What the Tech? How Much Can You Save by Switching to Streaming TV?
Did you hear that noise? That was cable and satellite companies asking cord-cutters “Do you miss me yet?” Saving money was the primary reason many cable customers decided to drop their subscriptions and switch to streaming TV.
2020 saw the largest number of people cutting the cable cord as some reports show over 5 million people pulled the plugin in favor of streaming in 2020 alone. Another 27% say they plan to unsubscribe from pay-TV in 2021.
The TV streaming landscape has changed a great deal since the start of 2020 and many customers may find they’re paying just as much for TV and internet as they did before leaving cable.
In January of 2020 one of the big four streaming services, PSVue went out of business. Others have come aboard to replace it including Fubo and DirectTV Stream. If you don’t want or need many channels, Philo and Sling are just $25 but if you’re looking to replace all of the channel’s cable or satellite offers, you can expect to pay $65- $70 a month.
The most popular TV streaming services, YouTube TV and Hulu Plus Live TV raised prices in 2020-21 to $65 a month. Channel lineups have changed as well with both of those services adding channels, but canceling others.
This week, YouTube TV customers began seeing a crawl on the screen saying they may lose 14+ channels due to the inability of YouTube TV and NBC Universal to agree to a new deal.
Hulu Plus Live TV has had similar trouble agreeing with other networks and providers in the last year. Hulu customers lost some local channels for over a month while the two sides tried to agree to a new contract.
That will continue as the streaming services continue to add subscribers and those networks ask for more money.
On a positive note, YouTube is telling its customers that if those NBCU channels leave the service, their monthly subscription will drop by $10 to $54.99. It is already notifying customers that if a deal is not in place and the channels are removed from the service, customers can subscribe to Peacock TV directly for $5/monthly to receive the channels that will leave YouTube TVs lineup.
Because of those increases, some cord-cutters are not saving as much as they thought. On top of the subscription costs for live TV, cord-cutters must pay for internet service separately. And for streaming on multiple devices and TVs, they may be paying more for the internet in order to get the high speeds necessary.
Adding to the second-guessing is the inability to quickly search for, browse and tune into channels using a streaming service. Anyone who has switched from cable or satellite has become at least somewhat frustrated with the lack of channel numbers and the time it takes for the service to start up after turning on the TV.
If you depend on separate apps to get the channels and networks not offered by a streaming service, you have to continually close one app before opening another for the channel you want to watch.
Some cord cutters also miss the cable or satellite remote and being able to quickly flip back and forth between channels to switch from one football or baseball game to the other.
How much is convenience worth each month? That’s a question many cord-cutters may be asking themselves.
The bottom line is cord-cutting is great for people who want only a few channels. Sling and Philo offer packages for just $25/month which can save those TV watchers over a thousand dollars annually. But for heavy TV viewers who want everything, streaming doesn’t offer as much as the cable or satellite TV they’re accustomed to.
For those viewers, deciding whether to cut the cord or plugging it back in, is a question not as easily answered as it was a year ago.