Cord Cutting is the process of reducing, or eliminating, dependence on cable or satellite subscription services to get television content.
This could include a return to antennas, utilizing streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, and/or streaming players like Amazon Fire Stick or Roku boxes.
For some people, cable or satellite services are the only way to actually get access to television programming. Over the air antenna streams just don’t reach. But for those who live in urban areas, subscription services may not be necessary.
Further, the complaint about paying for channels you don’t watch and not having the ability to pick and choose what you prefer to watch has been around as long as cable.
To be fair, cable subscription packages have included a broad range of channels to appeal to a broad range of subscribers. The cost of that package is dependent upon not only the amount of subscribers, but the cost of the content from providers.
TV isn’t cheap. No matter what it looks like.
Streaming provides flexibility in ways that might surprise you. YouTube has tons of free content – many of it older over the air shows that you might not have had access to. Some content providers have channels that have high quality content you won’t find on broadcast or cable.
In this first of what I hope to be a series of articles on cord cutting, I will give you an idea of what is out there, and how to determine if you should be exploring it more for yourself.
Where to Start
The first thing to consider is what, exactly, you watch. Are you devoted to specific shows? Follow sports? Interested in movies? Looking for out of the ordinary programming?
For myself, I sat down and made a list of what I watched and where I watched it. My list had all the shows I watched and what networks carried them. I then added a list of shows I wanted to watch.
For example; I discovered I spent a lot of time on CBS because the shows I followed were there. My second network was PBS, which was troublesome because the antenna service for my local PBS outlet was really bad. So bad, I could no longer get the channel over the air.
Now that you have your list, you can check to see where you can watch those shows. IMBD.com is a great resource for this. Established shows will have a list on their IMDB.com page showing where you can find the show. New entries will let you know the network and later fill in other where to see data.
PC Magazine has compiled a list of the Best Media Streaming Devices for 2019. It is worth taking a look at, if for no other reason than to really see your options.
Streaming boxes connect to a wide variety of streaming services that will allow you to access a variety of content – quite a bit for free.
You pay a one time fee to buy the box and then access various services thru the box. (No monthly rental fee for the box.)
I have a Roku box that I use to access not only Amazon, but CBS All Access, PBS and a variety of other channels that change depending upon if I use them or not.
Yes, I can change the content I want to watch at any time. 🙂
But Does It Really Save Money?
The amount you save can vary, but let me share with you my experience.
The average cost of cable in my area is $100.00 per month ($1,200 per year).
Right now I pay $12.99 for Amazon Prime. I pay $5.99 for CBS All Access (no commercials would cost me $9.99). Acorn TV is $4.99 while BritBox is $6.99.
Right now I’ve dropped both Acorn and BritBox because the series I watch will not have new season episodes for a few months. I’ll add them back to the mix later. I keep my CBS All Access for the simple reason that I can get the live feed from my local station over the air. This is important if the weather is bad and broadcast is disrupted.
So, with just Amazon Prime and CBS All Access, my monthly TV bill is a whopping $18.94 ($227.28 per year). Amazon Prime also has thousands of free movies and television shows in addition to those that are available for rent. CBS All Access also has their lineup plus classic shows and movies that update regularly. With these two subscriptions I’ve saved almost $1,000 per year. But that’s not all.
My Roku box has hundreds of channels that are available at your discretion. Some are free to watch, others require cable subscriptions. Browse their channel lineup and you will see PBS, PBS Kids, HBO, Showtime, Acorn, BritBox, America’s Test Kitchen among others.
Two of my favorite streaming services are Pluto and Stirr. Both of these platforms collect other streaming feeds into one location that allow you to find programming. Interested in game shows? Look for BZZR. Want classic SciFi? How about some NASA feeds? Check out their channel listings to see what is available.
Yes, you can find many of these options on your computer, but really, who wants to spend the evening curled up with your laptop?
I’m going to leave you here. I hope I’ve given you some food for thought. Why not sit down and make your list? Check out all the channels Amazon is offering. You might be as surprised as I was.
I’d be interested to learn more about your experience. Go to the Comments tab and fill in the form. Let me know what you learned and what you plan on doing next.