meets your needs and your budget, it’s worth a look.