MARYVILLE (WATE) – HBO, DVR and ESPN, by the time you tack on what many consider basic features, these days families are easily shelling out $100 a month for cable.
“No one grows up thinking, ‘I really cherished that time I spent watching TV with my family,'” said Elena Nelson.
After ditching DirectTV, these days Nelson, her husband and two sons focus much more on making memories rather than sitting on the couch watching cable.
The move not only brings the family closer together, it’s saving them hundreds of bucks a year. The Nelsons previously spent $80 a month on DirectTV, now they’re shelling out a very small fraction of that.
“The biggest aspect was cost of course,” Nelson said.
The average cable bill hit a record $99.10 in 2015, which is up 39% from 2012. If customers scrap cable and spend $8 a month on Netflix or Hulu, the average person saves nearly $1,100 a year, just like the Nelsons.
“Now we pay $8 for Hulu and the savings is almost $1,000 a year for us,” Nelson said. “It’s been about two and a half years and we haven’t looked back since.”
Nelson and her husband love the savings and their kids have no complaints. “At the end of the day it’s just about creating your own fun,” she said.
Which they do, playing board games, rough housing with their dogs and using their tablets to read and watch shows. By downloading apps on her phone, Nelson even keeps up with her favorite series, Blacklist, which she watches for free.
“You can pretty much stream anywhere you’ve got an internet connection,” Nelson said.
On top of using their Kindles and phones to stream shows, the Nelsons also hook up their Xbox so they can stream Hulu on their TV. Xbox also connects them to other channels, like ESPN3. For big sports games, they use the ESPN app, go to a friend’s house or head to a restaurant. They’re small sacrifices Nelson said. She doesn’t mind.
“I don’t miss [cable] at all, and like I said, I certainly don’t miss the bill,” she said. Which makes cutting the cord a win-win for the Nelsons.
On top of paying each month for Hulu, the internet through AT&T costs the Nelsons about $40 a month, but they said that’s no different than what they paid while hooked up to high-priced cable.
If you choose to cut the cord, there are several options to still stay connected:
The Price: $7.99-$11.99 a month
Netflix is a streaming service that provides a variety of movies, TV episodes and documentaries. Viewers will not see any commercials while using Netflix. However, there might be the occasional ad for a Netflix original. Netflix is available on your TV, any computer, or Windows, iPhone and Android phones. All that is needed is the Netflix App. First-time customers can try the service for free for one month.
The Price: $7.99-11.99 a month
Hulu is similar to Netflix. However, the streaming service allows viewers to watch current season TV-shows. Customers have the option to add on Showtime. Depending on the subscription viewers will see commercials. Unlike Netflix, the free-trial is only a week.
The Price: $20 a month
Sling TV allows viewers to watch live TV on a variety of channels like HGTV and ESPN at a low price. Customers can add more channels by choosing packages. Most packages like sports and kids, are $5 more. However, to add HBO to your plan it will cost $15 extra. The service offers Spanish language channels. Viewers can use the service on computers, gaming consoles, mobile devices and TVs.
The Price: $99 a year
You can use Amazon Prime for more than receiving a packing at the speed of light. The service provides movies and episodes of your favorite TV shows at your fingertips. Customers can add on subscriptions like Showtime, Starz, Comedy Central, Lifetime Movie Club and more. The service is available on more than 600 devices.
The Price: $149-199
Apple TV allows viewers to watch the streaming service of their choice on TV. The device allows a TV to work like a phone or tablet by using apps. Viewers turn on the device and click on the app of the streaming service to watch movies or shows. You can also download apps from Apple’s App Store for channels such as WATE 6 On Your Side, ABC News, and ESPN. The App Store provides episodes of TV shows and movies too.
The Price: starts at $49.99
Roku allows viewers to watch thousands of shows and movies from Netflix, Hulu and multiple channels. You only need a TV and a Roku device. However, in order to use Hulu or Netflix a viewer needs a subscription. Also, viewers can rent or buy movies and TV episodes.
The Price: $39.99-$139.99
Viewers can watch Amazon Video, Hulu and Netflix with Amazon Fire.The device offers live TV and you can watch more than 3,000 channels. Amazon Fire has gaming capabilities and can play music.
The Price: $35
Google Chromecast allows viewers to watch TV, movies and play games by using their phone as the remote. Simply connect the device to your phone and the HDMI port of your TV. Popular streaming services are available on the device.