Finally fed up with your outrageous cable TV bill and have been considering cutting the cord? If you don't know where to start, we have you covered. Here's our step by step guide to help you save money and finally cut the cord for good. In these 7 steps you'll learn everything you need to start streaming today. Let's get started by reviewing step 1.
Step 1: Review Your Cable TV Bill
The first step to cutting the cord is to sit down and carefully review your last cable TV bill. You'll want to check your bill to see what plan you have now, what you get with that plan, how much it has been costing you and finally if you're currently locked into a contract.
If you're locked into a contract your last bill should state when that contract ends. No matter your cable TV provider, weather you have a DISH Network package, Spectrum, DirecTV, or any other, if you're not in a contract, you can safely skip ahead to step two without much worry. However, if you are currently in a contract you have two options; either wait it out or switch anyway. Switching anyway will result in an early termination fee tacked onto your final bill. We advise asking your cable TV provider what your early termination fee would be if you cancelled right now before proceeding to the next step. Sometimes they'll waive that fee if you keep their internet service. The only way you'll really know the answer without a massive early termination fee is by picking up the phone.
Step 2: Review Your Internet Service
No matter what TV streaming services you plan on getting, they all require high speed internet service to deliver the best possible experience. We all understand wanting to save, but your internet service is the last place you'll want to scrimp right now.
To help you begin step two, review your current internet plan and to find out if it will truly meet the demands of streaming along with the regular traffic your household generates. You'll need to consider three very important things when reviewing your internet service:
Download speeds: You want speeds that are fast enough to stream on without lagging or buffering, but can also handle all your devices too. There isn't a one internet speed or plan that fits all households. You will need to do a little homework figuring out what internet speeds are right for you. For streaming TV alone, you'll need a minimum download speed of 50 Mbps. You'll need much faster download speeds for households with multiple internet enabled devices and households that participate in online gaming.
Data caps: If you can avoid data caps, choose an internet plan that doesn't have any. Streaming of any kind uses a ton of data and data caps can cause you more trouble later from extra fees to being completely shut off.
Price: Faster internet is great, but it's not if it breaks the bank or the family budget. Shop around and see what other internet options you have available to you. You never know what deals are out there. You could be overpaying for high speed internet right now and not even know it.
Step 3: Consult With The Family Budget
You've reviewed your cable TV bill, your internet service and now it's time to take step 3; consult with the family budget. There's many great streaming services out there from Netflix, to Hulu and FuboTV; and they add up quick. Streaming services range from as low as $5 a month to as high as $90 a month and many people subscribe to more than one service. Most people who are looking to cut the cord want to cut it to get that lower bill. Come up with an amount you're willing to pay for TV service each month and then stick to it.
We recommend adding the cost of your internet service as well to properly compare costs. For example: you used to have a TV and internet bundle that costs your family $200 a month. Internet service alone now costs you $100 a month unbundled with faster speeds. That leaves you with $100 left for streaming, but you'll want to lower that amount to increase your savings.
Step 4: Purchase A Streaming Device (If You Don't Have One)
To start streaming TV, you'll need a streaming device. You may already have one and not even realize it. A streaming device can be a smart TV, gaming system or a streaming stick or box. We don't recommend running out to your local electronics store to buy a smart TV or gaming system unless you already happened to be in the market for them. A streaming stick or box will more than do the job for a fraction of the price. You can expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150 for a plugin streaming device.
To use your new streaming device, all you need to do is plug it into your TV and connect to your Wi-Fi. From there most already have the apps you need for the streaming services you like to watch. If not, it's easy to download them with the step by step directions that pop up on your screen.
Step 5: Choose Your Streaming Services
Now that you have your streaming device purchased and all set up, it's time for the fun part; choosing your streaming services! Choose your services based on what you like to watch now.
For live TV: If you want to watch live TV, you can choose from Hulu, Sling TV and AT&T Now.
For sports: If you're a huge sports fan, you'll want to look into FuboTV.
For movies: If you're a huge movie buff, you'll want to look into HBO Max, and Starz.
For kids programming: If you're looking for the best in kids programming, you'll want to look into Disney+ and Paramount+.
For TV shows: If you're looking for TV shows you can't get anywhere else, you'll want to look into Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. All three services have their own original content that cannot be found on another streaming service or on cable TV.
Remember that streaming services add up quick, so only choose the services you like the most. The majority of streaming services out there don't have contracts. You can start them and cancel them at will. We recommend staggering your services and cancelling them when you're done watching the programming you signed up for. If you haven't used a service in a month, it's time to cancel to keep saving money over cable.
Step 6: Test Your Streaming Choices
After you've picked your streaming services, it's time to test them out. But pump the brakes, this is a test. Don't cancel your cable TV subscription just yet. During this step we want to make sure you're actually happy with your streaming choices without risking missing out on shows and events that are important to you. The good news is most streaming service providers have trial periods. As long as you test carefully, it shouldn't cost you any money. If you find a service you think is a keeper, absolutely keep it. Services that don't satisfy your family should be cancelled as soon as possible.
Step 7: Cancel Your Cable TV Service
After you've completed the testing step, it's finally time to cancel your cable TV service! Congrats, you've hit the last step! By now you know what streaming services you like, have everything you need and know that your internet can handle all the extra traffic. Start saving now by picking up the phone and calling your TV provider to cancel service. We recommend calling customer service during off peak hours for a shorter wait time.
During the phone call, they may try to get you to stay by giving you a better monthly rate or some nice but unneeded extras. If you've changed your mind about streaming TV, now is the time to capitalize on getting a better rate. If you move forward with cutting the cord, remember to return any equipment you may have as soon as you can. Any leased equipment that you forget to return in a timely manner will be charged onto your final bill.