Every few decades the entertainment landscape makes a shift that gives the consumer more choices.
For example, it wasn’t that long ago when the main music option was to purchase an entire album CD whether you liked all the songs or not. Now it’s become the norm to buy individual songs digitally, allowing people to choose just the ones they want.
The next big shift has come in how we watch television, with streaming services giving consumers more options to cut the cable or satellite cord and take control of what they’re watching.
Over the past 8 years, cord-cutting – aka dropping your cable or satellite service for a cheaper video streaming service – has increased by 48%. The streaming service options have only been increasing, with two big ones being added just this past fall from Disney and Apple.
Smart TVs with home theater setups and streaming devices have made it easy to enable internet streaming services on home televisions, and they’re just as easy to use as your cable remote.
Estimates show that the cable industry is losing about 14,000 subscribers each day as consumers look for cost savings and the ability to have more choices in what they watch.
One of the biggest fears holding people back from switching has been that they’ll miss some favorite channels that they can only get on cable or satellite, but with everyone jumping on the streaming bandwagon, even channels like CBS and ABC, it makes it less likely you’ll be missing out by cord-cutting.
If you’ve been considering jumping ship and moving to a life of à la carte streaming entertainment instead, we have some tips below to help you make a smooth transition.
Considerations When Choosing Streaming Over Cable/Satellite
The biggest reason that people cut the cord and move to streaming services is the cost savings. Cable and satellite bills have a notorious reputation for increasing little by little each year, until you’re paying much more than you initially signed up for.
If you pay $100 a month for your cable or satellite and switch to a major streaming service like Netflix’s middle tier for $12.99 a month, that’s a savings of over $1,000 per year.
When deciding to move to streaming entertainment there are multiple choices when it comes to:
- The streaming content you choose
- The smart TV setup
- The streaming device (Chromecast, etc.)
Here are tips on things to consider up front so you can plan a smooth transition and one that doesn’t end up costing you more than you were already paying.
Research Streaming Services
There are more choices than ever before for streaming entertainment and the list keeps getting longer all the time. From major services that carry all types of entertainment like Netflix to niche streaming channels like the Smithsonian Channel Plus, it’s easy to pick and choose what you want.
But you’ll want to be careful about “streaming overload” or you could end up paying more monthly for multiple services than you did for your cable or satellite bill.
Tips for choosing a streaming service:
- Take advantage of free trials to see if you like the content
- See if the channel is compatible with your streaming device
- Look for cost-saving bundle options (like the Disney+/ESPN+/Hulu bundle)
- Pay attention to features offered on plans (things like HD might not be available on a basic subscription level)
- Check your streaming device for channels you may get for free
Choosing the Best Smart TV & Hardware
If you’re choosing a new smart TV to use with your streaming services, you’ll want to look for one with HD and 4K capabilities for quality. Many consumers also get a sound bar or speakers to enhance their experience and create a full home theater setup at their home or business.
If you’re looking to still get some live local sports events or if you just want to rewatch the Manchester United 1998-99 season even after you cut the cord, this can often be accessed by purchasing an HD antenna that plugs into your television.
Considerations when choosing a Smart TV:
- Compatibility with other smart devices you own
- Picture and sound quality
- Whether it has voice activation (if that’s an important feature for you)
- The library of apps that it offers (Netflix, etc.)
Picking a Streaming Device
If you already have an internet enabled smart TV, you can typically skip the streaming device, but if not, then you’ll need it to enable the connection to services like Disney+, Hulu, and others.
The three most popular streaming devices that plug into your TV’s HDMI port are:
- Amazon Firestick
- Google Chromecast
- Roku Express
When choosing, you’ll want to take a look at the apps they’re compatible with to make sure your desired streaming service can be used with the device. Most have access to the most popular services, but there may be smaller ones that you’ll need to look for.
Additionally, if you use a video locker service, like Flixster or Movies Anywhere, you’ll also want to see if you can use the streaming device to access your stored movies.
Get Your Home Theater Set Up Expertly in No Time!
Whether you’re setting up one smart TV and streaming service or an entire home theater system with voice command capabilities, Two River Computer can take the stress out of your set up process. No job is too big or too small!
Contact us to schedule your smart TV set up today. Call 732-747-0020 or contact us online.