Save Money With These Cordcutting Options
The options for TV viewing without paying an arm and leg to a cable company just keep expanding. Many of the subscription streaming options are offered by TV networks, who seem to be delighting in their ability to bypass the gatekeepers who stand between themselves and their audiences. Here is a roundup of current offerings for cordcutters...
Thinking of Cutting the Cable?There are two broad types of cordcutting options. Neither involves an actual pair of scissors, but they can both save you money. The now-familiar streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, are movie and TV series oriented. You may also see the phrase “cable replacement service” more often these days. That refers to an Internet service that focuses on delivering a lineup of TV channels rather than individual shows. Sling TV and DirecTV Now are examples of cable replacement services. Streaming services let you pick the specific movie, TV series, or episode you want to watch, while cable replacement services let you tune in to a channel and watch what it delivers over time. Let's look at the options for both.
One study in the fall of 2016 found that 62% of U.S. home subscribe to a video streaming service. That same report showed that Netflix is the big kahuna when it comes to streaming movies and TV shows, with just over 50% market share. Amazon Prime Video has about half that, but in recent quarters they've been gaining at Netflix's expense.
Netflix lets you join free for a month, and then you can choose a Basic ($7.99/month), Standard ($9.99/month) or Premium ($11.99 month) subscription. The Basic package lets you watch on only 1 screen at a time, and doesn't provide HD quality. Standard gives you two screens, with HD option. Premium lets you watch on 4 screens simultaneously, with Ultra HD. That matters if you have multiple people in the family with laptops, TVs, smartphones or tablets, and they want to watch Netflix content at the same time. All of those packages let you watch unlimited movies and TV shows. Netflix has a huge catalog of TV shows, movies and some original content as well.
Amazon Video is one of the benefits of Amazon Prime, the popular shopping service from Amazon. Like Netflix, Amazon Video has tons of movies, TV shows, and original content. Most content on Amazon Video is free for Prime subscribers, but some movies require a rental fee. Amazon Prime costs $99/year and gives you free 2-day shipping on many items, streaming video and music, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and other benefits.
If you don't have, or don't want an Amazon Prime account, you can subscribe to Amazon Video for $8.99 per month. That's actually more expensive than Prime, but it's an option. You can also purchase individual movies or shows without an Amazon Video account.
CABLE REPLACEMENT SERVICES
Hulu with Live TV provides “more than 50” channels for $40/month in its entry-level package. Every subscription includes a cloud-based “DVR” that lets you schedule recording of a future show for later viewing. On-demand pay-per-view events such as boxing matches are also available. Two simultaneous connections are supported, so you can watch bass fishing while your spouse watches Martha Stewart. Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, and Xbox One are all supported.
YouTube TV has 40 channels in its $35/month basic package. DVR and on-demand features are included. Up to six YouTube TV accounts are allowed per household, and up to three simultaneous streams are supported. Android, Chromecast and Chromecast-enabled TVs, Computers, and iOS are supported. You can try out YoutubeTV for one month for free, and then get a free Chromecast for streaming online content to your TV after your first $35 monthly payment.
One of YouTube TV’s strengths is live streaming of broadcast channels ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and The CW - but in a limited number of markets, including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area. Hulu with Live TV offers all of those channels except The CW, nationwide. Sling TV offers only NBC and Fox. Of course, you can always buy an HD antenna to get live local broadcast channels, unless you live in an area that gets poor reception.
DirecTV NOW offers “more than 60” channels for $35/month in its basic package. On-demand events are supported but not DVR capability. Two simultaneous streams are allowed. Supported platforms include Amazon Fire, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Computers, and iOS.
Sling TV offers only “more than 20” channels, but that basic package costs just $20/month. On-demand viewing is available but DVR is still in beta. The number of simultaneous streams depends on how much you pay: $20, 1 stream; $25, up to 3 streams; $40, up to 4 streams. Amazon Fire, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Computers, iOS, Roku are all supported.
Playstation Vue offers “more than 45” channels for $40/month ($30 in certain markets). You can’t “DVR” HBO, Showtime, or Cinemax, but any particular program on one of these channels is avaiable “On-Demand,” meaning you can buy access to it any time. Up to five simultaneous streams are allowed. Amazon Fire, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, Chromecast-enabled TVs, Computers, iOS, PS3, PS4, and Roku are supported.
It's worth noting that you'll still need an Internet connection of some sort (home broadband or mobile) to use streaming video or cable replacement services. You'll have to do the math to make sure you save money by dropping your cable TV service and going with one or more of these options. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 8 Jun 2017
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Save Money With These Cordcutting Options (Posted: 8 Jun 2017)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved