I am writing this article today from my own recent experience in giving a shot at cutting standard TV service, or as they say “cutting the cord,” in my own home. Spoiler alert: It was actually easier than I expected it to be, once you get used to a new format for navigating channels! That said, there are also a handful of challenges that came with cutting the cord, so I’m sharing my experience and take-aways for a little info.
So what exactly does “cutting the cord” even really mean?!? For most people, this would mean replacing your cable or satellite service with one of the many streaming apps to get you some of the same content. The key word here is SOME of the same content, as this is the first challenge cutting the cord presents. There are many options for streaming live TV now, and each carry slightly different channel lineups, so most importantly, you want to know ahead of time of which channels are important to you.
Most networks (Fox, CNN, ABC, TNT and so on…) have their own apps available on Apple TV, Roku and most Smart TVs. Many require signups with monthly costs, or for you to have some type of cable, satellite, or live streaming service subscription to use for a login. So we begin by deciding on one of the live TV streaming services. The most popular are Sling TV, Hulu Tv, YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Fubo TV. I would recommend starting with this link.
This gives a breakdown of each service, and what channels are available. Take note that DirectvNow, YouTube TV and Hulu Tv all include local channels, where Sling does not (but can be added with an external antenna).
Many of these options are fairly close in their standard costs, most coming in around $40/month for standard service. Keep in mind this doesn’t include premium channels like ShowTime or HBO which are additional, or additional streams, or DVR packages. My personal favorite as I tested each, was YouTube TV. I felt they have the cleanest user interface, and all of the local and network channels that were important to me. They have been streaming longer than anyone else, and their watch recommendations are spot on after a week of use.
Once you make a call on a service provider for your own watching preferences, you also need to consider streams. This means how many different shows you can you watch from different devices in the home, at once. Sling TV offers only one stream on the “Orange” plan and three on their “Blue” plan. DirecTV Now offers two streams with a $5 add-on for one additional. The problem here, is if you have a lot of TVs in the home (or maybe children who watch on their tablets), you may find you run out of streams quickly. Although, keep in mind you will likely be mixing with services like Netflix, or some of the network apps, which will help with this issue. It’s unclear when some of these services will add options for more streams, but I do expect it’s coming soon. We can also help solve this issue with video distribution systems.
So when it’s all said I and done, you could save $20-100 per month, but also face a few challenges and changes to get used to watching across different platforms. We have all of these services setup at our showroom, so stop in and chat with one of our experts for a demo on the differences!