“Cutting the cord” is certainly a popular notion right now. However when it comes to making the decision there can be lots of confusion and pitfalls with the move. It might feel like you are saying goodbye to all your old TV friends, or overwhelmed with a sea of options, or sounds like a way to save money. What to do?
Our goal at Wave Rural Connect is to help you decide whether to stick with traditional subscription TV or jump into the “stream”. We know we have the right service to support you no matter your call.
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Making The Connection
The first step to “cutting the cord” is to have the right internet service. The three most important factors in video streaming are speed, latency (signal lag that causes freezing and pixelation), and data limits.
Fiber-optic connections do not have the distance and interference issues of traditional copper lines or satellite feeds.
Fiber-optic connections do not have the distance and interference issues of traditional copper lines or satellite feeds. Fiber is amazingly-fast and has extremely low latency. Last, fiber is the future of hard-line communications and will soon be the standard for the home or office.
Wave Rural Connect internet packages run over our all-fiber network. We offer services up to 1 Gigabit. So we have knocked out two concerns, speed and latency. But what about data limits and overages? Simple. We do not cap data or throttle bandwidth.
100 Mbps Fiber Internet: Great for small families who do general browsing, HD streaming, and light gaming.
1 Gigabit Fiber Internet: Excellent for large families who do heavy or 4k streaming, UHD gaming, and video uploads.
Get a TV Antenna
One drawback of streaming video services is that you likely will not get all the local channels as part of the plan. An indoor or outdoor TV antenna can help you keep your local TV when you “cut the cord.”
Some major TV markets have over a dozen free local stations broadcasting Over The Air (OTA). Commonly broadcast channels are; ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, and more. Plus, many of these stations have digital alternates that air extra content.
This all presumes you are in an area where you can receive an adequate OTA signal.
Find what stations are in your market and range using websites like; AntennaWeb.org, FCC DTV Maps, TV Fool, and Channel Master.
NOTE: Don’t buy into marketing gimmicks such as “HDTV” or “long-range” terminology with antennas. The quality of the signal is based on many factors that special functions may not solve. Most broadcast television is already a digital signal understood by the TV (or tuner box). Do a little research, and you will find that most of the time, a simple antenna will do the job. Most local big-box stores have a good selection of choices from basic to long-range boosted antennas.
Is Your TV Up To The Task?
Aside from the TV antenna, you will need a television equipped with a digital TV tuner. If you bought a TV since 2007, it likely has an integrated tuner.
Many streaming services offer the same channels as traditional TV subscription plans. There is a good selection of subscription streaming services to choose from at the time of this article. We will list a few from those closest to typical subscription TV packages, variety services, and sports — this is by no means all the options available.
Jumping into streaming can be a confusing decision. To help make the best choice for you, check out a helper tool to compare services.
YouTube TV: YouTube TV offers a surprising amount of content and features for the price. Not to mention YouTube TV is accessible on most streaming and internet-connected devices made today.
Hulu: The array of tiers on Hulu can be daunting. But it does give users a way to get a package that suits their budget and desires. Offerings: Hulu, Hulu (no ads), Hulu + Live TV, and there are several add-on packages. (You can also bundle Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+)
FuboTV is a strong competitor on this list offering multiple tiers; Standard, Family, Ultra, and several add-ons.
Sling: Sling has three offerings, Blue, Orange, and Orange & Blue together. They also have add-on channels to fill-in to your liking.
For those who want to watch what they want, when they want, variety offerings are a better bet.
Netflix: original shows, multi-device support, pricing/quality tiers, a large selection.
Amazon Prime Video: Part of Amazon Prime membership that offers a lot besides the great content. Original programming, an excellent range of content, kid-friendly options.
Disney+: A lot of Disney content has been pulled from other services, so if you must have Disney or Marvel, this is for you. Disney/Marvel content base, 4K included, great price.
Apple TV+: Original content, compatible with all modern Apple devices, cross-brand compatibility, content is more limited than other providers.
While many sports channels are included in packaged streaming services, you may need to fill in your sports junkie fix with add-ons or maybe you love fringe sports that aren’t often included on traditional TV or are infrequently represented on networks.
The array of dedicated streaming options for sports can be mind-boggling. This a very short list compared to what is available.
