Posted by Jasco on March 23, 2015 at 8:31 AM. Filed under Around the Home, News, Cutting the Cord .

In the past, it was beneficial to have cable, home phone and Internet all bundled into one bill. Nowadays, practically everyone has a cell phone and the savings aren't as big as they used to be. This has numerous people in both young and older generations ditching cable and moving toward cordless entertainment.

Roughly 19 percent of homes in the U.S. live without cable, but that number is only likely to increase as more streaming options become available for premium channels and live sports. The switch could save you hundreds the second you say goodbye to cable. Some cable and Internet bills are a couple hundred dollars, while solely paying for Internet is easily achievable for under $100 in most markets.

What do you really watch?

One of the first things you have to ask yourself is what do you need to watch on your television and what could you live without? Smart televisions now have streaming apps built into them, which means you can access Netflix, Hulu Plus, NHL Center Ice, HBO Go and all within the same device with a Wi-Fi connection. 

While you surely want to cut the costs of expensive cable, you need to know what you actually want to keep. If you're a diehard sports fan, there are several streaming devices available to get your out-of-market games like Roku and Apple TV. But at the same time, there are digital antennas that can still keep you connected to local channels to see in-market sports games. If you are a movie or television show addict, there are plenty of streaming sites like Netflix to fill your home entertainment needs.

Some argue the picture quality for digital antennas is sharper than cable."

Benefits of a digital antenna

Typically, residents haven't thought about purchasing TV antennas since the 1980s when huge devices were connected to the side of your home. However, since 2009, when the U.S. moved its television broadcasts to a digital platform, you can't simply use old bunny ears to get the standard channels.

Now there are high definition digital antennas that are slim enough to fit on a nightstand, but provide a crystal clear HD picture as well. Some people even argue that the picture quality for small HD antennas is even sharper and more elegant than cable's compressed video system.

The lightweight and compact builds of HD antennas don't take up any extra room on your home entertainment center and with better pictures than cable, you'll wonder why you ever paid so much for it in the first place.

Still need convincing? You might need a cord intervention. Watch the video below to learn more.

The ability to stream numerous channels without cable has many customers cutting the cord.

Streaming channels changing the game

In the third quarter of 2014, the 13 largest pay-TV providers in the nation lost roughly 150,000 net video subscribers, which was one of the highest drop rates ever recorded. Additionally, 95.3 million subscribers make up the top pay-TV accounts in the U.S., but both cable and satellite companies are preparing to see that number drop even more due to streaming options increasing.

Since their announcement at CES 2015, there has been a lot of talk about Sling TV, Dish Network's new subscription service that offers more of an "A La Carte" TV service and includes popular channels like TBS, TNT, ABC Family, HGTV, Adult Swim, ESPN channels and more. HBO recently announced it would start allowing noncable or satellite customers to pay for HBO GO services on its own, much like how Netflix and Hulu works. To add to the trend, Apple recently announced it would begin selling its popular Apple TV streaming devices for $69, which dropped from the original price of $99. 

"This HBO deal is a first for this type of platform, and it should also help sell more Apple TVs," Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies,a tech marketing research firm based in San Jose, California, said. "The big difference with the Apple TV is it also connects your personal content to your TV and makes the TV experience more personal."

Media industry likely to change

With deals like the HBO Go service, more cable channels will likely start to feel the pressure to move to a streaming device. Depending on HBO Go's sales, more channels could start to do the same thing as more people can select the exact things they want - which has been a dream for television viewers since channel numbers started pushing above 50 channels to choose from.

"All of it is preparing for that day when you truly can cut the TV cord and get everything through a digital provider," James McQuivey, a principal analyst for Forrester Research, explained. "They want to be in position with their boxes, their customer relationships, and their software ready to go."

Getting connected

Although all of these services are great for those trying to escape the cable bill, they are just a piece of the cord-cutting puzzle. In order to get top shows like NCIS, The Voice, Empire, and not mention most NFL games, college football, the World Series, etc., an HDTV antenna is essential for any cord-cutter. With the push toward more streaming devices, it's also important to make sure you have the right cords to get access to their devices.

Make sure you have the right cords and HD antenna so you're connected to whatever streaming device you choose instead of cable. Try the Antenna Selector Tool to see how many channels are available via antenna in your area.


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