Friday, October 7, 2022

Replacing cable/satellite

If you're looking to cut the cord -- cable or satellite -- and are wondering how you're going to be able to watch all those channels with streaming, there are a bunch of questions you need to ask yourself first. And those questions may change the question you initially had.

You see, as you think it through, you may come to realize a few things about your TV watching habits. Let me offer some examples.

Your initial question may be "How will I ever watch all the channels I have if I drop cable/satellite?" But is that really a valid question? Do you already watch all of the channels you have? You probably don't. You probably have a few channels you like to watch, and the others are channels you either never watch at all, or watch only when you run across something there while channel surfing. You don't really watch all those channels.

So, now the question becomes "How do I watch all the channels I watch today?" And that question may not be valid. It might be, but here's why it may not be. Why is it you watch those channels? And the answer is probably because you like the shows they carry. Or -- and this may actually be better -- you like the type of shows they carry. See the difference? One is a particular show that you watch, while the other is a particular type of show you watch.

Here is an example from my life. This particular example might not apply to you, but do follow what happened, and see if something similar may apply. My mother kept cable for a while after she started streaming. It turned out the reason was she really like Game Show Network. But what about it did she like? Well, she liked when it carried the classic game shows from years past. The current stuff didn't really matter, but the old game shows were favorites of hers.

Once we found out that was the actual reason, we found several free streaming services that carried the same content, and showed her. She would watch that when her classic shows were not on GSN, then discovered for herself that the free streaming channel carried what she wanted to watch. And she finally cut cable, saving a lot of money, and still watching the type of shows she liked.

How important is it to really watch THAT channel? How about a similar channel? Would that be okay? Sometimes (not every time, but sometimes) it is okay. And that's important.

Of course, I've not talked about local channels. With satellite, you may or may not get local channels, but you probably get a feed of the major networks. With cable, you get the local channels. So, how do you replace those?

One way is with an antenna. Don't immediately rule this out. It may be possible to pick up the channels you want with an antenna. If you live close enough, and indoor antenna will do. If not, you may need an outdoor antenna like I require. But an antenna may be something that you can use to pick up local channels.

I live a bit of a distance from the TV towers, but can still pick up 25 channels clearly. There are others that are in and out, but 25 are strong and reliable signals. And that surprised me, mostly because the local cable service didn't carry all of them, so I didn't really know they were there until I put up an antenna.

If you need a particular channel with content that's not available on a FAST (free ad supported television) service, then a subscription live streaming service may get you what you need:

  • Frndly TV ($7/month)
  • Philo ($25/month)
  • Sling TV ($35/month)
  • Vidgo ($60/month)
  • YouTube TV ($65/month)
  • Hulu+Live TV ($70/month)
  • Fubo TV ($70/month)
  • DirecTV Stream ($70/month)

Depending on what you want to watch, one of these may get you what you need, giving you a very satisfying Streaming Life.

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