The only thing more frustrating than putting up with low quality TV and internet service is paying the over-priced bill each month. The good news is there are options which result in more features, greater reliability and a smaller bill. Let's be real, there are many of us who wouldn't mind paying a bit more for cutting-edge technology and reliable service but this simply isn't something we are getting from traditional internet and cable providers like Comcast. Talking into a remote to change a channel or do some other action doesn't cut it for me and is not worth install charge along with the reoccurring monthly charge. For this reason, paying through the nose for cable is becoming increasingly painful, especially as the costs rise. Fortunately, there is good news - many new options are available. This post is not meant to be a review of the options nor a perfect alternative to traditional services you receive today but rather alternatives to solving the same problem while saving some money in the process.
We must first face the fact that internet is here to stay. There is very little we can do in the way of television, phone and daily life without internet. There is no alternative - this requires us to find the a provider that has more "pros" than the other options in your area. This is the one place where spending a little extra might be worth it especially if it means your TV viewing experience is enhanced, eliminating any lag or buffering.
***The following options assume you have adequate internet coming into your home.***
Remember that antenna your parents have on the top on their house? Well, that's still a 'thing'. Albeit, not nearly as ugly, you can purchase a digital antenna to pickup local television stations free of charge. The best part is the quality of the stations coming in via the antenna. Even your cable provider is not providing the channels in 4K like a digital antenna. Although the viewer will have fewer channels to chose from, at least the local channels will be available for a one-time purchase of the antenna.
Alternative Digital Cable Options: Sony Playstation Vue
We commonly hear of services such as Sling and Roku - these are great options to serve cable needs but there is a better option that makes cutting the cord that much easier (especially those of you who feel Keeping Up with the Kardashians is a must have!). Sony offers a service called "Playstation Vue" (no, you do not need to own a Playstation gaming console to use this service). Working much like Netflix, you subscribe to this service to get all of the stations you want and pay based on the level of offering. Plans range from $29.99/month to $64.99/month. If you are a casual viewer like myself, you will not need anything more than their $29.99 Access Slim package. No contract. No hassles.
Do you have the newest Apple TV? If so, no further hardware purchase is necessary as it will work for Playstation Vue. If you are not in this boat you can either purchase an Apple TV device for around $100. These other devices will serve the purpose as well:
Any Roku Streaming Device
Amazon Fire TV Stick
It should be noted that vue can be streamed to five (5) devices at once! If you want to give it a try, Sony gives you 5 free days to try out the service - be sure to cancel before the 5 days is up!
Hardware Cost: $50-$100/life
Service Cost: Starting at $29.99
It should be clear by now that options are becoming abundant which means cable service providers are becoming increasingly desperate to retain their customer base. Your expectations might already be set low due to your past experience with your provider but you might be surprised what they are willing to do to retain your business so pick up the phone and negotiate with them! Every business is entitled to making a dollar - it's what makes our economy work but charging exorbitant prices for poor service is proving unsustainable. Tell your provider what your needs are and what you are willing to pay - more times than not you will find a configuration that works for you!
One point to be reminded of. DO NOT subscribe to reduced pricing for signing onto a one-year or even a two-year contract. In the long run, you will pay for it as these new market disruptors enter the market.