You can blame it on the studios, or the broadcast networks, or the cable TV providers, or the FCC. And you would be right. They all bear some responsibility for the mess we’re in with the current state of television content delivery. The content is better than ever. We have TV shows that look like movies scripted by great writers.
Arguably, though is whether there is even better content on streaming services. Shows like Stranger Things, House of Cards and Star Trek: Discovery can be made without the typical constraints of television viewing blocks. The format allows for more engaging shows that can be consumed in ways more conducive to the preferences of the viewer.
But before you cut that cord, there are a few things you should know about what you will be giving up. Things don’t always come up roses in cordless-land. You are still dealing with the same networks and cable providers and content gatekeepers. (CBS All Access, I am looking at you!) And they are highly motivated to maintain the status quo. You can’t get TV your way, on your devices, on your schedule without incurring some major penalties. In addition, this guide on cord cutting may help get in-depth knowledge on everything you need to know as a beginner and even hardcore cord cutter. Here is a bit of what you will leave behind when you cut the cord:
The Total Package
If you want to get all of the content available for viewing, there is no one package that can do that. If you want Netflix exclusives, you will have to be a Netflix subscriber. The same is true for the exclusives on all the other services like Hulu and Amazon. Add in CBS All Access, HBO GO and any other individual packages and you can already be paying almost as much as a cable TV or Satellite provider monthly rates.
Live content is still the biggest disadvantage of the big streaming services, if you like to watch live sports, live news you are not going to find that from typical streaming services. But the total package is not about having access to every show ever created. It is about having every kind of program. So if you want all the popular TV shows, recent movies, live sports, news, and special events such as the Oscars, there is only one way to get it all. And that is via a traditional content provider still.
It doesn’t matter whether you are looking at your local satellite provider or the best DIRECTV deals you can pick out a package that will meet your needs that surround your streaming service needs. Many now include the ability to just open up your streaming service directly from the satellite guide too and in some cases you can find a bundle with a service like Netflix included.
Sometimes you can get more content and save money by bundling, you do need broadband for that online streaming content anyway so bundling with a cable TV subscription could end up saving you than having the Internet bill separate plus all the Internet providers. If you are into the home theater scene replete with projectors and surround speakers, you know how much it can cost to part things out individually. The same is true for television content. You want Netflix for catalog shows, Hulu for current shows (mostly serving as a DVR), HBO Go for Game of Thrones, CBS All Access for Discovery, and on it goes.
Some streaming services stick you with unskippable commercials. And you still have to pay a high price for the privilege, DVR’s are standard with satellite packages and skipping commercials is convenient.
The best content quality does not usually come from streaming services. So if you have invested in all the home theater equipment for bringing movies and TV shows to life from the comfort of your own home, you will want a satellite service for the most high-definition content. A show compressed to stream well over cellular and look good on your smartphone may not do so well on your big-screen TV.
I was pretty annoyed when just the other day a few cable channels were cut off between a network dispute and a satellite provider, in this type of situation it doesn’t matter who you blame but I still keep a satellite package. Primarily because of CNN, TNT, USA Network and some other choice television stations in my household that don’t have shows appearing on Hulu or Netflix until after the seasons end if at all. Live news and other channels are convenient as well having the DVR for my local stations without dealing with a separate HDTV antenna and a more complicated setup to record my weekly NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX shows is also one of the reasons. I do love my Netflix though and bounce between having Hulu, but I drew the line and won’t pay for CBS All Access even though I really want to watch Star Trek: Discovery. I have to stick with The Orville for now for my Star Trek like fix.
How many of you were actually successful at cutting the cord? What streaming services do you keep and how many do you pay for? How do you handle live streaming news/sports if you watch?