Thu 3 Sep 2015
It has now been a little over three years since I cut the TV cable cord and I figured I’d give everyone an update on how things have changed and progressed over that time.
First and foremost the most exciting thing to happen is the final realization from companies like HBO and Showtime that there is money to be made by offering stand alone streaming services. In the past you could only get streaming if you had some type of cable TV subscription to HBO or Showtime but in 2015 that has all started to change!
Let’s take a look at my setup and I’ll run you through some other options.
Step 1 – Hardware
When I cut the cord a few years ago there were many limited device options. At the time the two major devices were the Apple TV and the Roku devices. At the time I owned both and each had their pros and cons. Today there are many more devices with a few other options. Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick/TV have started to garner larger acceptance. To read reviews you can click
Personally I have most of the devices listed above and use them for different reasons.
The Roku is my family’s primary device. The Roku device itself I always considered rather primitive but it does the job well enough that I can’t really complain. You essentially setup “apps” inside the Roku that will stream content to you from a particular provider.
The Amazon stick is great if your traveling and you can plug in to a hotel TV to stream content while you’re sitting in a hotel working.
The Apple TV is what we use to watched purchased movies through iTunes. We don’t buy DVDs or BluRay discs anymore just keep everything in the cloud and stream it to the device. There is no danger of a disc getting scratched and it will live forever in the cloud as I plan on passing on my iTunes account to my kids or grandkids!
Step 2 – The Streaming Services
We stream content from HuluPlus ($7.99/month), Netflix ($7.99/month), Amazon Prime (Free with Prime), I recently added Showtime to my HuluPlus for an additional $8.99/month. So for $25/month I have access to more content than I will ever be able to watch because these services are constantly adding new shows as time goes on. Compare this to paying $65+ or more on a monthly basis for cable channels that you never watch and it makes complete and total sense to cut the cord. What really annoys me though are the superfluous charges for “HD service”, “DVR”, “cable rental fee” that simply don’t exist with streaming services.
I also currently have HBO go as part of my Internet service under a 12 month plan. When that offer expires I plan on adding the HBO Now service for an additional $15/month or hold off until it rebuilds their content warehouse and switch between Showtime and HBO year over year.
There currently are some limitations to this system though. The most blatant one I get grief about are sports. ESPN currently doesn’t offer a stand alone streaming service that is comparable to what is on cable so if you are a huge sports fan you’re a bit out of luck with this system. The second one are specialty shows like HGTV or Disney that the wife and kids may want to watch. There are services that do fill a partial gap such as Sling.com that offers a $20 bundle that gives you a few of those channels including ESPN but the major limitation is that it only offers streaming on one device at a time so you won’t be able to watch ESPN on one TV while watching HGTV on another.
I suspect that cable companies are going to have a “come to customer” moment and be forced to offer a-la-carte channel selections or better bundles more competitively priced in 2016 if they wish to keep more people from cutting the cord.
Rumors are that Apple will release a new Apple TV with some exciting content streaming services so the playing field will become even more competitive than ever just stay tuned and watch…