Cutting the Cord

January 2020 Video Streaming

Cable TV was once the ultimate entertainment necessity. The over-the-air days of VHF/UHF television signals couldn't keep up with voracious viewers who needed more, more, more channels. Having a cable directly pumping all that content into your home became the norm, and the cable providers—which likely provide your high-speed broadband internet access as well—knew they had you on the hook.

But cable providers didn't factor in that the internet they provide would become their worst enemy.

Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video are the most well-known names in what's become known as "cord cutting"—doing away with pay TV to get all your "television" programming via internet streaming services (or, in some cases, over the airwaves). Cord cutting means no more paying a huge monthly fee for thousands of hours of TV you don't watch. Instead, you pay individual services for the programming you essentially select a la carte. For the most part you are paying for just what you watch. Almost.

Sorting through these new options isn’t always easy, though, especially if you aren’t tech savvy. Whereas cable made everything simple, cutting the cord requires picking from a dozen different hardware options and an ever-growing list of streaming services, from Netflix and Sling TV to newcomers such as Disney+. Adding an over-the-air TV antenna to the mix creates even further headache potential.

You will almost certainly need home internet service to cut the cord, along with a Wi-Fi router, so your streaming devices can get online from any part of the house. As a rule of thumb, home internet speeds should be at least 15Mbps (megabits per second) for each device you plan to have running at the same time.

Internet: If you tend to have three TVs playing at once, you’ll ideally have home internet speed of at least 45Mbps. That’s tough to get with DSL or satellite service, so you might need to stick with your cable company for broadband service (unless you’re fortunate enough to have access to fiber broadband or a similar fat pipe).

Streaming Services: To replace your TV service, you will subscribe to one or more online video services. These can include on-demand video services such as Netflix or a bundle of live TV channels such as YouTube TV. There are also plenty of free sources of streaming video that you can use to pad your subscriptions.

Streaming devices: Once you’ve subscribed to some streaming services, you’ll access them by downloading their apps on a streaming device, such as Roku’s Streaming Stick or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick. These devices plug into your television’s HDMI port and connect to the internet over your home Wi-Fi network, and they’ll work even if you don’t own a smart TV that connects to the internet. If you do have a smart TV, you can use this in place of a separate streaming device—provided it has all the apps and services you want. But to be clearyou do not need a smart TV to cut the cord.

Lastly, whether it’s though a streaming device or a smart TV. If you have four TVs, and only two of them have up-to-date smart TV software, you’ll need to buy two additional streaming devices. The good news is that unlike your cable box, devices like Roku and Fire TV don’t involve any ongoing equipment rental fees, so you only need to stomach the up-front cost. Below is a chart we’ve created here at Home Technology Architects that outlines the various streaming services and their monthly/yearly subscription costs, available to the five most popular streaming devices we targeted. We hope this makes your cord-cutting experience as easy as possible.

“Cutting the Cord” Services Available to Popular Devices

https://www.groundedreason.com/best-live-tv-streaming-services/

https://www.tvguide.com/news/how-to-cut-cable-cord-cutting-guide-best-streaming-services/

Streaming Service / # of Streams per Service:

Apple TV 4K

($179.00)

Firestick

($39.99-$49.99)

Chromecast

 ($69.00)

Roku Device

(Express: $29

Ultra: $99)

Android TV

($44.99)

Netflix

Basic: 1

Standard: 2

Premium: 4

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

Hulu

Basic OnDemand:1

Live TV: 2

$5.99/Month

$11.99/Month

$54.99/Month

$5.99/Month

$11.99/Month

$54.99/Month

$5.99/Month

$11.99/Month

$54.99/Month

$5.99/Month

$11.99/Month

$54.99/Month

$5.99/Month

$11.99/Month

$54.99/Month

Disney+/4

$6.99/Month

    $69.99/Year

$6.99/Month

$69.99/Year

$6.99/Month

$69.99/Year

$6.99/Month

$69.99/Year

Not Available

Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+/3

$12.99/Month

$12.99/Month

$12.99/Month

$12.99/Month

Not Available

Amazon Prime Video/3

$8.99/Month

$119.00/Year

$8.99/Month

$119.00/Year

$8.99/Month

$119.00/Year

$8.99/Month

$119.00/Year

$8.99/Month

$119.00/Year

iTunes Store

$.99 - $24.99

Pay-per-rental/purchase

Not Available

Not Available

Not Available

Not Available

Fubo/ 2

Family Share: 3

$54.99/Month

$61/Family Share

$54.99/Month

$61/Family Share

$54.99/Month

$61/Family Share

$54.99/Month

$61/Family Share

$54.99/Month

$61/Family Share

Sling TV

Orange: 1

Blue: 3

Or. & Blue: 4

Orange: $30

Blue: $30

Or. + Blue: $45

Orange: $30

Blue: $30

Or. + Blue: $45

Orange: $30

Blue: $30

Or. + Blue: $45

Orange: $30

Blue: $30

Or. + Blue: $45

Orange: $30

Blue: $30

Or. + Blue: $45

CBS All Access/ 2

$5.99/Month

$9.99 (No ads)/Month

$5.99/Month

$9.99 (No ads)/Month

$5.99/Month

$9.99 (No ads)/Month

$5.99/Month

$9.99 (No ads)/Month

$5.99/Month

$9.99 (No ads)/Month

Philo TV/ 3

$20/Month

$20/Month

$20/Month

$20/Month

$20/Month

YouTube TV/ 3

$49.99/Month

$61.98/Month

$49.99/Month

$61.98/Month

$49.99/Month

$61.98/Month

$49.99/Month

$61.98/Month

$49.99/Month

$61.98/Month

HBO Now/ 3

$15/Month

$15/Month

$15/Month

$15/Month

$15/Month

Starz/ 2

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

$8.99/Month

Showtime Anytime/ 5

$11/Month

OR $17/Month with Hulu

$11/Month

OR $17/Month with Hulu

$11/Month

OR $17/Month with Hulu

$11/Month

OR $17/Month with Hulu

$11/Month

OR $17/Month with Hulu

Apple TV Plus/6

$4.99/Month

$4.99/Month

Not Available

$4.99/Month

Not Available

Vudu/ 3

(No Subscription; Pay Per Movie/Show)

$. 99 - $24.99

/Movie/Show

$. 99 - $24.99

per Movie/Show

$. 99 - $24.99

per Movie/Show

$. 99 - $24.99

per Movie/Show

$. 99 - $24.99

per Movie/Show

Crunchyroll/ 2

FREE

FREE

FREE

FREE

FREE

Twitch

(Mostly Video Game Streaming)

FREE

FREE

FREE

FREE

FREE

Sony Crackle/ 1

(Streaming TV Content)

FREE

FREE

FREE

FREE

FREE

Acorn TV

$5.99/Month

$59.99/Year

$5.99/Month

$59.99/Year

$5.99/Month

$59.99/Year

$5.99/Month

$59.99/Year

$5.99/Month

$59.99/Year