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Cutting the Cord in 2020

By Matt Pecharich | February 19th, 2020/Home Audio and Video

So, you’ve finally had enough. You’re tired of your cable company and all the hassle.

The bill that randomly increases month to month with no explanation. The horrible customer service and subcontractors who come out and know even less than you do. The 10 minutes of automated phone conversation before you can even speak to a real person that you have to find a quiet place to have or a loud noise will send you back to the start.

We can keep going, but you’re probably frustrated enough without us stirring up bad memories.

We get customers walking in or calling to ask what they can do all the time. They want to cut cable, but are not sure of their options. There are several ways to go about this and things you can and cannot cut out. So let’s go over some of the choices you can make and the current costs at the time of writing this article.

Can I cut cable AND my internet?.

You’ll still have to deal with your current internet provider. Streaming services are the best option you have to still watch TV, but you have to have a good internet connection in order to watch them. For most customers this means continuing to deal with the same company because most people bundle their cable, phone, and internet in some form or another.

Companies also often give a discount for bundling so cutting the cable portion of the bill may not save you a TON of money, but it should still be cheaper than before.

Make sure to go over your bill and what you’re charged for carefully. Some companies charge for each box or certain types of boxes. Also be ready to take all the cable boxes back to the company yourself. A certain company here where we are located will not send someone out to get them, and if you don’t return them they WILL charge you for them (which could be upwards of several hundred dollars).

We can always help with this process if you need us to. Just give us a call.

What are my options if I cut cable?

We suggest either Hulu+ Live TV or YouTube TV to all of our customers. They are live streaming services for both local and major networks. They also offer DVR functionality to save and rewatch your favorite shows.

How can I still watch local channels if I cut cable?

Both Hulu Live and YouTube TV offer live streaming of local channels. What channels you get will depend on your area. So make sure you check before you sign up for their services.

For Tyler, Texas and some of the surrounding towns, the following pictures show you the locals offered for either of the services we mentioned.

YouTube TV Locals for Tyler, Texas

Picture of YouTube Live TV local channels offered in Tyler, Texas. 

Hulu+ Live TV Locals for Tyler, Texas

Picture of local channels offered by Hulu+ Live TV in Tyler, Texas.

Note: Areas to the West and South of Tyler may only offer DFW local channels. If you want to be absolutely sure about what you will receive please go to either one of the following websites to directly check locals offered in your area. Just enter your zip code.

Hulu+ Live TV

YouTube TV

What channels do Hulu+ Live TV or YouTube TV offer?

Both Hulu Live and YouTube Live offer 65 to 70 of the major sports, news, and entertainment networks. You can also add on premium channels like Showtime, Starz, HBO, and Cinemax for an extra charge.

Hulu offers all four of the premium channels mentioned. YouTube only offers Showtime and Starz. The pictures below are a complete list of channels offered by either service.

YouTube TV Networks

All networks offered by YouTube live TV.

Hulu+ Live TV Networks

All networks offered by Hulu+ Live TV.

Which live streaming service is the best?

Either one, Hulu or YouTube TV, have extremely similar channel lineups and the apps are offered on a lot of the same devices. Each one offers a few distinct advantages that might appeal to some customers more than others.

Hulu Live VS. YouTube TV

Youtube versus Hulu picture with logos.

Hulu+ Live TV

With Hulu+ Live TV, you not only get access to all the live TV mentioned but access to their entire regular Hulu streaming library as well. However, it’s ad supported. Even the regular Hulu streaming has ads. There seems to be a difference in description between having ads or not if you just pay for regular Hulu streaming or the Hulu+ Live TV bundle.

You can pay extra, or “add-on” no ads for the regular Hulu streaming app. That add-on option is not available for the Hulu Live bundle. So be aware if you are used to no ads on Hulu right now, you will have them if you do the Hulu Live bundle with the regular streaming services.

You also get 50 hours of DVR cloud storage and can stream on 2 devices at one time with the option of adding unlimited streams as an add-on. All for $54.99 a month.

The Hulu Live interface is not the most user friendly, especially if you’re not used to streaming apps. Even after their live TV grid update last year (which DID make it substantially better) it’s still a bit clunky and may be easy to get lost. If you’re used to Hulu, you’ll probably get used to it pretty quickly though.

Picture if Hulu's live TV interface.

Note: Hulu seems to require significantly more bandwidth than other streaming apps. People with slower internet speeds streaming multiple devices may experience buffering and lagging, especially with 4k content.

YouTube TV

YouTube TV offers a few more channels than Hulu Live and they both have ads. The interface also seems to be quite a bit more user friendly for someone who may be new streaming services. Three simple options at the top of the screen (Library, Home, and Live) tell you where to go for what you need.

Picture of YouTube's Live TV interface.

The “Home” section serves up movies/shows that are on, with an easy selection of genres to choose from. Just below that you’ll find the “Resume Watching” section to start where you left off on certain shows. You also get access to YouTube’s HUGE movie library along with entire recent seasons of some shows (if not all the seasons).

This works a bit in YouTube TV’s favor. While it’s not a streaming service with a library of shows like Hulu, Netflix, etc.. Having recent or entire seasons of shows available helps increase the monthly value.

Saving shows using the DVR function is also very easy. On top of that, where YouTube’s Live TV shines over Hulu’s is their storage for recording/saving shows. They offer unlimited storage that saves your recordings for 9 months. You’re also allowed up to 6 individual accounts per household and streaming on 3 devices at once all for $49.99 a month.

Overall, YouTube’s Live TV seems to have the upperhand over Hulu’s. YouTube was also just voted the best overall TV streaming platform by CNET for 2020. For strictly live TV streaming and the price, we’d have to agree.

At $54.99 for Hulu Live, you’re basically paying the same price for the live TV as YouTube plus the basic $5.99 Hulu streaming library with ads. But if you’re already paying for Hulu with no ads, you may be disappointed in paying the extra $5 for live TV. Especially when the TV networks offered are so similar.

Both offer free trial periods though. So you can try them out first and make a decision based on which one works for you!

Note: During YouTube TV’s trial period you will not be served any ads. Once you make your first monthly payment the ads will start.

What do I need to stream live TV?

So depending on the interfaces you are used to, we suggest either using a Roku box or an Apple TV. We do NOT recommend using a Firestick, Roku Stick, Chromecast, or the app built into the TV. Using a Roku box or an Apple TV is more reliable.

Between the two, we just suggest if you’re used to Apple products and want the advantages they offer then use the Apple TV. If you’re not, then save money and buy a Roku box for half the price.

Cutting The Cord: Conclusion

In our experience, a lot of consumers don’t even watch half the channels they are paying for in their cable package. They only purchase the next level packages for a few specific networks. The rest of the channels are a waste.

Do your research before cutting the cord with your cable company. Make a list of what channels you utilize on a daily/weekly basis. Keep sports in mind, especially if you may only really watch one sport during a certain time of year. Be sure that you can still watch your favorite sports team.

As time progresses we see the era of basic cable and satellite companies coming to an end. A lot of them are already treading water, staying alive by offering Netflix and other streaming services through their cable boxes. This will only work for so long as more networks approach companies like Hulu and YouTube to get in on the game.

Here at Stereo and Video Center, we already cut the cord. Our store displays run off streaming live TV and other services. We’d be more than happy to assist you in making the decision for your own home. Feel free to give us a call!

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