With bills for cable TV routinely topping $200, it’s no wonder that people’ are getting frustrated. Cutting the cable bills is a great money saver for sure, you would be surprised how much money you spend on TV in the long run! However, ending those subscriptions can be frustrating too. This is mainly due to this new, streaming world is akin to the Wild West— it is unbelievable how many streaming services and devices one can select from, but to get the conveniences you are so used to will take both research and effort.
The amount you will be able to save will depend on the amount of channels you want to have access to. Streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Sling TV charge varying monthly fees and offer a range of content to choose from. You should keep in mind that you will also need a high-speed Internet service to stream the video.
And, since you will be losing your cable box when you cancel your subscription, you will need to get yourself some new hardware to get your TV back on track. Here are a few solutions you should consider:
A great solution to get local channels (and network programming) is to get a good HDTV antenna. Luckily, with the new models you don’t need to climb up your roof to set it up. The $70 Leaf has a subtle design it’s nor bigger or thicker than a simple sheet of paper. You can hang it pretty much anywhere you wish and it will still pick up local high def channels within a 50 mile range— it might even catch some networks that your cable or satellite system did not include.
A DVR is an essential piece of equipment even in a world of on-demand viewing. The $400 Roamio is a cord-cutter’s dream. It works with an over the air (OTA) antenna and can record up to four shows simultaneously and store up to 150 hours of recordings in HD. Moreover, it includes all the Tivo features you need—you can skip commercials, watch on “Quick Mode,” thus speeding the too slow shows up by 30%. All at that price, yet without paying a monthly service fee, the one that cord-connected watchers have to pay at TiVo. (Cord cutters should bypass TiVo’s latest model Bolt+, which requires a cable card to record shows.)
In order to stream video content from service providers such us Netflix and Hulu and without having copies of local shows, the $50 Roku Streaming Stick is a great and inexpensive option worthy of consideration. It gives access to some 350,000 movies and TV episodes available via various services, Roku’s is also famous for being the most open-source streaming stick currently available on the market, meaning you can continuously add services that aren’t yet a part of the device’s default offerings. Shows stream in 720p and 1080p quality and the stick supports DTS Digital Surround sound. However, have in mind that in order for it to deliver what it is capable off, you need a good WiFi connection, as it itself doesn’t support internet cables.
To upgrade your picture quality while you cancel your cable or satellite, Google offers it’s high-end streaming stick, which is capable of displaying 4K ultra-high definition and HDR (high dynamic range) video. The $69 streamer can be connected via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable, the later being a better choice for 4K content. Just as with the standard Chromecast model, it connects your television to such services as Netflix, Pandora MLB.tv and HBO Now. You can purchase Google’s Chromecast ultra from Target, Walmart, or Best Buy.
If you use an iPhone and iPad—and your mobile world consists of Apple’s apps—it does make sense to use Apple when going for cord-cutting. Starting at $149, Apple TV offers most of the major streaming services with plans to include exclusive content such as the spinoff to James Corden’s popular Carpool Karaoke segment. The set top box also supports 1,600 video apps, has a strong recommendation engine, and your movies, music, or TV shows bought on iTunes. Moreover, it displays on your TV photos and videos from your iPhone or your iCloud.
Now if you are not Apple’s, but Amazon’s customer, the $90 Fire TV might be a more suitable option for you. It’s costs a bit more than the Fire TV Stick ($40), but it supports 4K streaming video and works together with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant via its remote control, which also enables you to quickly skip ahead or search for the content you want. Like the majority of streaming services, Fire TV supports Netflix, however it will nudge you toward its own Prime Video, which includes a number of exclusive movies and programs. It has many options for customization, thus allowing you to add more than 90 premium and specialty channels, including HBO and Showtime and no need for a cable subscription.