ESPN+: Stream live sports, game replays, video highlights, featured ESPN content on a computer, mobile device, or TV. This is not the same as the ESPN broadcast channel.
NBC Sports: Isn’t a single streaming service, rather it is a series of sport-specific services. PGA Tour Live, Premier League, Indycar Pass, and more. Many NBC sports events are streamed free.
Tennis Channel Everywhere: If it’s tennis, they have it. Squash your tennis itch.
Lucas Oil Racing TV: A veritable buffet of motorsports, dirt track racing, motorcycles, tractor pulls, and more.
Outside TV: There are multiple ways to enjoy this adventure sports network, via subscription packages and Outside TV+ or Outside TV Features
Major sports all have their own ways to watch: NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL.
Last, if you love regional teams or college conferences there is a streaming channel for that. An absurd array is available.
- Roku offers several devices. A Smart TV, Streaming Stick, and three Set-Top Boxes: Express, Premiere, and Ultra. Roku offers connectivity to many other streaming providers applications (Apps). If you miss the “smart remote” of some TV services, Roku has that too.
- Amazon has two categories of devices, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Cube. Amazon TV devices can connect to other Amazon devices, services, and Apps such as Amazon Prime, Amazon Video, Amazon Music, and Alexa.
- Google Chromecast devices cover both app services and physical products. Their devices offer an excellent package as you typically get a smart-home device and streaming player all in one. Additionally, Chromecast devices work with Google Playstore Apps, and most Google and Android devices.
- Apple TV, like Google, Apple, offers a universe of products and services that interact together. The Apple TV devices allow you to watch not only their content but links to other services as well. However, it can be more limiting than other devices mentioned.
Do You Need a Streaming Player?
Each streaming device has pros and cons. Do you still want the Pay TV experience? 4K resolution? Play games on the same box? If not, a dedicated app, gaming console, or Smart TV might your best bet.
The Smart TVs available today offer myriad streaming services, so you may not need additional hardware. You can subscribe to many of the popular streaming services right on the TV! Additionally, current mobile devices and computers can stream directly to a Smart TV.
Streaming Saves Money! Right?
YES! and NO!
- You have specific shows and genres you watch
- You are often not home to catch your favorite show
- You aren’t heavily into sports
- You have a small family or have similar tastes
You save the most on streaming versus traditional TV when you want to view content mostly on-demand and don’t need hundreds of channel options. One also benefits from longer windows to view content versus typical “In case you missed it” on-demand provided by certain channels. This is also a great way to cut costs if you are consciously trying to save money and still have entertainment. The right balance of streaming providers can save up to $60 per month.
- You really, really love TV, always
- You desire a range of widely-varied programming
- Yours is a large family
- You must have varied sports programming
- You must have premium movie channels
Let’s face it. In the streaming world, once you want a large number or significantly diverse types of channels, or must watch every baseball game — you are likely spending the same amount even or more than a traditional TV subscription.
In this example, we pick AT&T TV NOW Ultimate package and add on what we are missing and assume we want month-to-month for the “no contract” experience to get the monthly outlay.
Ultimate $135: 125+ channels. HBO Now $14.99. MLB LIVE $25.00: To get every out of the market game and live game DVR. Disney+ $6,99: (to get all the on-demand movies). Hallmark Movies $5.99: Not included in Ultimate. Netflix Premium $15.99: Most households add either Netflix or Amazon Prime even if streaming another major package. That totals to a whopping $203.96 monthly.
The cost savings of traditional TV comes in the number of channels multiplied by the number of subscribers = bargaining power. In your home, the streaming equation is the number of channels or services times the number of screens = $?$? (Well, it depends on what you pick.)
If you enjoy your TV watching all in one spot,
check out the Wave Rural Connect Ultra TV package.
237 TV and music channels for $132.95 mo.
That includes ALL our Premium movie channels like HBO, Showtime, etc.
The Final Decision
It can be a tough call on which way to go depending on what you want out of your screen time. At Wave Rural Connect, we wanted to give you control of your entertainment life. That is why we offer bundles that aren’t locked-in, so you can choose between a great Internet and TV package or Internet service alone. Sign up for any Internet speed and add TV or Phone, get $5 off per month, add all three and get $10 off per month!