Pondering how to cut the cord on cable? Let’s be honest, no one actually likes their cable provider. It might be time for a trial separation.
The necessary evil of cable can be frustrating on so many levels: Convoluted bills sprinkled with unknowable fees. Spotty internet service. Channel bundles incorporating networks you’ll never watch. The shell game with customer service if you want to modify your plan or get a better deal; a test of wills to wear you down.
Where’s the Loyalty?
We recently assisted my 86 year old mother in her fight with her cable company. Even though she was a long standing customer, they fought tooth & nail, over her decision to switch to a less expensive version of her plan. It took multiple phone calls and a manager to complete the change. All over a $50 a month reduction in cost, & better internet speed. Customer loyalty?? Not in the cable provider world….
Having recently come off a long overdue break up with our cable provider, we thought we’d share some insight into our experience.
Is there a Better fit with Live Streaming Services? Will you save Money?
With a little research, considerable patience & taking the time, there are better deals to be had. The combination of Live TV streaming & streaming services like Netflix could be a better experience overall.
How to Cut the Cord on Cable
1st – How Much are You Paying Now… for Everything?
Before you begin your research, review your cable/telephone bill + any streaming services you currently use. A clear look at what you’re paying for now will make comparison shopping easier. Make sure to include all streaming services to which you’re currently subscribed.
Our current cable bill, with internet service & taxes priced out at $212 per month. When we tacked on our current streaming services (NetFlix, Apple+, etc) our monthly bill swells to $255.
Original Cable Bill + Internet + Telephone + Taxes = $212.00
Original Streaming Services (Netflix, etc) = $43.00
Monthly Total = $255.00
Annual Total = $3060.00
No need to judge our “devil may care” TV spending until you’ve run your own numbers! 🙂
2nd – The Internet Ties that Bind – Cable Co’s Linger
What would be more gratifying than telling your cable provider
“Adios… we are breaking up for good!”
Unfortunately, you’ll still need a cable company to provide an internet connection. Additional phone lines for home phones or alarm systems might also need to remain. For the time being, a cable company will still have a foot in the door. Be of good cheer… internet only service is likely way cheaper than your current package!
If your considering a switching cable companies, try this free Internet Search Tool to help identify internet providers in your area
Remember: Switching cable providers for a cheaper package might only be a one year deal. Be sure to find out what the cost will be in year 2!
Samsung QLED Frame TV 55″
3rd – The Networks & Shows You can’t Live Without
This is one of the most time consuming, yet important steps. There’s no point to pull the plug on your cable package if you can’t see your favorite shows. Each live TV streaming service carries a different group of networks. Also, not all services carry the primary networks (local stations) in each region of the US.
Creating your list of the networks & On Demand services is helpful on several fronts:
It lets you compare which Live Streaming Service offers the networks that carry your shows.
Makes comparing Live TV Streaming services faster & easier.
A mix of Live TV Streaming & On Demand services might not prove to be cost effective.
Here’s a PDF worksheet document to use to track which Tv networks you need and who carries them. The list is by no means comprehensive, but it’s a good starting point. Feel free to open the link and print it out.
4th – Live TV Streaming Services
Live TV streaming services take the place of a traditional cable subscription. Through a monthly subscription fee & access to at least 10mbps internet service, TV streaming services provide access to traditional TV network programs, news, sports, original shows, on demand movies etc…
TV streaming services typically operate through a third party device, such as an Apple TV Box, Smart TV, Chromecast, Xbox, Playstation, FireTV etc… There are several options which you may already have at your disposal.
What’s the Catch?
You’ll need to take your list of shows/networks that are important to you and compare them to the show packages each Live TV streaming service offers.
You’ll need to compare the cost of the TV streaming service with what your paying now – TV streaming service + any on demand services (Netflix etc…) to make sure your getting a good deal.
Why We chose HULU Live
In our area, HuLu carries our local network stations (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) in addition to 60+ stations.
HuLu on demand service, including their original shows and TV/movie lineup are part of the package.
