Twenty years ago if you wanted to watch TV, you had one option: cable. Worse, cable companies essentially held a monopoly where you were forced to pay whatever they wanted for a cable package that often included thousands of tv shows on hundreds of channels that you would never even see, but were still bundled together with the few you did want because it made financial sense for the cable company.
Twenty years is a lot of time though, and the television landscape today is completely transformed from what it used to look like. The advent of the internet broke the cable companies’ monopoly on providing entertainment, and nowadays you can watch almost any show you want over the internet in one form or another.
So is it time to cut your cable and embrace the world of internet television? That’s what we’re here to answer today.
The first step to knowing if it’s time for you to cut cable is to draw up a list of the TV shows you regularly watch or want to watch. Even for high volume television watchers, you probably don’t have more than a handful of TV shows you’re actively invested in. Having this list is important because there’s no uniform television platform on the internet that offers all TV shows. Instead, there’s a variety of platforms that each offer an overlapping lineup of shows.
While there’s an ocean of online TV platforms, there field can be narrowed to a few major ones. The core of a cable cutter’s new TV lifeline will be composed of Netflix, Hulu , and Amazon video. Other strong contenders for your TV needs include Youtube TV, CBS All Access, HBO Go, Showtime, and Sling TV. Each of these platforms generally require an individual subscription that ranges from as low as $10 to as much as $60.
So which are right for your needs? When it comes down to it, there’s two main considerations when it comes to picking streaming platforms. First, which has the TV shows you want to watch? The simplest way to find this out is to just do an online search and see if the platform you’re looking at has it.
Second, how much are you willing to pay? Which won’t cost you an arm and a leg and an installment loan to afford? Streaming is often cheaper than a cable package, but if you need more than two or three subscriptions it can actually be more expensive, so do the math beforehand.
Cutting cable doesn’t have to mean ditching your pristine 6-foot LED flatscreen TV for a laptop screen. Many people already own a smart TV that can connect to the internet and streaming platforms without even knowing. Unfortunately, often the UI and user experience on smart TVs leaves quite a bit wanting. Because of that, if you’re cutting the cord you owe it to yourself to invest in a quality media hub that can stream to your TV.
The simplest type of streaming device are streaming sticks like Google Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick, and Amazon Fire TV Stick that once you plug them into your TV will mirror whatever’s on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone. A step up in complexity and power from streaming sticks are media hubs like the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. These come with their own dedicated remotes and interfaces from which you can directly access apps and the streaming platforms you have subscriptions with.