Cutting the Cord and Streaming
By Patrick Baker ~
Streaming video content is movies, series, and other programs you can watch over the internet or download to your computer, smartphone, or tablet for later replay. People can stream their programs instead of subscribing to cable or satellite TV. Some content is exclusively available on streaming services, like the documentary The Beatles: Get Back, which you can only watch on Disney+.
We’ll discuss streaming as a substitute for traditional broadcast and other media, the hardware required, and various streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, and YouTube TV. We’ll also provide an accurate picture of the costs of streaming.
What is cutting the cord and streaming?
The idea behind cutting the cord is canceling your cable TV or satellite service and viewing your programs over the internet. To accomplish this, you’ll need to install streaming apps on your computer, mobile devices, or a smart TV. You can also use a streaming device like Amazon Fire or Roku.
Streaming services require high-speed internet to deliver content to subscribers (a separate expense). According to Nielson, streaming comprised about 26% of programming in 2021. Most streaming services are subscription-based.
What devices can I use to watch streaming programs?
You can watch streaming programs using apps on various smart TVs and displays, computers, smartphones and tablets, and gaming consoles.
Use Streaming Devices for Older TVs
Dedicated streaming devices connect to a TV and utilize apps like smartphones or tablets. Some also allow you to cast or share your screen, streaming programs wirelessly to a TV from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.
- Amazon Fire (Stick or Cube)
- Apple TV
- Chromecast (including models with Google TV)
- Roku (various devices, including a soundbar)
Streaming devices are needed to stream video content on older TVs that won’t connect to the internet or support the streaming apps you want to use. They typically require an HDMI port to connect to a TV.
Which streaming services carry my favorite programs?
There are many streaming service providers. Here is a short list with included programming and costs. Most require a subscription, and several have a lower-cost or free offering with ads. The extended version of this article has a more extensive list of providers.
Amazon Prime is the streaming service bundled with Amazon’s free shipping and other services included with your Amazon Prime subscription. Amazon Prime has an extensive series, movies, and original programming collection.
Cost: $12.99/month or $119/year.
Disney’s streaming service Disney+ is home to the vast catalog of Disney movies and series. Disney+ includes the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) catalog of films and series, the Star Wars movies and series, the Pixar catalog, and National Geographic. The company also bundles its programming with other content providers like ESPN and Hulu.
Disney+ is one of a handful of streaming services that offered newly released movies on their platform on initial release during the Covid-19 pandemic, for which Disney+ charges a premium.
Cost: $7.99/month or $79.99/year.
HBO Max has a vast catalog of movies, series, and original programming. They also include new movie releases with their ad-free subscription.
- Ad-free: $14.99/month or $149.99/year
- With ads: $9.99/month or $99.99/year
Netflix, the pioneer in paid streaming programming, built their service on top of a successful online DVD rental business and were the first to create original programming that disrupted an industry.
Cost: $8.99-$17.99/month based on the number of screens you can use simultaneously.
YouTube and YouTube TV
YouTube debuted in 2005 and became a widely used platform for posting original short videos. It has since developed into a marketing machine for musicians, filmmakers, politicians, entrepreneurs, and corporations. YouTube still hosts free, original content.
YouTube TV is YouTube’s paid streaming service that hosts over 85 cable and broadcast channels, including the major networks, PBS, on-demand video, and cloud DVR.
Adding it All Up
Cable or satellite TV subscriptions are $50/month and up, depending on the content you want to view. Streaming services that are cable TV substitutes start around $50/month. You can go a la carte, but the cost of multiple streaming subscriptions begins adding up.
The Bottom Line
You’ll need to pick and choose the content you want to view, determine which streaming services provide it, then decide if the combined cost of individual streaming services is within your budget. Bundle services when you can to save a little money.
An extended version of this article is available on primeoflifetech.com.
Patrick Baker is an IT consultant and the founder of Prime of Life Tech. To learn more about his services, visit primeoflifetech.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (720) 319-7145.