Three years ago
I cut the cord to cable, but like an addict I crawled back. Fast forward to 2016… Has anything changed in three years? Are we closer to the masses being able to cut the cord? Let’s take a ride down the rabbit hole.
The first question one needs to ask is, what TV series or live sports can you not live without? Make a list. Now here is a rundown separated into locals, sports, series/movies.
Local StationsNo streaming service provides the big three networks under one roof. Therefore, you are left with two options.
Option 1: Hulu Plus for $7.99 a month will give you both NBC and ABC. CBS has its own service for another $6 a month. If you’re okay with the monthly fee of $13.99 a month you can have all your locals without cable and for fewer greenbacks. You will, however, be using two apps and not all streaming players have both.
Option 2: For those who would rather not pay monthly one could install an OTA (over-the-air) DVR like one from Channel Master or Magnavox for a total cost of about $299. A good antenna will cost around $99. However, with digital, one needs to make sure the signal reaches the house. A quick search on antennaweb.org will make suggestions on what size antenna you need and what stations are available.
SportsStill the hardest piece of the puzzle is live sporting events. ESPN has finally signed on to Sling TV, for a $20 a month fee. Sling also carries ESPN2 and about 15 other stations. Sling, however, does not carry any of the locals. Still, they do have add-on options giving you the ability to watch 65 channels live.
MLB.TV will allow you to watch full game archives of every 2015 regular season and postseason game on your device and more than 250 “select 2016 spring training games,” according to their website.
GameCenter offers out-of-market games for NHL fans for a mere price of $131.49 a year (what an odd number, eh?). A stiff price when you are not able to watch your home team.
In other words, if you’re a big sports fan, don’t cut the cord just yet.
TV Shows and MoviesNetflix may be the most popular for one big bowl of movies and TV shows, but it is no longer the only game in town. This year, streaming services dominated the Golden Globes with their original shows. Today’s options include Amazon (included with your Prime membership you probably already have), HBO Now ($14.99/month) and Showtime ($10.99/month). I suggest you try the trials for both HBO and Showtime to get a taste of what they provide and see how often you use them. Sony Playstation Vue has 50-plus channels starting at $49.99 a month as well, but it is Playstation based and only available in a few markets.
Choose a Device Once one knows what they want to watch, then choose a streaming device. Just make sure that the device has the streaming apps you desire! For example, if you are looking at Amazon’s offerings, its app is not available on AppleTV. You can, however, download the app and stream using Airplay if you have enough battery power by the end of the day. I was impressed by the streaming quality; it was better than I had imagined. Currently, Apple has more than 60 apps available on the AppleTV—five of which most people will actually use.
Conclusion Cutting the cord is more feasible than ever before, but will still require some hoops to jump through to get all of the stations that you desire. Gathering your favorite shows/stations might require more than one device, so for the non-tech-savvy person, this should be an overall consideration.
If you asked my kids, now 7 and 9, what channel that Disney or Nickelodeon was on, they would not know. I bet that is true for most Millennials, as well. Channel surfing does not exist to the new generations—app surfing does, though! Today’s youth has never swapped between two channels while a commercial was on. Never again will there be sadness from the cable going out or something not recording. You can find anything these days, and most of this content is not sitting on a DVR, but waiting to be streamed.
There are other options coming down the pipe that could change the game even more. There is VIDGO an OTT service that “works with devices from Smart TVs to tablets, providing on-the-go video for an affordable price” (stay tuned for more information on this). Then there is the Apple rumor it will be offering a monthly package, eventually.
One thing I believe is for certain, the future of TV viewing will be completely app-based. Won’t you feel bad for the cable companies that have treated you so well for all these years?
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