We live in the age of online streaming. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now are just a few of the hottest commodities on the online streaming market today, Each of these platforms offer amazing benefits. It would be foolish of you to rely on basic cable to watch TV nowadays. Cable and satellite are more or less a thing of past generations. In this article, we aim to show you how to cut the cable cord and move into the present.
Don’t worry. You will not be sacrificing anything from your television experience. On the contrary, you will gain more than you expect. You will even be able to save money! If that’s not a deal worth exploring, we genuinely don’t know what is.
Are you ready to cut the cord?
The first thing you need to consider is if you are even ready to cut the cord. Do not forget that cable subscriptions do have their distinct advantages. Cable television can grant you access to hundreds of channels, including premium cable channels and satellite channels. Chances are that the programming available to you as a subscriber is more than your entire family can enjoy. However, streaming services also have plenty to offer.
Cable is comfortable, and cutting the cable means that you will have to deal with a bit of initial hassle. Streaming TV will be a little different from the old days when all you needed to do was sit down, turn on the television device, and watch. However, you should still be able to navigate through the different settings of the various online streaming services. If you aren’t scared by a bit of change, then, by all means, become a cord cutter! You will reap immeasurable benefits and enhance your experience when you watch TV. The 21st century belongs to wireless technology. It would be foolish of you not to join in on the fun and reap the benefits like everyone else.
A Tip for the Less Tech-Savvy
If cutting the cord sounds horrifying to you, it may be a good idea to have someone with more tech experience to help program your settings. Ask your child or the Millennial living down the hall to help you set up for online streaming services. Find someone who can explain to you how to navigate the magnificent world of online streaming.
Step 1: Get a Back-Up
Before you begin cord-cutting, there is one more thing you need to do. Due to problems with internet connectivity, a cable package can be more reliable in certain areas. During periods of peak connectivity, buffering problems can occur with your streaming service. To watch TV with these problems can be frustrating. Thus, feel free to explore the free over-the-air options you have. An HD antenna is not an expensive device. If you live in an urban area, you should not have a problem getting reception from the four major broadcasters, plus several more options, including some local channels. For the price of the HD antenna, you will probably (at least) get:
This isn’t a bad selection to have when your internet is out. Even if the internet is down for most of the night, you should still have things to watch. Note that this measure is only for worst-case scenarios. It’s always best to come prepared. Several different HD antenna models should do the trick for you. Take the time to research them to understand better which one meets your criteria.
The most important thing to decide is whether to install your device outside or inside your home. Tackling the installation should be a simple enough task if you read the instruction manual. Once you’ve done that, you can move on to the first step of actually cutting the cord.
Step 2: Get Equipped
Begin by making sure you have the equipment necessary to watch television over the internet. Streaming requires some individual devices. If you’ve decided you don’t need it for backup, then you can ditch the old-school cable box and get a smart TV. Streaming TV will not be possible on an ordinary television without an extra device, or even smart TVs and Blu-ray players of the older generation.
Fortunately, however, almost any device you can find in the store today is ready to be connected to an HD antenna and the internet. You will not have to pay more to join the 21st century.
When creating your equipment check-list, you will notice that different TV streaming services require various pieces of equipment. Thus, you should make sure you have all the devices you need according to the service you want. For example, a streaming stick such as the Amazon Fire TV stick, for example, can be used to stream Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube over the internet.
It will not be hard for you to find what you require once you set your sights on a provider. You will also need a reliable internet connection. Three to six Mbps will do for regular streaming, but you will need a minimum of 25 Mbps to go 4K. Since most streaming services offer high-definition quality, the connection must be fast, secure, and unlimited.
Do the necessary checkups before proceeding with the rest of these tips and instructions.
Step 3: Select Your Streaming Device
One of the main problems with streaming technology is that all companies are in fierce competition with each other. Providers try to offer potential customers better devices and an overall better experience. This competition leaves end users feeling confused about which device to choose. If you want a full online streaming experience, you should tread carefully and think very hard about your decision. You don’t want to regret cutting the cord, after all. Here we have taken the time to go through the most popular hardware selections people make when they are ditching cable. Stick to some of these options, and you will not regret it.
