- Audio & Video
The Best, Cheaper, Alternatives to High Satellite Television and Cable Tv Bills Every Month...or Cord Cutting
The Price keeps going UP!
According to the New York Post "AT&T is raising DirecTV's prices by up to $8 a month in mid-January. Smaller providers are planning increases, too. Over the past decade, prices for TV service have risen almost twice as fast as inflation, according to an analysis of government data.", Dish Network tacked on a dollar for DVR service AND increased their English language program packages by $5 more across the board, where will it all end?
Cable and satellite provider's prices have gotten out of hand! It seems like every month they tack on a dollar here or increase their package prices ever higher. It's as though they KNOW there's nothing we can do about it!
Finally...a little terrifying honesty.
Oh, but, there is. So, despite satellite and cable companies refusing to acknowledge customer dissatisfaction with it's constantly rising prices, and perhaps addressing them. Instead, they're trying to eliminate any alternatives.
As we've all witnessed recently, with the rolling back of "net neutrality" rules meant to keep all internet traffic the same; the telecom, cable, and dish companies are poised to smother us in fees, raised rates and more, rather than change pricing or offer supplemental amenities to justify price increases .
Before we are stripped of any choices at all, you might want to try...
Watch This Too!
Netflix + Hulu + An Antenna = Savings!
So, enough is enough, you're cutting off your cable/satellite and doing away with the whole mess. What are you going to watch? Luckily, with an internet connection and a few cables, there's a solution.
Netflix is a streaming video service that provides access to it's vast library of content for:
- Basic plan: $8.00 (1 Screen, 480p)
- Standard: $10.99 (2 Screens, 1080p)
- Premium: $12.99 (4 Screens, Up to 4k)
Though, their library is mostly movies, a few television shows, original content, and documentaries, they're adding more all the time, it's well worth the price.
Netflix is available via app or works on Apple TV 4, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, some smart TVs, Apple and Android devices, as well as Xbox One and Xbox 360, as well as PS4.
Hulu is also a mostly t.v. show streaming video service for:
- $7.99 (w/ "limited ads" 1 screen, and 6 "profiles")
- $11.99 (w/o ads and 6 "profiles")
- $39.99 (w/ "regular live t.v. ad breaks", 50 hours of "cloud dvr", 2 screens, and 6 "profiles)
- $54.98 (w/ "regular live t.v. ad breaks", 200 hours of "cloud dvr", fast forward through recorded content, 2 screens, and 6 "profiles
- $54.98 (w/ "regular live t.v. ad breaks", 50 hours of "cloud dvr", "unlimited in-home, plus 3 on the go" 2 screens, and 6 "profiles)
- $59.99 (w/ "regular live t.v. ad breaks", 200 hours of "cloud dvr", fast forward through recorded content, "unlimited in-home, plus 3 on the go", 2 screens, and 6 "profiles
It basically performs the same function as Netflix, only, less movie selection and more current television shows in their library, original content, "live tv" options, as well as "premium channel" addon packages (HBO, Showtime, etc.). Hulu's core appeal: they stream a show's newest episode a day later than regular t.v.
So, all in all, you'll be one day behind, most of the time.
Hulu has expanded their offerings to include a "live tv" package as well (local channels may be available too), which makes it a near perfect alternative to cable and dish.
Couple the purchase of an antenna (for all your local channel needs) and an increase in internet bandwidth per month (depending on what internet plan you have) you can lower the cost of home entertainment by a pretty significant amount. My last calculation had mine lowered by about $100!
Hulu Live works on Apple TV 4, Roku, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, some smart TVs, Apple and Android devices, as well as Xbox One and Xbox 360, as well as PS4.
More Streaming Services!
The interest in cord cutting has led companies and upstarts to offer their own services in the realm of streaming. This, of course, is great for the consumer, as with more choice comes a better chance to save. What are those other services? Below are a few that have recently come to market and look to offer value and savings when compared to your regular cable bill.
Hulu & Netflix are the biggest players in the cable cord cutting alternative market, but a lot of other services have also entered the fray.
Amazon Video is more a Netflix competitor than "live t.v." provider. It offers much of the same content provided by Netflix with a few exclusives and it's own original award winning content. Amazon Video is viewable with a subscription to Amazon prime.
- Must purchase an Amazon Prime subscription to access Amazon Prime.
- Amazon Prime can be had for either $5.99 per month or $99 a year.
DirecTV Now is a live t.v. streaming service offered by DirecTV.
- $35 per month - 60+ Channels (premium content like HBO & Showtime are an additional $5 to $8 each)
- $50 per month - 80+ channels (premium content $5 to $8 each)
- $60 p/m - 100+ channels (premium content addt'l $5 to $8 each)
- $70 p/m - 120+ channels (premium content addt'l $5 to $8 each)
DirecTV Now can be used on: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast, as well as through web browsers.
You can also use your DirecTV Now subscription with other apps like HBO Now (as long as you've purchased the additional HBO premium content), Free Form, etc.
Sling TV offers two basic packages of "live tv" service; orange and blue, starting at $20 and $25 respectively. They also offer premium expansions such as HBO for additional cost (starting at $5). They've recently expanded their offerings to include a cloud dvr.
Playstation Vue offers several packages of "live tv" service: Access, Core, Elite, and Ultra starting at $39.99 and ending at $74.99 (Elite package). Premiums are also available. You do not need a Playstation to use Playstation Vue.
Fubo TV is a "live tv" service that is geared toward the sports enthusiast. It offers channels focused on delivering sporting events, with a few non-sports channels thrown in (USA, SyFy, History, etc.). FuboTV has one package, which starts at $19.99 for the first month and $44.99 thereafter. It offers several premium upgrades (mostly sports related), and Showtime, starting at $5.99.
Additions you might need:
- A streaming media device/devices (Roku, Boxee Box, Western Digital Live Plus, etc.). You need one for every t.v., if your t.v.'s aren't smart t.v.'s to begin with.
- A larger internet package with a higher bandwidth cap, or unlimited [if available] (streaming in HD takes a lot of internet juice)
- HDMI cables.
Being an "on again, off again" user of streaming services, I've used several streaming devices (some in combination, some exclusively). For my money, Google Chromecast was very versatile, while Amazon Fire Stick offered a lot and included Amazon Prime Video capabilities built in. Roku is a really great alternative too. However, it had a much larger "footprint" than the Chromecast and Fire Stick, though they have reduced it to a comparable size.
Torrents + Waiting = Cheapest!...with consequences
Given that this is the internet and the premium for entertainment, in it's myriad of forms, is at an all time low, there's an illegal alternative. Torrents, being the humble offspring of peer to peer sharing programs like Napster, have bloomed into the premiere way to wrangle entertainment on the cheap. Cheap, of course, meaning free.
This method, though initially cost effective, might end up costing you a mountain of money in legal fees and fines.
Beside the fact that you have to wait while what you want to watch downloads. This, as anyone who has downloaded a huge file can tell you, is a long wait.
Additions you might need:
- Legal representation
- Large nest egg (to pay for legal representation and pirating fines)
- Some one to watch your belongings while you're in jail.
A Video For Beginners
The Up Side.
A cheaper way to watch t.v. is never a bad thing. Given the alternatives, of course the best choice is the streaming media route. It's cheaper than an ever growing cable bill and offers a carte blanche approach to viewing.