Now we’re beginning to get down the nitty gritty part of the decision making for ‘cutting the cord.’ This may very well be the part that separates you from the ‘pay TV’ person and the ‘cord cutter.’ What is it that makes this particular part of this discussion one of the most important determining factors when considering ‘cutting the cord?’ Hopefully that will be obvious when you’ve finished gathering the information available in this chapter (article/podcast).
Almost everyone that has been using a pay TV service provider for any length of time at all has favorite programs or channels they like to watch that are not provided by the local broadcast stations. That means some decisions will have to be made before making the final decision to ‘cut the cord.’ Most importantly it comes down to two questions you have to ask yourself:
· First – Can you live without them or are they so entrenched in your life that you absolutely have to be able to watch them?
· Second – If you can’t live without them, are there other ways of receiving them that are less costly than through a pay TV provider and without having to mortgage the homestead to get hold of the equipment to do so?
The answer to the first question here is the easiest to answer. If you can live without them it is easy enough to do so and you won’t need to keep paying for them. Not only that but there are likely other ways to get the same information if it is just information that you want or gain from those channels. However, it may require a little more effort on your part. Things like news, recipes and other types of information can generally be gained from sources on the internet like print media, YouTube or Vimeo videos and others. If it is only entertainment you seek or gain, well, that might be a little different and it may or may not be available to “simply enjoy” depending on your technical and computer prowess.
If you absolutely can’t live without them, there are generally other ways of receiving them. What complicates this question somewhat is how you decide to receive these programs or, at the very least, the information or entertainment you get from them. Since you cannot receive them from an antenna that only leaves one real alternative and that would be to receive them from some source or other via the internet. (Well, that is “IF” you would rather watch them rather than read them.)
Therein is the complication and the thing that warrants asking another question along with this one. Is your present internet service being delivered with enough download speed to handle the extra load of possibly live streaming of the programming or downloading it with minimum wait time and/or buffering for maximum viewing pleasure and minimal frustration?
If you don’t know the answer to this question I think it would be a good idea to check on what the download speed is you are receiving from your internet provider. If you are paying for minimum speed – like 3 mbps or less – you may find it will work but it will likely be very frustrating watching anything of real interest to you because of frequent interruptions from buffering.
If you watch videos from the internet on your computer and constantly see a spinning ball or a screen that says, “buffering” and have to wait for it to catch up to watch the next buffered segment, your internet speed is probably not fast enough for pleasurable viewing of streamed content. If it is not fast enough for that, it means extended wait times for you to be able to view streamed or live streamed video content as well as other types of content. Just remember that video files, especially in HD, are very large even when compressed. What allows you to watch them without waiting so long over an extended download time or frequent buffering is the available download speed you have at your home or other viewing location.
Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t mind waiting for things to download and I don’t mind waiting for my streaming content to buffer so I can watch it,” but believe me when I tell you, all of the interruptions and waiting will grow old pretty quickly. I’m not saying you need to upgrade your speed before you decide if you really want to ‘cut the cord’ but if you do decide to cut it and you find some of the frustrations I just mentioned creeping in to your life, upgrading to a higher speed for your internet service is relatively easy and generally not all that expensive. The dividend an upgrade in speed will pay in lack of frustration alone will be great.
Remember this important point if you do get an upgrade in speed. All of us adapt to changes in speed in different ways but it does appear, at least from my viewpoint, we “get used to” the extra speed fairly quickly and even the faster speed seems slow to us after a period of time (and from my view, that time is generally brief.)
Since the only way for you to receive those programs you can’t or don’t want to live without is from a pay TV provider or the internet and you’re trying to stop paying so much for being able to watch TV, you may ask if that means you have to watch those programs sitting in front of your computer or your tablet or smart phone.
The good news is, no, you can watch them on your computer, tablet or smart phone or you can watch them on your larger screen TV. The bad news is you have to have a way to get the information from your computer to your TV. I won’t go into that in this article/podcast but, the good news on the bad news is, there are a number of ways to do exactly that. Another good thing about all this is that you shouldn’t have to call in your computer guru to be able to watch internet delivered programs on your TV.
If you remember, earlier in these article/podcasts I talked about how technology is advancing at an accelerated rate and fortunately for many non-techies, the ones responsible for making the technology available to us as consumers are making it easier and easier to use. Viewing programming in this way hasn’t quite gotten to the point of the ease of use of a Cable, Satellite or IPTV set top box. (Examples of IPTV would be services like Verizon FiOS, ATT U-verse or Prism and others.) It also hasn’t gotten to the point of easily just flipping through channels on a TV without a set-top box like “in the old days.” It has, however, become much easier than it used to be and that is good for everyone, particularly those that would like to cut the cord and reduce the cost they pay to watch their favorite programs.
Yes, there will likely be a slight learning curve and things might work a bit differently than many are used to but if patience is observed it is going to be worth it all. It will definitely be worth it to take the time to learn a few new things without getting totally frustrated and giving up. The important thing to remember from this article/podcast is the importance of download speed and how it can positively affect your viewing pleasure. If you have minimum speed, you will likely be more disappointed or frustrated than those with higher speed.
Another thing to remember is that your internet service and the speed it is delivered at now becomes the cost of delivering some of your programming to you. Previously it was probably part of your “pay TV” package but is a service many will find hard to live without. (Well, that is unless you desire to totally go off the grid.)
So… what will you need so you can more easily watch internet delivered programming from your computer or some type of streaming box or attachment on your TV? Well, that my friend is what is coming up in the next article/podcast and there are some good things and some not-so-good things you need to consider if you’re really serious and want to ‘cut the cord.’ Believe me when I tell you, we are just beginning to get to the good stuff…
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© September 3, 2015 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, The Norman TV View, Norman-TV.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music used is Two Buck Themes by Mike Stewart unless otherwise stated