The trend of cord-cutting, disconnecting cable TV services in favor of online streaming alternatives, jumped to its highest levels ever as of the 4th quarter of 2017.1 If you are among the 13.5 million American viewers rejecting cable companies in favor of over the top or OTT media platforms, here are some tips for making the transition smoothly.
1. Make sure you have the internet speed you need
To avoid issues with buffering, figure out how many devices are likely to be streaming at peak times in your household. For an average family streaming 4k Ultra HD content on multiple devices, internet speed should start at 25 megabits per second.2 If you’re not sure your current plan provides that level, run a speed test to see if you’re getting what you’re paying for. There are many free online speed testing options available.
2. Choose your devices wisely
Switching to on-demand streaming can be as basic as hooking up your phone or laptop to your television, but to create an optimum audio-visual experience, do some research in advance to decide whether you want a smart TV, a separate device like a Roku, Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV or even your gaming console. Not sure what’s the best setup? Consult an expert.
“Yes, cord-cutting is about convenience, choosing what you want to watch when you want to watch it. But it’s also about creating a great entertainment experience in your home,” says owner Sandy Benson. “Syncing your systems in a way that makes sense for your family is definitely the way to go.”
3. Get the streaming services you’re most likely to enjoy
You’re spoiled for choice these days. Not only are the industry leaders like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu offering great original content; cable and satellite providers like Comcast and DirectTV now provide streaming-only services. Premium channels like HBO and STARZ also offer stand-alone streaming. Keep an eye on costs if you’re cord-cutting to save money. Keep a total of individual monthly charges to be sure your OTT costs are still lower than your cable bill.
4. Think about what you want to watch live
You don’t have to give up watching the Oscars or NBA playoffs live. Sling TV, PlayStation Vue and Fubo TV are just some of the many services that allow you to pick your programming for less than cable costs. And if local news and weather are all you’re after, one of the many indoor or outdoor digital antennas with HD quality picture could be your answer.
5. Time your transition right
Check the terms of your cable deal to be sure you don’t incur a big fee for early termination. If the fee isn’t hefty, cutting the cord now may still save you money in the long run.
“We’re seeing more and more customers making the transition to OTT media,” says Sandy. “At one time, it was primarily a budget decision, but that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Once people figure out that they can design an entertainment package that suits their viewing habits precisely, it’s hard to top that.”