One time DirecTV left me a voicemail telling me they'd added a "free" month of a premium channel (Showtime) to my account, which I then cancelled two weeks later to avoid flirting with the monthly auto-renew date. I then - no lie - was charged for half a month of Showtime as well as a "premium channel cancellation fee" because I cancelled the channel TOO EARLY!
|My monthly bills over the 12 months before I cut the cord (TV + internet w/ cell bundled as well in Feb)|
The worst part of it was that I was more-or-less locked into a 2-year contract, which required me to pay an early cancellation fee to get out of to the tune of $20 per month remaining. If it tells you anything about how badly I wanted out, the first time I asked about the fee it was at $240.
I finally called it quits in February 2018 and made my move to streaming-only services. Let me break down the Men's Health article for you as well as what I chose to go with.
Unfortunately, the December 2015 article is slightly dated, but that only means that there are even more options for those looking to move to streaming services over cable today. As you read, feel free to click the products/services to get more information.
Step #1: Pick a New Tuner
With your DVR out the door, you'll most likely need something else to pipe your programming into your television. (I say 'most likely' because you could also just stream via your computer.) While the article lists things like Roku and the Amazon Fire Stick, I already had an Apple TV in my possession, so that was an easy decision. You could also get a Google Chromecast and push things from your mobile device/tablet to the TV.
Step #2: Choose a Streamer
In the article, we're given Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime as examples to use as primary streaming options. All of these are services that currently let you watch shows and movies on-demand, while being at the mercy of whatever is available on the respective platforms. And while these libraries are much more hearty now than back in 2015, they still don't offer live programming. Also, services like YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Hulu Live didn't exist three years ago, but do now.
My main streaming service is YouTubeTV - a service that allows you to stream 67 channels for the base price of $40 a month, and offers an additional five channels a la carte for monthly amounts ranging from $5 - $15 a month. It also allows you to split your account with up to five additional people / Google accounts, thus giving you the ability to lower your monthly price. Currently I am one of four on a an account, so I pay around only $10 a month. And I want to make sure I point out that it has UNLIMITED DVR capabilities. You can record any and everything you want.
Step #3: Add a Little Something
This step is reserved for those additional one-off channel subscriptions that may not be included in the other services - things like HBO Go, Showtime Anytime, or Starz Play. These subscriptions can usually be added to your current, main service (e.g. Amazon Prime,YouTube TV), or via an app on your Apple TV, tablet or smartphone.
The article gives Sling TV, HBO Go and Hulu as options for this step, but I think giving the options mentioned above would be more accurate. I personally consider Netflix to be my add-on. I also bummed HBO Go off of an unsuspecting someone for a while until they cancelled it - probably since it's going to be a while until Game of Thrones comes back in 2019. I'll try using it again then.
An additional thing to take into consideration when you make the switch pertains to your internet speed. The FCC considers 10 - 25Mbps a reasonable speed for households to effectively stream content - higher than Netflix's 5Mbps recommendation - because we all now have so many connected devices to account for. If you think you need to upgrade your service, it shouldn't be too much more per month to make that happen. Use the money you're saving by switching to streaming!
In retrospect, I'm kind of disappointed that I didn't make this switch earlier. I'm currently saving $50+ a month on my television services, a difference that would've easily covered the early cancellation fee if I were to have cut the cord when the opportunity arose the previous fall.
If you've already cut the cord, or have additional questions about doing so, reach out on Twitter @MagExperiment!