How many of you reading this have ever thought to yourself, I wish I could cut the cord from my cable or satellite provider and never give them another of my hard earned dollars ever again! I know I have. Between rising costs of programming and customer service that drives you crazy, cutting the cord is becoming a popular idea in households across the country. In theory cutting the cord is easy, you call up your provider and tell them you are done and you pack up your equipment and leave it at their door. Sweet relief! No more dealing with cable or satellite ever again. Now comes the harder part… What do you do now that you have zero channels to watch? Here are some of the most popular options to consider.
Local channels via a digital antenna. There are many different types and sizes of antennas to choose from. Some small and some large, some powered but the end result is just like in the old days of television. You have an antenna with a standard coax cable plugged into your HDTV and depending on where you live, you will get your local channels, in HD quality for FREE. You heard it here, FREE. That’s a very good value! Here is a good resource to check out regarding what kind of reception you can expect where you live and what type of antenna you may need to get good reception. www.antennaweb.org
Streaming Services. There are many streaming options available today, the most popular are Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu. Each has their benefits, and you can research what each service has to offer. Many folks will combine two services to get all of the content they want to have. Costs range from $10 per month to $20 per month generally for each service. There are many other streaming providers that I did not list as well, and a quick google search for streaming services will pull them up. It should also be noted that in order to use a streaming service you will need a strong internet service and a device capable of playing the service you want, such as an Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, or Amazon Fire TV. As a quick guideline, you should have at least 5 MBPS (megabites per second) to effectively stream HD content from services like Netflix. If you are planning on streaming 4K content, 25 MBPS is recommended.
So, we have covered the idea of cutting the cord and what’s involved, and how to watch what you want to watch without a cable or satellite provider. Let’s talk about what you won’t get… Live sports. Most live sports are on paid cable or satellite channels. Some sporting events are on local TV and you can get those events with your antenna, but other than that, you’re out of luck. When more sporting events are streamed live, we will start to see cable and satellite providers panic and either start dropping prices or trying an a la carte package where you pay for the channels you want. Either way, it’s a win for the consumer!
So there you have it, cord cutting in its shortest form. There are positives and negatives to cord cutting, and you have to make up your mind on if it makes sense for you and your lifestyle depending on cost, sanity, etc. For me personally I wanted to try it to see if I could make it work for me and my family, and for a time I did. I went back to cable for the sporting events since what I like to watch the most is live sports. One thing to keep in mind is that we can design an AV system that will give you what you want to watch, whether or not you have cable or satellite.