If you are like most, you are or may have been a prisoner to your cable or satellite television company. Many of them require you to sign a contract and that requires you to pay that amount for a year or two, or suffer a penalty for early termination. Of course that amount is not all you pay, outside of the fees, there are cable box rental fees, DVR fees, etc. I for one was sick of it, which is why I cut the cord on cable TV!
Cable TV Cord Cutting 101
Cutting the cord on cable TV is not hard but it is scary. When you make the call to your cable company, the customer service representative, on the other end, will work hard to make you second guess your decision. They may transfer you to a supervisor, or the retention department and may even offer you a lower rate with the addition of HBO for 3 months free. Sounds like a great deal, Right? Wrong! Remember your reason for cutting the cord in the first place and stick to your guns.
Once this dance is completed and you’ve ended the unhealthy relationship you had with your cable company. Full disclosure: You will probably will not be able to break free from them completely, as they may also be providing your high speed internet service. However, if you have options (other internet providers) let them know and negotiate with your ex to get a better rate.
Now What?? – Cut the Cord Options
Now what? You have no TV and have to communicate with people. Well, you could read a book or talk to someone, you might actually learn something or connect with someone. However, if that is too much work for then you should start your cord cutting journey with an antenna. Antennas are not expensive and will provide you with some free local channels, some major networks, and possibly more. This is not a perfect solution because many areas lack a strong enough signal to local networks and it may take some trial and error to find a good location for the antenna. It is worth a try especially if you live in a major metropolitan area. You may be satisfied by the amount of television you get and decide you do not need any additional service. If this is the case congratulations, now invest that money for your retirement (a topic for another discussion).
Beyond an antenna, there are many options to replace a very costly cable bill. The range of options are vast, as is their cost and content. If you are comfortable watching shows and movies on your computer then you can find free shows on websites like YouTube among others and not have to pay anything beyond your internet service provider bill. If you want to use your television, you may need a Google streaming, Apple TV, PlayStation, or Roku device to view online content on your big screen. Using these devices gives you the option of watching free content or paying for a subscription service like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling, Disney +, Apple TV, and Philo. This is not a complete list of the services available but these are some of the most popular.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The good news is there are a lot of options, but more than you will ever watch. My suggestion is to pick your service based on household viewer taste and content offered. For example, in my home we subscribe to Netflix, YouTube TV, Amazon TV, and most recently Disney +. The reason for our selection is: YouTube TV has all the major networks, local television, as well as basic cable channels, and unlimited DVR storage all for about $50 a month. Netflix has original content, recently released movies, and plenty of content for kids. Amazon TV comes free with my Prime Membership. Disney + is a new service and we decided to give it a trial.
Listing all of these services is making me realize that we may have too much and could save some money by dropping a few. The idea is to pick a service or a few that make sense to you and your situation. If your family loves Disney, then Disney +, and YouTube TV might be right for you (YouTube TV offers the Disney Channels whereas Sling does not). Match your interests and that of your family to the channel offerings and program variety of each service and pick one. If you pick too many, as apparently I have, then you may be paying more than you had with cable.
Mix it Up
Picking the right mix of streaming services, free or paid, will provide you with more than enough content than you had with cable. Be aware of the danger of having too many services and take advantage of the flexibility that these services offer. I read an article that reminded me that streaming services do not require the lengthy contracts we have become conditioned to expect from our content providers. Streaming services are monthly, if you have seen everything on Disney+ or Netflix, then try Apple TV or Hulu for a month or more. If Disney+ adds another season of the Mandalorian and you can’t wait to see baby Yoda, then sign up for another month. Use the flexibility to your advantage.
The Cord Cutting Solution
There are many benefits to cord cutting. The most obvious to me is saving money, which is why you must not get caught up paying for all of the streaming services. There is a ton of content and a lot of options, so pick one and enjoy it. Binge watch a series in 30 days or less, then cancel the streaming service and pick up another one the following month. This is an easy way to get great content, pay for what you want, and save money. I haven’t had cable since 2012 and don’t miss it at all.
Don’t forget…you could always read a book.
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think and if you have any other ideas that you would like me to explore.
All the best,