Cable companies. They are the worst. From poor customer service to overcharging consumers, it seems like you may be stuck paying that bill every month. Or are you?
More and more people are cutting the cable cord and finding alternatives to watching cable. For many it is an easy decision to make. For others, it may be a bit more nerve racking. Many have questions like:
- Can I still watch my favorite shows?
- Will it really save me that much money?
- Can I keep my internet with the company and just drop cable?
These are a lot of the most common questions that people have when it comes to considering dropping cable from your life. It really may not be for everyone, so I’ve got the most common questions here below and tips to consider before you make the call to turn off your service.
WHAT ABOUT MY FAVORITE SHOWS?
There are a lot of streaming services such as Netflix, HuluPlus, SlingTV…just to name a few. Many of these services will actually stream your favorite shows for you.
But, how do you know which one(s) could cover what you like? The way I would recommend to do this is to first of all, start with a TV watching journal.
Every time you watch a show, write it down. Keep a notebook right by the TV and never miss writing things down. Don’t forget about the shows you may DVR, the movies you watch, the things your kids watch….write it ALL down.
I would keep the journal for a period of at least a month (perhaps 2). After that time has lapsed, make an alphabetical list of the shows you watched and not the frequency.
Perhaps you watched something just once because nothing else was on. That may not be a series you would miss. There may also be a show your kids watch every afternoon when they get home from school. That is probably something that you would miss.
Once you have your full list of the “must watch” programs and movies, check out all of the various streaming services to see what they actually carry. If you can find the nearly all of your programs through one of these services, it might be the right time to make a change. If you can’t, or one of your favorites is not available, you have to decide if it is worth it to keep cable or not.
WILL IT REALLY SAVE ME THAT MUCH MONEY?
There are initial investments that you have to make before you can watch shows without cable. You must purchase an antenna. You can find these in all sorts of price ranges. You can try one version in your attic, which you can split with cables to each TV. You might want to connect a smaller one to each TV individually instead. There are several options and you can find them priced as low as $25 on Amazon (and they go up from there). This will get you your local channels only. Nothing more.
If you want to pay for services to stream other programs, you will need a streaming player or device. You can get a Fire Stick or Chromecast, which will plug into your TV and wirelessly stream through your internet. Some SmartTVs now come with built in WiFi connections and service links built into them. You may also want to look into a Roku or FireTV, both of which will also stream programs and movies. The one thing that you must also realize is that you will need one of these for each TV in your home.
If you want to record your favorite shows, you can absolutely do that as well. That will require one additional piece of equipment, a DVR. However, many people do not do this as most shows are available through one of their paid services, so there is not as much need to record programs (as there was in the past). Make sure you read the specs as some of them will act as your streaming device and your recorder, so you may find two in one options. Again, if you want to have this available on each TV set, each one will need its own (and there is no recording on one set and watching anywhere).
The services that you may look into could include:
- CBS All Access
- Amazon Prime (free for members)
- HBO Now
The monthly prices vary from service to service, but run as low a $5.99 up to $20 (and more). Even if you use just 3 services at $10 a month, that is $30 monthly vs. what you paid your cable company!
So while the initial cost may be more, it will more than pay for itself in the long run.
DO I NEED INTERNET?
If you plan to use the antenna only, then you will not need internet in your home. However, remember that without that, you can’t get online on your computer or devices. If you use any of the streaming media devices, you must have an internet connection in order for them to work.
Cable companies tend to bundle things together as it makes the consumer feel that they are getting the best deal out there. However, that can actually leave you paying for services that you don’t want or do not use.
Do some research and check out internet only services close to your home. You might find someone has a great deal that works for you….or just keep your same provider and drop the cable from your bill.
Making a big change like this is scary. However, what may be even scarier is sticking with a service you do not like and paying to much for. What is worse for you?