BALTIMORE — Inflation has families looking to cut household expenses wherever they can to save money. For some people it means getting rid of their high cable or satellite bills by cutting the cord.
There are a lot of things to take into consideration, so it can be confusing and overwhelming. The first question people should ask themselves is ‘what do I want to watch?’
Before deciding to get rid of cable or satellite tv service CNET tech and media reporter Joan Solsman recommends cord cutters take a look at what's playing on their own tv.
“The first thing to consider is what is the program of you are willing to pay for and then the other thing is consider is how can I get internet as cheaply as possible at the level that I need it,” Solsman said.
Some viewers may want to ditch cable but still watch the next big game.
“Sports are one of the most difficult kinds of programming to be able to cobble together with different streaming services.
“It definitely can be done if you have a kind of person that watches SportsCenter every night and likes to know about lots of different sports, it’s possible that just having to pay for that big bundle the cable bundle, the satellite bundle might still be the right thing for you,” Solsman said.
Cord cutters can pick a streaming service which offers programs on demand like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video or choose one which offers live tv such as Philo, Fubo, Sling TV, as well as YouTube TV.
“If you think to yourself, well maybe I just wanna to cobble together, I’m just like watching dramas some reality TV, then you can think about maybe cobbling together multiple on demands streaming services that’s the Netflix, the Disney pluses and then of course you have to think about who is in my my household who’s going to be watching these things,” Solsman said.
Potential cord cutters may wonder how to choose the best service for them with so many choices.
“If watching things live is important to you then and if you want to try to replicate what your cable service was, just not dealing with a cable or satellite company, then looking at those live channels is the way to go. If you’re somebody that doesn’t really care about live stuff, then you can look at those on-demand services people most associate streaming,” Solsman said.
As far as saving money, Hulu offers a bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+.
Buying a new Apple product like an iPhone or iPad comes with three months of free Apple TV+.
Viewers who don't mind watching commercials should consider
ad-based plans which are cheaper than ad-free plans.
Exploring your options and considering all the pros and cons could take some effort but the payoff could be worth it.
“So, now we have more consumer choice. The downside of that is it does require a lot of work to figure out what works for you. How much you wanna pay for hardware. How much you wanna pay every month for services, what’s not worth paying for at all. And that does come at a price not only to your wallet but also to your time,” Solsman said.
CNET recommends internet speeds of 10-20 mpbs for HD streaming and 35mbps for 4k streaming. When in doubt, confirm minimal speeds required for each streaming service you want to add to your plan.
Also, check with your internet service provider to see how much data your household is using now to give you idea if you'll need higher speeds.
Once you start signing up for streaming services, remember unlike cable, there are no contracts and many offer 30-day free trial periods so you can always cancel and try different ones out to see what works best for you.
Cord cutters will want to add up the costs of the services they are interest in signing up for and see if streaming is cheaper than cable.
For those who only want to watch local channels, they can buy an HD antenna for about $15 to $40 and watch TV the old-fashioned way, over the air for free.