We all love to enjoy a range of entertainment at home, whether it's online gaming with friends or watching your favorite TV series and movies. However, many of us end up paying through the nose for cable subscription fees and pay TV service.
Fortunately, in today's world of advanced technology, you no longer have to do this. In the age of TV streaming, you can now benefit from cutting the chord when it comes to your cable TV or pays TV subscriptions. All you need to do is know how to watch TV online and transfer the display to your TV.
By cutting the cord, you could potentially save a lot of money each year. The subscription fees that you pay for this type of TV service can mount up very quickly. If you do a little number crunching, you will probably be astounded by the amount you are spending on an annual basis. Well, if you have a decent internet service you can now cut the cord with ease and turn to TV streaming instead.
Our guide will explain the type of hardware you might need to benefit from a streaming service. You can also learn more about accessing your favorite shows and movies via streaming. This will enable you to create an a la carte viewing experience rather than simply putting up with whatever you get with your cable subscription.
The Problem with Cable TV
We have relied on cable TV and pay TV for our home entertainment for many years. However, rising costs along with limited channels have resulted in more and more of us looking for alternatives. These services may have served us well in the past, but in today's digital era there are better and cheaper options.
There are numerous problems that come with sticking to cable and pay TV. Some of the key disadvantages compared to streaming services include:
- High subscription costs, which can add up to a huge amount over the course of the year
- Limited cable channel selection compared to a good streaming service
- Waiting around for engineer visits if the service breaks down
- Unsightly dishes attached to your home if you have satellite services
- Being stuck in a lengthy contract – and having to pay through the nose if you want to leave early
- Regular price increases, which bumps the cost of services up even more
These are some of the main problems you may experience with cable and pay TV services. It is also why so many people are now switching to streaming services and cutting the chord.
In 2015, the Wall Street Journal reported how cord cutting was on the rise. Since then, it has continued to increase. Various other news sites in addition to the Wall Street Journal have reported on the ongoing popularity of cord cutting.
The Hardware You'll Need
The main investment you will need after cutting the cord is in terms of hardware. However, depending on what you already have you may not need to purchase anything else at all.
Some of the potential hardware requirements include:
In order to enjoy streamed entertainment on the big screen, you need to have a way of displaying the content on your TV screen. There are various options available to achieve this goal.
You will find a wide range of set-top boxes, games consoles, and streaming sticks that are ideal. Your budget, existing hardware, and personal preferences will determine the one that is best for your needs.
The likes of Google, Amazon, Apple, and Roku offer devices to cater for various streaming budgets and preferences. In addition, you can also use games consoles from tech giants Sony and Microsoft in order to enjoy streamed entertainment.
The simplest, cheapest, and most convenient way to stream your favorite TV series or movie to your TV is through the use of an HDMI cable. You probably already have one of these, and if you don't they are very cheap to buy. All you need to do is connect one end to your computer and the other to the HDMI at the back of your TV set. It's as simple as that.
Of course, you may need to move your laptop so that it is within reach of the TV but this is a small price to pay for the ease and convenience that this method offers. A huge number of people use this method, as you can simply use your computer to access streaming sites and then transfer the display to your TV.
Related: How to Watch TV Online
Cord Cutting Pros & Cons
To make an informed decision with regards to cutting the cord, you need to familiarize yourself with the pros and cons. Some of these include:
- You will have access to a far wider variety of entertainment with streaming services
- Cutting the cord will save you a fortune in annual fees
- There is no contract period to worry about once you've cut the cord
- You can create an a la carte viewing experience through streaming rather than settling for what you are offered with cable
- You may be subjected to more advertisements with streaming services, as many rely on ad revenue
- You will lose the tech support and repair service facilities you get with cable
- The risk of using a less-than-reputable streaming site that can cause problems on your PC
- Lack of access to 'cable-locked' content
- Difficulties for those with TV services as part of a bundle
As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages that need to be considered. However, with more and more people cutting the cord, it is clear that streaming is becoming an increasingly popular option.
How Much Can You Save?
One of the main reasons people cut the cord and move to streaming content is to try and save money. We all have to be more careful with our spending these days, and this can be an effective solution to cost-cutting.
So, how much can you save by cutting the cord? Well, this will depend on a number of factors such as:
- Your contract: If you are still tied to a cable contract, you will have to pay an early termination fee if you cut the cord before the contract period ends.
- The speed of your current internet: You need decent internet speed to stream content without lag or interruption. So, you may need to look at upgrading to a faster internet service at a higher cost.
- Your bundle: If you have cable as part of a value bundle, you may have to pay more for your other services each month if you cut the cable TV cord.
- Hardware requirements: You may have to invest in some hardware to stream content if you cut the cord on cable.
