Feel like your cable bill just keeps going up and up and up? It is. Are you ready to cut the cord on cable? You’re not alone.
According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, cable and satellite TV bills have shot up 53 percent since 2007 to $100.98 last year. Providers plan more hikes over the next year.
As prices climb higher, consumers are increasingly looking for ways to cut the cord on cable and find affordable alternatives, so they can still binge watch their favorite shows.
According to an industry report from eMarketer, the number of people who have nixed their cable plans will equal the number of people who never had pay TV by 2021. In 2017, about 22 million TV watchers cut the cord on cable -- that’s up a whopping 33 percent when compared to the number of cord-cutters in 2016.
To get their TV fix, consumers are turning to streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video and other options. But, if they’re not careful as they sign up for various cable alternatives, they could end up spending more for TV.
Invest in an HDTV Antenna
These won’t let you stream TV, but they will allow you to watch live TV, such as local news broadcast or sports games. In many areas, you’ll be able to pull up the major networks -- ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and PBS -- with it. The Federal Communications Commission’s DTV Reception Maps will help you determine what channels you’ll be able to pick up with an antenna.
The prices for these antennas start at less than $10 and go way up. DigitalTrends.com rates some of the best ones.
Consider your streaming device options
These will connect your TV to the internet, so you can stream TV shows, movies or music, typically from services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video or Spotify. Tom’s Guide rates some of the most popular streaming devices on the market. Prices start at around $35.
If you already own a Smart TV, which connects to the internet, you may not need a streaming player. But, depending on your media-watching plans, it may make sense to invest in one. They can be easier to use and more up-to-date, technologically speaking, according to a recent article in Reviewed. And, remember, like the antenna, this is a one-time cost and not like a monthly cable bill that adds up over time.
Take a look at streaming services
Once you have the equipment, now it’s time to look at your streaming service options. This is where things can get costly if you’re not careful. The more services you tack on, the more expensive your TV-viewing habits will become as they typically require you pay a monthly fee. Business Insider has a thorough review of popular streaming options and how they compare to each other. Tom’s Guide has a “streaming showdown” between three of the most popular options -- Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
Turn to your library
Yep! You read that right. Some libraries are providing free access to TV shows, movies and other content through Hoopla Digital or Kanopy. These stream entertainment for free by partnering with public libraries. You’ll just need your library card. Check with your local library to see if it’s offered where you live.
Don’t forget YouTube
And Vimeo and TV channel’s websites. On all three platforms, you can stream video for free -- from viral videos to full movies and TV shows.
Add it all up
Before you cut the cord on cable completely, consider your post-cable plan to determine just how much TV you want to watch and just how much it will cost you. The goal here, after all, is to save money -- and still veg out with your favorite shows.
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