Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cable Prices Itself Out of Business: New Options

I've covered methods of cutting your cable bill a few times now.  Methods such as bringing your own equipment to cutting TV down to just your antenna service.  Unfortunately these options always were a bit more complicated to use than simply turning on your cable box and flipping channels.  Many still found paying a premium for additional channels and a simpler box to be worth the premium.

Unfortunately for our cable TV providers a simpler solution is now available.  It's cheaper.  It's easier.  It's not their product.

Over the last year multiple streaming TV services have appeared.  Unlike Hulu and Netflix which are essentially "On Demand" services these new cable alternative streaming services actually carry the same channels as your cable provider for less.  These services are delivered to streaming devices, game systems, and even smart TVs.  In many cases your existing smart TV can work with these services without needing an add on device and a new remote.  Just use your TV and the remote it came with.  Try that with many cable providers.

The services available today are as follows:

The channels these providers carry vary.  They all offer a free trial period where you can determine if they fit your need.  If not, move on to the next provider.  No worries about contract termination costs or waiting for an installer. Sign up on their website, tie your device to your account, and go.  That's it.

Before you subscribe to a service check to see if your device supports it.  With Youtube TV, Hulu, and Sling you have a pretty good chance your device of choice will work.  DirectTV Now is not as popular yet.  Playstation Vue is limited to Playstation devices, Android, Apple TV, and Amazon devices.

They all offer "on demand" style usage of the channels they stream.  Programs that aren't offered "on demand" you can set to "record" for later viewing.  All done via the service requiring no local box.

If you don't have a Smart HDTV or other streaming box may I recommend a Roku?  It will be one device that all these services support and it has a number of additional Roku channels available.  You will find so much programming at your finger tips that you won't miss your old cable TV package.  Snap this box into your TV's HDMI and USB Ports and you will be off to the races.  

You'll need internet access from your Cable provider or AT&T.  I strongly recommend 45mbps or faster especially if you're going to have two TVs or more running at the same time.  This should run you about $60 a month.  Then add on top your chosen service.  Personally I suggest starting with Youtube TV as it gives you a long trial period as well as access to "Youtube Red" programs as well.  That and most every streaming box includes a Youtube client.  This will run you $35 a month.  So total you'll be spending $95 a month.  For comparison, how much is your cable package running you now per month?  With equipment a conservative bill would be $150 a month.  I've seen bills easily cresting $265 a month with equipment and add ons.

If Youtube TV doesn't fit your needs.  Try Sling next.  Look their packages over.  I'd recommend the $40 package as you can stream to more than one device at a time and it has more channels.  Use the free trial to see if this fits your needs.  If not move on to the next service.

If none of these fits your needs even with combining in other services (for instance Youtube TV, Netflix, and various Roku free channels) then go back to your cable provider as a new customer.  I strongly suspect that if you give this a chance you will find it's not only more affordable, but much easier to use.  You don't need to learn a new complex remote.  You'll either use the remote that you have from your TV, or you use the Roku remote.  Compare these to your cable company DVR remote.