Unsure if you’re ready to take the plunge and cut the cord? The truth is that now is the best time in history to make the call. It seems like every day, there are new reasons to get rid of cable. But in case you aren’t sure what those reasons are, I’ve collected them here, all in one place for you.
#1 It’s Easier Than Ever
Had you asked me a few years ago if getting rid of cable was feasible, I would have hesitated. But now, well, things are different. It’s easier than it has ever been. All you really need is an Internet connection, a streaming box, and a streaming service. Anyone can set it up–no tech savviness required.
#2 Financial – The Savings are Massive
According to the FCC, cable prices are rising at a rate that’s higher than inflation. In fact, many expect the average cable bill to be somewhere around $125 by the end of 2015. That’s almost $1500 a year! Crazy, right? Especially since you probably signed on for some great promotional rate that expired after one year…yet you’re locked in for at least two. Not to mention all of those hidden costs!
The facts are impossible to refute: if you cut the cord, you’ll save big, even if you’re paying for subscription services. It’s one of the biggest reasons to get rid of cable that exists. Period. Check out my setup, which costs me only $39.49 a month.
T-Mobile customers have even bigger cost savings — With Sling TV and T-Mobile’s latest partnership, T-Mobile users can now sign up for Sling’s basic package for just $14/month for up to a full year. That’s an incredible 30% in savings! You can watch more than 20 channels on your T-Mobile eligible device, and can even cancel the plan whenever you’d like. Plus, you won’t ever have to worry about data overage fees with T-Mobile’s Binge On plan — just another way you can save! Learn more about this money-saving offer here. There are plenty of other streaming options with similar promotional deals, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to shop around until you find one that saves you the most — and because you’re free of cable, you have the ability to do so risk free!
#3 Available Content Keeps Growing
I remember back when Netflix first started their streaming service, it seemed like they had very little I wanted to watch. Man, are those days gone. These days, there’s seemingly endless content. From hit shows to documentaries, there’s something for everyone.
#4 Watch Live Sports Online
Many people hold onto their cable for live sporting events. Admittedly, this was my biggest sticking point. But like all other aspects of cord cutting, this segment is growing quickly. MLB has MLB.TV, which will allow you to watch just about everything. The NBA and NHL also have streaming services through their respective leagues.
The most difficult to find is the NFL, but you can watch most of your home team’s games with an antenna. And if you can’t give up ESPN, you can also try Sling TV. For more detailed info on how you can cancel cable and still watch your favorite live sports, check out my guide here.
#5 No More Cable Contracts
Contracts suck. And while big cell phone companies like T-Mobile are making moves to give the people what they want with respect to contracts, the cable companies aren’t budging. But the paid streaming services, well, they aren’t wasting their time trying to lock you in. Netflix, Hulu Plus…they all will let you quit whenever you’re ready. No hidden fees.
#6 Freedom from a Broken System
Making you pay for a bunch of stuff you aren’t watching, and raising the rates in the meanwhile, is a broken system. Why should you be part of that? When you get rid of cable, you are stepping away, freely, into the future. And the future is bright (and much cheaper).
#7 Bye Bye Commercials
Did you know that the average child has seen 16,000 commercials in a year? That’s right, their brains are being inundated with advertising. God only knows what negative effects this can cause. By getting rid of cable, you can drastically reduce, if not completely eliminate, the commercials your child is exposed to.
#8 Extra Benefits From Streaming Services
Sometimes when you sign on with a streaming service, you get extra perks. For example, Amazon Prime comes with free 2-day shipping (which I take frequently advantage of). BallStreams gives you access to Summer League and international competitions. And many sports streaming sites don’t blackout games.
#9 You Can Try Most Streaming Services For Free
With so many streaming options available, you might find it hard to decide which to go with. Luckily, many of them make it easy on you, allowing you to try them out for free. Here’s what some of the major streaming services offer:
- Sling TV–Click here for a free 7-day trial
- Amazon Prime–Click here for a free 30-day trial
- Netflix–One free month
- Hulu Plus–One free week
- HBO Now–One free month
#10 Sends a Message to Big Cable
While cord cutting is still in the early stages (the major cable companies lost about .2% of subscribers between 2013 and 2014), things are getting worse, not better, for them. With HBO flying solo, and Apple looking to get into the game, there’s no way they can ignore the shift. When you make the decision to get rid of cable, you’re helping make sure that the cable companies take notice.
