We get it, cable TV seems like a simple option. To get all the channels you want, you pay a monthly fee. Problem is that the price keeps going up year after year.
Doxo's U.S. Cable & Internet Market Size & Household Spending report 2021 shows that 82 percent American households have a Cable & Internet Bill of $116 per Month, $1,392 per Year, or $11,141 per year if averaging across all U.S. households. It's also costing more and more.
If you subscribe to streaming services like Disney+, Paramount+, and the like ,These streaming services can be accessed via streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, or built into your smart TV. You can now watch TV without cable, thanks to live streaming services such as Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV. But that's not all, but you have to read to the end.
Even though we understand the fear of losing your cable box can seem overwhelming, there are many options. But don't freak out. There's never been a better moment to cut your cable and still enjoy all your favorite shows and movies. We will help you determine which streaming services are worth your time, what equipment is needed, and offer tips for how to still watch TV.
These are our top cord-cutting options for 2021:
What does cutting the cord mean?
The term "cutting the cord" refers to getting rid of any bundle of channels that you have subscribed to from a broadband, satellite, or cable provider. This includes big names such as Spectrum, DISH and Verizon. For a long time, this was the only way you could get premium channels like HBO as well as specialized basic cable channels, like MTV, The Food Network and Nickelodeon.
With the rise of Netflix and other streaming services, it became even more difficult to obtain all the channels you desire at a reasonable price. You may need to upgrade to a more costly package if you want to get Fox Sports for baseball fans, Bravo for Real Housewives, or Sprout for little ones. And don't get us started on HBO, which now isn't included in most premium cable packages--so yes, you have to pay more to get channels like STARZ and Showtime, but then you'll have to add the monthly HBO subscription on top of that.
It's not as easy as it used to be. And though the idea of canceling your simply organized entertainment options may feel scary, especially if you're not tech savvy, it can mostly be replaced by cobbling together a litany of streaming services, including those premiums like HBO Max and Epix, and perhaps a TV antenna, for much less.
Is cutting the cord worth it?
First, consider whether your current cable plan is incredibly cheap. It may be worth keeping your current plan if you pay less than $49 monthly for all the services you need. You are probably not, even though you are reading this article right now. This is especially true when you consider the hidden costs of cable, such as equipment, broadcast fees and regional sports fees. This is where cutting the cord can save you money.
While you will still require a home Internet connection (which may be included in a cable bundle), it is important to determine how much it will cost separately. The cost of broadband Internet service can often be half that of cable. So if you pay $120 per month for cable, it could only be $60. You can then spend the remaining savings on streaming TV services you choose. You can shop around for broadband deals, but make sure you check your contract to ensure you aren't locked into a contract.
You can also utilize your cell phones HotSpot option. This is a true cord-cut. You remove the cable company completely and rely on your mobile device to provide internet. This however can get extremely expensive as most companies charge for HotSpot data. That will be coming to an end when 5G is in it's final release stages.
You'll also need to decide which TV shows and channels you must have. It shouldn't be difficult to cut the cord if most of your favorite shows can be found on streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, and you aren't afraid of waiting for the latest season. If you have a collection of shows you still want to watch as soon as they become available, or live entertainment that you cannot do without, then you should consider adding Sling TV or Philo to your cable TV.
What equipment do I need to cut the cord?
Here are the steps to cut the cable:
You can get rid of cable but still enjoy live TV by investing in an HD antenna. You will be able to view local programming over the air from networks like Fox, NBC, and CBS. There are many hardware options available, including the basic 1byone Indoor Antenna ($26), or the more expensive Mohu Leaf+ ($60), multi directional antenna that uses a USB-powered amplifier. These must be mounted outdoors.
You should check the availability of local channels before you buy an antenna. You can plug in your zip code at Antennaweb to get a full list of stations in your hood and even a free TV guide listing all the channels available with an antenna at your address.
Last but not least, cutting the cable requires a streaming device. You will need to verify that your smart TV has streaming apps. You can stream content using a gaming console like a PlayStation or Xbox, or even your cell phone. You could check this product out which simplifies the entire cord cutting process.
What is the best alternative to cable TV?
To truly untether and break free from the cable cords which bind you, you'll have to consider going beyond the individual streaming subscription services like Netflix and Disney+ and purchase a cable-replacement service the Freedom Stream Scissor.
You'll find all the channels you want as well as hundreds or local, regional, and international channels, including video on demand, and PPV.