Roughly 10 months ago I cut the cord. And I am loving it.
My decision to get rid of cable started perhaps like many other cord cutters out there – I was frustrated. I was not amused by the cable company’s tactics to lock you in at a reasonable rate, only to double or triple the price 6 months later. And why does the rate sky rocket? Did the content improve? Nope. Any new channels added? Nope. So, I am paying more for fun? What?!?
Up until now, I think cable companies could get away with these practices because we as consumers didn’t have any other options, but luckily that has changed! With the success of Netflix and Hulu Plus, and new devices such as Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire Stick, it is easier to say goodbye to your cable provider. We made the switch when we moved last May. Moving is a great time to rethink various aspects of your home life. In place of cable, which was upwards of $100 a month for us, we now subscribe to both Netflix ($8 a month) and Hulu Plus ($9 a month), saving us close to $80 a month. We also own (and love) a Chromecast, which allows you to cast content from any device (phone, tablet, computer) onto your TV.
If you are thinking about cutting the cord, here are the pros and cons from my experience which may help you think through your decision.
– Saving money (for us that adds up to $960 a year). There is a great resource on The Verge that helps you calculate the cost of cutting the cord.
– Less time spent on mindless TV. The decision to watch TV is now more active as we have to seek out the content. With cable I felt it was so easy to watch something just to watch it, not because I actually wanted to spend my time watching TV.
– Less commercials than live TV.
– We are catching up on quite a few shows from premium channels that we didn’t have with our cable package via Netflix or Hulu Plus, such as Breaking Bad, Newsroom and Game of Thrones. Before, we just didn’t watch them because we didn’t pay for those channels.
– It is not yet easy to watch live sports, which we missed this Fall. That may be changing with Sling TV though which now offers ESPN without a cable subscription.
– If the internet is down, then so is your TV. If you are streaming content, having a good and reliable internet connection is a must which could mean paying a higher price for your internet. Sometimes we have to wait as the content buffers. Sometimes the app just crashes. Sometimes the content doesn’t want to load or will jump ahead in the program.
There are a few other things that may be worth mentioning and could either be a pro or a con, depending on your personal preferences.
– We hardly ever watch anything live (no award shows for us). Sometimes you can stream live content, as we did with The Superbowl this year, but that would depend on what the specific network offers.
– Some apps are better than others. I personally like the Netflix app, followed closely by the Hulu Plus app, in terms of ease of use and minimal buffering time.
– Generally speaking, network shows are available on Hulu Plus or Netflix within 24-48 hours of airing on TV. The caveat to this is CBS, which requires you to pay for a subscription via the app in order to easily access the more recent content. The reviews of the CBS app thus far are not great, so at the moment we refuse to pay for the CBS app. That makes it more challenging for us to watch some of our favorite shows like The Good Wife and Elementary.
– If shows aren’t on Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime, we can generally find them on the specific network website. Some sites do not allow you to use casting devices. Our way around that is to hook up our computer to the TV via an HDMI cord.
– I hear that there are some cable channels that aren’t sharing their content yet with apps like Netflix or Hulu Plus, but we haven’t personally come across any missing channels that we’d want to watch.
Cutting the cord has helped me be more intentional with how I spend my free time, and for that reason alone I doubt I will ever subscribe to cable TV again. Have you considered cutting out your cable? If you have, any other tips?