A Cord Cutter’s Life is a series of guest posts by Greg Baker, featuring stories on the motivations, challenges, and benefits to cutting cable. If you’ve considered cutting the cord, let our visiting Cord Cutting Guru show you how in this fun, helpful series.
Come one, come all, step right up and see The Amazing Greg Baker and how he streams content! I’ve been writing about Cord Cutting for a while now, and realized that I haven’t actually put my money where my mouth is. I tell you to stream, I tell you to ditch cable, but I’ve never really gone over how it works and what I do to achieve that.
This post is the way I stream. In this article we’re going to go over my exact set-up, how I stream, how much I pay for each app, and how much easier this is than entering into a cable contract. One of the best things about streaming is that it’s pretty much contract free. Want to drop Netflix? Go ahead. Pick it up again? Sounds like a plan! With cable you’re locked in, have to deal with customer service, and it can get to be an overall hassle. I’m not sure how much money your time is worth, but keep that in mind as I go over what I do to stream.
Netflix is king. As the premiere streaming app, I can get movies, TV, and original content from trusty Netflix. I sometimes refer to my TV as my Netflix machine. I mostly use Netflix for streaming sitcoms and popcorn movies, but occasionally, there will be a really good movie or TV drama I’ll turn on. Netflix is a must have for $7.99/mo.
Hulu is the TV guru. Any television show you wanna watch is probably available here to watch. The best part about Hulu’s TV service is that you’ll be able to watch new episodes of shows as well as all the old ones, making it king for TV. While it’s normally thought of as just a television app, they have a surprisingly good movie selection as well. It seems they concentrate on quality of movies over quantity. All of this available for $7.99/mo.
It’s important to note that Amazon Prime Video isn’t just about streaming, it’s a way of life. By getting free shipping on most things I’d want on Amazon Prime, I feel like the price pays for itself just from that cost. Of course, I shop online a lot. Like a lot. Like so much that I prefer to buy stuff as opposed to going to Target most times. However, this post is about online streaming, not online shopping. Prime is great for original content and movies, and their selection is always, wait for it… prime. Priced at $119/yr., or $9.91/mo., the slight increase in price from Netflix or Hulu is totally worth it so that I don’t have to pay $5.99 to ship a pair of pants.
Getting an antenna for your TV is like getting a battery for your cellphone or an engine for your car—it’s absolutely necessary! Getting to watch channels like NBC and CBS live is not only a great way to catch your favorite sitcoms, but a place to watch live sports as well, something I value a lot. Getting an antenna will run around $40 bucks, but that’s just a one-time fee. We’ll exclude it from our monthly tally, but remember it isn’t completely free like some of the next apps.
Did you know that the library has it’s own streaming platforms? I do! I love the library and I love to read, but I also understand that you can rent DVDs from there as well, which I often do. Just ask Sharon at the Studio City branch of the LA Public library. She’d probably say “Who? Oh, the guy who gets DVDs. He comes here sometimes.” In addition to being able to borrow discs, a library card gets you access to both Kanopy and Hoopla, two streaming services where you can borrow a certain amount of movies a month to stream. It’s great, it’s fantastic, and most importantly, it’s free.
TubiTV / Crackle
Another pair of completely free streaming apps with actual content, both Crackle and TubiTV are great additions to your Roku channels menu. Crackle offers a decent amount of original or exclusive content in addition to updating its streaming library monthly. TubiTV, despite its name, is a movie haven. With an ever-expanding list of quality titles, Tubi is a mainstay for the movie-watching audience. Both are completely, totally, and absolutely free.
This is one of my favorite apps, and a perfect one for any other baseball fans out there. I pay $89/yr. for full access to a single team subscription. That means 162 Red Sox games amounting to about 2 quarters a game. It’s a great deal. Additional packages are available for Hockey, Soccer, and Basketball fans as well at comparable price points. The best part is this is something I’d have to pay for even if I had cable since all the games are out of market. Since I’ve been excluding the price of some other things, we’ll throw this in as well, calling it $7.41/mo.
Now is the moment we’ve all been waiting for, how much does it actually cost to stream content? Well, since Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and MLBtv are the only paying apps, the grand total comes to a meager $33.30 per month. That’s just about half as much as I’d be paying for cable, and you can see how much more I get. By using services like the library and Crackle to stream content, I’m saving a huge amount of money each month, and of course it’s all easily accessible and integrated into my TCL Roku TV.
Now that we’ve established some trust here, you can see that paying for cable is a thing of the past. Once the NFL figures it out, I won’t even have to leave my house to watch football. Speaking of, it’s about that time on this fine sunny Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. Go Pats!