Streaming services become more popular by the minute, and they improve constantly. No matter what your final choice is, you can count on the fact that something better will come along in a year or two. However, for the time being, these are some of the best choices.
Amazon Fire TV Cube
The Amazon Fire TV Cube is one of the most popular streaming devices out there. The reasons for this are many. After several incarnations, the tech department at Amazon managed to remove even the slightest glitches in their system. The Amazon Fire TV Cube runs smoothly and reliably. This set-top box comes with easy-to-navigate controls that extend not only to the streaming experience but also your TV and even the regular cable box. This device would be a perfect choice should you decide to keep your cable subscription and become a subscriber of TV streaming services.
The Amazon Fire TV Cube also comes with voice control software and hardware. It supports 4K high-definition pictures and even Dolby Atmos, although it doesn’t support Dolby Vision. Amazon Prime subscribers have intuitive access to all music and video streaming services offered by Prime.
You can easily see that you are getting an almost complete package when you opt for the hottest offer by Amazon. The Fire Cube may be a little more advanced for certain people. However, it’s no wonder the Fire Cube is the most popular set-top box on the market today. Amazon is determined to become a master in the field of TV streaming.
Roku Streaming Stick+
The Amazon Fire TV Cube may be a little overwhelming for people who would like a simpler alternative. The Roku Streaming Stick+ is the perfect alternative for people who prefer simplicity. It lacks some of the more niche-oriented options the Amazon Fire TV Cube has. However, the Roku Streaming Stick+ does support 4K, Dolby Atmos and HDR. Dolby Vision and Dolby HDR support do not come in the same package, though. If you have a TV with those features, you might be better off with another alternative. Don’t worry; there are many!
Two factors make this particular streaming stick a good pick. The first point of appeal is the price. Roku is considerably cheaper than any other streaming device you can find on the market today. You can buy it on Amazon for as little as $60. At the same time, it comes with all the necessary functionality a cord-cutter might need, along with a very reliable internet connection.
It is surprising how good the Wi-Fi hardware on this little device is. As long as your connectivity is functional, you should not have a problem getting the best quality-for-price streaming experience with Roku. The virtual channels the streaming stick offers can connect you to almost every streaming service out there. You can also tell Roku what program you want to watch. It will then search all platforms on the internet and tell you where you can find it for free. Roku is the favorite of many because it is relatively cheap, and the service itself helps users save even more money. Choosing the Roku Streaming Stick+ isn’t a bad idea.
Apple has a substantial and very loyal fan base, and for a good reason. The company works hard for its reputation. Apple TV is one of the products that have laid the foundation for its credibility. The device has so much more than merely the ability to produce a channel lineup for you to watch. It makes cutting the cord not only simple but also fun and stylish.
Unfortunately, the older versions do not support 4K, making it impossible to watch movies with increased color resolution. However, Apple has removed this downside with the latest edition.
The Apple TV comes with HDR (Dolby Vision and HDR10), Dolby Atmos, and 4K content that makes alternative devices pale in comparison. The unique Apple TV remote looks more like an iPhone than a remote control. Apple has also designed an exclusive app for its streaming device, which is perfect for people who are just cutting the cord. The Apple TV app allows you to easily subscribe to dozens of streaming services with only one tap. It is very intuitive, so even if you are not particularly tech-savvy, you should have no problem navigating it.
The only drawback here is the money you must pay for it. Apple products are a little bit more expensive than the average products out there. However, you get your money’s worth with the Apple TV for the value you pay. If you would like to save some money, you can try buying older versions of the Apple TV secondhand from websites such as eBay or Craigslist. However, you should know that you will not be getting the full capabilities the latest-generation devices offer.
If there’s one thing that’s true about our current market, it’s is that no one beats Apple when it comes to quality. If you are among those who always wait for the next great product, don’t miss the Apple TV.
This device is perfect for people who do not want to lose themselves in countless remotes and other unnecessary hardware or software. Chromecast Ultra, the best version by far, does not have a remote control or on-screen menu. Instead, you only need to use your smartphone to navigate through the capabilities of the device. Although some may find the price to be a little steep, the Chromecast Ultra comes with full 4K capabilities. For less money, you can get an HD Chromecast. It has the same specs, minus the 4K support. It’s a good deal if you are ready to sacrifice the best picture possible for a bargain.
