Retired Baby Boomers love their TV shows. HBO, Showtime, Starz and others create some great programs and offer recent movies. The problem is that when we sign up with Frontier, Dish, Comcast, Spectrum or others for packaged TV/Internet Services, they throw in a bunch of crap channels that we don’t want but must still pay for. The fishing channel?!
Although the major cable TV companies have resisted unbundling their shows, industry innovations in streaming TV are bypassing the cable giants. Boomers can now customize their entertainment services and enjoy major savings. Bye, bye $200 cable bills!
TV antennas – the new ones just plug into the back of today’s flat-panel televisions – are coming into vogue again. They run from $50 to $100 and provide local channel coverage in high definition for zip.
How much can Boomers save by “cutting the cord?” A bundle. Of course it depends on your TV appetite. Moreover, jumping the cable ship requires some upfront homework before leaping. According to Fortune magazine:
With cable bills routinely topping $200, it’s no surprise that people’s frustration with their television service is growing. And while cutting the cable is a great way to save a significant amount of money in the long run, ending those subscriptions can be a terrifying prospect. That’s because this new, streaming world is akin to the Wild West—there are innumerable streaming services and devices to choose from, but the conveniences you’re used will take investigation and effort.
And how much you’ll save will largely depend on how many channels you want. Different streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Sling TV carry varying monthly fees and offer a range of content. Then keep in mind you’ll also need to subscribe to a high-speed internet service to stream the video.
And, since you’ll be losing your cable box in the divorce, you’ll also need to pick up some new hardware to get your TV back in business.
We have found a few recent articles and guides to get you started:
- Your Guide to Cable TV Cord-Cutting
- Finally cut the cable TV cord in eight easy steps
- Cut the Cord With These Cable-Killing Gadgets
- How to cut the cable cord and save money in 2017
Let’s look at an example of TV entertainment charges after cutting the cord:
- Get a high-speed cable Internet service: $30-$50 monthly (you probably need this anyhow for your laptop, tablet, etc.)
- Buy a high-definition antenna ($40) – Provides local TV channel coverage for free.
- Add a Roku, Google, Amazon Fire, or Apple TV USB plug-in of roughly $35-$100 each. Typically, only one is needed. Plus, if you have a “Smart TV,” this functionality is already included in your TV!
- Choose any of a multitude of streaming TV offerings. I have Netflex and Amazon Prime for $10 monthly each. Other popular choices are Sling TV and Hulu.
- Perhaps add unbundled premium offerings such as HBO, Showtime or Starz for $10-$15 each monthly.
So, with a one-time investment of $40 for the antenna (provides free access to local channels) and perhaps a smart device ($35-$100) for streaming TV, my ongoing TV bill can easily shrink to $10 to $50 monthly (depending on the optional streaming TV services selected). Although I will have to give up the fishing channel, I can live with that!