#11 Purposeful Viewing vs. Passively Watching Garbage
I think we can all agree that we probably watch more TV than we should. Especially if you have cable. Think about it–how often do you just turn the TV on and let it play in the background? Or sit on the couch watching reruns of one of those HGTV shows for no good reason?
When you cut the cord and go with a streaming service, you’re more likely to engage in purposeful watching. In other words, you aren’t just going to plop in front of the TV and watch some garbage just for the sake of doing so. Instead, you’re going to sit, search, and watch only when you’re interested.
#12 Better Quality
OTA HD broadcasts are HIGHER QUALITY than what cable provides. Cable companies compress their broadcasts due to limited bandwidth and infrastructure costs. You probably spent good money for an HDTV…it’s time to get the most out of your picture!
#13 It’s Legal
Some people mistakenly associate streaming shows with illegal activity. Rest assured, there are plenty of completely legal ways to stream content. Be it sports, TV shows, movies….the means are out there. Are their illegal streaming sites out there? You betcha. But they’re easy to spot, and quite frankly, you don’t want to use them–they’re loaded with pop-ups and spyware.
#14 Great Original Programming
Here’s a growing trend–streaming services producing and providing amazing, original TV shows that can’t be found elsewhere. Here’s a quick list of some of my favorites:
- House of Cards (Netflix)
- Narcos (Netflix)
- Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee (Crackle)
- Behind the Mask (Hulu)
- Alpha House (Amazon)
- Transparent (Amazon)
#15 Most New Episodes of Hit Shows are Available Online or Via Antenna
Giving up cable can be hard if it means not being able to talk about the current hit show at the water cooler. What many people don’t realize is that the latest episodes of many hit shows are often available online. For example, AMC makes their episodes available for about a month. It’s also important not to forget that if the hit show you’re watching is on network TV, you can likely catch it live with a good digital antenna. Which leads me to the next point…
#16 Get Free HD Content with a Digital Antenna
I was shocked at how many stations I picked up when I got a digital antenna (over 70!!!). I picked up all sorts of stuff I didn’t know existed. Of course, what you can access depends largely on where you live. But unless you live pretty far out, chances are you can get some decent channels. For a look at just how many broadcast channels are out there, check out this table on Wikipedia. And if you’re wondering what stations are available in your area, you can try the FCC’s tool here.
#17 Fewer Dealings with Annoying Customer Service Reps
Who hasn’t had to deal with less-than-helpful cable customer service reps? I know I have my stories to tell, that’s for sure! While it’s true that you will still probably have to deal with your ISP’s customer service from time to time, gone will be the days of calling to deal with troubles with cable.
It’s a rare occasion that you would need to talk to your streaming service’s customer service. And if you have to, well, my experiences have been great. Netflix and Amazon customer service is hands down top notch.
#18 Greater Flexibility
When you’re streaming content, you have much more flexibility. Tired of Netflix? Drop them next month and switch to Hulu. Decided wrestling isn’t worth your time? Cancel the WWE Network and they won’t renew your subscription. It really is that simple.
There’s also flexibility in when, where, and how you watch. Most streaming services have apps that work on your mobile devices, allowing you to watch anywhere, any time. You can also hook your devices up to your TV via a variety of methods (HDMI cable, Apple TV, etc.).
#19 Customized Viewing Experience
Unlike cable services, most streaming services do their part in trying to customize your viewing experience to better suit your needs. For example, Netflix will suggest content based on your viewing habits. They also will give you other suggestions for similar content when searching. Hulu and Amazon Prime let you subscribe to shows and receive alerts.
#20 Easier to Sift Through Content
Is there anything more annoying than trying to search through your cable TV provider’s programming guide? Paging down through hundreds of shows you would never consider watching, trying to find that one program. Forget that! Regardless of where you choose to stream your content, you can rest assured that it’s completely searchable, making it simple to sort through what you want to watch.
#21 There are New Streaming Options
It’s hard to argue–streaming is the way of the future. It feels like there are new options for streaming on a daily basis. CBS, HBO, and Sony are all jumping in the game. Apple sounds like it wants to as well. Who knows what services will come next? But here’s what I do know…they’ll keep coming.
Are you ready? It’s YOUR turn to be a cord cutter.