It’s been almost two years since we cut ties with our cable company and joined up with a streaming service instead. However, our provider, PS Vue, recently announced that they were discontinuing streaming service effective January, 2020. We’re now on the hunt for a replacement plan and I thought it would a good time to talk about the overall pros and cons of streaming!
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In early 2018, faced with a combination of shoddy service and ever increasing costs, we decided to break up with our cable TV provider for good. It was a move that we had considered in the past but the game changer was that PS Vue had recently introduced streaming of local channels, live sporting events, etc. This was a feature we had wanted that had been notably missing in the past.
Prior to the switch, our combined internet/cable bill was about $200/month. Post switch our bill was $140/month ($65 for internet service and $75 for the streaming service). A considerable savings! Note that neither of these monthly amounts account for extra subscription services like Netflix, Prime, etc. but, as those are the same under either provider, we considered them a wash.
Over the past two years, the cost for PS Vue has gradually crept up to $90 per month (the Ultra plan) while internet service is holding steady at $65. We’ve been considering two primary replacements for PS Vue:
- Hulu + Live TV
- $55/month or $60 for ad-free on-demand video (December, 2019)
- includes 60+ popular channels including Bravo, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, etc. as well as your Hulu subscription and local channels
- includes 50 hours of DVR time; can upgrade to 200 hours for $10/month
- allows viewing on 2 screens simultaneously, can upgrade to unlimited for $10/month
- includes 70+ popular channels including Bravo, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, etc. as well as local channels
- unlimited DVR included
- allows viewing on 3 screens simultaneously
Note that there are many more providers out there with more competitive pricing but fewer channel options. We felt that these two options most closely replicated a traditional cable TV experience.
The Pros & Cons of Cutting Ties with Cable
In addition to lower monthly bills, we’ve also enjoyed having less of the “clutter” that accompanies cable service, namely the various boxes, remotes, etc. Unlimited DVR space (PS Vue & YouTube TV) is also a plus, as is the ability to access everything remotely. We also love the lack of commitment involved. It’s great knowing we can switch providers or add/remove supplemental subscriptions at the drop of a hat, with no cancellation fees.
Our only very minor complaint with streaming services is that the interface isn’t as user-friendly as our old TiVo guide and DVR that we used with cable. Depending upon your viewing habits, you may find it difficult to get all the channels you want with one streaming service. For instance, Comedy Central and History Channel are two stations missing from our line-up.
Good to Know:
There are few things you should note prior to making a switch:
- If you don’t have a TV that has a streaming service integrated, you’ll either need to buy one or a tool to adapt your current TV like a Roku device, Fire Stick, etc.
- The channel guide user experience will vary based on the age of your streaming device – older devices cannot access the newest format of channel guides.
- Your streaming will be subject to the quality of your internet connection. If you are in an area with frequent outages this may not be the option for you. Also, if you have a very slow internet speed, you may experience connectivity issues.
- Increased competition is leading to more fractured channel line-ups and rapid changes in pricing. Going forward, it may be more difficult to get the channels you want from a single source and lower price.
How do you feel about cutting ties with cable? Maybe you have already? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comment section! And until next time….keep cultivating a simple, stylish and satisfying life!