Cord cutting has been a relatively popular word in terms of entertainment and television media these days. Many viewers and even paid cable TV subscribers are thinking and are considering the switch. So what is cord cutting exactly and why are people so drawn to it? Is it possible to set it up at home by yourself? Is it better than paid cable TV? Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions and more by understanding what cord cutting means.
Cord cutting may be generally defined as the act of cutting or cancelling your paid subscription to cable or satellite TV in order to watch TV based entertainment and content through an alternative means. This is most commonly through the internet or other wireless based services. This includes streaming, recording and playing back any of your favourite shows and entertainment at any time and on any device, all free of charge or at a discounted rate!
The concept of cord cutting may seem novel, but it has already gained wide acceptance and paid TV subscriptions have already seen a decline. This is largely due to the fact that no one today really wants to pay for a barrage of unnecessary TV channels just to get access to the few that they want.
Including promo prices, paid subscription amounts for TV are pretty substantial and while some might see it as a necessary evil, there are ways and means available to us now to avoid this cost. Even to those who are not tech-friendly, cord cutting is getting easier to setup and do.
For those of you that are sceptical about the long term idea of cord cutting, industry statistics have shown that cable, satellite and telecom TV services lost an estimated 17 million paid subscribers in 2016 according to a Bloomberg survey! These figures are predicted to double, perhaps even triple this year and the pace of change is only accelerating!
So, how does one go about setting up and doing the whole cord cutting thing?
Smart TVs and Media Hubs
The most popular method of cord cutting would be through the use of Smart TVs and Media Hubs.
Thanks to these devices and the plethora of streaming services now available to us, you can simply and easily obtain access to a wide variety of programming at a reasonable price. The biggest advantage is that you are not expected to pay a “sign up” fee and you are not tied into a long term contract. Simply download the apps of your preference from a wide range of services such as Netflix, Hulu, Crunchyroll, Amazon and so on. If you are on PC, you can watch it on their dedicated sites.
Even home gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Sony PS3, Sony PS4 and the Nintendo Wii support video streaming apps.
Another type of Media hub is the streaming stick. These are the well-known Fire Stick and Roku sticks for example that plug directly into the HDMI port on your TV. Similar to the point above – it’s very easy to add additional applications to these sticks growing their capabilities even further.
Although an HD antennae may not provide an option for streaming videos, it is the best and safest bet for watching live TV. It’s simple and cheap. You buy the antenna, and the subscription is free and it is optimized for picking up regional and local TV.
One downside to this is that the coverage area is very limited. You are limited to the ones you receive depending on where you live and where the line of sight to the broadcast station is. A usual HD antenna has a range of 20 miles.
Knowing your Services:
The best way to fully exploit internet-only cord cutting would be through effective knowledge. In order to fully enjoy your cord cutting experience, it is essential to find out what apps are accessible through your preferred hardware.
It is also worth noting how much these apps/memberships to these apps and services will be costing you. Most hardware support Netflix, Hulu and Amazon- the so-called golden trinity of streaming.
It is advised to also pay attention to the channels, shows and streams they provide so as to enhance your cord cutting experience and make it hassle-free to enjoy only what you choose to and pay for.
Some hardware also supports YouTube Red so if you want to watch your favourite YouTubers on your TV screen and paid-only exclusive content, look no further.
One of the biggest disadvantages of cord cutting is the dilemma of giving up sports channels. Although sports organizations do offer streaming packages like NFL Live and NBA League Pass, these services can be quite expensive.
Through cord cutting, you are introduced and given full access to the premium TV world that offers some of the most entertaining and high-quality content such as Game of Thrones, Outlander and etc. Premium membership also allows you to stream shows as soon as they are on air, released or on-demand. Many premium channels are starting to cut out on middlemen costs, therefore, making them cheaper and affordable.
Not only does cord cutting open a door to an incredibly wide range of TV channels and streaming services, it provides a completely new range of entertainment services from all over the world. Channels like Crunchyroll for anime enthusiasts, Dramafever for viewers of Korean Dramas and YuppTV for Hindi entertainment are all made available to their subscribers.
As mentioned, it is rather important to focus your attention on which platform and hardware provide these services if you are curious about watching content from foreign countries.
With cord cutting it is important to price out the packages and services correctly to truly determine your savings. Cable and Internet services in my area run to about $150/mo (combined) with the split being fairly equal.
Moving all of my services to the cloud will not save me the full $75/mo as I would probably increase my Internet speed somewhat & might actually add some paid channels (Netflix and/or Hulu or even CBS for example).
However, while my savings might not be immense, I’m pretty much guaranteed to save something and the improved “freedom” from contracts and unwanted content makes this quite appealing to me!