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If you have been around Southern Savers for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of ditching cable. When money is tight, cable has to go. This doesn’t mean you have to live under a rock and never watch anything though. There are a ton of alternatives – including options that let you watch sports.
Here are some of the top things you need to know if you are ready to cut the cord. Heads up: pretty much all of these options will require you to have high speed internet access which will be around $25-$40 per month for the most basic option. It can be higher or lower in some areas though.
Once the cable box is out of the house, you’ll need a new way to stream content. Here are some options (keep in mind that you’ll pay for this once vs. monthly cable payments). You can also go here to see a video breakdown.
You can definitely find the Chromecast on sale, but even if you pay full price it’s only $35. You simply stick it into a HDMI slot on the back or side of your TV and then you can stream directly from your laptop or smart phone through your home Wi-Fi network.
Roku – $47
With the Roku, you will also need a HDMI cable. You will plug the Roku into your TV with the cable and then can stream directly from the device. It gives you access to 2,000+ channels plus Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, and more.
HDMI Cable + Laptop – $6
If you already have a laptop with a HDMI output, all you need is a HDMI cable to stream. You’ll pull up whatever you want to watch on the laptop and connect the laptop to the TV. This is the cheapest option (if you already own the laptop), but does require the most work to get everything set up for each use. You can learn more about how to stream through a HDMI cable here.
Smart TV – $200+
If you’re in the market for a new TV anyway, be sure to look at Smart TVs. After you connect it to Wi-Fi, you can stream directly from the TV. This is the most convenient option but also the most expensive. Keep in mind that we will see great TV deals around Black Friday.
If you already own a PS3, Wii, or Xbox – you can stream from it. I wouldn’t purchase a game console just for this purpose, but if you already have one, you might as well use it.
Once you figure out how you’re going to watch content, it’s time to decide on how to access it.
You can stream unlimited Netflix content for $7.99 per month. There are Apps for almost any streaming device you’d want to use and you can stream from the same account on up to (2) devices at once.
Amazon Instant Watch
Amazon Instant Watch is included with Amazon Prime for no additional charge. Amazon Prime is $99 per year (which is $8.25 per month), but it also includes free 2-day shipping, Kindle Books, cloud storage, music, and more.
Hulu Plus is $7.99 per month and you can add on Showtime for an additional $8.99 per month. The fun thing about Hulu is that it has current TV as well as full seasons of content that have already aired.
If you are having a really hard time letting go of Cable, Sling TV may be the best option for you. It’s $20 per month and allows you to watch select networks including ESPN, ESPN2, Disney Channel, History Channel, AMC, Food Network, and more. There are additional channel packages you can add for $5-$15. You’ll also get a FREE Roku Streaming Stick when you prepay for 3 months.
YouTube has a ton of channels for kids. The shows are fun and kid friendly. The best part is that most are free.
Price Break Down
Want to know how much you’d really be saving? It will vary based on how much you were spending on cable, so we’re going to use the average which is $64.41 per month.
Cost for of streaming 1 year:
+ Netflix, $95.88 ($7.99 per month)
Cost of Cable for 1 year = $772.92
That means you’re saving $642.04. The next year that increases to $677.04 (you only buy the streaming device once). That means that over the course of 10 years, you’d save $6,735.40!
Now, if you throw in the price of internet required to stream, you’d be spending $490.88 per year. That means you’re still saving $282.04 per year (but I bet you’d be paying for internet anyway).