This happened to us. We were on various promotions for many years, and when those ended our bill almost doubled. We didn’t even have any extras like movie channels.
There are a couple of ways to lower your cable bill. One strategy is to call the cable company, tell them you’re planning to switch to a competitor, and they’ll transfer you to its Retention Department. I tried doing this, but the only promotion they could give me was $10 off a month.
The other option was to “cut the cord,” or stop cable all together. This is a trend that has been gaining momentum for people fed up with high cable bills and who do not need 1,000 channels. We decided to do this and switch to solely streaming through our television. This option cut our cable bill 75% from almost $100 a month to about $16.
Here’s how we did it. To do streaming you’ll need an external streaming device that can stream the data. Examples are Roku (which we choose), a tablet, a computer, or a DVD player or SmartTV that has the technology embedded into it. It’s a matter of getting the content displayed on the TV from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or HuluPlus, Pandora, Amazon Prime and more.
Once you have the streaming device set up, you will have access to hundreds of channels you can load into your preferences. A lot are free, though some are not. For example, for more selection, we choose to subscribe to Netflix streaming ($7.99/month) and HuluPlus ($7.99/month).
Is cutting the cord on cable for you? Here are things to consider.
Live Programming and Recent Episodes
If you need to watch news and sporting events live or absolutely can’t miss the most recent episode of your favorite shows, then streaming may not be for you. Streaming can provide daily summaries of news that may be updated at certain periods throughout the day and may offer older episodes of TV shows. One way to get around this is to use your internet via computer. Here you can read current news on websites, and many sports or television shows offer their recent episodes online within a few days of airing.
Streaming allows you to access content on demand. This means watching movies or shows when it’s most convenient for you instead of having to work around a channel’s pre-determined schedule. I find this works great for kids who want to watch their favorite shows. With cable, my daughter would get upset if she wanted to watch a show but it was not airing at that time. Now I just choose the show she wants and play it when it’s most convenient for us.
Selection through streaming tends to be less robust than cable. Though there are many free channels via streaming, they may not be the ones you want. You can get around this by subscribing to services which offer more variety like Netflix and HuluPlus. It’s still not perfect though. For example, Netflix streaming does not include as wide of a selection as in its old fashion DVD program. Some movies and more recent episodes may charge a small fee to watch. I get around this by avoiding anything that charges extra fees. My child is fine with watching older episodes of kids’ shows. As streaming becomes more mainstream, it is likely selection will increase as demand for all access programming grows.
My preschooler told me, “Scrubbing Bubbles help clean your toilets.” She said she saw this on a commercial (on cable, many kids’ channels force commercials onto your kids). What I love about streaming is that there are many channels without commercials. I can choose the educational shows I want her to watch and not worry she’s filling her mind with commercials for cleaning supplies.
With cable you can flip through channels and choose a show that looks interesting. This is a great way to discover new shows. Those using streaming require a different way of thinking. You either have to know beforehand the specific show so you can search for it, rely on recommendations from other, or browse within existing channels to go exploring.
The main benefit of cutting the cord is cost savings. This is a great option for households on a budget or for those who don’t watch television enough to warrant cable’s high prices. There’s a value to streaming especially for those who love to watch a marathon of their favorite movies and shows – you no longer have to rent or purchase DVDs. There’s also a savings in time since you can watch shows whenever is most convenient for you.
Cutting the cord on cable is a growing trend that may or may not be for you. Consider the pros and cons above and weigh if your family can survive without cable. For those who do, your wallet will thank you.