I occasionally receive comments about how impractical it is to use streaming alternatives to get rid of cable TV. While the majority of comments received express excitement and near euphoria about saving thousands of dollars ditching cable, some do not agree.
It’s also more than just a few commenters have these concerns. Therefore, instead of leaving these comments buried deep on a page on the site, I’d like to address the concerns for all to read. Recently, a reader named Tim expressed the following:
I have 4 TVs and a projector screen in the theater room. So, are we talking about 5 sets of streaming equipment like Apple TV and Amazon sticks and antennas in each room. Also, I assume you have to switch between inputs on the tv to rotate through the different devices. I have a wife and two young daughters that I don’t want to re-train. Oh and what about remotes? Are we talking about multiple remotes. How about DVR function? And then there is the NFL package. Is there a live option for that for all the games. I have Direct TV and while I always like trimming costs, I think in this case unless I’m missing something, I can’t replace the content or the convenience it provides with these cable cutting options.
So Tim, let me attempt to alleviate your concerns one at a time.
1. I have 5 TVs, does that me 5 streaming devices?
Yes it does. However, this is much better than having cable TV on each. A cable box on each TV will run you roughly $50 each month in rental fees. If you would like to stream on all your TVs, then you will need a device on each. But these devices can be had for just $40 dollars.
So in your 4th month of no cable box rental fees, you are already saving money by purchasing your streaming devices. Look at it this way. In one year of cable you spend $600 in rental fees. In 1 year of streaming you spent $200. Cable TV just gets worse as you are still paying that $50 per month. . . forever.
2. Will I have to switch inputs on multiple devices? What about remotes?
Most streaming devices work with a universal remote. Just make sure you get a universal remote that works with all your devices. Switching inputs shouldn’t be an issue. Most TVs today allow you to label the input on the interface.
I have mine labeled “Apple TV”, “Antenna”, “X-box”. My five year old can operate the remote after just a 2 minute demonstration. Young kids tend adapt very well to new things. Just watch what happens when you hand a 5 year old a tablet for the first time. Those 2 minutes to explain how the remote works are worth saving thousands in my book.
3. What about DVR?
I find you only really need the DVR for network TV. Streaming is already on demand. This article on OTA DVRs explains all about choosing a DVR if you require one.
I think it’s easy to watch the NFL without cable. Granted, Sunday Package is convenient, but you need to decide if that convenience is worth the price. Also, check the article I linked. You may not need Direct TV to get Sunday Ticket.
I used to think cable TV was convenient. When I cut the cord I realized in most cases it wasn’t. Sports is really the only case where I find cable TV more convenient. Pretty much everything else is available on demand. I watch what I want, when I want. And yes, while cable and satellite TV offer on demand, most things I want to watch aren’t available when I want to watch them.
I agree on one point, cord cutting isn’t for everyone. If you must channel surf, or require a more passive TV viewing experience, it might make sense to pay all that money for cable. However, I just tweaked my viewing habits ever so slightly and I’m enjoying TV more now then I ever have, and we’re are paying a lot less.
If you enjoyed this article, please Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. It goes out every Thursday and keeps you up to date on information relevant to cord cutters. Subscribing will also inform you on the latest deals out there for internet, streaming, and more.
If this article didn't answer your specific question, check out the Cord Cutting Guide. It provides links to the most important articles in our over 200 pages of content to help you ditch pay TV.