Here's how dumping cable TV and opting for alternatives can save you money and bring you more programming in the new year.
Had it with high cable TV fees? With almost everything you might want to watch on TV available as a “pick and choose” online service from the likes of Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix, you may be set to save big this coming year by getting rid of your cable TV services.
Well, I’m here to tell you as a veteran cord-cutter that it’s well worth it. I haven’t had cable TV for almost three years and I can honestly say that I don’t miss it. I no longer have to buy bundled packages of cable channels to get just a few shows that I really want. I also don’t have to channel surf through endless reality shows, shopping channels, retro TV, offbeat cooking competitions and obscure sports on my way to the entertainment I want.
I used to pay more than $100 per month for a fairly basic cable TV package with local TV channels. It looked good at the beginning, when I had a promotional rate as part of a big bundle of channels (many of which I never watched). Then the promotional period ran out, the rates went up and I decided to do something different rather than pay the higher price. Here’s what I did:
- Bought a smart TV with built-in WiFi
- Bought a digital TV antenna to bring in local stations — so that I could still get local TV news
- Took out subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix
- Found a free, 24-hour online video news provider that I liked (from the CBSN live feed at http://www.cbsnews.com/ or the CBS News Apps for Android, Windows and iOS)
I then just picked the apps for my video service providers on my internet-connected smart TV and I was ready to roll. Now when I want to watch any of my favorites shows, I start the right app, click to the right season and episode of the show — and press PLAY.
One of the online services I use — Amazon Prime — also now includes the ability to add individual cable TV providers (and a huge catalog of their shows) to my Amazon account. Even better, I was able to try out those providers before committing to pay an additional monthly fee to get them. Right now, I have access to shows from HBO, Starz, Showtime and SeeSo (a channel with a lot of classic British comedy) — along with Amazon original programming (including The Man in the High Castle, The Grand Tour, Transparent and Orphan Black).
Here’s what happened: For all the base subscriptions I have now, I pay only $32.32 per month: I get Netflix for $10.94, Amazon Prime membership at $99 per year (or $8.25 per month) and my Hulu.com plan with no commercials for $13.13 a month.
I also opted for a couple of add-ons to my Amazon Prime membership — $3.99 per month for a subscription to SeeSo (which has a lot of British TV I like) and $8.99 per month for Starz, which brings my monthly total to $45.30. I can cancel the Amazon add-ons at any time.
If you’re not quite ready to completely dump the comfort of regular TV programming for streaming, you may want to click here to consider the latest offers from a satellite TV provider DirecTV. One of the cool things about DirecTV is that it is now owned by AT&T — meaning that customers of both services get a whole bunch of extra streaming-video capacity when they use the one here
Thinking about ways to get more fun for less money in 2017? Start by cutting the cord.
Are you paying for cable television, streaming, satellite or a combination? Share your thoughts in comments below or on our Facebook page.
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