We already own a couple of Apple TV boxes, which work with HuLu. It’s convenient that our on demand services like Netflix, HBO Max & HuLu Live are all accessible from the Apple Tv menu.
They also offered Fox Sports West, so we can watch LA Kings games. In an ironic twist, HuLu’s contract with Fox regional sports was recently cancelled. We’ll have to see if they will work out their differences or if I’ll need to add an NHL package, for more money, later.
Cloud based DVR lets us record up to 50 hours of shows & access them from home or away.
With a month to month contract, I can cancel at any time.
Harmony remotes are designed to work with HuLu Live
There are other Live Tv streaming services that fit some or all of the above criteria.
Most common Live TV Streaming Services for Cutting the Cord on Cable
If manually going through each provider becomes frustrating, we’ve listed some cord cutting app sites that could offer an assist in making your decision. We don’t have any relationship with these sites.
5th – Run the Free Trial
Rather than burning the boats at the shore, hang onto your cable service & take advantage of the free trial when you feel you’ve found a service that meets your needs.
TV streaming services operate differently from conventional cable service. You need to be sure you can live with internet TV. While it took some adjustment, we’ve come to like many of the features with HuLu provides.
6th – Run the New Numbers!
Will your efforts be rewarded with more channels & a smaller monthly bill?
Once you’ve completed your investigation & started your free trial, it’s time to run the numbers.
For us, the numbers continue to evolve. As mentioned above, we lost access to Fox Sports West, which means we’ll need to address that at an additional cost. This morning, we were notified that HuLu Live service would jump to $65 a month, from $55 a month, starting in December. We factored that in below.
So, in our situation:
Cable Bill + Internet + Telephone + Taxes = $212.00
Streaming Services (Netflix, etc) = $43.00
Monthly Total = $255.00
Annual Total = $3060.00
Hulu Live TV + Internet only + Taxes = $140.00
Streaming Services (Netflix, etc) = $43.00
Monthly Total = $183.00
Annual Total = $2196.00
Monthly Savings = $72.00
Annual Savings = $864.00
7th – Consider Spreading the Costs among Family
Many of the TV streaming and on demand services allow for multiple, simultaneous streaming. AppleTV, for example, allows for 6 simultaneous streams among family members. Disney+ allows 4 simultaneous streams. It might be worth taking stock of who in your family watches what, and splitting a few services among those generating an income! For example, our oldest son, also a fan of Disney+’s The Mandalorian, is more than happy to split the cost, for access.
8th – Low Risk, Month to Month contracts
Unlike cable companies that may lock you into year long contracts, most streaming services allow you to cancel at any time. If you’re not pleased with your stream or on demand service, you can part ways at the end of the month. No harm, No foul.
How to Cut the Cord on Cable – Our Takeaways
There are several options for streaming Live TV. Taking the time to compare what’s out there could lead to a more tailored TV package that saves you money.
Our family has an incessant need for TV entertainment. The exercise of researching cable & streaming services options, makes it clear just how much were willing to pay for this pastime. COVID likely makes this even more pronounced. In exchanging TV show recommendations with friends, I don’t think we are unique in this regard.
In general, cable companies have ZERO loyalty to you as a customer. The longer you’re a customer, the less interested they become. Exploring options for better service or reduced cost is time well spent!
So far, our experience with Hulu Live has been good. Other than the occasional internet related quirks, it seems to run smoothly and deliver the TV experience we are accustomed to, at a lower cost.
Having streaming TV & multiple streaming services, it’s still necessary to keep an eye on the cost of each service. If they all creep up in the coming years, the prices could catch up to cable costs.
Also, will the cost of adding additional services (in our case, making up for Fox Sports West) begin to negate our cable savings? Only time will tell.
The ability to drop out of one or all streaming services, at any time, reduces the risk of moving away from a full cable package. Most, but not all of the LIve TV streaming services are month to month.
If Live Tv streaming services don’t pan out, it’s safe to assume that any cable company would be happy to take you back. They will probably treat you better, as a highly coveted “new” customer… for a little while. 🙂