Cutting the cord, is it for me?

It’s been a few months since my last article and to be honest, I’ve slowed down on my Internet projects, however, I’ve taken what I thought was a huge leap and cut my cable cord during these trying times of COVID-19!

What exactly does cutting the cord mean? It used to mean saving a lot of money by cutting your cable tv and in most cases your phone service. The ideas is to only pay for Internet access and cheap streaming services or simply wathing OTA (Over the Air) TV along with free services such as Hulu, Crackle and the likes. Nowadays, cutting the cord can still save you a good amount of money but most streaming services are increasing their prices even faster than I’ve ever seen cable companies. Don’t worry though, I’ll try to ease some of your concerns by going into some questions that I faced, along with the multitude of options that I found to be great solutions.

To start, most streaming services are still cheaper than most cable services but if you are paying for your settop boxes there is more than likely a significant monthly cost savings even if you max out on the best streaming services. In my case, my Triple Play package from Verizon Fios cost me $214.00 the last month before I cancelled, while my current bill since cutting the cord is around $75, still a huge savings and I’m considering other streaming services that are even cheaper and potentially cancelling paid streaming services to bring my monthly cost below $50/month. This includes my home phone, Internet access and TV services (free + paid).

My guess is that 50% of people can easily save a lot of money while being just as happy with streaming services as they are with their current setup. People who need every channel including all sports channels and movies etc. probably make up around 25% of the population, in my opinion, have the least to gain by cutting the cord. There really is no single Streaming TV service that will give you everything, at least not without paying well beyond their advertised price plans so the frustration vs. minimal savings won’t lead to a pleasant overall experience for that group. The remaining 25% of people probably don’t like their current setup and will likely not be happy with a cheaper setup so you really need to figure out which group you consider yourself to be in and then weigh the pros and cons of cutting the cord. Here are some things to consider:

Pros to cutting the cord:

  1. No montly fees for hardware (unless if you rent your router)
  2. Faster Internet speeds (upgrade your current plan to the next level for a minimal fee)
  3. Tons of free TV shows and Movies (think Pluto TV, Airy.tv, Crackle, Hulu, YouTube etc.)

Cons to cutting the cord:

  1. To do it effectively, you need to get rid of your triple play package (assuming you’re paying for Phone/Internet/TV at a discounted rate) – what do you do with your phone?
  2. Channels are all over the place, no central Guide or Channel selection if you use multiple streaming services
  3. Some Streaming Service interfaces/channel guides simply suck

If you’re not sure if cutting the cord is for you, make sure that you do your research, then do more research, and finally, do more research. Here are some quick tips on what to think about:

  1. One of my biggest concerns is that I didn’t want ot lose my home phone number and after a decent amount of research and talking with friends who already cut the cord, I ended up migrating my landline to a mobile SIM card and eventually to Google Voice and now I don’t pay a dime for a land line but I still maintain my original home phone number using a device called ObiTalk, along with Google Voice, and did I mention – it’s 100% free! (minimal fees apply to support 911 calls)
  2. Once you sort out your non-cable concerns, it’s time to really think about what channels you absolutely must have and the channels that are high on the list as ‘really want to haves’. Take into consideration sports channels or networks that have multiple shows that you really need or want. Then google Streaming Services TV Channel comparison guides and start ranking each service by price, channels offered and percentage of channels that you really want, that each Service provides. At this point you should have strong sense of whether or not cutting the cord is really worth it.
  3. Once you think you are ready to cut the cord, or maybe you really have no idea what ‘streaming tv services’ is, take a deep breath, and simply signup for the top streaming services 1 or 2 seeks at a time. They all offer a free week or 2 week trial period. I suggest that you turn off your settop box and force yourself to only watch streaming services durin gthe trial period. This should help solidify your decision of whether or not to cut the cord. Be warned though, when signing up for trial periods they also usually give you 1 month of free stations. I couldn’t beleive how fantastic Sling TV was the first month, until all of the new shows that I found expired after just a few weeks. Very disappointing but a great educational moment by going through the process.

Comment below on your experiences and whether or not anything in this post was helpful. There is so much more to write about cutting the cord so I’ll try to do a deep dive on narrower topics soon.

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