Growing numbers ditch dishes, cut cords for new TV options - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Growing numbers ditch dishes, cut cords for new TV options

Households are increasingly ditching cable and satellite in favor of streaming video services. (Source: WAFF) Households are increasingly ditching cable and satellite in favor of streaming video services. (Source: WAFF)

More and more Americans are ditching cable and satellite packages for streaming services. 

It's called "cutting the cord," and it could save you as much as $100 every month. But where do you start, and what options are out there for consumers?

Jennifer Duncan and her family have cut the cord and ended the contract with their satellite company. Duncan says the reason is simple.

"Savings is the ultimate thing, the huge drop,” said Duncan. “$100 to save a month to put towards something else."

You heard that right. $100 in savings a month. Gone are the Duncan's premium channels and $120 bill. Instead, the Madison County family will rely on Netflix and Hulu subscriptions for less than $20 total. 

And the Duncans aren't the only ones going with this non-traditional way of watching TV.

"We just use Netflix, Amazon Prime, and over-the-air antenna. That provides us with everything we want to see,” said Daniel Horton.

Horton and his wife Sharla cut the cord in 2011. Why? For the same reason as the Duncans.

"We were paying for a lot of channels that we we're even watching," said Daniel Horton.

And in the last four years, that's helped them save thousands of dollars.

"There is nothing that we're missing,” said Sharla Horton. “We would never go back."

"I think within the next year - maybe year and a half - we're probably going to look at a completely different dynamic from cable companies trying to deliver content to their consumers,” said Best Buy's Tucker Hall.

So how do you stay ahead of the curve? We went to the experts at Best Buy in Huntsville. The store has an entire section for cord-cutters to get your started, including products to help you stream.

"They are incredible affordable and incredibly easy to set up,” said Hall.

Apple, Roku, Amazon, and Google all offer devices that cost between $30 and $100 that can replace your cable box. Many come with apps pre-loaded like Netflix and Hulu. 

You are going to have to check the price for those apps and subscription services. Some offer free shows, but others come at a cost. 

It's also worth checking to see if you own a smart TV or video game console with that will give you that same access. 

What about staying current on the daily headlines? Purchase an over-the-air antenna. That can run you less than $30 in most areas, and gives you free access to over the air channels including digital subchannels carried by many local stations.

"You can't beat it,” said Hall.

The Hortons say it could take new cord-cutters some time to adjust. The Duncans say they're experiencing those growing pains, but they're not turning back now.

"Maybe when there's nothing on, we can find something to do together," said Jennifer Duncan.

In rural areas, the cost to cut the cord may be higher, when you factor in costs like obtaining high-speed internet services required to support streaming video, and higher-powered antennas to obtain local TV signals in obstructed areas.

Click here to calculate what you could save if you choose to cut the cord at your household.

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