One side effect of the global coronavirus pandemic has been the huge increase in the number of households letting go of their satellite TV and cable TV subscriptions. This year, in 2021, over six and a half million households are predicted to cancel their satellite and cable subscriptions, letting go of higher priced tv subscriptions in favor of more affordable streaming service options.
The pandemic has accelerated the trend of cutting the cord. More families have felt the financial pressure of losing work, making extra expenditures more costly. Some households that previously paid extra for live sports broadcasts have found no reason to continue their subscriptions, with live sports events being canceled due to the pandemic. And, of course, the market for lower priced online streaming services has boomed, as more and more people spend their days at home binging their favorite series season by season online.
If yours is among the millions of households considering canceling your cable and satellite TV subscriptions, here are some important things to consider before you cut the cord for good.
What Will It Mean To Cut the Cord?
Previously, to watch your favorite TV shows, live sporting events, and movies, you would have chosen from among several options. Most likely, you paid a monthly bill for either Cable TV or Satellite TV, with possible options for recording your favorite shows, or accessing movie channels on demand.
By cutting the cord, you are canceling your subscription to these services, which means cutting out the hefty paid TV monthly bill. According to the Leichtman Research Group, paid TV subscriptions cost roughly $110 each month, and prices are continuing to rise. For many of us, cutting out that monthly expense in favor of streaming services can help reduce our monthly budget.
You will still be able to access your favorite cable tv networks, like HGTV or CNN, which offer streaming services as an alternative to the traditional tv channels. Plus, with streaming services, you have the power of greater convenience. You get to choose which individual shows you would like to watch, at what time, and from which devices. So, if you want to stream an Amazon original series to watch on your tablet on your way home from work, you don’t have to sign up for a monthly subscription. You can customize your viewing habits instead.
With so many options to choose from, you can tailor your subscriptions and fees to your personal viewing habits. If you’re dying to re-watch HBO’s Game of Thrones, but you also love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel from Amazon, you can pay for the individual programs you want, making your entertainment package match your specific preferences. Or subscribe to the full streaming service for access to all the programs that network has to offer.
What Do You Need To Be Able To Cut The Cord?
The first step of cutting the cord is straightforward: you will cancel your current cable or satellite TV subscription. But what comes next? You will want to make sure that you have the right tools and platforms to replace your cable, so you can still watch your favorite TV shows and movies, uninterrupted.
The most important factor in switching to online streaming services is to make sure you have a high-speed internet connection. You should have at least a 5 Mbps download speed; if your current internet speeds are too slow you will quickly become frustrated with the glitchy, stop start, impossible to watch streaming speeds. If that is the case, you may want to consider switching to a different internet service provider. Making sure your broadband connection is up to speed will ensure that you have seamless viewing options.
One of the benefits of switching to digital streaming services is that you can choose to watch tv and movies on whichever device you prefer. So, you can sync your streaming services to your smartphone, laptop, tablet, smart TV, and even your regular old TV.
Cutting the Cord Step by Step
Choose which online video services you’d like to subscribe to. There are more options than ever to choose from these days. You can stick with one of the “big three”, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, or Hulu, which offer on demand viewing for their tv series and movies. Each of these three also offers original programming, exclusive to their service, while some shows and movies may be offered across all three platforms.
You can also watch live TV channels like Sling TV or YouTube TV.
And, of course, there are free video streaming websites and apps that can supplement your subscriptions, as long as you don’t mind watching some short online ads.
Once you have subscribed to the services you want, you can download the associated app for each platform. Use a streaming device that plugs into your TV’s HDMI outlet and syncs to the home internet connection. The Amazon Fire TV Stick or the Roku Streaming Stick offer a few options. These devices work with your tv even if it doesn’t connect to the home Wi-fi, so you don’t need to have a Smart TV to successfully cut the cord. If you do, however, you can just access your streaming services directly on the Smart TV interface.
Now that your streaming service apps are downloaded, all you have to do is choose from among the hundreds of programs available to you, sit down, get comfy, and watch.
A Few Potential Problems To Consider
While cutting the cord can help you reduce your monthly utility bill and allow for greater options when it comes to customizing your entertainment preferences, there are a few potential factors you will want to consider as you decide whether cutting the cord will be right for you.
For one thing, even if you are canceling your cable TV subscription, the same company might be responsible for your phone and internet packages, which can make your monthly bills more complicated. Since streaming services require a higher speed internet connection, you may need to pay more for a higher speed internet connection each month.
And, while cable subscriptions are undoubtedly more expensive than your average streaming service package, streaming services are also steadily increasing their prices. If you subscribe to multiple different streaming platforms, and you need to boost your broadband connection to accommodate the heavier speeds demanded by frequent online video streaming, then you might find that you are not actually saving that much money on monthly bills in the long run. Some people find cutting the cord hugely beneficial. Consider your options carefully and make sure streaming works better for you.