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Dump cable and start streaming

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So you’re thinking about ditching cable? Don’t let me talk you out of it.

You absolutely should. I did it five years ago and I’ve never looked back. It’s the best thing since working from home.

That said, without a little bit of planning, you’re likely to experience a few bumps along the way. Here are some things I’ve learned.

The two most important things about cutting cords

You can save money. You will probably see less advertising. You will probably fall in love with a show that you would never have found on cable.

All great advantages of streaming, but for my money there are two things that stand head and shoulders above the rest.

The first of my absolute favorites is that you are not obliged to the closest cable outlet. Everything is wireless.

There is no cable box, meaning you can place a TV wherever there is a power outlet. Finally a nice modest 24″ TV in the bathroom to make your hot tubs even more relaxing. And go ahead and mount that old 42-incher on the patio, throw a cover over it when it rains, and bring it inside for the winter.

My second favorite thing about streaming is that there are no multi-year contracts or equipment rentals.

Tired of YouTube TV? Dump it and switch to Sling. Another Netflix price hike? Cancel it on the spot. It’s never been easier to change shifts or quit altogether, and you’ll never, ever have to argue with a customer service representative on the phone like you would with cable.

So there are a handful of reasons to switch. Here’s what to consider before doing this.

Are you trying to save money?

An inconvenient truth: You may not be saving that much money, so run the numbers first.

I remember leaving Comcast on a whim because our TV and Internet bill had hit the $200 mark. Five years later, I have an $80 internet bill, plus the following services:

  • YouTube TV: $65/month
  • Netflix: $20/month
  • Hulu: $13/month
  • Peacock: $10/month
  • Disney+: $7/month
  • Prime Video: $12/month
  • Apple TV+: $5/month
  • MLB.TV: $9/month

So that’s a total of $221 per month, of which $141 is streaming.

Now you could make the argument that if I clung to cable TV, I’d probably still be subscribing to streaming services worth $67, on top of cable and internet. (I’d ditch YouTube TV and MLB.tv though – more on that later).

And it’s definitely arguable that I don’t need all those streaming services. But I have three kids and a wife and we basically use everything, believe it or not.

Which brings me to the next question…

Are you losing some of your favorite channels?

This may be a corner thing for many of you, but check the channel lineup of the streaming TV service you’re watching to see if you’re losing any important channels.

I love YouTube TV, but it doesn’t have the channel that shows most Red Sox games. I like baseball in general, so I got the MLB.TV service to watch my beloved Minnesota Twins for a cool $119 a year.

[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

And until recently, YouTube didn’t have the weather channel, so we were making an extra $9 a month for Friendlywhich is great if you are looking for a slimmed down cable package.

So, while Netflix had just about everything about a decade ago supplement live TV, you will probably find that you need different services to get all the shows and movies you want to watch.

Are your TVs ready to stream?

You don’t have to pay for cable boxes, which is great. However, you’ll either need smart TVs that already support your chosen streaming services, or a streaming box or stick for each TV, which starts at around $30 and goes up from there.

[Photo: Doug Aamoth]

Check out Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV sticks, Google TV, and Apple TV to see which ones work for you. Many new TVs also come with built-in smart TV features, with Roku and Fire TV models starting in the lower price ranges.

And if you’re anything like me, you keep upgrading them until you have a pile of old, forgotten streaming sticks, like the photo you see here.

How is your internet connection?

Without a doubt, the most taxing thing on your Internet connection is trying to wirelessly swing high-fidelity video throughout the house.

You want a good, strong Internet connection and, perhaps more importantly, a good, strong Wi-Fi network.

It’s hard (but not impossible) to put a cheap wireless router in the basement and stream TV reliably to the bedrooms, so you may need to consider upgrading to a mesh network that can better cover the far corners of your home. covers.

Your ISP can sell or lease these to you or you can look at the likes of Eero, Orbi, Google Nest and others. However, plan expenses in the $200-$300 range.

Don’t go out and don’t do this yet. Set up your streaming situation and if it doesn’t work well, it’s time to consider upgrading.

And you want a download speed of at least 100 Mbps on the very low end of your ISP, but you want a much faster connection if you want to stream to different devices with the whole family. the same time.

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