The Best of Both Worlds for TV and Video Content?
Are you ready to cut the cable TV cord to save money but not ready to lose all of your favorite TV and cable channels? The entertainment and cable companies may have a solution for you. More and more, the “cable company” is allowing you to stream the channels they offer on cable. If you prefer watching live TV, including shows, the news and sporting events but hate paying for multiple cable boxes, streaming from the cable might give you the best of both worlds.
AT&T just grabbed a few headlines by launching AT&T TV NOW, essentially moving their DirecTV lineup from satellite to streaming. You get the same channels, and they have service tiers priced at $65 to $135 for 45 to 125 channels with HBO included. They join Xfinity’s streaming service, which lets you keep all the channels you have on a current cable TV plan for the same money. If your cable company doesn’t offer a similar service yet, it will.
We think it’s a good move. While nobody watches 200+ channels, we still know of a lot of you who like what’s now referred to as “live TV,” which covers the over-the-air channels for network programming, local news and some live sporting events. We also like a lot of the programming that cable adds, especially sports, 24-hour news programming and premium channels, such as HBO and Showtime. Those are all hard to come by unless you have cable. If you stream your cable package’s lineup, you’ll have access to it anywhere in the US wherever you can connect to the internet.
The cable providers also bundle – for a price – the same premium channels and access to streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. The price is roughly the same that you’ll pay directly to the streamer unless somebody is running a special. If you stream without the cable company, you can access some of your cable programs through services like YouTube TV, Sling, fubuTV and Hulu+Live. They’re known as skinny bundles, and you’ll need to see what they offer. In addition to viewing their programs on TVs, you can view them on mobile devices and computers. They have limits on how many devices can be connected at one time.
If you cut the cable cord, you’ll need to connect your TV to the internet through a provider such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast. All typically work through Wi-Fi, but they don’t all provide the same access to streamers. You’ll need to research that, too. In a sense, you’ll be trading the cable boxes for internet access devices, which will pay for themselves in a few months.
On the technology side, you’ll need to have a strong internet connection and a strong network. The actual levels of service and performance will vary with how big your home is, how many total devices will be on the network and how many devices can display 4K programming. If you’re not properly equipped, your devices will need to buffer the programming, which means you’ll see pauses in the action.
You can always pay for more data capacity from your internet service provider (ISP), which is most likely your cable company. You add network strength by adding access points, either by hardwiring your home or strategically placing mesh network devices. Either or both steps may be necessary, depending on what you have now. Don’t expect to just pull out the cable and plug in a streaming device.
Just be aware of one factor that most people overlook when cutting the cord. Your TV viewing will be done on a data network, which has a capacity or limit, depending on your plan. If you exceed your data limit, your provider may slow down your connection, and that will slow down the feed to your device. You need either to regulate your viewing according to your plan or pay for unlimited data.
Once you decide how you want to watch TV and other video content, we can assess your technology setup, recommend steps you need to take and help you with all installations that may be required. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for an appointment. You have more viewing choices than ever – and that means more decisions than ever.