The trend of cord-cutting---dropping cable or satellite TV for streaming services---has grown increasingly popular in recent years. But it may not be all it is cracked up to be. Many of those over-the-top streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube TV are raising prices as they gain popularity, while new services like ESPN+ and Disney+ have now become add-ons for families and sports fans.
What it all means is that in order to get all of the channels and content you want, you may end up paying the same or more for multiple streaming services as you would by keeping it all bundled with traditional cable or satellite. "Before you even decide to cut the cord, take a look at what you're paying right now, and then start putting down on paper the channels you watch regularly, and find out how much they're going to cost," says High-Tech Texan Michael Garfield.
The other big factor to consider is your internet service. If you're planning on relying exclusively on streaming services, you must have a strong internet connection. "If you live in the outskirts of the Houston area and your broadband speed is not that fast, the point is moot because you're really not going to get a good signal," says Garfield. "So you still have to pay for broadband service, which can be well more than $50 a month...at some point, it's going to outprice itself."
There are options for those who truly want to cut the cord and go on the cheap, but they involve lesser-known services. "There are services like Roku Channel or something called Pluto TV," says Garfield. "They're free, they don't offer first-run shows or first-run movies, but if you want some sort of entertainment, there are ways to keep it cheap."
You can also buy a basic digital antenna and get local channels. "Just like the old rabbit ears," says Garfield.