The days of one-size-fits-all packages offered by cable companies are gone. Today, there are a number of online options out there if you’re looking for alternate ways to get your favorite shows.
Many consumers are beginning to cut their cable cords and switch to different streaming services for their movies and TV. Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime offer a wide selection of television shows and movies for a fraction of the cost of cable.
You can often cut your cable bill by more than half by switching to streaming services. Given the low cost of the individual services, you could potentially order all three major options for around $30 per month. That’s $36 less than the average cost of a month of cable.
The most basic Netflix subscription currently costs just $7.99 per month, with the option to view content on more screens simultaneously for a few more dollars more. $11.99 per month gives a family of Netflix users four screens at once.
Netflix’s competitors are similarly priced, with Hulu costing $7.99 per month right now. Amazon Video is included with a Prime membership but can be purchased as a stand-alone subscription. A number of different services also exist like Sling TV, HBO Now, CBS All Access, and others that each have their own selection of content.
You’ll need a streaming media player. While you can run your streaming accounts through your laptop, you’ll likely want to pick a streaming media player to connect your TV. Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV are the main choices right now. It just takes a few minutes of research on Google to learn which one would be right for you.
Live TV is the primary downside of leaving cable. Cable still has the market cornered when it comes to live events like sports and award shows. If you want to watch your favorite football team, you may have to go to a friend’s place or to your local sports bar. The same goes for live TV “events” like the Oscars or the Grammys.
Use streaming services to enhance traditional TV. If saving money isn’t the main concern, and you’re just looking for access to the best TV shows around, you can always run cable and a streaming service together. Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu give you instant access to a great lineup that compliments what is on cable.
Understand your Internet bill. If you cut cable but have to turn around and give the savings back to your Internet service provider, it may not be worth the effort. Look to see if you have a data cap, speed surcharge or other extras. If you bill isn’t clear, it’s worth calling your provider to review things before you switch.
Streaming services are easy to start and stop. Unlike the penalties that can come with cancelling a cable agreement, you can start a trial of a streaming service for free, and if you don’t like it, you can cancel with no added fees. You can also cancel the account at any time down the road if you decide it doesn’t meet your needs anymore.
It only takes a few minutes to start a free trial with the major streaming services. All you need is an email address and a credit card. Most will even email you before your free trial period is up too, so you don’t have to worry about suddenly getting a new bill if you decide you don’t want to continue paying for the service.
Streaming TV gives you more control of this monthly expense and the tools to create a custom package that will meet your needs.