I’ve learned a lot over the 6 months since I started my journey to cut the cord. I learned a lot more after a year of cutting the cord. First, I can say that is has been completely worth it. If you haven’t cut the cord, you should definitely consider it.
Here are the things I’ve learned that will help you with your cordcutting journey
Learning #1: You’ll save money but…
You might not save as much money as you think. All the major streaming services have been raising their costs over the last few months. I expect that trend to continue.
Additionally, the streaming market fragments more and more each year, as I predicted. Disney+ will be entering the market, and many other companies are contemplating and preparing their entry into the streaming wars. We are still closer to the beginning of this market cycle.
Want to watch “Orange is the New Black?” You better get Netflix. How about “Star Trek: Discovery?” CBS All Access is the only place. “Young Justice” is only available on DCUniverse. You may need to subscribe to a variety of services to watch the shows you want, further increasing your costs.
All that said, I am still saving money, despite subscribing to multiple services. Also, cable companies keep raising their costs. They also bury hidden costs and fees at every turn, whereas streaming TV costs are straightforward. You just may not save as much as you planned.
Learning #2: There’s no one-stop shop to cut the cord
As I mentioned above, there are a lot of streaming services. You are going to have to do research to find all the shows you want and figure out which streaming services you need.
However, the problem goes deeper than the sheer number of streaming services. You also have multiple choices for the services you want to watch. For example, you can get HBO from:
- HBO Now
- Amazon Channels
- PlayStation Vue
- Roku Channel
And probably other ways. You have to decide which way is the best way to get the service. This includes comparing costs, platform support, features, etc.
This isn’t just for HBO. You’ll have quite a few options for Starz, Showtime, Cinemax, CBS All Access, and other offerings. I actually created a spreadsheet with prices and services to figure out how I wanted to subscribe!
Between multiple streaming services and multiple ways to subscribe to a channel there is no way to just pay one provider for all your streaming needs.
Learning #3: Watch the rate caps
I never paid attention to my Internet streaming provider’s (ISP) rate limits until I started streaming. While testing out full-time cord cutting and new services, my ISP sent me a message that I was getting close to my rate cap of 1TB. My ISP gives me two grace periods of passing my cap before they charge me extra.
Over the last 6 months, I have not surpassed that 1TB rate cap. My family streams a lot, and I have a lot of other thing going over the Internet in my house (VPN, Smart Assistants, music streaming, etc.). Streaming TV, however, has greatly increased my Internet data needs.
If you stream a lot, watch out for hitting your rate caps from ISPs, especially if you stream in 4K. If you think you are going to hit your rate caps you can look into a higher tier service with a higher rate cap or another ISP. Keep in mind you may save more money but just paying the penalty if you only occasionally surpass your rate cap.
Edit: We recently purchased a 4K TV and have been getting close to the rate caps. This is one reason I switched to using CenturyLink Fiber. No rate cap! With the savings, I even implemented pay as you go cellular failover for backup Internet.
Learning #4: Subscribing and unsubscribing has never been easier
One of the great things about streaming TV is that subscribing and unsubscribing are always only a few clicks away. You don’t have to commit to a contract for most services, and they actually make it easy for you to leave.
This allows you to save money. Only watch a few shows on HBO? Only subscribe for the 6 months that you watch it and save over the rest of the time. Hulu offering a better deal than YouTube TV? Cancel YouTube TV and change services. You won’t pay a penalty and it is easy to go back and forth.
Streaming companies now have to compete to get your business year-round. They will be incentivized to provide fresh, quality programming all year around which is great for consumers.
No more talking to the “retention” department and being on hold for hours while someone tries to talk you out of it.
Learning #5: You’re gonna have to get used to streaming video
What I quickly realized is that I was already a streamer. We’ve been using services like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix for years. To get those services, you’re going to have to dip into the streaming world.
As I mentioned earlier, more and more shows are exclusive to their proprietary streaming service. Some of these shows are not even available on cable or cable replacement services like SlingTV and YouTubeTV. This is one of the reasons I’ve said goodbye to my DVR of choice, MythTV.
Even if you haven’t cut the cord, you’re likely using streaming services, or will be in the near future. This is the future of TV.
Learning #6: Roku is the right device for most users
When you decide to cut the cord, or just to get into streaming video you will need to pick a streaming stick. You have a lot of choices, but I’m a strong proponent of Roku for most people.
Roku is the most open service, and it supports more streaming services than any other device. They have many inexpensive models, support Google Assistant and Alexa integration, and are easy to use.
If you are looking to game on your streamer a lot you probably should look somewhere else. They only have one current device that supports wired Internet, and it is their most expensive unit. Aside from those downsides, it’s probably the best streamer for most people.
Learning #7: Cut the cord to get a better experience
I started this article talking about saving money, but it isn’t all about saving money. Cordcutting can provide a better, more unified experience, as described in this account in the Intelligencer. With streaming TV, I don’t have to program a remote to change inputs when I switch from cable or Blu-Ray to watch Netflix or stream music. I just switch which app I’m using. I can even easily watch on mobile devices from anywhere.
The interface of streaming video devices are more advanced and provide a better user experience than their cable TV counterparts. There are also updated much more regularly.
I know longer have to worry about cable or satellite being out and missing my show and being unable to record it. Even if my Internet connection is down, my recordings still happen in the cloud.
Streaming TV reduces the devices I need to connect to my TV. It’s great to use one box and one simple remote to control everything.
When I first cut the cord I wasn’t sure how it was going to go. My family took to it much faster than I thought, and we don’t miss cable at all. We’ve learned a lot in our cordcutting journey, and I hope sharing this information with you has helped you in your journey.
Look, if you haven’t considered cutting the cord, now is the time. Just try it out, you can always cancel – no contracts involved.
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