How To Evaluate Cable VS Streaming for Quality and Cost

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    If you are considering dropping your cable tv subscription and moving to streaming as an alternative there are a number of things that you need to understand before you cut the cord.

    Although cable justifiably gets a bad rap because it is overly expensive and the content on the 150 stations you might have in your package is normally duplicated and often shows that have been off the air for 10 years. To pay $100 or more to watch reruns or to be forced to buy a large generic package then many addon packages just so you can get a channel or two that you want to watch is also out of line so people are considering internet streaming of the same content for less.

    The first thing you have to understand is that if you have a home with children or a number of family members or if you are just sharing an apartment or something then the cable internet speed needed to provide quality streaming to your television on top of concurrent internet use on a laptop or phone can be pretty high and if you are gaming it can be much more so. Although many games don’t push huge amounts of data like HD Streams do they do require fast connections and a few phones updating packages, a few TVs and a few Computers will suck the life out of lower end packages.

    Another thing you need to remember is that streaming will not allow you to record the content. I mean maybe you can find some way to do it but most services lock that up real well by segmenting streams and using special codecs that they will alter every so often so your recording software stops working. Also its not legal to do in many cases. It will depend on the service you are using I guess if they allow copying of content for personal archival purposes.

    On the other hand until the cable companies move to Streaming which they are planning to do in the next 5 years but probably much sooner you can still record almost everything on Cable and keep a personal archive of it to watch later in the day or anytime you want.

    With a CableCard Tuner you can easily record a few hundred series and thousands of general quality movies for $5 a month for the card and whatever it ends up costing you for storage. Building an archive of tens of thousands of TV shows will allow you to cross off that need for a subscription service unless it provides something extraordinary.

    Installing a TV antenna will give you live access to the major networks if you are within reasonable distance of your broadcast towers. This can vary by location and your topography. If you are in an area with lots of mountains it may be very difficult but most suburban locations can pickup broadcasts very well and even rural areas 50 miles or more out will still be able to get stations and may be able to get them from more than one city if they are in the center of two or more.

    Final Note

    Jumping on the Streaming Band Wagon will save you money if you are a light TV Viewer and if you supplement with an antenna you won’t miss that live broadcast of the bachelor or The Simpsons on Sunday Night but you will lose access to cable sports and cable news.

    The only option to replace that now is a streaming package from Sony or from Sling which both can cost near cable prices and may not provide the same quality HD video. It will depend on many factors but sling is ok for one TV and Sony Vue is a better option if you have more than one TV running at the same time in your house. Both Services require set top boxes and about 10mbit per TV for HD quality.

    These factors and many more will define your choice. If you find you are paying much less, If you can use only free streaming services and an Antenna, If you can live without cable channels not available from other sources then Streaming will satisfy your needs.

    If you are a cable news junky you are going to pay a bit more for a better streaming package.

    If you love game of thrones then you have to buy an add on HBO subscription.

    But if you can deal with Antenna and the Free Services like Hulu or Prime if you already have it for shipping or a few others that are legal then you can save quite a bit.

    Don’t discount that idea about DVRing a ton of movies and shows though it could be worth buying cable to get a full archive then canceling it for a while then maybe getting it for 3-6 months to record more in a few years. But by that time CableTV will be all streaming and CableCards will be a thing parents tell their children about.

     

     

     

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