However, despite these factors, you need to remember that the cost of cable TV keeps rising. Many streaming services can be used completely free of charge. This means that once you have the necessary hardware and internet connection, there are no monthly bills to worry about. You may want to subscribe to one or two paid subscription services alongside the free ones, but these are available at very competitive rates.
Paid Subscription Streaming Sites
You also have the option of using paid streaming sites, which are both affordable and offer a great range of shows and movies. Many people use free streaming sites but also sign up for one or two paid ones to increase their choice of content.
You will be able to enjoy access to the latest movies and shows as well as classics. You can also avoid having to watch adverts, as these services are funded through subscription fees.
Some of the popular subscription-based streaming sites you can choose from include:
- Netflix: Netflix is great for TV shows and also offers a good range of movies in different genres
- Amazon Prime: You will find plenty of TV and movie options on Prime, so you will never be short on entertainment
- Hulu: With Hulu, you get to benefit from excellent choice, particularly as Time Warner is now part of Hulu
- Now TV: You can enjoy easy access to a wide range of shows and movies with an affordable paid subscription to Now TV
Some of these cost less than $10 per month, which means that you can enjoy great value for money. It is also worth notice that Time Warner now owns a percentage of Hulu. With the wide range of networks owned by Time Warner, this spells even better news for fans of streaming entertainment.
Related: Which streaming site is the best? Check out our buyer's guide to streaming sites for rankings, comparison, and analysis.
Using a VPN to Access Content
If you already use some streaming services, you will know that there are geographical restrictions on many sites. However, one of the ways you may be able to get around this is by learning how to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
These are able to hide your IP address and use the VPN server one instead. This makes it look as though you are located in the area that the streaming site covers, so your location is no longer an issue.
You can sign up to both free and paid VPN services. If you do decide to do this, choose one that is located as close to the location of the sites from which you want to access entertainment.
Make sure you do your research and check on both the reliability and reputation of the VPN you are considering using. This will ensure you enjoy additional peace of mind as well as greater accessibility to online entertainment.
Related: If you want to learn more about VPN services, you can read our buyer's guide to VPN services for our top picks.
Free Streaming Services
We now have access to more free streaming services online than ever before. You can access TV shows and movies whenever you like with these services and you won't have to pay a thing.
You need to bear in mind that many of these services rely on ad revenue to make money, so you may experience a little interruption and inconvenience. However, you can save a fortune while enjoying a huge variety of entertainment.
If you are concerned about the legality of the free movie and entertainment streaming site you use, don't worry. There are plenty of sites that are safe and perfectly legal to use. Some of these include:
These are just some of the many legal free streaming sites that you can access online to enjoy free entertainment.
If you are cutting the cord, one of the alternative options you have is to go for a cable-replacement service. This is still a streaming service but it offers many of the channels that you would get with your cable, including live content in real time. Sling TV, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue are amongst the options available.
So, for instance, Sling TV will provide you with access to a huge variety of cable channels including news channels, History, Cartoon Network, and many ESPN stations. Likewise, YouTube TV provides access to many channels such as SyFy, ESPN, National Geographic, and Disney amongst others. You can also 'bolt-on' additional channels for a fee.
You will have to pay monthly fees for your cable-replacement service, but it generally works out far cheaper than paying a cable subscription. The cost of these services can vary and will depend on the plan you choose and whether you want to opt for additional channels.
Is Cord Cutting Right For You?
Before you go ahead and cut the cord, you should think about whether this is the right option for you. There are a number of factors that will help you to determine this. For example, if you are still tied into a contract with your cable services provider, it may be worth waiting until it comes to an end before you cut the cord.
If you currently take your cable TV service as part of a great value bundle, you also need to consider how this would affect the cost of your internet and phone services. Remember, although you will save money on your cable bills you will still need to spend some money when you cut the cord. This is for things such as hardware, some paid entertainment services, and perhaps even a faster internet service.
Looking at the pros can cons will help you to make a more informed decision. Remember, with streaming services you will be able to access a wide range of entertainment. However, if you particular cable channels that you love watching such as a sports channel or other cable channel, you will have to determine whether you can live without them.
The number of people now ditching their cable service is a testament to the rising quality and choice of streaming services. You have far more freedom and flexibility with these services. This is because you can basically watch what you want when you want.
While there may be certain series that you cannot access, you certainly won't struggle when it comes to options.When you consider the affordable cost of hardware, the long-term financial benefits are obvious.
As long as you have a reliable, speedy internet service you should have no problem enjoying streamed entertainment. To take the first step, check out our buyer's guide to streaming devices. There, you'll find our top picks and in-depth reviews that may help you find the best streaming device for you. You're going to need a high-speed internet connection if you want to enjoy all your favorite content. Take a look at our buyer's guide to internet providers for rankings, comparisons, and in-depth analysis.