These days, more of us are considering cutting the cord and getting rid of cable, and with good reason. One is that there are now more options. The other is simply the growing cost of traditional pay TV.
In fact, industry analysts say people are leaving traditional pay-TV services at an accelerating rate and turning to cable-like streaming subscription services instead. These aren’t services like Netflix that carry individual movies and TV series. Instead, they provide channels of content such as AMC, CNN, and HGTV along with broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC).
According to Bruce Leichtman, the president
Leichtman says that since the industry’s peak in 2012, the top traditional pay-TV companies have lost about 10 million subscribers, and cable-style streaming services have picked up about 4 million subscribers. Clearly, a shift is well underway.
A few things should go into a decision on whether to cut the cord, however.
On the positive side, the new streaming services are giving consumers more alternatives than ever, in an area where choices have been few. As more options come online, the services are competing with each other to provide better lineups of channels. And though the average pay-TV bill is now about $106 (and rising), according to Leichtman, cable-replacement streaming services typically cost just $40 to $50 per month.
So why the note of caution? Most of these cable-style streaming services have limitations—and you may find that no single service can provide everything you need.
Also, while “cord cutting” has become a popular term, chances are you won’t really be cutting ties with your TV provider. That’s because in many markets, that same company will provide your internet connection and maybe your phone service.
That makes pricing complicated to untangle.
The good news is that all the services offer free trials, so you can kick the tires before signing on. And you won’t get locked into a contract. Plus, there are a growing number of free streaming services you can try, though in most cases you’ll have to sit through commercials.