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Cutting the Cord: Choosing a streaming device

May 16, 2017 08:15 PM

Here's a challenge for you: Take a look at your recurring monthly expenses. Is your cable bill busting the budget? For more than 1.1 million Americans, the answer is no. That’s because they cut the cord with cable.

According to Nielsen, about 25 percent of households have said no to cable. So News10NBC Consumer investigator Deanna Dewberry looked at some cable options.

Parma resident Glen Gross walked down the aisles of the Best Buy store in Henrietta, a live streaming device in each hand. Deciding on one was tough, but Glenn says deciding to cut the cord from cable was easy.

"I'm paying over $150 a month just for really basic cable. It's too much, yeah," said Glen.

Ben Henauser, a store manager at Best Buy, says there are four primary streaming devices that give you access to hundreds of shows and movies.

“We've got a few main options here. We've got the Roku. We've got Apple TV. We have Sling TV and we have Xbox and other gaming systems like that,” said Ben, pointing to rows of streaming devices.

Roku is the least expensive option. The initial cost to range from around $40 bucks to $120. The more expensive gives you a better processor, better picture, and more options. You watch TV through apps.

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"You just plug it right into your TV and it's already going to have your main apps like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, HBO Go, HBO Now, is already going to be on there," said Ben.

You can download additional apps but they may require a monthly fee.

“For example, HBO now is $15 a month," said Ben.

It’s cheaper than getting HBO through cable, but your monthly costs increase with the number of premium services you get. Apple TV has a higher up front cost as high as $200. Ben believes it costs more because you get more.

"Roku is a streaming device that gives you streaming options. Apple TV gives you all that plus it gives you access to its iStore and iTunes," said Ben.

It even has games too. But for the serious gamer, there are gaming systems like Xbox also serve as a streaming device but here's the drawback with streaming devices: getting live sports is tough.

"Direct TV now is a big thing,” said Ben in reference to DirectTV’s streaming services. “I haven't seen a sports event that it doesn't have because it has all the channels DirectTV has."

But you'll have a monthly cost and here’s another drawback: You'll have to use an antennae for local channels. For Glen, that’s a problem.

"I live close to the lake, and we can't get a signal down there." said Glen.

So for folks like Glen, Sling TV is an option where instead of apps you're getting channels.

"They can send most channels right to your device, and it's essentially a full replacement for cable," said Ben.

The downside is there's a higher upfront cost. It runs around $250. But all provide lots of options for a fraction of your monthly cable bill.
 

We reached out to Charter Communications, the cable provider in our area.  A spokesperson wrote, “Here and in other new Spectrum systems, consumers are embracing simpler pricing, the fastest internet starting speeds and no modem fees.

At Charter, our strategy of delivering superior products at highly competitive prices helped us add TV customers in legacy Charter systems in both 2015 and 2016.

Customers tell us they view streaming products as a complement to their Spectrum TV package, not a replacement.  And when they want to access their content, we offer the best internet experience for doing so.”

Credits

Deanna Dewberry

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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