Thinking about pulling the plug on cable? We’ve been without for a little over a year and have never looked back. When I first started the process there was research in order. Let me tell you, the options were overwhelming.
First, I needed to understand how it all worked. Imagine your TV as one big device. The service(s) you choose become apps on your TV. Once you click on the app, channels, shows, movies, etc appear. If you have a smart TV, some of the apps are built in for you. If not, there’s a device (Roku, for example) that looks similar to a USB, and plugs into the back of your TV. This acts as the receiver for the WiFi and allows your TV to stream. In short, if you don’t have a smart TV, you will need a Roku or something similar. (Roku is a one time purchase with no additional cost.) If you have a Smart TV, streaming capability is built in.
Next, I wanted to understand the actual cost savings. With cable, our cost for Internet averaged $50 a month. Cable was $155, sometimes more. When we considered replacing cable, it didn’t occur to me we would need higher speed Internet, and consequently, an increase in cost. Higher speed Internet is needed if you’re streaming multiple TV’s and devices. So, there’s that. OurInternet cost in the end jumped from an average of $50 a month to almost $135 a month. With this being said, we have the highest speed possible (not 100% necessary), but have experienced zero interruptions.
I started comparing steaming options to our existing cable perks. At $155+ we were getting all the bells and whistles: live TV, DVR, sports, movies, you name it. Our biggest fear, and by our I mean my biggest fear, was losing all the necessary channels. You know, Bravo, TLC, E!, HGTV, Oxygen. Would streaming services offer these? What about sports and news? (Lifelines for my teens and husband.) Disney and Nickelodeon? (Go-tos for my youngest.)
Here’s what I figured out: We already had Netflix and Amazon Prime. These two accounts we would keep. They both appear as apps on our TV’s and Netflix was already costing us $15 a month. Amazon Prime comes with a streaming service and was included in our annual membership. There was no additional cost accrued there. Figuring out how to replace the existing cable ($155) and fill in the gaps between Netflix and Prime was the next thing to do. We would need local channels, sports channels, and all the networks I wasn’t ready to break up with. This is where you can tailspin.
While this list in not an exhaustive one, these are the services we researched: Sling, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, DirectTVNow. Ultimately, Hulu checked all our boxes and offered DVR, live TV, and sports. Its cost (last year!) was $45 a month. From cable, this was a cost savings of $110 a month. Factor in $15 for Netflix and $85 for higher speed Internet and our cost savings sits at about $55 a month.
7 STEPS TO STREAMING TV
- List the shows you can’t live without. Determine their networks and list those.
2. List the features you use frequently: live TV, DVR, etc.
3. Research streaming options/networks they carry. Compare network needs to stream options.
4. Determine if you have a smart TV or need Roku (or a similar device).
5. Determine Internet speed and if you’ll need to upgrade.
6. Contact your current cable provider and ask if you’re under contract. Let them know you’re thinking of switching to streaming and see what they have to offer.
7. PULL THE PLUG. It really was worth it for us. I mean, in the grand scheme $55 a month doesn’t seem like much but if you can save it, why not? There are lots of free app options to substitute your selection. YouTube TV, PBS Kids, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, ESPN are all offered as free apps through Roku.
Have you pulled the plug on cable? Any additional tips you can share?