Why You Should Cut the Cord
- Save money vs expensive cable plans
- Watch live TV on-the-go more easily
- No contracts to sign up for, go month-to-month
- Most providers offer free trial periods to test drive service
- No special equipment needed, stream all channels from computer or mobile device
- No cable box or DVR rental fees
- Use digital antenna to get free local channels in conjunction with Internet TV
Save Lots of Money, Watch on Your Own Terms
Internet TV has become an attractive alternative to traditional cable for one simple reason: they offer 100% internet-based live TV. You get to literally 'cut the cord' traditional cable companies install in your home, and watch TV on your own terms - on any computer, mobile device or compatible streaming box.
Using the internet to provide you television cuts down on infrastructure costs dramatically as well, leading most to save a lot of money every month vs traditional cable - the average cable bill as of the end of 2019 was $217.42/month! Scroll down and see the prices of these cord-cutting alternatives and realize just why they are becoming so popular. Internet TV plans typically offer more straight forward pricing, with less 'hidden' fees - you pay much more closely to exactly what they advertise online than almost any cable or satellite TV plan out there.
And if you hook up a digital antenna to your television, you can also watch all your local channels (sometimes up to 50+ over-the-air local TV channels) completely for free. Using Internet TV and a digital antenna together is the perfect alternative to a bloated and expensive cable bill.
Be Free of Equipment Rentals and Contracts
Once the cord is cut, forget about having to pay rental fees for cable boxes or DVRs. Long term contracts will be a thing of the past. And you'll never again waste an entire day off, waiting around for some cable installer that always seems to be running late. Internet TV is contract-free, requires no special equipment and you only need to setup your username and password to start watching immediately, on multiple devices.
*AT&T TV and TVision Home are the exceptions to the rule here -- both do require a dedicated streaming box and TVision Home's plan only works if you hardwire it with an ethernet cable. And AT&T TV does require a contract, and comes with a hefty price increase to all their plans, after the first year. Consider these two plans the hybrid option between true cord-cutting and traditional cable.
Chose the Plan that Fits Your Needs
When it comes to saving money, entry-level Internet TV providers like Sling and Philo should be your first considerations. If you're looking for just a basic cable experience but don't want to spend more than $20/month, Philo fits the bill nicely. And for a little more monthly, Sling offers a great value - particularly Sling's Blue plan as it comes with FOX and NBC and their regional sports networks.
Step up in channel offerings and features with options like AT&T TV Now, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV, FuboTV or Sling's Orange+Blue plan. Each includes all the cable channels you would expect from a really good extended basic cable package, with the convenience of being able to easily pause, record and rewind live TV.
AT&T TV Now gives you the most variety of channels and packages, all very similar to what you would get from a traditional cable provider. And YouTube TV is particularly feature-rich; you get unlimited cloud-based DVR included for free, which is all integrated into the YouTube app and website.
*Premium services like HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and regional and/or international sports networks are also available with most cord-cutting provider's plans as a monthly add-on, just like you would experience with traditional cable providers.
Downsides to Cutting the Cord
- Buffering issues
- Lack of Full HD, 4K options
- Monthly prices keep increasing as technology matures
- Interface can come with annoying learning curve, especially for the less tech-savvy
Internet TV is certainly not without it's faults. The very thing that makes cutting the cord so attractive is also it's major flaw - all channels are live-streaming only. So you have to rely on the strength of your internet connection at all times.
Imagine watching game 7 of the World Series on Internet TV. It's a tied game in the bottom of the 9th, and on what could be the final pitch your TV pauses out of nowhere.. because your live stream needs to load. The old school issue of buffering is a very real downside here. With a good internet connection, cord-cutting options will be mostly buffer-free, but only mostly.
When watching live sporting events, important breaking news or the finale of your favorite show, even the knowledge that one untimely buffer could happen might be enough to discourage you from cutting the cord at all. Traditional cable for all it's faults does deliver a consistent and reliable feed (excluding extreme weather conditions).
Less True HD Than the Competition
You'll also be limited in picture quality vs traditional cable. Most cord-cutting options don't stream in 1080p, or Full HD (what most want or think of when they say 'HD'). Cord-cutting TV typically only streams in 1080i, which is really just 720p. This is still technically HD, but a lower resolution and poorer picture quality to Full HD. For some that's not a big deal. But if you're wanting to watch TV on your big flat screen and expecting the best picture possible, you might be disappointed. And no cord-cutting option currently offers 4k streaming for any major network.
*Note: YouTube TV does offer full HD, 1080p live streams, one of the few that offers all of their channels in this resolution. And T-Mobile's TVision Home does have a few channels in up to 4k resolution, but no major channels to date.
Prices Trending Upward, Learning Curve For Some
The cord-cutting route has also developed a disturbing trend of hiking up their prices. Internet TV used to be dirt cheap and that was it's biggest selling point. Now unless you go with a very basic plan you will be paying much closer to prices that mirror basic cable. You still save money by not having to pay for equipment rentals and it's true that 'hidden' fees are far less tacked onto your bill with streaming TV services. But the ethos of getting cable on the cheap by cutting the cord is somewhat shrinking - these internet companies are following in the same footsteps and pitfalls that makes traditional cable so annoying, bundling a bunch of channels you don't really want and making you pay for them.
And the final downside is, for some, the interface of internet streaming might not be as intuitive to use. You might feel you aren't tech-savvy enough and be resistant to the new tech way of watching TV. Everyone is comfortable using a big plastic remote to control the TV guide with a cable box. But Internet TV navigation is new and while the learning curve is relatively small, it still takes some getting used to.