Cord Cutter's Cost Comparison Calculator
More and more consumers are becoming cord cutters -- dropping expensive cable TV and satellite subscriptions in favor of Internet streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. For some, it's a definite money saver. But it depends on what you want to watch. Read on to learn about Sling TV, a new streaming service, and check out this handy cord cutter's cost comparison calculator...
Does Cord Cutting Make Sense For You?
Let me clear one thing up before I go any further. Whenever I write about cord cutting and replacing cable TV with online streaming services, I get the same question: "If I drop my cable service, how will I get Internet access?" It's become so common to purchase TV-Phone-Internet "bundles" that many consumers don't realize they can be separated.
The irony (or misnomer) is that when you "cut the cord" you still have a cord. You're simply dropping one of the services (subscription TV) you currently pay for. Many consumers are finding that an Internet-only connection satisfies their TV and movie viewing needs. If you're content to watch free videos on your desktop or laptop, you need nothing else. But most families will need to connect a streaming gadget like Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV to the big-screen TV and pay for Netflix and/or similar services that offer their favorite shows or movies.
You can still save money, but you generally can't replace ALL the channels you currently have. Most notably, sports, local news and premium cable channels will not be in the mix. But that's starting to change.
Slate’s January 12 article, Should You Cut The Cord, includes a nifty cost comparison Web app. Plug in the total cost of your current cable or satellite package. Enter the cost of the Internet-only package(s) you think you would need if your family depended only on streaming services. Check boxes next to current and anticipated streaming services to add them to your hypothetical shopping cart. The app shows the total annual costs of wired and streaming options, and the annual difference between them.
For example, let's say you're currently paying $90/month for a TV/Internet bundle ($1080/year), and your provider offers an Internet-only option for $35/month. You could go with the Internet-only package ($420/year), then add Netflix ($108/year), and Hulu Plus ($96/year) to save $456 annually. But depending on your viewing habits, it could cost more to go with a la carte streaming.
Sling TV: Another Option for Cord Cutters
Along with Netflix and Hulu Plus, the calculator mentioned above gives pricing for other streaming services such as Amazon Prime, HBO, NBA League Pass, MLB.tv and NFL Game Rewind. But there's a new kid in town, which may appeal to a certain segment of the viewing market.
Dish Network announced new Internet-based streaming service at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show. The product, Sling TV, offers view-anywhere access to 12 channels and occasional on-demand events for $20 per month. Whether Sling TV is worth its price or not seems to depend on how old you are, in the view of Dish execs. The 12 channels were selected with Millenials in mind – people born between 1981 and 1999. The lineup includes ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN, according to the press release.
"These are probably the premier channels that the Millenial audience, which is the key group that we're going after," Dish spokesperson John Tagle told The Motley Fool in an interview. "Probably the channel that they are most interested in is ESPN."
Sling TV also includes the Watch ESPN app, which broadcasts live sports events to subscribers. None of the major broadcast networks is included with Sling TV, a deliberate omission according to Tagle. Millenials already access NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, et. al., via other means such as HD antennas and Hulu Plus, the networks’ streaming consortium. Sling TV plans to add the networks later.
Dish Network targeted Millenials because they are not big pay TV consumers, so a streaming service won’t compete with its satellite service. Dish’s reasoning is that you can’t cannibalize customers that you don’t have. This logic does not bode well for future streaming offers aimed at more mature viewers. The company hopes that a $20 taste of Dish programming will entice Millenials to upgrade to its pricier satellite-plus-streaming offerings. It remains to be seen whether Millenials, who are used to paying no more than $8.99/month for Netflix (with no contract) will go for this bait.
Sling TV is just the first of several new streaming TV products we can expect this year. If you want to see how much money you might save by cutting the cable or satellite TV cord and going all-Internet, try the online calculator and see if there's a combination of streaming services that fits your needs and budget.
How much could YOU save by cutting the cord? Please tell me in the comments below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 26 Jan 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Cord Cutter's Cost Comparison Calculator (Posted: 26 Jan 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved