Admit it, you’ve thought about cutting the cord. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with cable. We as television. We keep a handful of stations. But we don’t need hundreds of useless channels, many of them boring, some of them in languages we don’t understand. Month after month, we pay our cable bills, but we only use a small part of what we pay for.
It is no wonder that cutting the cord seems so attractive. The idea of paying only for the channels you want to view, watching them when you want, and pay the nominal monthly fees sounds great.
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But like most good things in life, the cutting of the cable is complicated. There are so many streaming options that it is difficult to settle on just one or two. Do it wrong, and cord-cutters can end up paying more than the traditional cable, and that is exactly what the streaming companies don’t want you to realize.
Sure, $7 per month for Disney’s long-awaited streaming channel sounds good, if that’s all you to subscribe to, but let’s be real: You can’t settle for just a streaming service, and these subscriptions add.
I’m going to guide you how these services add, and how it is more than a little misleading as streaming services tout their ability to save you bundles of money.
Basic Live Stream TV Channels
The main reason why people love “real” television that they can watch the events unfold live. Most of us could not imagine, that a NFL playoff game or the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after the fact. Even if we sit on a sofa, thousands of miles from the event in question, the sensation exists only at the moment.
If you want live TV. Start with getting a good HDTV antenna. If you need one, tap or click here for my picks on the best HDTV antennas.
An antenna will help you the local channels, but what about your favorite cable channels, such as HGTV, the History Channel, A&E, and your favorite cable news channels?
You have a live-TV streaming service such as AT&T WatchTV, DirecTV Now, FuboTV, Sling, Hulu, or one of the countless streaming services. These are all the different packages and channel offerings, and one is not necessarily better than the other; it’s all about personal preference.
You choose a streaming service and choose the ad-free, live-TV option. You’ll get access to about 70 or so channels, most of which you’ll never watch, but in any case, you do not pay for 300+ channels from your cable company.
Your monthly cost: approximately $50 per month. You’re happy good beginning.
But wait, there’s more: You have to have Premium Channels
Here is where things start to add. You want to add your favorite premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax. You will probably have to sign up and you get a kind of 3-month free deal, but then you pay about $45 per month for the four premium channels.
Your monthly costs will be about $95.
FOMO Channels You Must Have
If you don’t subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, you miss all the water-cooler chat about the big Netflix and Amazon originals.
If you already have an Amazon Prime account, you have access to all of their Prime content. You will also have access to programming that you can rent or buy. Movie rentals start at $1.99 and $7.99 and higher, but for our example, let’s say that you spend about $25 per month on movie rentals.
Your monthly cost to $120.
With Netflix, your monthly fee gets you access to their entire library of content; there are no rental or titles for sale. You sign up for the premium ultra-HD plan for $15.99 a month, because that gets you the best quality HD, with you and your family can share the plan and watch your own programming on the same time on multiple screens.
Your new monthly costs will be about $136.
Do not forget about the Disney Plus, later this year. It’s going to really shake up in the streaming business, with the recent acquisition of Hulu, and its enormous library of content with the Marvel and Star Wars universes. Do you have that.
Your new monthly costs will grow to $143.
You have the regular channels, you have four favorite premiums, Amazon, Netflix, and Disney, but we haven’t even talked about all of the a la carte channels that you can get that the range of kids’ programming, sports, independent films and original content.
Add CBS All Access for $5.99 per month, NBA League Pass for $28.99 a month, PBS Kids for € 4.99 per month, and YouTube Premium for the 20-somethings in your household, and we are almost at $200 per month.
Should You Cut the Cord?
Streaming has an important advantage over cable: On-demand programs. You can watch what you want, when you want and where you want. If you switch to streaming, don’t be fooled by the claim that you will save bundles by ditching the cable. You may even end up paying more. Do the math first.
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