About a year ago we made the leap and cut cable and switched to streaming only services for our TV viewing. While we had been tempted for quite some time, we weren’t willing to make that change until Fox Sports Kansas City was available to stream and we could follow the Royals. Now we are total converts to streaming only and you couldn’t pay me to return to a cable subscription.
Before we cut cable we were spending about $130 a month on TV and internet. Now we pay $50 a month for high speed internet and anywhere from $20-$50 a month for TV depending on which subscription services we are using. Even when we are subscribing to multiple streaming services, our total for TV and internet is never more than $100 a month! I love not having to call the cable company every 6 months and threaten to cancel to get a better deal. Here is what you need if you are going to cut cable:
Good high speed internet: We made the leap to cut cable when Google Fiber became available in our area. We pay $50 flat a month for very fast internet. Our bill is always exactly $50, no unexpected fees or charges creeping up. Beware if you just try to drop the cable and keep the high speed internet with your cable provider the price for internet alone will probably leap up. So really shop around and consider changing providers altogether to get a competitive price.
Digital antenna: This allows us to get the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS). We can watch the local news, which I find especially important during severe weather season. We got this 50-mile radius digital antenna on Amazon for less than $30 and are able to get all those channels.
Streaming device: This connects to your TV and allows you to stream all kinds of different shows from different services. We initially tried an Amazon Fire Stick but it was pretty glitchy so we switched to a Roku when Sling was offering a free one with our subscription. I know others that use an Apple TV or Chromecast. If you have a gamer in your house, see if your XBox or Playstation can be used as a streaming device.
Subscriptions to streaming services. Below you’ll find a run down of the ones that we use but there are many more options out there such as Playstation VUE and Direct TV Now. Consumer Reports has a great summary of all the options, what they are good for, and what the basic costs are.
- Amazon Instant: If you have Amazon Prime you will have access to all kinds of free shows and movies including a lot of their original content (Man in the High Castle and Mozart in the Jungle are our faves.) You can also rent movies that are newly released for a bit more than the cost of Redbox, without the hassle of picking up or returning the movie. Amazon has a lot of kid shows, including several seasons of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood available for free with your Prime membership.
- HBO Now: We subscribe during Game of Thrones seasons and catch up on other original HBO programming during those weeks and then cancel when the season is over. At $15 a month we don’t see the value in subscribing year-round.
- Hulu: On Hulu you will find past AND current seasons of shows, with most new episodes going up the day after they air on TV. Most ABC, NBC, and FOX shows are on Hulu as well as some Hulu originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale. Hulu offers limited commercials or for an extra $4 you can go commercial free. Just recently they started offering a live TV service with cloud DVR capabilities for an additional fee to compete with Sling and other live TV services.
- Netflix: If you don’t know about Netflix you are probably living under a rock. Netflix does not air current seasons of TV shows but they often get new movies shortly after they are released on DVD and you can binge watch thousands of shows and movies with no commercial interruptions. They also have Emmy award winning original programming, such as House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master of None, and Stranger Things. We watch a lot of Netflix!
- Sling: Sling offers several different packages that include different channels (kind of like cable packages) that will stream live. You can get the Fox Sports Kansas City channel and watch the Royals games with the Sling Blue package. They even offer an extra “cloud DVR” service for an added fee that will allow you to record your favorite shows. Sling is a month to month service, so you can cancel at any time. We use Sling during the months of April-October to watch the Royals but cancel after the season is over, freeing up an extra $25ish a month during the off season!
Something to be aware of with whichever service you choose is that you’ll need to look closely to see which sports channels are included and which teams those channels will broadcast in your area. Also be aware that CBS has their own service called CBS All Access you have to pay for if you want to see their shows. Catching their shows live via your digital antenna is your best bet if you don’t want to pay for their service.
Have you cut cable in your household? Have you considered it but just haven’t made the leap yet?