Cut the cord, fatten your wallet!

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the term cord cutter. It used to be reserved for those crazy people who lived on the fringe, pinched pennies, and had no life. That has changed significantly over the past couple of years as friends of mine have joined the ranks after telling me how they could never drop their subscription television for one reason or another.

I believe that this change has occurred due to the increase in great content outside of cable and satellite. Stores are carrying streaming media devices almost like they carry DVD and Blu-Ray players. Plus, many of the Blu-Ray and DVD players and televisions are now “smart”, which means they include most of the same content options as streaming media players.

If you’re looking for a way to cut some costs, dropping the cable or satellite might be a good option. Not only that, but you may actually enjoy your television viewing experience more. Below are some options and ideas for improving your experience and saving some money in the process.

  • If you already have a smart television, Blu-Ray, or DVD player then you’ve already got a good start. If you don’t have one or you don’t think your options are that great on the one you’ve got, check out Roku. It has over 1000 “channels” and is one of the most widely used streaming players available. There are others out there, but with the options available on the Roku and a starting price of $49.99, it’s hard to beat. Whatever you get, make sure it has the options you’re interested in.
  • Netflix has thousands of television shows and movies available when you want them and it only costs $7.99 a month.
  • Amazon Prime not only offers you free 2 day shipping on a ton of products and free books from their Kindle lending library, but you also get access to their library of free streaming titles. At $79 a year, that comes out to about $6.59 a month. Some of the titles are available on Netflix, but there are plenty of them that are not due to the different content licenses each company.
  • Hulu Plus provides you access to many current shows the day they after they air on television. It’s like a digital DVR replacement. The downside is that it even though you are paying for it, you still have to watch some advertisements. This will run you $7.99 a month as well, or if you use a PC and don’t mind waiting a little while longer to view shows, it can be free.
  • Crackle, PBS, PBS Kids, NASA, and more are available on the Roku for free and on other platforms as well. To browse the channel selection on the Roku, go to http://www.roku.com/now-playing.
  • To enjoy all of your local programming in full HD, get a digital antenna. Check out http://www.antennaweb.org to figure out what to look for based on where you live. I’ve found that unless you are close to television signals, getting one with a power booster will help you pick up signals that are further away.
  • If you’re ready to take cord cutting to the next level, check out the Channel Master DVR+. It allows you to find and record your favorite over the air shows with no monthly subscription cost. It’s the DVR for cord cutters.

Some of the biggest complaints that I hear about cord cutting is “what about sports?!?!” That’s completely understandable since it’s probably the biggest weakness with streaming content. The sports options are expanding though.

Besides saving money, one of the biggest benefits to cutting the cord is that your life doesn’t have to revolve around what time your favorite show is on. Gone are the days of having to get home by a certain time so you don’t miss a season finale. Controlling the content means you control your schedule. Isn’t that the way it should be?

Potential Savings: We cut the cord about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. As for savings, Time Warner is currently offering 200+ channels with 3Mbps internet for $79.99 a month. We have 15Mbps internet for $34.99 a month. If you were to subscribe to all the services mentioned above (Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon Prime), it would cost about $57.56 a month. That’s a total savings of over $22 a month or $269 a year.

Featured Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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