More and more, Millennials and savvy Gen X-ers are cutting the cord with their cable providers and moving to streaming options. This trend is now beginning to take notice with the large conglomerates like Verizon, Time Warner, and Dish (who just lost 281,000 subscribers in Q2 of this year). If you're fed up with your cable company and are looking to go streaming, here's how to do it:
Start Figuring Out Your Needs
My husband and I plan to go without cable tv in our new home, but it was a tough sell for him as he's the predominant user of the TVs in our home. His main concern was live sports (particularly the YES network, which covers all of the Yankees' games) so we had to find services that would stream YES, in addition to ESPN and other sports networks.
The same goes for your family: What do you watch regularly, enough that losing it would be a pain point? Start making a list of "needs" and "like to haves" and begin looking at plans that offer those channels (we're going with Playstation Vue).
Choose Your Streaming Service
The more popular streaming becomes, the more innovative TV streaming services begin to pop up. VidGo, Playstation Vue, SlingTV, Sony TV, they're all working out new deals with channels and are branching out to more hardware options. For example, Playstation Vue works across a variety of platforms, which was the main draw for us since we have a Roku. SlingTV and VidGo are also two options that will most likely work with whatever hardware you've already got, but check their websites to be sure.
You can even start small and just get an HDTV antenna on Amazon for a few bucks and get all of your local stations for free, then work your way up to a streaming service later on that includes cable channels.
Find the Bonus Channels
HBO is now offering standalone service for streaming fans, as well as Showtime, which has partnered with SlingTV, so if you're worried about missing Game of Thrones after returning your cable box, don't worry. If you're looking for even more channels that are outside of the US, companies like Pinoy TV and the BBC are also beginning to offer streaming capabilities outside of their countries.
Make Sure Your Internet Can Handle It
So all of that was the good news, now here's the bad: In most cases, you'll still need to keep your internet service with a cable provider. If you're lucky enough to have fiber internet (or Fios), then you've got nothing to worry about, as they're able to handle streaming services easily. If, however, you're tethered to cable or DSL internet, make sure you have a package that can handle streaming from multiple devices without putting you over your monthly limit. Monitor your current usage now, and see how close you come to hitting your monthly limit. If it's way below, try one device and monitor your usage, then decide if you need to increase from there (and keep hope alive that fiber internet will be installed in your area soon).
If you're ready to give streaming services a try, but don't know where to start, give these 4 tips a go and you'll be on your way to cutting the cord in no time. If you need more info, Reddit has a great subreddit all about it (and I've found them to be incredibly helpful to newbies).