Deciding that you no longer want to pay for cable is a big decision. There are a few things you’ll need to think about when you start thinking about cutting the cable cord. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:
Basically there are two different options – the Amazon Fire Stick and Roku if you don’t have a smart tv to access different providers. Both do basically the same thing so it’s a matter of preference for you. As for price, they’re both about the same cost. Each of the devices also have a learning curve but once you learn the basics, they’re fairly easy to figure out.
You can search for your favorite shows on both devices. With the Fire Stick’s remote, you can also voice search with Alexa’s help.
I will say that the Fire Stick offered the option during setup to set a code to access things on the device. This may come in handy if you’re trying to limit what some family members are watching.
What’s your budget?
Knowing what you’re currently spending and what you want to spend will help you to make a decision. My personal goal was to try and cut my bill in half. Each of the different services available have a subscription cost. There’s certainly some overlap so you might not need more than one service. You might need some things from multiple services and it can be cheaper cutting the cable cord but subscribing to different services.
Ask friends for feedback
Reach out to your friends and see what they’re using. It’s funny – once you bring it up, people come out of the woodwork to tell you what they’re using. Your friends are quick to tell you what works well for them but also what didn’t work for them. They might even let you come over to their homes and try things out before you make your final decision if they’ve already decided to cut the cable cord.
Different services available
Both the Fire Stick and Roku have several different options available for you to use. You’ve likely already got a subscription to Netflix (if you don’t you can try it free for a month) and probably have an Amazon Prime account and access to Amazon Video. Other options are Sling TV (use the seven day trial before you commit), Hulu (you’ll get a thirty day free trial to make sure this is the right choice for you), Vudu, Apple TV, and YouTube.
What channels do you want?
Make a list of your must have channels. This will help you narrow down what services work best for you and your family. Sling TV offers two different plans as well as add on packages to be sure that you’ll be able to get all the channels you’ll need when you decide it’s the right time for cutting the cable cord for your family.
I also like that Sling TV offers the option to add a DVR service. That’s how I watch a majority of my tv shows so I was excited to see this option. Hulu offers lots of local networks and also gives you the option to purchase packages with or without commercials if that’s important to you.
How many screens/tvs will you watch on?
Do you just have one tv? Will you be watching on phones, tablets, or laptops? Different providers offer different numbers of devices programs are available on. For example, some channels on Sling TV are able to be watched on three different screens.
Do you watch sports?
Different applications have different levels of access and coverage of sporting events. Knowing what things you’ll want to watch will help you make a decision.
To use any of the subscription services, you’ll need a smart tv or a tv with a USB plug in. You’ll also need to have your TV near a plug. If you’re using the Fire Stick or Roku, you’ll need to have a power supply (there’s an option to use your TV to power these but that option hasn’t worked well for me personally).
Are you technical?
Both Amazon Fire Stick and Roku are both “plug and play” type devices. You don’t really need to know a lot to get started with either of them. On screen directions will guide you through the setup and you’ll be watching your favorite shows (and discovering new ones!) in no time.
Download the apps – both the Fire Stick and Roku have apps you can download on your smart phone. Roku’s app is very easy, straight forward, and gives you the ability to type with a keyboard instead of using arrows to navigate keyboards on the screen. The Fire Stick’s app is a little more challenging to use but you can figure it out. You don’t need the app to access anything but they’re handy to have.
The remotes are tiny – yes they’re much smaller than your regular cable or satellite dish remotes. Be careful with you so you don’t lose them. A friend actually Velcros them to the back of their TV when they’re not in use.
Know your internet speed – because you’re streaming things through the internet, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough speed. I had to upgrade to the next level our provider offered to be sure it was fast enough but was still able to save money.
Check out this video with some more information:
Have you cut the cable cord? What things helped you to make your decision? What did you research before deciding?