I live in an area monopolized by one internet service/cable TV provider, and was once their digital slave—but that was before I became fed up.
Throughout the years, as a customer, I experienced extended periods of internet and TV outages. During one outage, I was told by my cable company that the problem could not be fixed, because a failing piece of equipment was located in a locked room, in a privately-owned building, and the owner had left the area to go on a month’s vacation so could not be reached.
After years of infuriating customer service and steadily increasing cable bills—which often led to monthly financial crises, such as, “Do I pay the cable or electric bill? Wait, I can’t have cable without electricity!”—I cut the cord. I bought a Roku TV for under $200 and switched to internet service. My voice was almost tremulous with joy when I told my cable company to “terminate my cable TV—effective immediately.”
I’ve had internet TV for about three months now, and while I was exuberant over “cutting the cord,” there are some pros and cons to internet-only TV you should know, before you do the same:
1. A Glutton of Content to Choose From
I subscribed to Sling TV’s service.
My “must-have” channels are MSNBC, CNN, HBO, and AMC. According to Sling’s website, I can access these channels with the “Orange and Blue” subscription service, which costs $40.00 per month, plus another $15.00 for HBO. My subscription includes 50 channels, including SyFy, A&E, ESPN, Comedy Central, and more. However, I did notice that the service does not include another of my favorites, the Investigation Discovery channel.
After poking around the settings on my Roku TV, I discovered that, in addition to Sling, I could sign up for other TV streaming services like Hulu and Crackle. Hulu features my favorite Investigation Discovery shows, so I’ve signed up for that as well, costing me an additional $10.00 per month.
Sling and Hulu also have entire series of old TV shows, such as All in the Family, What’s Happening, Star Trek, and more.
With internet TV, there is a lot of content to choose from, including independent internet channels. I can select a channel that includes content on dogs, or one featuring movies, or one that showcases programs made by and for African Americans. Most of these internet channels are also free.
2. Limited or No Commercials
For a little extra per month, some streaming services allow you to opt-out of watching commercials. If you don’t, the amount of commercials played on internet TV are still far less than on network TV, and you can even choose the type of commercials you would prefer to see. However, they do get very repetitive if you are binge watching
3. On-Demand Viewing
You can live-stream shows during their actual network broadcast time, or you can watch content, really, whenever you want, after it’s been added to a channel.
In comparison to my cable service, I was paying $145 monthly for slightly better than basic cable plus HBO, and $45 for high-speed internet. I still have the internet, but after cutting out cable, I’ve reduced my TV bill to $55 a month.
5. All-In-One Entertainment Hub
My Roku TV is my entertainment hub. I can connect my Xbox, a media server, my PC, and any device where my content lives.
6. Streaming to Multiple TVs via One Account
What I like about the Sling Blue and Orange account is that I can stream up to four TVs (or any other devices) with my one account. The Blue account provides three streams and the Orange, just a single stream.
See the cons on the next page.