Note that Google’s Chromecast app is somewhat restrictive. You may find it hard to search for a particular streaming service through it. If that would be a problem for you, we recommend that you look elsewhere. Some may see the lack of an on-screen menu off-putting. However, others like the idea of an integrated home environment with Google Home as their ecosystem of choice with while they have a Chromecast device running. New models with better hardware will come out in the next couple of years. You can realistically expect Chromecast to become the most popular device on the market if Google keeps up the excellent work we have seen so far.
Which streaming device will you choose?
These are the most popular streaming devices you can currently find on the global market. Each of them will set you back between $60 and $200. Don’t forget to add on the expenses for a digital antenna and the latest smart TV set. You will see that cutting the cord comes with a considerable initial cost. That should not discourage you, though, because the rewards you will reap will be much higher. You will never watch TV in quite the same way again.
Getting the hardware and putting it together is step one. Now you need to decide which streaming services will earn your subscription. The choice here can be a bit overwhelming to put it lightly. However, we will review only the most popular platforms. These popular platforms offer a wide selection of content, and they do not cost an arm and a leg. Therefore, feel free to explore other emerging options too because no one knows which streaming service will replace the now-popular Netflix.
Top Streaming Platforms
Like any other service, some options are much more popular than others. If you want to get the most out of your streaming experience, you must bet on providers with an established reputation. They will offer you a reliable service that does not gamble on the comfort of the customer.
Companies such as HBO, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are the mastodons of the streaming business. The programming they offer is as rich and broad as that of all significant traditional channels. Many people will even tell you that the quality of their productions is higher than that of old-school cable television. Everyone should begin by looking at these options first.
Make no mistake; if you look hard enough, other options will emerge. This article aims to explore all the options and point you in the direction of the most reliable options a first-time cord cutter has.
HBO started as a traditional cable channel. It initially gained recognition for its cutting-edge programming. HBO produces tons of TV series, documentaries, and movies that have the same quality as big-budget blockbusters. The strongest selling point was the fact that there were no ads, unlike other traditional channels. Additionally, HBO’s creative team has come up with some revolutionary TV shows, such as “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” and “Veep.”
The real revolution came with “The Sopranos.” It was a TV show no one had seen the likes of before. “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” and “Veep” are just some of the other shows that have seen the light of day, thanks to HBO’s creative team. Only recently has the company ventured into the field of online streaming. Their HBO Now service is magnificent, giving you access to all the programs the network has produced over the years and tons of other valuable content. You can see any movie that is currently on the traditional HBO channel with just one click. There is no need to consider the schedule.
You should bear in mind though that HBO Now is probably the priciest streaming service you will come across. It costs approximately $15 a month. On the plus side, you will be getting numerous quality programs, which will quickly cause you to forget the extra you pay each month. Just sit on the couch and binge-watch some of the best programs the world has ever seen. Millions of people around the world do it every day. They cannot be all wrong. See what the fuss is all about if you have not done it yet.
Netflix is likely to be the first service that comes to mind when someone mentions streaming. They offer original programming (“Stranger Things,” anyone?) and a back-catalog of series and movies with no match. Subscription options are many. For $9 a month, you will be a basic subscriber. That means you will have access to Netflix on one device with no HD options. There are other plans too. The most expensive one costs $16 per month. It may sound like a lot, but you will be getting your due also. The premium plan includes 4K access with HDR and Dolby Atmos.
The premium Netflix plan allows four devices to be streaming at the same time. The library goes through upgrades at least twice a year. Some movies and TV series disappear, while new ones come on board. You will never run out of content to watch when you have Netflix by your side.
One of the best things about the platform is that you get the opportunity to arrange your program schedule. Never again will you have to rush home, hoping to be on time for the start of your favorite show. That’s a quality most online streaming services share.
Amazon launched its unique TV streaming service to compete with Netflix. The basic idea was that even though Netflix offers a more-or-less comprehensive library, there were still gaps. Amazon Prime had the ambition and wallet to fill those gaps. However, the original programming provides a relatively poor choice. There are shows like “Jack Ryan” and “Good Omens” that are worth watching. They famously commissioned Woody Allen to produce some movies for them too. Licensed content is also available.
