Is “cord-cutting” right for you, or should you stick with cable?
Streaming video has exploded in popularity since the launch of YouTube nearly 15 years ago. The first major paid service was of course Netflix, but within a few years Amazon, NOWTV, and more joined the ranks.
As these services have become more popular however, streaming channels have fragmented, and they have taken on new life, with original content and new technologies (such as interactive films).
The once dominate players such as Netflix are set to have their catalogues reduced as film studios have announced their own independent platforms – such as Disney announcing Disney+, which will host Disney films, along with 20th Century Fox films, Marvel films and more. The platform will also offer exclusive original content.
All of these various platforms and associated fees may mean that streaming could cost as much as cable in the years to come, in particular if you like watching sport or recent films.
So, it then comes down to making a choice of what suits your lifestyle, where you live, and what you like to watch.
- Some content you can download and watch on the go (such as on a smartphone or tablet).
- Video is “on-demand” – which means you can pick and choose from a variety of content options, and pause, rewind, etc.
- Some streaming services come with additional perks – YouTube Red for instance offers not only exclusive content, but also ad-free viewing of all other content.
- Typically paid month-to-month.
- Data (including your viewing habits) might be monitored, and you may receive recommendations based on that. This may lead to some great discoveries, or some odd results.
- Some channels and/or shows may be unavailable, or very difficult to find.
- Streaming is dependent on your internet signal – if it is spotty or metered, this may be troublesome.
- May require specialty equipment – such as a Roku, NowTV stick, or a “Smart” TV.
- Some older TVs may not be capable of receiving streaming signals.
Cable is not to be forgotten, however. There are many factors that make a cable subscription appealing – for instance, access to certain channels, potential signal strength, and a single bill, rather than one from several different providers.
- Some packages offer sign up incentives, such as shopping vouchers.
- You could potentially have a single bill, rather than several different ones.
- Signal strength is not susceptible to going out if your broadband is out.
- Certain channels and/or programmes may only be available on cable
- Will work on many TVs, even certain older models.
- You may pay for channels that are of no interest to you.
- It may be more expensive.
- May require a set top box.
- May require a contract.
There is no one-fits-all answer. What may be right for an occasional film viewer may be wrong for someone who likes having their pick of 100 channels. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you get a bargain in the process. Packages that feature both cable and broadband can be had for much less nowadays – meaning you could potentially get both streaming and cable, for far less than you’d think.