What Will You Save When You Cut the Cord?
Dear Rich Lifer,
The so-called Golden Age of Television started back in the 1950s when TV sets began their explosive growth.
You might remember shows like I Love Lucy, Toast of the Town with host Ed Sullivan, and Gunsmoke.
These classics paved the way for networks to start adding even more content.
In the ‘60s, TV networks started showing full-length movies that had played in theatres. As the supply of movies started to dwindle the networks started producing their own “made-for-TV” movies.
Today, we’re going through another Golden Age of Television. Networks are investing billions of dollars into content creation.
Even large corporations like Amazon have their own movie and TV studios pumping out award-winning hits.
But with so much great TV comes ever increasing, expensive cable bills.
The Wall Street Journal recently cited data from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence noting that the average cable customer pays more than $90 a month plus another $57 a month for high-speed internet.
Compare that to monthly streaming services from Amazon, Netflix and Hulu that tend to run between $9 a month up to $45 a month plus internet. It’s a no brainer.
You can even stream live TV and sports now for less than you pay for cable, plus there’s no commitment. Most services can be cancelled with the push of a button and you’re never tied to any lengthy contracts.
If you’re fed up with soaring cable bills and ridiculous monthly charges, it’s time to take the plunge and cut the cord.
Before I show you how easy it is to ditch your cable company, let’s cover some of the pros and cons first:
Pros of Cutting the Cord
- The #1 pro is cost savings. You’ll typically save anywhere from $40 to $50 or more per month when you decide to cut the cord. Just think about all the things you could do with an extra $600…
- Most live streaming services give you access to a free Cloud DVR (no more physical DVR box). This makes “taping” your favorite shows really convenient, which brings us to our last pro…
- Most streaming services work on any device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, Kindle etc.) connected to the internet, which means you can watch TV anywhere. This is great for anyone who travels a lot, or has multiple residences throughout the year.
Cons of Cutting the Cord
- Channel flipping can be slow. If you enjoy flipping through channels, you might not get that same satisfaction with streaming live TV or movies. It takes a few steps to change from one platform like Hulu Live to Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services. So if the ability to channel surf is worth an extra $50 a month, then hang 10, dude.
- You’ll need a device like Roku or the Amazon Fire TV Stick to get streaming services. Unless you have a smart TV, you’ll need to buy a device that plugs into your TV and allows you to stream. The good news is these are cheap ($40-$50 one-time payment).
- Some live TV streaming services have commercials you can’t fast forward. Hulu Live has a commercial option or commercial-free paid subscription. The commercial option will politely tell you how long ad breaks will last, so you can run to the bathroom or kitchen.
How to Cut the Cord in 5 Easy Steps
If you’re ready to cut the cord, here’s what you do:
- Decide if an antenna might work for live TV channels. You can dramatically cut costs by getting an antenna to tune into major broadcast stations like ABC, CBS and NBC as well as PBS. Antennas Direct’s ClearStream Eclipse and Antop’s Paper Thin Smartpass (they each sell for around $35 or $54) are good options for indoor antennas. You might also want to explore mounting an outdoor antenna if you live outside the city.
- Choose your internet provider. You probably have internet already, just make sure your internet speed is fast enough to handle multiple devices streaming at once. A good rule of thumb is 5 mbps for every streaming TV.
- Pick a device to perform streaming through your TV. Like I said earlier, your main options are Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast and Apple TV. The first three cost about the same ($50 range), but Apple TV 4K runs a steep $179.
- Choose your streaming service for live TV. If you decide the antenna won’t work for live TV or you’re not picking up the programs you want, there are other live TV options. Hulu Live, DirectTV Now, Sling, YouTube TV and PlayStationVue are the most common. They’ll run you between $15 and $45 a month.
- Pick your streaming subscription apps. Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance Now, AMC and others offer a wide variety of original content. They all have apps and all you have to do is sign up for a subscription.
The costs of these apps vary widely: Netflix currently charges $8.99 a month for its base streaming plan, while premium channels like HBO run around $15 a month. Most subscriptions offer free trial periods with no commitment, I suggest trying different ones to see what you like.
To Cut the Cord or Not
The biggest mistake you can make is not giving this a try.
Once you take the leap and cancel your cable subscription, you’ll wonder why it took you so long — and if you want cable again, it’s not like your cable provider won’t take you back.
You’ll find that the savings are significant and you’ll have so many more options to choose from for a fraction of what you are currently paying.
You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain here. Cord cutting is not as scary as it sounds. Especially given all the options in this new Golden Age of Television.
To a richer life,