Cutting the cord

For months … nay YEARS … my husband and I agonized over whether to “cut the cord” to cable TV and opt instead for streaming.

When we first started thinking about it, many were touting using rabbit ears to get local channels. I couldn’t bring myself to do that. Rabbit ears, in my mind, were unreliable and being a news junkie I couldn’t risk losing my access to local news. Streaming services at that time were few — Netflix and Hulu. But I couldn’t face living on movies and old series. So we waited. And talked. And waited.

As we waited, I watched and observed. I noticed that no one under the age of 35 seemed to have ever subscribed to cable. They didn’t seem deprived. When asked, they were all frankly puzzled as to why, with all the options out there, anyone would choose cable when the same programming could be gotten through other venues for a fraction of the cost.

In 2018, we took the first baby steps into the 21st century by eliminating our landline. But we didn’t really eliminate it. The bundle we got from U-Verse required us to have a landline. So it was there, but we literally never used it. Never plugged in a phone. Never memorized the number. It proved to be heaven-sent in regards to unwanted telephone solicitations and, Lord help us, political calls.

Finally, in December, we decided enough was enough. The nearly $200 a month for AT&T got to be too much. And frankly, when we called with issues, they were always borderline rude or, worse, condescending.

The next decision was even harder. Which streaming service? (Hulu Plus, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and AT&T Watch TV, to name a few.) In place of a cable box and the monthly fee to rent it, you use an app on your smart TV, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV or game console. Sound scary and complicated? I thought so. So we began with baby steps. First we bought a Roku. I hooked it up to a TV at work to watch CNN. I logged in with my AT&T account. It got me familiar with Roku.

To pick a streaming service, we asked everyone we knew who had cut the cord. We never considered Sling, although some recommended it. Honestly, those commercials are so creepy, we just couldn’t. It the end it was between YouTube TV and Hulu Plus. We ended up going with Hulu based on my brother-in-law’s rave review.

Now we pay $60 a month for Hulu; the Roku was a one-time cost of $30 (there are levels of Roku you can buy). We also still get the apps Netflix, Disney+ (free through our Verizon phone), and BritBox. I can’t get enough of British mysteries and other shows. We may end up getting Hallmark channels through the app Frndly TV, but I’m still thinking about it.

Bottom line, we are saving about $80 a month. That is not insignificant. We overcame our fears, have had no issues, get live TV (news!) and life is good.

Cable companies should be worried. According to TechJury.com, nearly all Americans ages 25-34 access TV content through the internet and 90% of young people prefer streaming and apps. For those ages 18-24, the percentage is similar: 87% opt for internet access. Pay-TV providers lost 1.8 million subscribers in 2018.

So cutting cable, in an odd way, has made me feel young and on-point. And I have to say, I love picking and choosing. Do I want live TV? Just my favorite shows? Movies on Netflix? Or do I want to just dive into British murder mysteries most of the evening, after the news.

My only question is this: Why did we wait so long?

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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