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Cutting the Cord at 60

Updated: Nov 18, 2019


Remote control
Photo by Wix

Blindfold and Cigarette


In March 2017 I took the plunge. In conjunction with a local move, I decided to get rid of the TV cable service I had been using for 12 years and subscribe to a live streaming service. Notice I said live streaming service. I was basically going to replace trusty old cable with a totally different means of receiving live broadcasts.


Why?


Playstation remotes
Don't need a Playstation to stream Photo by Pixabay

So why would I do this? First, I was tired of paying for things that I felt should be included. These included the ability to record multiple programs at the same time as well as adding another TV without the extra costs I would be charged by the cable company. There was also the aggravation of the cable box, an additional remote and the cable itself. It was not really a reliability issue as cable service was always pretty good.


Requirements


I started out by making a list of the stations I had to have if I was going to cut cable. This included live sports, news, local stations and a handful of other traditional cable channels. I also wanted the ability to watch different stations on separate TV's and record as much as I wanted when I wanted. I found that most of the live streaming services had most of what I wanted but there were some trade-offs. The bottom line, however, is that I did not have to sacrifice important to me in order to make the switch.


Test Drive


Satellite antenna field
Antenna's are ok...as long as not on my roof Photo by Pixabay

The first thing I knew is that in order to stream live TV you need a strong and reliable WiFi signal. According to a 2017 Consumer Report study (https://www.consumerreports.org/broadband/internet-fast-enough-for-streaming-broadband-speed/) , most streaming services require at least 8mbps to get 1080HD, which most of your TV's probably have. The newer 4K TV's require 18-25 mbps. My WiFi router is in the bedroom near a desktop computer, and the primary TV is in the living room - two walls and a hallway away. I initially had 100mbs internet and this set up worked fine. Since internet speed is so cheap these days I have since increased the speed to 300mbs and can tell the difference. There is less buffering (signal locks up). Before I cut cable I took advantage of the free offers most streaming services provide. I chose one eventually and have been happy with it ever since.


Verdict


Get rid of TV cable now. You get more tier options in order to get the stations you watch, rather than the dozens you are paying for and never watch. The cost savings may not be as big as you want, but the functionality has been intuitive and easy to use. I know traditional cable is now providing functionality and services more like streaming, including the ability to receive their lineup without a TV cable. This may be an option you may want to consider, but I would compare other live streaming options before committing.


Update 18 Nov 2019: I recently received an email from PlayStation Vue that effective 31 January 2020 they will no longer provide their live streaming services. They will instead concentrate on their gaming niche. As I will never go back to cable for my live television services, I will simply switch to another live streaming service at some point.

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