Is anyone else as tired as I am of cable companies “rewarding” loyal customers by jacking up the bill to astronomical levels? I FINALLY said “enough.” I paid my last bill, and now I’m cutting their overpriced cord. Below, I’m sharing the research I did this week to help me pick the best cable alternatives.
Right smack-dab in the middle of the worst financial crisis of my lifetime, my cable company (Blue Ridge Communications, if you’re curious) raised my bill by $50 without warning. Then, the following month, they did it again. After several Twitter conversations and two phone calls (one with the world’s nastiest customer service representative), they basically told me there’s nothing they can do. I feel like they said, “Too bad, so sad, you get what you get and you don’t be upset.”
Well, my friends, this isn’t the 80s anymore. With so many cable alternatives, there’s absolutely NO reason to stick with an exploitative traditional cable company.
How many cable alternatives can you get with the money your cable company charges you?
First, this post is NOT sponsored in any way. I’m an Amazon affiliate, so I used an affiliate link where I mention them, but that’s it. I don’t even know if any of the other services mentioned below have an affiliate program.
When all is said and done, my bill came to $165 just for cable, a TIVO DVR plus two Tivo Minis that serve no purpose other than to allow us to actually access all of that overpriced cable on more than one television. Oh, and we only watch like two channels. My mom (she lives with me, remember) loves her Hallmark channels. 😀 For the most part, my son and I watch things on one of the many streaming services that we have.
I wanted to see how much I’d save by cutting the cord. I did the math. Here’s what I can get for that same price:
- Sling Blue with two upgrades to get my mom her Hallmark channels and a larger cloud DVR ($40ish), PLUS
- Hulu NoAds plan (about $12 a month)
- Netflix ($15ish for unlimited screens)
- Disney+ ($7ish with tax)
- HBOMax (I have it for $11.99 a month for a year)
- Amazon Prime Video ($13-ish a month after tax)
- Crunchyroll ($7ish a month)
- Peacock, without ads ($9.99)
- CBS All Access without ads ($9.99)
All that, and I still have about $40 left over each month. Plus, since I already pay for all of those except Sling, Peacock and CBS, I’m actually saving even more money overall. We’re not talking “buy a cup of coffee” savings, either. We’re talking a savings of $120+ a month. That’s $1,440 a year! Wow, I didn’t even realize that until just now. I wish I cut that cord years ago.
If you’re curious about the process that went into choosing SlingTV, keep reading. It involved spread sheets. 😀
Why did I choose Sling TV?
When I sat down to explore cable alternatives, I had a very specific list of needs in mind. It needed to have:
- DVR capabilities
- All of the Hallmark channels
- An affordable price tag
- At least 3 simultaneous streams (in case me, my mom, and my son all want to watch something different at the same time on it).
After I ruled out Hulu Live TV (too few simultaneous streams, too pricey overall, and no Hallmark channels) and Sling Orange (only one stream at a time), I narrowed down my choices to four options: Sling Blue, Sling Orange + Blue, Philo, and ATTNow.
Here’s the spreadsheet that I made to compare the features I needed. I’m sharing it because- aside from maybe the Hallmark one- these are the common features most people look for in a cable alternative.
|Sling Blue||SLING O+B||Philo||ATTNow|
|Base price per month||$30||$45||$20||$55|
|DVR included?||10 hours||10 hours||Unlimited||500 hours|
|DVR saves for how long?||No limit; 30 days after cancelling||No limit; 30 days after cancelling||30 Days||90 days|
|Can you upgrade DVR?||Yes, $5 for 50 hours||Yes, $5 for 50 hours||No||No|
|Max # of Streams||3||4||3||3|
|# of Channels||50||50+||61||45|
|Hallmark Included?||$5 extra||$5 extra||Yes||One included, $5 extra for all|
|Free trial?||3 days||3 days||7 Days||7 days|
|Specials||$10 off for first month||$5 off for first month||None||None|
|Final Price Per Month||$40||$55||$20||$60|
Right off the bat, ATTNow is out. While they have the best DVR of the bunch, but their cost is higher overall than even the Sling Orange+Blue.
That left me with the two different Sling TV packages and Philo. The ONLY reason Philo didn’t win is because my mom likes to keep her shows for longer than 30 days. Sling TV costs double the price once you factor in the extra that I need to make it work, but I feel like my mom will be more comfortable with them. Plus, Sling comes highly recommended by a few friends. I don’t think I need the Orange AND Blue, so Sling Blue it is!
Long story short, how many cable alternatives can you get with the money you’ll save by cutting the cord? If you’re paying as much as I am, the answer is a whopping NINE, and then some! Ditching exploitative cable companies just seems like a no brainer when you put it that way, doesn’t it?
Do you have any of the cable alternatives I researched? Which do you recommend?