Every major communications company either has a streaming service or in the process of launching one. What does that mean for your wallet?
Lately it seems as if everyone is looking for options to help them“cut the cord” from cable to save money on ridiculous cable and satellite television bills. Cable and satellite coerce customers into paying exorbitant fees for bundles of channels that most do not even watch. A 2014 Nielsen’s report showed that the average viewer received at least 189 channels from their cable provider, but watched only an average of 17 channels. Unfortunately, too many people abandon cable for a streaming service without doing their research first.
Major communications companies have recognized the ever-growing threat of services like Netflix and have began launching their own streaming services. For example, Dish launched Sling TV to compete in the streaming services market. Though Sling TV is less expensive than traditional cable and satellite, its sales are also predicated on bundles similar to cable companies.
There are many different ways to cut the cord from cable. There’s streaming apps, on-demand apps, and cable-replacement apps. First, understand there are media streaming devices and apps. The most popular media streaming devices include:
Amazon Fire Stick (from $39.99)
Roku Stick (from $29.88)
Google Chromecast (from $25.99)
Apple TV (from $149.00)
Nvidia Shield TV (from $169.99)
There is no monthly cost for these devices. And they cost about the same as satellite cable installation and activation. You want to select a device that has everything you need. Combining devices, streaming services, and apps to get the content that you want can add up to be just as expensive as traditional cable and satellite while also putting a strain on your bandwidth. So you have to be very careful and know which services are best for you and your lifestyle.
There’s much to consider before cutting the cord. Most televisions and DVD players come with the Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu apps and also allow you to download more apps from the device’s store. That leaves you with a few decisions: which shows and channels do you want to watch, is live television important to you, how many people will be streaming simultaneously, and will your internet connection’s bandwidth handle it?
If you want to watch recent episodes of DC Comics shows on the CW without cable, you’d have to choose a device that has the CW app. At present, Samsung smart devices do not have the CW app. You can find the CW app on the Amazon Fire Stick (the device, not to be confused with the Amazon Prime Video app), Roku, Chromecast, Android TV, AirPlay, Apple TV, and Xbox One. While most apps are free to download on media devices, you still have to pay for the actual subscription if there is a subscription fee.
Let’s not forget, you need to have a decent internet connection to stream just one app. So, if your family is looking to stream videos simultaneously, you will likely need to make sure your internet service can accommodate simultaneous streaming before cutting the cord. Also, if you are a gamer and you’ve had unexplained lapses in connection, and you’re in a household that streams videos simultaneously, this could be a possible explanation for your lag.
We all want to save money. And most consumers are tired of paying for services that they do not need—bundled channels they do not watch. Go ahead. Cut that cable cord. But make sure you do your research first.
Have you ditched cable for streaming apps? Which apps/devices do you use?