Friday, August 18, 2017

Cutting the TV Cord

Written by  John Redmond-Palmer

Considering cutting the TV cord? These days, more and more people are cutting the cord, as cable TV, satellite TV and even FiOS TV are becoming more and more expensive. Even the cover story for a recent Consumer Reports looked at the issue.

Think for a moment about all the channels you don’t watch. I looked at my personal viewing habits and there are only about nine channels I really watch with any frequency, however, I am paying for over 100 channels.

My monthly cost for the Comcast Triple play with the fastest internet speed, together with High Definition TV and DVR service is over $200 a month. This is a huge expense that I would like to pare down. However, Comcast’s pricing system is such that if I pared down my service and paid for less channels, had the best internet speeds, and added HBO (a requirement if your husband is into “Game of Thrones”), you spend more than just the premium Triple Play package.

If I were to go with satellite TV, I would still need to get internet from Comcast, which doesn’t do much to save money, and cuts the available channels. Living in Baltimore City my only options are Comcast or satellite since Verizon has said they won’t bring their FiOS into the city, which leaves Comcast with no competition. In Baltimore, Comcast has the monopoly in the city for high-speed internet, as local governments issue the franchises to cable or fiber optic companies.

Apple, Amazon, Roku, and Google all have streaming hardware that give you hundreds of channels to watch. Some require paid subscriptions. The devices let you watch HuluTV, SlingTV, Netflix, etc.; however, each hardware device has different services available. SlingTV for example, has various packages available that carry the various channels, and you can also do channels à la carte.

It’s important to note that any of the streaming services require you to have internet service. I recommend having the fastest speeds possible, to have consistent streaming quality and high definition. DSL would not be advisable. Comcast is working to get gigabit speed in the area.

If you are serious about wanting to cut the cord, here are things to consider to make the best decision.

1) Research what the monthly cost for internet will be in your area, and look for the fastest service available.

2) Do you already have a SmartTV or do you need to buy streaming media hardware? What costs will be associated with them?

3) Make a list of all the channels/shows you currently watch. Be sure to include premium channels like Showtime, HBO, etc.

4) Prioritize your list of channels/shows. To save money, you may have to sacrifice some of the channels and shows you currently watch.

5) Think about whether you record shows to watch later or if you watch them as they air. This will impact your choice of service.

6) Do you need to get a digital antenna? What would be the associated costs?

Now you have the information you need to choose your services. This is where the priority list comes in. Match those channels/shows to the service(s) you are considering. You may have to sacrifice channels. Be sure to find out if the services that interest you have cloud based recording ability. While the subscriptions are ongoing expenses, the hardware are onetime expenses.

You should focus your decision on the monthly internet charge and the monthly cost for subscriptions. After looking at all the monthly costs, you can decide if cutting the cord will save money or not.

As a side note, if you have a streaming connection issue, try making sure your wireless modem is in the center of the house and away from other electronic equipment.

To make sure I cover topics of interest to you, send your questions or suggestions to me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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