Have you thought about dropping your cable and satellite and just using Internet to watch television? Millions of people are doing just that– but along with the advantage of not paying a monthly TV provider bill comes some disadvantages as well.
Traci Amiri of LaGrange broke up with her cable company almost two years ago and says she has no regrets.
“The biggest advantage, of course, is that you save between $160 to $190 per month,” Amiri says.
Amiri is not alone. According to Variety, more than 22 million people said goodbye to pay-TV subscriptions by the end of 2017. That’s an increase of 33% of consumers from the previous year.
Jonathan Gosha, a sales consultant at Best Buy in Columbus can vouch for that climbing number of cord-cutters.
“Their primary focus is to lower the bill costs, and then just find other options to get more content that’s tailored to them,” says Gosha.
At Target in Opelika, David Langley recognizes the same trend in his customers.
“A lot of people come in [and] they’re more interested in the Fire Sticks and Rokus because they just offer so many more options,” says Langley.
Those options include many apps that empower consumers to control their viewing experiences.
“There are quite a few, I’d say a few hundred apps, you can choose from to get your movies, your news, your sports, anything you’re really looking for. And you pay for what you want. You don’t have these packages you have to pay for,” says Langley.
But there are a couple of things to remember about living cord-free. No cord doesn’t mean no cost. Cord-cutters who want to stream must buy enough internet power to do it.
“Ten megabits and up for a two-person household is probably a good place to start. If you’re by yourself, ten megabits will probably cover you, no problem,” says Langley.
Gosha says Best Buy has devices designed to boost internet power for customers.
“We have a whole entire section of the store dedicated to routers, and modems, and trying to build up as much of a pipeline as possible for that bandwidth and just increase the availability of signal for you to stream without any buffering,” Gosha says.
A second major drawback is one Traci Amiri feels living cord-free.
“When it comes to some of the local channels, such as WRBL, those do not stream free on YouTube. So, I have to go back and catch the videos at a later time,” says Amiri.
That’s why some cord-cutters combine streaming devices with antennas to pick up free over-the-air signals from local broadcasters, such as WRBL News 3.
“Inside the city limits of Columbus, you can use a basic digital antenna. And you can have an antenna that sits inside the house like the old days when we used rabbit ears,” says Vernon Allen, CEO of Allen’s TV Sales and Service in Columbus.
But Allen cautions, the farther away from the tower you live, the harder it is to pick up a free television signal in this new, digital age of broadcasting.
“The good thing and the bad thing about is that they’re line of sight. So, anything that’s between you and the television tower is going to cause you to refract the signal, or lost the signal,” says Allen. “So, if you can get an outside antenna on the house it’s always better or an attic-mounted antenna.”
Traci Amiri admits she might be willing to reconnect if pay-TV providers offered her more control over what she pays for–such as a-la-carte choices–where she can select her own channels and keep cost down.