The most significant selling point for Amazon Prime is the deals they have with Showtime and Starz. You will get their productions too if you become a subscriber. Prime will set you back $13 a month. However, if you pay for the whole year, you can get a reduced rate of $119. This subscription comes with free two-day shipping for purchases from Amazon. If you shop a lot there, then this option will end up saving you money.
On the technical side, Amazon Prime comes with access to 4K and HDR streaming. Most of the new productions come in Dolby Vision and HDR10+. Video on demand is also available. That means you can rent TV series and movies, much in the same fashion you did from Blockbuster in the 1990s.
Another popular option for cord-cutting enthusiasts is Hulu. It gets much praise for the fact that it offers current seasons of most of the popular TV shows on standard cable and network TV. They even have live TV streaming services with more than 50 channels. Some find the fact that Hulu is a streaming service that still runs ads to be a drawback. You can remedy the situation though by paying $6 on top of your subscription fee.
For $18 a month, Hulu will grant you access to original content, live TV streaming services, and the newest television productions to watch without ads. If it sounds like a sweet deal, that’s because it is. Hulu can be a gateway to the most popular live TV streaming shows. That should be a good enough reason for you to consider becoming a subscriber right now.
Showtime comes with a subscription fee of $11 a month. This fee pays for all Showtime premium content that you have on cable. We would not recommend that you become a subscriber of Showtime alone. CBS also has some pretty sweet deals with both Hulu and Amazon Prime. That means that you can get those two streaming services in a bundle with Showtime. This means that, naturally, you will be paying less each month for all these services.
Most people resort to cutting the cord to save money on their cable bill. Paying for all available platforms will not help you achieve that. Opt for a Showtime subscription if, for some reason, you don’t like the idea of doing business with one of the other platforms available.
You may end up paying much more for streaming than for regular cable. That is why it is essential to always be on the lookout for exclusive bundles. The ones we’ve mentioned will work out great.
Until now, we’ve talked about streaming services that cater to movie buffs and people who like to binge-watch TV series. Cable television is often used to watch sports too. If you are a sports fan, streaming services have you covered. You have tons of options, and you will never have to miss a game you’ve waited for so long.
ESPN+ and FuboTV
From the name, it is easy to guess that this is ESPN’s streaming service. There is hardly a streaming device that does not carry ESPN+. You will be streaming baseball, hockey, and even soccer games through it. Grand Slam tennis and even pay-per-view UFC fights are also on the table. However, the most significant selling point for ESPN+ is that you can watch original programming such as “30 for 30,” too. There is no need to pay for cable when you get such an excellent service.
FuboTV is another excellent service that will help you complement your streaming experience of sporting events. The monthly subscription of $55 can be a bit off-putting at first. However, you should not forget that you will be getting tons of content for this money. It includes the NFL Network, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and Fox Sports. FuboTV has it all!. Like ESPN+, you can get FuboTV on literally all popular streaming devices, including Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Apple TV. It is a great bargain, especially considering how expensive premium sports channels are on cable.
TV streaming services are the end game.
It should have already become clear to you that paying for all those streaming services at once is not the most financially viable thing to do. Cutting the cable cord should come with the opportunity to save some money too. One way to achieve that is to use your streaming device and smart TV for live TV streaming services. They become more and more popular these days.
The primary reason for this is the opportunity to completely cut the cord and still have the same or even better experience of watching television. Like on-demand services, there are tons of options for streaming TV around. Let’s have a look at the more popular among them. Choose wisely, and you will not regret it.
Let’s make one thing clear. You do not need a PlayStation to enjoy the benefits of the excellent VUE service. There was a time that having a Sony gaming console was a must. That is no longer the case. VUE is available on Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV, and the Amazon Fire TV Cube. The basic package costs $50. The most expensive package comes in at $85, which has a lot of benefits. However, that can be a little too expensive for some cord-cutters.
On the other hand, PS VUE offers a wide selection of channels, including local channels. When you compare the options you get to your current cable subscription, you will notice you are getting a good deal. Sports buffs can be happy thanks to the access the PS VUE gives to ESPN programming. There is also the possibility of adding the NFL Network and NBC Sports. Unfortunately, you will have to pay $10 on top of everything else. If you would like to learn more about VUE and the channels you can get, visit PlayStation VUE’s website. There you will find all the information you need, including upcoming additions and changes to programming.
