So, you think you want to cut the cable cord and go all-in on streaming? It’s a question people have been asking themselves ever since Netflix introduced on-demand streaming in 2007.
But it’s more relevant than ever now: 2015 might just be the Year of the Stream, with several new streaming services from traditional cable and broadcast networks like CBS and HBO, new cable-replacement services from Sling TV and Sony, and new generations of set-top boxes like the updated Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and the Roku 4.
And when you add in the fact that the holiday season is the perfect time for families to decide how to best set up their entertainment infrastructure, now is the perfect time to consider — again — whether cutting the cord is right for you. Here’s how I’d sort through your various options right now.
Among the biggest things you give up when you ditch cable or satellite TV service is access to the major broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. In addition to providing some pretty great programming, the networks also bring you some content — like live sports — that you just don’t want to miss.
You can still get these channels without cable, but you’ll need to buy a specialized antenna (if you don’t have one already). Fortunately, decent options are available on Amazon for pretty cheap: You can get a good one for anywhere from $20 to $100 or so, with ranges of 25 to more than 60 miles.
$20 to $100.
Conventional streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu Plus have been around for several years, and each are worth considering picking up for streaming movies and TV shows to your TV and mobile devices.
Of those major options, Netflix currently offers about 10,000 movies and TV shows, including about 7,500 in HD. And it offers three pricing tiers: $8 per month for non-HD content with one stream at a time; $10 for HD content and two simultaneous streams; and $12 per month for Ultra HD content and four streams.
Amazon Prime Video has approximately 17,000 movies and TV shows, but only around 3,500 are in HD. Prime Video is included with the company’s popular Amazon Prime service, which costs $99 per year (or, for comparison’s sake, about $8.25 a month). With that subscription, you also get free two-day shipping on your Amazon orders and the Prime Music streaming service. You can rent newer movies or subscribe to current seasons of TV shows for an added cost.