Is it Time to Cut the Cord?

These days, more people are doing what’s called “cutting the cord” and getting rid of their cable or satellite television service. And with good reason. There are now more options for less money. Elmwood Manor residents have another big reason…you get free Greenlight high-speed internet with your apartment or townhouse! And having a good high-speed internet connection is an important requirement if you decide to exclusively use streaming services.

If you’re considering cutting the cord, there are three things to consider:

  1. What devices you’ll be using to watch.
  2. What streaming services are best for your needs.
  3. Assuming it’s important to you, how you’ll watch local broadcast stations (WHAM, WHEC, WROC, etc.).

Devices

If you have a smartphone, tablet or computer, you’re probably already using them to do things online. Using them to watch streaming television services is pretty simple. Possibly the hardest decision you’ll make is how you’ll connect your TV to the internet. There are three ways to do that.

  1. Smart TV. Today, most new television sets connect directly to the internet. If you have a smart TV, accessing streaming services on your television won’t require any additional equipment.
  2. Streaming Media Player. If you don’t have a smart TV, you can use this small device (about the size of a deck of cards), to connect your TV to the internet. The most popular options are Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Cast, and Roku. Prices begin as low as $25.
  3. Blu-ray player or game console. If you have Blu-ray player or video game system (Xbox, PlayStation), most can connect to the internet and be used as a streaming media player.

Streaming Services

With all your devices connected to the internet, it’s time to decide what streaming services are best for you. If you think your only options are Netflix and Hulu, it’s just the opposite. There are now countless choices. Some (like SlingTV) are designed to replace cable TV and feature many of the same networks you’d get from a cable provider. Others are specialized offerings like ESPN+ (sports), DC Universe (superheroes), and BritBox (British TV shows).

What you can count on is that having just one streaming service will probably not be enough. It’s important to do your research. See what the various services include versus what programs or networks are must-haves for you.

As you do your research, there are two ways to think about streaming services:

  1. Free vs. paid subscription. Some services are free, but advertising supported. That means they include commercials. Examples are Pluto TV, Vudu, and Crackle. On the other hand, paid subscription services charge you a monthly fee. They can justify this because they are either ad-free (like Netflix) or offer a wide range of premium content (like YouTube TV).
  2. Individual shows vs. networks. Some services offer a collection of individual TV shows and movies. For example, on Hulu you can watch Jimmy Kimmel Live, but not every show on ABC. The alternative is to choose a service that offers all the programs on given network. For example, SlingTV allows you to watch all the programs on networks like Disney, ESPN, A&E, The Food Network, etc.

Using a combination of a few subscription services along with some free ones should get you what you need for less than the average cable subscription. Just to get you started, here is a list of the most popular streaming services.

  • Free services: Pluto TV, Hoopla, Tubi TV, Vudu, IMDb Freedive, and Crackle.
  • Subscription services featuring individual shows: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
  • Subscription services featuring full networks: Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV Now, Hulu with Live TV, HBO Now, and Playstation Vue.

Local Broadcast TV Stations

If you want to watch the local news on stations like WHAM (channel 13), WHEC (channel 10) and WROC (channel 8), you’ll either need to use an antenna or a streaming service that carries our local stations. At the time of publication, the only streaming service to carry all of our local affiliates is AT&T Now. For that reason, you’ll probably be better off with a small indoor TV antenna. In a location like Elmwood Manor, these will work fine and you can find many options on Amazon or Best Buy. They’re about the size of a paperback book and only cost $20-$50.

One thing is certain, internet-based television is the future and with Greenlight high-speed internet you can easily get there today. Just do your research first…and happy watching!