Cutting the Cord for Beginners

Ever thought about ‘cutting the cord’ of traditional cable?

Back in the day, the only way to access channels beyond your TV antenna was traditional cable. The cable company would come to your house, hook up your box, and hope for the best. It was expensive, and you often paid for channels you didn’t actually want, but they weren’t any other choices available.

With internet streaming on the rise, the traditional cable TV monopoly is losing its footing. In 2020, an estimated 44.3 million households have ditched regular cable for streaming services, and most of them say they aren’t missing out on anything. With new streaming services coming out every month, there’s no better time to cut the cord on cable. But where do you start?

What is streaming?

‘Streaming’, in video terms, can be two things: on-demand streaming or live streaming.

On-demand streaming gives you the freedom to watch your shows whenever you want, without worrying about your schedule getting in the way or remembering to set a show to record. Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, and AppleTV are just some of the most popular on-demand streaming platforms.

When looking to change up your TV routine, look at what you most want to watch. Not all shows are available on all platforms, and a lot of platforms also produce their own exclusive content that will never air on live, traditional cable. Make sure your favorites are available on your chosen platform!

Live streaming platforms are more similar to traditional cable with live channels. One of the top selling points of live streaming platforms like fuboTV and Sling is that they have access to live sports. Other platforms like Hulu are a hybrid of both, with on-demand and live content available, depending on the plan you choose.

Streaming Devices

Once you decide to cut the cord, you’ll need a streaming device to connect your TV to your new streaming service. If you’ve already invested in a Smart TV, you’re all set! But if you’re looking for a way to connect, you have a couple of options.

The first option is to use a device you already have, like a gaming system. Newer consoles like Xbox and Playstation have apps available for most major streaming services.

Other options include the Amazon Firestick, Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast. These devices connect to your tv either by USB or HDMI, so be sure to check what will work with your TV.

Roku won best streaming device from ‘cnet’ this year for its variety of available streaming apps, simple interface and easy search feature. Roku isn’t made by a streaming service, so they don’t have any particular loyalties either. There are several different Roku devices to choose from, so there’s probably an option for you!

Google TV’s Chromecast device was rated second-best overall, Apple TV 4k got the top spot for Ultra HD streaming, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick was rated the best budget option.

Check Your Internet Speed

Now that you’re ready to cut the cord, you need to check your internet speed. Faster internet means less buffering and pausing while watching your new streaming service.

Most services have their own recommendations, but the faster the better. For example, Hulu recommends 16 mbps for high quality, 4k content, but only 4 mbps for regular HD. Netflix’s recommendations are similar, 25 mbps for 4k and 5 mbps for regular 1080p. However, you can manually adjust these in your streaming settings, but it may affect the image quality.

If you’re on a plan that includes a data cap, be on the look out for those as well. If you spend a lot of time on your streaming service, you may need to raise your cap, or look for a reliable, high speed, wireless, non-data capped provider like Wisper! If you’re already a Wisper customer, you can check your speed anytime on our website or Wisper Home app, and check with our team if there are higher speeds available in your area.

So if you’re interested in cutting the cord on your cable provider, whether you’re looking to cut down on your monthly expenses or just looking for new things to watch, take some time to research different live streaming and on-demand services.