Having cable is like having one of those $10 gym memberships you don’t use, but have a hard time getting rid of. I was once involved in one such gym membership relationship and a friend made me see the light. She told me the reason there are 10-dollar gym memberships is actually a genius marketing strategy whereby the member may quit going to the gym, but he or she will always be hesitant to cancel their membership for the following two reasons: 1).- It’s only $10 a month and 2)- It’s only $10 a month.
The difference with cable is that cable is at least 20 times more expensive than a $10 gym membership and though we may use it from time to time, we never watch enough TV content to make up for the cost of cable. That’s mainly because we all know what we want to watch, we mostly watch the same few programs on the same channels except cable companies don’t give us the choice to only have those channels. Cable companies force the consumer to basically buy an entire garbage pail with the promise you’ll find some treasures in it, as long as you’re willing to dig and syphon through the rubbish.
Add to all of this, the fact that cable companies make it extremely hard to break up with them by offering you the grand deal they never managed to offer to you until the moment you call to cancel your subscription. This strategy is incredibly effective and it manages to entangle the customer for another long-term commitment they never see coming until it’s too late to back out of it. I’ll be the first one to confess I fell many a times for the “free upgrade” trick, just to realize a year or two later that it was neither an upgrade, nor free after all.
So, how did I break free from the chains of cable and started strictly streaming? One day, my wife and I sat down and reviewed how much TV we watched on a weekly basis; which wasn’t much. We went over the channels on which those programs are and ended up realizing at least sixty percent of the programs or shows we watched were actually on over-the-air TV; which means we didn’t necessarily have to have cable to watch those programs. This was when we arrived at solution number one: Buy a Good Digital HD Antenna. You’d be surprised to see how many HD local over-the-air channel content you’re missing out on due to having cable.
What did I do about the Cable TV programs I watched? There are two options here and I opted for both, but you most certainly don’t have to do as I did because one of these options should be more than enough: Hulu, and Sling TV. The latter is a streaming service which spawned off of Direct TV and it began marketing itself as “A La Carte TV.” Sling offers a Blue plan starting at $20 per month, and an Orange plan; which is slightly more expensive, but the catch is you get to choose your channels lineup. Since the inception of Sling, many similar streaming services have emerged offering the flexibility of watching what you know you’ll watch for a low monthly fee. Just do your research and choose whatever feels more comfortable for your wallet. When I decided to let go of Cable, I already had a Hulu subscription, but I was barely using it because I thought I could always watch my favorite programs live on Cable TV, as opposed to watching them two hours later on Hulu. The problem is, I almost never had time to watch most of my favorite programs live anyway because most of them coincided on day and time; therefore I could only choose to watch one show while DVR-ing the others to watch them at a later time. Like me, many people don’t know Cable companies actually charge consumers a lease or rent fee for DVR devices, so when I thought about it, I realized I might as well use Hulu to watch the programs I was recording to watch later. Right at around the same time I decided to dump cable and to start streaming, Hulu and Spotify announced a new partnership where consumers could combine their respective Hulu and Spotify accounts for a reduced monthly fee, and I jumped right at that opportunity. I went from paying $13 for a limited commercials Hulu account and $10 for a premium Spotify account, to paying about $12 for both services.
Since we went from Cable TV to strictly streaming in my household, we’ve gone from spending approximately $200 monthly cable bills to about $65 for streaming services. Full disclosure: my Netflix account is paid for by my mobile phone service provider; therefore it’s not included in the aforementioned billed amount for streaming services.
The decision to forego Cable TV and to stream instead is an entirely personal one and we encourage you to do your research in order to determine whether streaming is for you. Some of the streaming services I’ve taken the liberty to mention on this blogpost are simply from my point of view as a consumer and I have not being paid, nor am I being offered any incentive for doing so. Keep in mind that what has worked out for me might not necessarily be your cup of tea, and finally, before making the switch from Cable to streaming, make sure you’re comfortable enough with such technologies and you’re able to keep up with its rapid evolution. It’s sometimes hard to remember Netflix was a DVD mailing service a few years back, yet now it’s the biggest and most well-known streaming platform in the world.
Finally, this is not a decision you should take lightly, and before you switch, remember to do a review of the things you value the most about the Cable service you currently have and whether or not you could live without it, or substitute it with something else. My personal experience has been fantastic and I would never go back to TV cable.