Life After Cable TV February 2015
The number of American households ditching cable TV in favor of streaming or pay-as-you-go services is steadily climbing. New alternatives seem to be popping up all over as more people become frustrated with paying high fees for bundled packages that include many “junk” channels that they are just not interested in. Are you ready to stop paying for channels you don’t want?
Financially, it could be very much worth your while. If you’re paying $100 per month for a cable subscription, that comes out to $1200 per year — for many homeowners, a full mortgage payment. Alternatives such as Netflix ($7.99 to $11.99 per month), Hulu + ($7.99 per month) and Amazon Prime Instant Video (included with your Prime subscription, $99 per year) can provide films and TV shows on multiple devices at a fraction of the cost.
Another plus to most of these cable alternatives is their portability. You can watch on your TV, through a gaming device, on a tablet, on a smartphone, on a laptop, on your desktop at work … all for one price. No extra equipment is needed to adapt your gadgets (are you paying for multiple cable boxes in your home?). Most can also pick up where you left off on another device: You started watching a movie on the TV in your living room, then picked it up on your smartphone during your lunch hour, and then on your tablet later that evening in bed. It’s entertainment when and where you want it; you can feel like you are in charge.
The inability to watch live TV is one reason you may be reluctant to disconnect from cable TV. Enter CBS All Access ($5.99 per month), which provides live streaming in many cities. New on the horizon is Sling TV, a Dish Network service that plans to offer live cable channels — including ESPN — for $20 per month, with no contract. Sling TV made a major splash at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, winning the Best of the Best award.
Of course, none of these services provides what we all really want: an a la carte menu of channels that we put together into a custom TV package. Luckily, innovation isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And more choices are appearing on the horizon: HBO is considering offering HBO Go as a standalone to people who don’t subscribe to the cable channel; Showtime is also apparently getting aboard that wagon. PlayStation Vue is a cloud-based service that “reinvents the television experience,” according to its parent Sony. It plans to launch with 75 channels, contract-free, and it appears they will offer live CBS local stations in select markets.
The future may not be now, but it’s certainly stepped up the pace when it comes to entertainment options. As homeowners, ditching the cord — literally, in most cases, and how great will it be to get rid of those tangled wires? — is looking like a better option all the time.
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