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Cable vs. Streaming Services: Which is Right for You?

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Sometimes it’s hard to break away from old habits.  Staying up late, eating junk food, and for many of us, spending too much on unnecessary cable services!  You might be a long-time customer of Cable ONE, Xfinity, Verizon, Cox, CenturyLink, DISH, Spectrum, Suddenlink, etc.  Like me, you may have a potentially irrational attachment to those 800+ channels (even though you only actually watch two).

Well, what would you say if there was a way to watch your favorite programs while avoiding the bill for those 698 channels you don’t watch?  Lucky for you, there are many if you know the magic word… streaming

The technology behind streaming is pretty complex, but all you need to know is that streaming is the new way to watch your favorite programming, by paying a small monthly fee for a service and choosing what to watch from their library.  Sometimes, the show or movie you want to watch is complementary, and sometimes you will have to pay an added fee. (This is usually the case with newly released content.)

The most popular streaming services to start with are Netflix, HBO, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.  Here, we’ll give you a quick rundown of content and cost. Obviously, you will need to look at their respective selections to see which is really best for you, but that’s an easy Google away.  

  • NetFlix. A name you’ve definitely heard of. They have an expansive selection of movies, series, and original programming (shows only shown on Netflix).  Some popular shows on Netflix are The Office, Parks and Recreation, Love is Blind, Tiger King, Black Mirror, etc.  Netflix will run you $8-13 per month after a free trial, depending on how many users are on your account.
  • HBO.  Who hasn’t heard of HBO?  HBO has always had some type of pay-to-watch component, but now the selection is bigger, with shows like Friends, and Love Life (an HBO original).  The only downside is that HBO requires you to have a smart TV, and isn’t compatible with a Roku Box, but we’ll get to that a little later. HBO service starts at $15 per month.
  • Hulu. Hulu is similar to Netflix, but slightly smaller and with different shows.  It provides network shows, like The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live, as well as original series like Shrill.  They seem to have a certain connection with NBC, but this is just my speculation.  Additionally, most of Hulu’s programming is complementary.  I have had Hulu for a few years and have never had to pay an additional fee for any program. Hulu prices start at $8 per month.
  • Amazon Prime Video.  Chances are, you are already paying for this.  If you are an Amazon Prime customer, like millions of Americans, this service is included.  Like the others, Amazon Prime Video has both network and original programming.

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Smart TV vs. Smart Media Players

The way you stream will depend on whether you have a Smart TV or need to buy a Smart Media Player to “make your TV smart”.  Most modern TVs are Smart TVs, which come with a separate remote for streaming services.  Then, you can get to the streaming service of your choice by pressing a button.

If you don’t have a Smart TV, not to fear.  There are multiple easy-to-use gadgets that will equip your TV with streaming capabilities.  You may have heard of a Roku Box or Amazon Fire Stick.  The good news is, neither will break the bank.  Roku Box starts at $24.99, while Amazon Fire Stick starts at $29.99.

For more information on how to make your TV “smart,” click here:

Internet Connection

One thing is for sure, regardless what streaming services you use, you will need a solid internet connection.  For more information on how to get the best internet connection for your money in 2020, click here:

Happy Streaming!