We may think we’ve come a long way since ten channels and rabbit ears, but have we? These days, we lock ourselves into contracts with cable providers, often opting for services we don’t need in order to get the discounted rate that the company is offering. Yet, the average cable bill in America is in excess of a hundred dollars!
Sure, we have more channels. We have hundreds upon hundreds of channels and very little to watch. Isn’t that the biggest complaint that most of us have about our cable service? We have too many options, and yet, none. Quality programming has virtually disappeared in favor of people running around the woods naked, or a bearded man brushing his teeth with a pine cone. They’ve also loosened the reins a bit with what can be said on television, thus reducing the number of shows that can be watched as a family.
For these reasons and more, many people have been threatening to cut the cord on their cable service, but is it even possible to do it, and not miss out? The short answer is yes and no. No, because you’ll still need their help with your internet connection, but yes, for the following reasons.
The streaming service offers past seasons of both current and older shows. It also has a great family section where parents can find high quality and educational programming for their children. They recently brokered an incredible deal with Disney that will allow them to have the first access to all brand new Disney, Pixar, and Marvel films, shortly after their run in the theater. At roughly $10 a month for a standard membership, it’s a far cry from what you’re probably paying in cable bills.
With this service, cord-cutters can stream both older shows, past seasons, and the latest episodes from the current seasons. For $7.99, you’ll also have access to their original catalog which, admittedly, was horrible when the service first launched, but has since gotten better. The downside to Hulu Plus is that you’ll be subjected to commercials during your favorite shows, but the commercial spots last a fraction of the time they would on network television, and with some shows offering commercial-free streaming for a little bit extra money per month.
In order to access Amazon’s streaming library, you’ll need a Prime membership. At $99 per year (unless you go through Amazon Student), Prime offers free two-day shipping, free access to the entire catalog, and a dozen or so original series, the membership is a steal. It comes out to about $8 per month, and has so many perks for both shoppers and streamers; it pays for itself in a few short months if you’re a frequent shopper. They also have a partnership with HBO and offer many of the past seasons of HBO favorites like The Sopranos, The Wire, and True Blood.
This is the newest of the bunch and offers streaming of the popular networks, like NBC, CNN, and for sport’s fans, ESPN. This service is a little bit more expensive than the others; $25 for basic, $30 for middle of the road, and $40 for the top of the line offering. However, it is the answer for people who haven’t cut the cord just yet because they want to watch their team duke it out on their television screen. Noticeably absent from the lineup are CBS (they have their own streaming service for a fee), and ABC, but the other big ones are there.
Premium Pay Services
A lot of the premium channels are starting to offer their own subscription services for a fee. They don’t require a cable subscription, but they provide immediate access to all of the shows, movies, and specials offered by the network. Right now, HBO, Showtime, and Starz all have their own particular options, but they can get costly if you’re adding all of them.
To make a long story short, it IS possible to actually cut the cord and stay abreast of what’s going on in the world, but you’ve got to be careful about it. If you continue adding services for streaming, things may become redundant, and your savings won’t be all that spectacular. However, if your bills are in the higher end of the hundreds now, you could add nearly every service mentioned above and still save money. You don’t have to cut the cord, but the possibility exists. The cable company doesn’t have to be the winner.