How Your Family Can Finally Become Cord Cutters

Cutting the cord. It’s a flashy phrase that you hear quite often. And while it’s nothing new for many, there are still over 80 million subscribers to traditional cable television. But that number is shrinking fast as new services are launched, and more channels are added to those services.

And this week, it was announced that cord cutting had hit its highest rate ever. Here’s a quote from Fortune.

After companies from cable giant Comcast to satellite TV titan AT&T, which owns DirecTV, reported their fourth-quarter results, the total number of pay TV subscribers dropped 3.4% from a year earlier, the highest rate of decline since the trend of cord cutting emerged in 2010, analysts at MoffettNathanson Research reported on Thursday. With almost 500,000 customers leaving in the fourth quarter alone, that left the industry with about 83 million households still subscribing.

So, if you’re ready to cut the cord, it’s as good of a time as it’s ever been. And in most, if not all cases, you’re going to save some money. The average streaming package costs around $40, while the average cable bill is over $100. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting rid of your cable subscription.

1. Find a streaming service with the channels you want.

There are plenty of options when it comes to streaming services. The leaders right now are SlingTV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live, PlayStation Vue, and DirecTV Now. Pricing is comparable for each one, but take a close look at the channels they offer, as there are some noticeable differences with each.

2. Sign up for a trial with a streaming service, or try multiple services.

Once you have a streaming service with your ideal channel package and price, go ahead and start a subscription. Every one will give you a free trial period ranging from one week to a full month. And since you are testing them out for free, don’t be afraid to try more than one to compare and contrast. You’ll figure out what is important to you. Do you need a channel guide? What local channels do each offer? Is it easy or difficult to navigate, connect, and watch? What about recording your favorite shows?

There are 6 major services that let you stream live TV over the internet — here’s how they compare

3. Figure out the best way to watch.

It’s easy to fire up a streaming service on your computer or smartphone, but what about watching on your television with the family? Chances are you’ve already got a way to watch things like Netflix or Amazon Prime video. So do a little searching and find out if your Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or Apple TV have an app for your streaming service. Most of them are supported, but make sure they work well and are easy to use. Not all streaming apps are created equally.

Consumer Reports Guide To Streaming Video Services

4. Cancel Your Cable Service.

Feeling confident with one of the streaming media services? Then it’s time to finally cancel your cable. Once you make the call, be prepared to pay an extra fee if you’re under contract, or for your cable company to try and talk you into staying. You’ll get an offer for a better monthly rate, but the chances are that it won’t be anywhere near your new streaming bill. Once it’s all said and done, collect all the cords and cable equipment to send it back to the company.

5. Buy an HD Antenna.

If you still want to make sure you have all your local channels, you might need an HD Antenna. While most of the services offer at least a few of your locals, they are still in the process of building this out in most areas of the country, so an antenna is a good investment. Do some research before you buy and find out how far you are from your local station’s signals. Here are a couple of helpful resources.

10 Things You Need To Know About Digital TV Antennas

The Best HDTV Antennas for Cord Cutters

6. Upgrade your internet connection.

This might not be something you need to do, but make sure your internet connection can handle your impending increase in streaming video. There is a chance you’ll need to bump it up a little to make sure it all streams smoothly with multiple connections.

Is your home ready to cut the cord? If you’ve already done it, how has your experience been so far?

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Joe Long