Sling TV is currently the most popular among live TV streaming services. Many prefer it for the relative flexibility that it offers. Sling TV comes in two basic packages. Sling Orange gives you access to a lot of channels, including ESPN. Sling Blue has a lot of the channels that Sling Orange has, but it does not offer ESPN. There are many other programs available to compensate for this drawback. Each package costs $25 a month, and you can get both for $40. With some basic math, you can easily see that you are getting a great deal.
HD access does not come in the regular packages, but you can get it for $4 more. The same goes for special programs such as Kids Extra, Sports Extra, and News Extra. The sheer number of channels subscribers get for a relatively modest fee is staggering. If this is the first time you start living cord-free, Sling TV is by far the best way to go for live TV.
You also won’t have trouble setting it up. You get clear information from their client support. The improvements this TV streaming service has seen in the past couple of years is a good sign. Chances are that the platform will become better and better over time. It makes sense to become a subscriber now and witness its growth.
Hulu Live TV subscription
You already know that Hulu is one of the best streaming services out there. Their live TV streaming services are hard to beat too. Depending on your area of residence, you can get up to 60 channels for the modest fee of $45 a month. Users praise Hulu Live TV’s interface. They say it is amicable and intuitive. That’s what you would expect from a company that specializes in online services. You can get access to some premium channels, such as HBO or Showtime, and pay less for the pleasure.
The only catch is that you will not have the opportunity to obtain many additional channels, even if you are willing to pay an additional fee. What you see is what you get. That can be a deal-breaker for some people. If that is the case for you, we would recommend that you look into other options, such as Sling TV or AT&T TV Now.
There is no surprise here. YouTube is the largest online video streaming platform in existence. It was only a matter of time before they started a TV streaming service, as well. For $50 a month, you get more than 70 channels. The list includes some of your favorite sports channels. It is overall an excellent deal because, typically, one has to pay a lot more to get them.
Unfortunately, add-ons are relatively few. Even with all of them, you will have a hard time catching up to the selection of some of the alternative live TV streaming services. The notable plus side is that through YouTube TV, you will get access to premium YouTube content, including unique productions the platform commissioned.
AT&T TV Now
AT&T is a giant in the U.S telecommunications industry. Among other things, they own HBO, so if HBO’s shows are a priority for you, there is no better place to get them. However, their online TV streaming services offer much more to the customer. TV Now’s basic package costs $50 a month for 40 channels. That is a little more expensive than the other options available to you, but don’t forget that you will be getting an HBO subscription included in that price. If you opt for the Max package at $70, you get a lot more channels, including HBO and Cinemax. That is a delightful deal and a good reason for cutting the cable cord.
The most expensive package offered by AT&T TV Now will set you back a hefty sum of $135 a month. For this price, you get more than 120 channels and other perks, such as additional DVR space and more programming. When you put everything together, you will notice the benefits of transitioning to this TV streaming option instead of the premium cable package you currently use. Note that both the channels available, and the prices change quite often. If you want to stay up to date with the developments, you might need to check AT&T TV Now’s website regularly. Then you will be able to determine when the best time is to become a subscriber.
A Final Warning
Cutting the cable cord is a significant lifestyle choice. There will be times when you regret it, mostly in the beginning, but you need to learn to manage your expectations. Yes, you will be saving some money, but at the same time, you will need to learn how to deal with unknown pieces of technology. Patience is the best course of action.
Even though live TV streaming services are as close to actual cable television as possible, they are still different. Connectivity issues and buffering time can be frustrating, but it is not the end of the world. You should remember that technology is evolving by the minute. From here on out, things are only going to get better.
You now know the basics. You know what hardware you need and what to expect from the many different streaming services that exist. Now it is time to begin a new adventure. Find the configuration that best fits your criteria and cut the cable cord.
Have you already cut the cable cord? Tell us how it feels in the comments below! If you have any questions or tips on how to cut the cable cord, don’t hesitate to share them with us. We are always happy to stay in touch with our readers.