I wanted to give you a brief update on my cord cutting experience (couple years later) and reveal my monthly costs and maybe challenge a few of you to take the plunge – if you think the savings are worth it . . .
First, my selections are netflix (streaming), directvnow (over-the-top (live TV), and an over-the-air (OTA) antenna for local channels (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS). Let’s put some numbers to this:
Netflix $10 per month
Directvnow $10 per month
OTA antenna free (after you purchase the hardware)
My ongoing cost per month is $20. You could do something similar with sling tv but I chose this route (at least for now). One important note – none of these options involve a contract so I am free to change anytime.
I have 2 apple tvs (4th generation) – these are the streaming boxes that I use to get the content (including games) to my tvs. I bought one of the apple TVs ($100) and the other was free due to a promotion to try directvnow. Some will argue that I am cheating by saying that directvnow is only $10 – it is for me, but only because I also have AT & T wireless (specifically their unlimited data plan) – without this $25 credit, my directvnow would be $35 per month.
I pay about $120 (including all fees, taxes, etc.) on my monthly wireless bill (3 lines). I believe the “average” US household pays anywhere from $100 to $130 per month for wireless service so I would describe our wireless bill as “normal”, at least for using one of the big carriers – I’m sure we could reduce our wireless bill, if we used one of the re-sellers (e.g., boost mobile, cricket wireless, etc.) but 3 other members of my family are on our plan (they reimburse us) so I am inclined to keep what we have – if only for convenience. . .
I am currently using AT & T fiber as my internet service provider (ISP). It’s $70 per month. I’m sure we could beat that price with a different ISP, if we were willing to adjust to a lower (and maybe less reliable) speed (e.g., Road Runner). The average broadband connection (ISP) in the US is about $50 per month. I think I have tried all the other ISP options (DSL, cable, uverse), at least in my area. I was curious about fiber and have to admit its really snappy and reliable – certainly faster and more reliable than anything else I have tried. It’s between 300 and 400 MBs down. That’s plenty fast for our household – even when a gaggle of kids from the neighborhood come and play a joint game of Minecraft on our wifi.
I admit that one of the reasons I am trying fiber is the possibility of going to 4K (sometime in the future). One counter argument to including internet in this comparison is that internet is probably a utility in our society. We use it to pay our bills (most of them) online, order things online (e.g., Amazon, walmart, etc.), and our son uses it for his homework sometimes (e.g., research). So I don’t think that many people would necessarily cancel their internet just because they opted to select a big cable/satellite package. Having a reliable broadband connection is a borderline necessity in the US. Agreement is not required, but think about it anyhow.
I will probably go back to the middle package of directvnow ($25 per month) in the spring so I can catch all the Atlanta Braves games. That’s one of the advantages of streaming – no contracts – so I can change my package of channels every month (if I want to). I had the middle package this summer to watch the Braves and now that baseball is almost over (and the Braves are out of playoff contention. . . ), I am switching back.
I would argue you can definitely save money cutting the cord – if you are willing to put in the time to research which streaming package fits your family. I would also argue we have found something that works well for our family, and saves money. Is it as convenient as cable/satellite – nope. Does it save money? It does in my book – the average cable bill (not including internet) is over $100 per month (many pay more than that) and we are paying $20 per month. I doubt we have every channel you can think of but we have a lot of entertainment options – including sports (Go Panthers!) in brilliant HD.
I have included a link (see below) from a recent USAtoday article that includes a good comparison of the available streaming services and whether or not you can get a specific channel on each. I think it’s a good guide to evaluating if streaming is right for you. Let me know how much you spend per month on TV and definitely let me know if you choose to cut the cord. Happy hunting. . .
see also my previous posts (see link below) about cord cutting, for even more details of my initial experience