2018 is now here and it is that time of the year when it is worth reevaluating certain aspects, making changes, and just generally looking to improve in certain areas of life. One resolution which is likely to be on the minds of many is to make 2018 a financially better year than 2017 was. Whether that is by upping an income, changing jobs, or just saving in areas where you no longer need to spend as much. For those looking to make those savings, one way to shave a few dollars off the outgoings each month is by cutting the cord.
Over the past couple of years ‘cord cutting’ has become quite the buzzword although unlike some others, there is substance to this one as getting rid of a cable TV subscription in favor of an app-based service can make a significant difference to the cost you pay for TV each month and even more of a difference when those monthly savings are multiplied over the year. Now, while this can be a slightly more confusing and convoluted process than just paying your monthly cable bill, it is this more complex approach to TV consumption that is actually the selling point. As TV is no longer something you have to bundle in with your internet and phone, and by the same token, no longer needs to be something that is bundled within itself. As cutting the cord is all about going a la carte.
So how to get started? Firstly, there needs to be the realization that there is no true one service fits all. Instead, making the most of the cord cutting experience is about finding the right option for you as an individual. This is best done by initially making the decision on what type of content you want to watch, or in other words - the content you watch most often. For instance, do you need sports? Is sports actually the necessity? Do you care more about movies than factual content? Or are you more interested in natural world documentaries than the latest blockbusters? Answering questions like these is the best way to decide on which primary TV categories are the most important to you. As from there you can start to build the bundle that best suits you and your needs - and which will lead to be most optimized service and in turn, where the most savings can be had.
For those who are heavy TV consumers and require more of an all-in package where you can get as much content as possible, cutting the cord is still worth considering. As while the price might not be necessarily much cheaper than what you are or will pay via a cable subscription, there are multiple benefits in spite of the similar level of pricing. The most obvious of which is that you are no longer tied in to a lengthy contract. Cutting the cord is as much about paying on a month-to-month basis as anything else. So instead of having to commit to a year or two-year contract, you can just pay for this month and see how it goes. Furthermore, if one month you are away or less likely to be in need of such a larger TV selection you can usually downsize the package temporarily and boost it back up again the next month, or whenever the next round of your favorite shows start to air. Another huge benefit of cutting the cord, is that you are also cutting out the additional hardware needed to access TV content in the first place. Which also means no device, equipment, or installation fees. Instead, virtually all cord cutting options are available in app form and for different platforms, including Android TV. Whether you are looking to access via a mobile phone, cast the content to the big screen, directly on the TV, or of course, via a home computer, most if not all of the services currently available will make the setting up and usage processes as easy as possible.
So regardless of whether you are looking to trim the fat of a TV bundle and save that way, or just sign up to a no-hassle full package, then there are plenty of options worth considering and all of which will likely save you something in the long-term. Of the currently available options, some of the best choices to consider are YouTube TV, Sling TV, and DIRECTV NOW. Here’s a quick overview of each.
This is one of the newest additions to the TV streaming market and is of particular benefit to those who definitely want sports as part of their package - and at a more competitive price. As at $35 all-in, you can expect a wide range of sports shows and live events to be included. The downside, however, is that YouTube TV is a lot less inclusive compared to some of the other options. As YouTube TV does not offer tiered services and so all you can get is the $35 package and this one is missing a number of what some will consider essential channels and viewing. So while it is big on sports and low on price, it does lack in variety compared to the others. Another issue (which is only an issue for now) is that YouTube TV is still in the process of rolling out nationally in the US and so will not be available to everyone, everywhere. YouTube TV does, however, offer a 7-day free trial so it is one worth checking out to see if it is right for you.
Sling TV on the other hand does offer tiered levels and this means you can get the right package to suit your needs. Furthermore, with packages starting from $20 this is one of the most affordable (and therefore offers some of the biggest savings) options to consider. Although again the $20 package is a little light on content and does not include a number of must-haves like sports or a wide enough variety of primetime entertainment channels. Likewise, it is also a little limited on some of the OTT features at the $20 level, such as DVR support. That said, plans escalate with small increments (usually around $5 per aspect per month) and so gaining access to sports and DVR features can be added as and when needed and on an individual basis. Which again is something worth keeping in mind as you can upgrade to include sports when your sport’s season is ongoing and then downgrade again for additional savings during the off-season. One of the big advantages of Sling TV compared to some of the others is that it is available on a seriously wide number of devices. So whatever device you do access TV with, Sling TV will likely have you covered. This one also currently offers new customers a 7-day free trial to test run the service.
All-in-all, DIRECT NOW is likely to be one of the better options for most people and especially those looking for more of a natural and seamless transition from cable to cord-free. As DIRECTV NOW offers an almost identical experience to cable TV but without all of the additional hassles associated. For example, going all-in with DIRECTV NOW will be an almost like-for-like expereince as sticking with a cable TV subscription, but on a pay-as-you-go basis. This includes the price which does top out at $70 per month. Although keep in mind this is a month-by-month service so you are free to cancel or downgrade the package as much, and as often, as you like. And for that $70 per month, you are getting the full works here so for the power users, this is likely to be the best option with no less than 120 channels on offer. Those looking for a seamless transition but also looking to maximize on savings, then DIRECTV NOW does have quite a number of tiered options available with customers able to go all-in for $70 per month, a little less in at $60 per month, a little less in again at $50 per month, and the minimal access coming in at $35 per month - making it comparable on price to both Sling TV and YouTube TV. Although, the cheapest option does includes a very good cross section of content including access to a number of popular sports channels. So if looking at $35 as a cross reference price for YouTube TV, Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, then at this price point DIRECTV NOW offers the greatest number of channels (over 60), making it the best value for money. There are some added benefits as well to consider such as the trial period which is one month with DIRECTV NOW compared to the typical 7-days on offer with the others. So you do have more time with DIRECTV NOW (without paying) to see if the service is right for you. Alternatively, new customers currently also have the option to prepay for one month and get a free Roku Streaming Stick. That's a free Roku Streaming Stick and one month's DIRECTV NOW access for as little as $35. Not a bad deal.
These are only some of the options currently available as the cord cutting app market is growing steadily and both HULU and PlayStation VUE also offer good alternatives, albeit at slightly higher baseline prices. Therefore, right now the three options listed above are likely to be the best choices to choose from when first making the switch. With DIRECTV NOW offering the best value for money overall and when all things are considered. But of course, with so much choice on offer it might be the case that you need to apply a little trial and error to find the right service for you, at the right price. In either case, the big takeaway here is that there has never been a better time to ditch a cable TV subscription and take your TV experience to the app level.