“Your promotional rate is expiring, but your savings will continue,” boldly proclaimed the headline on my letter from the cable company.
So that I could “keep enjoying the same services [I] have now,” my preferred rate would increase by $22.75 per month – or an additional $273 a year. For the SAME services.
The new discounted rate still offered a huge savings off their standard retail prices, said the form letter.
It’s an acrobatic performance you and I go through every year.
The cable company increases your fees. You call customer service, spend 30-plus minutes on hold, speak to an agent, and negotiate a better monthly rate – sometimes even getting a better deal than what you originally had.
This year, I decided enough was enough.
I’ve gotten tired of haggling over rising cable costs every year – considering that I seldom watch TV. During the fall and spring, I regularly watch about three shows. All of them are on broadcast television, which I can receive free of charge with my over-the-air antenna.
So I decided to cut the cord.
With the proliferation of content available online via the Internet, combined with the basic channels that can be picked up with an over-the-air antenna, I found that I can save $69 a month or $828 a year by cancelling my cable TV service and going strictly online.
Many of my clients express the same frustration about rising cable prices, but don’t know what alternative options they have or how to go about setting it up. Let me share with you some insight.
Before you cut the cable, you need to do your homework.
First, you need to have a reliable high-speed Internet connection. I recommend at least a 10Mbps or faster connection. Cable Internet is preferred, although you may receive decent quality with a fast enough DSL option.
Second, you need to compile a list of what shows you want to watch and what channels they are on. This is important because not all stations and shows available on cable television can be accessed via online-only providers.
Third, you need to realize that you’ll lose access to DVR capability. Depending on what stations and shows you watch, some past content is available online without the need for a DVR.
Finally, you need to thoroughly calculate the costs associated with the alternative options to make sure it really is a better deal than your current cable TV rate.
So what options are available?
Many homes in our community still have freestanding antennas situated next to them. These can pick up your local network stations such as NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, WNIN, and more at no charge.
Most of these stations are available in HD (high-definition) so the picture and sound quality is very close to what you have on cable television.
If you don’t have an external antenna tower, you can easily install a digital antenna to pick up these stations.
Dish Network offers an affordable online service called Sling TV. It offers you 22 popular channels that can be watched live for only $20 a month. (www.sling.com)
Available channels include ESPN, ESPN2, HGTV, TBS, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, and The Travel Channel.
They also offer add-on packages for as little as $5 a month giving you extra channels of a specific kind.
To get Sling TV, you will need either an Amazon Fire TV player or a Roku LT box.
Hulu offers the largest array of current TV shows and movies of online providers, with new episodes added daily. It’s not live content, but usually the latest shows are added within one to two days after airing. (www.hulu.com)
Hulu Plus is only $7.99 per month.
You can watch Hulu Plus directly on a Smart TV or on an Amazon Fire TV box.
If you’re an aficionado of older movies and television shows, Netflix offers a wealth of great entertainment. Netflix doesn’t offer live content nor does it include the episodes from the current season of most TV shows. (www.netflix.com)
Prices start at $7.99 per month for the streaming plan, although I’d recommend the $8.99 a month plan to get HD content.
If you’re tired of rising cable prices, open to modifying your viewing habits, and willing to spend time exploring what’s available online, you may be able to save some of your hard-earned money by cutting the cord.
While the ultimate decision lies with you, I would be more than happy to schedule an appointment to explore your options to help you reach an informed decision.