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  • Todd Gillespie


July 25, 2019

Are you Ready to Cut the Cord on Cable’s High Prices?

$260 a month is what we were spending on cable, phone and internet at our house. We didn’t even use the phone.  Seriously, we didn’t even know what the number was.  It was part of the “Bundle” offered by our cable company.  “Bundle” is ancient Mesopotamian for “extra crap you don’t need”.  

Our cable company, who’s name I won’t mention, but it rhymes with fox and box, continuously raised the prices on our services and drove us to looking for alternatives.  We found one, and we now pay $145 a month for faster internet, and great TV service.  The phone is out.  We wrapped it up in our own kind of bundle and tossed it in the trash. 

Here’s what we did, and what you can do to save some dough.

Get your internet right.  Do this first – or at least figure out what you’re going to do!  Who is your provider going to be and how much speed do you need?  There are a ton of providers out there, but I’m going to concentrate on the Omaha area.  That gives you Cox and Century Link.  There are others, but really it boils down to these two. 

In my mind the choice is easy.  If Century Link provides fiber optic service in your neighborhood – that’s what you go with.  Expect to pay around $85 month. 

If Century Link does not provide it – go with Cox.  What you’ll pay depends on what you get, and in some cases how much you gripe at the rep you’re talking with. 

You’ll need at least 25 mbps download speeds. 

There are all kinds of variables into what affects your speeds.  I’ve seen streaming at lower speeds with no problems but I’ve also seen streaming at higher speeds with issues.   Google how much speed you need and you’ll see a ton of different answers.  25 mbps is our baseline – and this should be good for what you’re trying to accomplish. 

Know your current gear.  How old is your router?  If its 5 or more years, you may need to change it out.  We really suggest a google wifi or orbi mesh system. 

How’s the wireless coverage in your house?   Is it good, bad or ugly even?  How about near the TV’s you plan on using?   How far are they from the router?  The closer the better. 

Do you have Firesticks?  Depending on which service you go with, and what your smart tv has or doesn’t have for apps you may need them.  Speaking of smart TV’s – are they Chromecast enabled? 

Run a Trial!  All of the major players are offering free trials.  You need to do this!  Streaming services are different from the cable you’re used to.  You need to get used to how they operate and you need to expect a glitch or two.  You also need to know what channels you can or can’t live without, and if they’re available on that service or not.  What about locals?  Some services have them, and some don’t!  A free trial may not get you all the channels, but it will give you a good indication of whether or not you even like the system and if your current internet setup can handle it. 

Get the gear you need if you don’t have it.  OK, so this step could come before the free trial too depending on what you have. 

Decide!  Since we made recommendations on internet providers, we’ll do the same for the streaming services.  There are only four that we feel are good enough right now. 

Here they are in order:

PlayStation Vue.

It has the most “cable” feel to it.  Other interfaces feel clunky.  This does what you expect it to.  It’s easy to navigate.  In Omaha, it has all the locals.  You can watch on up to 5 devices simultaneously.    Despite the name – you don’t need a PlayStation to watch it.  Although having one gets you some cooler features – like watching more than one channel at once on the same screen. 

It works on fire sticks, android, Apple TV, iOS, Chromecast, Chromecast enabled TV’s, Windows, PS3’s and PS4’s and Roku.

The DVR only lets you keep 28 days, which can be a little limiting. Also note that some DVR functions, for some television programs won’t always work. Fast forwarding may be disabled, and in some rare cases, the program may not be available for a week. This is very, very rare.

Expect to pay from $40 to $100 a month for it. We pay $59.

Oh, and Husker fan – all the BTN channels, plenty of ESPN’s and all the l

ocals at that price point!

Hulu with Live TV

So Hulu feels more like a streaming service than a cable replacement.  There are a number of advertisements you have to deal with.  The interface is good, but not quite as easy to use as PSVue’s.  You can only have 2 simultaneous streams going.

Hulu works on Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, and the newest Xbox. 

The DVR is simple to use, but you’re limited to 50 hours unless you want to spend more.  They don’t have the 28 day limit that PS Vue does!

Expect to pay between $40 and $70 monthly. 

Husker fan – you’re good here too.  BTN, all the locals, and ESPN, deuce and U.  No Ocho though.  You’re going to have to catch dodgeball somewhere else!   

Sling TV

Are you down to sling? 

Say that in a creepy Ron Swanson voice!  

Sling is pretty decent.  They start you off at a low price, but everything is ala carte – DVR is $5, adding simultaneous streams costs extra – (you can get up to 4) and so on.  The interface is ok.  Their channel lineup is good, and you can add on small packages for $5-$15.

You can run Sling on firesticks, androids, Apple TV, Chromecast and Chromecast enabled TV’s iOS and Windows. 

The DVR allows you to have up to 100 hours of recording, topping Hulu.  Unlike PS Vue, they never expire!

Expect to pay between $20 and $60 monthly.  Hint – don’t do just the $20 package. 

Husker fan – run from this one!  No BTN and no locals in the Omaha area.  You can however add a HD over the air antenna and pick up the local channels that way. 

YouTube TV

Yeah, we’ve got it last of our 4, but don’t expect Google to stay there long.  70+ channels for $50 bucks is pretty good.  You can run it on three streams simultaneously and it has all the locals here in Omaha.  I found it a little different browsing for programs, especially when compared to PS Vue. 

You can get it on Chromecast and Chromecast enabled TVs, android, iOS and Windows.  Plus they just announced a return to firesticks which is good. 

The DVR is really good.  There are no hour limitations like some of the others, and they’ll hold your recordings for 9 months.  If you haven’t watched by then – you’re not watching enough TV!

You’re going to pay $50 a month for YouTube TV. 

So there you have it!  There is a lot to this, but you can do it!  Get the trials, make sure you like the application your using, and make sure it works with your internet setup.  

Oh, if you need help – we've got you covered!  Learn more here! 

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