Bethany’s Breakdown: Cutting your cable cord

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Bethany'sBreakdownAccording to Experian Marketing Services, the number of people canceling their cable service has risen 44% over the last three years. Why is this? Well, the average cable TV bill, not including fees, promotions, or taxes has increased by 97 percent over the past 14 years. Insane, right? Being both a former cable user and cable cord cutter, I have seen the best of both worlds and want to share my insight! Thinking of cutting cable? Here’s what you need to know first:

What are your streaming options? The big name players in this game are all an obvious choice: Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Google Chromecast and Apple TV. But, what you may not know is there are other options to consider especially if you are looking for an al carte type of service. Vudu is Wal-Mart’s new streaming service that allows you to rent movies and shows for two nights. You can stream through a computer, a game console or Blu-Ray players with Vudu enabled. FilmOn is another Internet-based television provider that allows you to watch broadcast TV online. The free version of the service includes standard definition broadcasts and for an additional $9.95 a month, you’ll get higher quality stream and a DVR like service. In my experience, I have found the Roku device to be the best streaming option for me. My family purchased the box about three years ago and paid the upfront cost of $100. Trust me, the initial investment is worth it. You get hundreds of free channels plus you can add in subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu Plus if you have them.

How to stream on your TV? In most cases, if you use your laptop to stream an HDMI cord is necessary. Gaming consoles like Xbox 360 are always a possibility as well. Like I mentioned earlier, I used the Roku player which connects directly to your TV and your Internet service. **I would like to mention that when we got our Roku we did still have our cable package!

How are cable companies competing? Most cable providers do a bundle for internet and cable. This is a huge advantage cable provider’s offer because in order to use any of the streams above, you need the internet. There are ways around it, but it definitely depends on where you are located.

Breaking down the cost. Let’s break down the yearly cost for both cable and streaming. Say you invest in the Roku ($100), Hulu Plus ($7.99/month) Netflix ($8.99/month) and your Internet cost (this cost depends on where you live, check out WISPA to see your price) in this case I’ll use Xfinity and we will say the starting price is around $20 per month. That’s a total of $555.76 a year for streaming. According the marketing research group NPD Group, the typical American household pays about $90 per month for cable. This totals to $1,080 per year. From these numbers, streaming will save you $524.24 a year! However, these estimates may NOT be the same for everyone. These prices were taken from my research and they depend on your geographic location and the types of packages you can purchase.

This week’s “Pop Quizzle” (aka something I’ve learned this week): Do your research. Like with any of the recommendations I make, doing your own research makes all the difference in the world. I didn’t know about half these streaming options until I started researching them. Any good way to save money is going to take time and effort in researching. Remember, if it was easy everyone would do it!