A la Carte Television: Would it Really Save You Money?

tv-remoteThe momentum for cutting the cord and getting rid of cable once and for all is really picking up speed, but there are still plenty of people out there hesitant make the switch, and not just for fear of missing out on favorite programming—though most of it can be viewed elsewhere, for a fraction of the cost, if not for free. But some are holding out on the hopes that cable providers might start to offer an alternative to the larger packages: a la carte cable options. This feature would allow consumers to pick and choose which channels to subscribe to, paying a per channel rate. (Remember, the average American watches just nine percent of the channels available to them.)

But would an a la carte cable package actually save you money? At the end of the day, it just may end up costing you more.

One report from the L.A. Times suggests that the prices could increase because media companies will have to compensate for loss in revenue. That loss would be attributed to compensation being delivered on a per subscription basis, rather than a total cable customer subscription basis. The report theorizes that roughly 56 channels would survive the transition to a la carte and that of those, the ones on the lower end of the totem pole, in terms of numbers of subscribers, would have to double or increase their fee just to stay in business.

And don’t forget: everyone in a typical household has different tastes, so stack up all the various types of channels you’d need to accommodate everyone, and you’re very well looking at a bill the same as you were paying before, if not more.

Another report by The Street puts it into perspective by comparing it to services that already exist, which most of us can relate to. Both Apple and Amazon.com Instant Videos are a la carte viewing services. The perception of affordability is what could be the thing that gets consumers each time. Much like you’d do on one of the two aforementioned services, when selecting cable channels to subscribe to, you might think, “Oh, well that’s just $1.99; that’s not so bad!” Repeat that a handful of times and it starts to add up.

Of course, with services like Apple and Amazon.com Instant Videos, your credit card is pinged as you order, rather than being sent a monthly bill. So at least with a la carte cable, the total monthly cost will be more in your face.

So there you have it. In theory, a la carte television sounds like a good idea, but at the end of the day, the tried and true money-saver is to just cut the cord altogether.

How to Watch the World Cup Without Cable

719px-WC-2014-Brasil.svgToday marks the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, taking place in Brazil. While it will be an exciting few weeks for soccer fans around the world, there’s one problem: how are you going to watch any of the matches if you made the decision to cut the cord and ditch cable?

Of course, you could hit up a local sports bar. But with 64 total games to be played over the course of the tournament, that’s a lot of time at a pub, away from the comfort of home. (Plus, you’d likely end up spending more on drinks than you would for a month of cable.)

Thankfully, there are a few options to let you still enjoy the matches.

FlatWave Amped: That’s right. Our very own indoor HD antenna can help you watch the game, though you won’t be able to watch all of them. Ten of the games—including the final match—will be syndicated to local ABC affiliates, so using our antenna will help you get a taste.

Univision: Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’ll still know what’s going on. The Spanish-language broadcaster will stream all 64 games through its website. But note: only the first 56 games will be available to everyone at no cost. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final game are only going to be available to paying customers with cable subscriptions through: AT&T, Bright House, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Optimum, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. However, depending on your area, you may be able to pick up Univision using one of our antennas, in which case you’ll be able to catch the final eight games.

TuneIn: One last option is the radio. Sure, you won’t be able to see it, but at least you’ll be able to experience the thrill of it in real time. ESPN Radio will broadcast each of the games, which you can listen to through a local affiliate or through TuneIn. This service pulls together all of the broadcasts that go out through ESPN Radio and posts them on its site, which you can also stream through its iOS and Android apps.

Time to Cut the Cord? Americans Use Just Nine Percent of TV Channels

watching-tvYou know what it’s like. You’re spending a lazy Sunday afternoon parked on your couch, flipping through the 500 channels available to you. Frustrated, you toss the remote aside and declare, “There’s nothing on TV.” You’re not alone.

A new study from Nielsen shows that, even when there is favorable programming on television, the average American only watches about nine percent of the channels available to them…channels that they’re paying premium dollar for.

Last year, the average cable-consuming home in the U.S. received 189 different channels, an increase of 50 channels from just five years prior. But despite the increase, they continued to watch the same 17-18 channels, which paying more for a larger selection. (Of which they never watch.) Think of it: that’s more than 170 channels you pay for, while never giving them a second thought.

Since much of the content on the channels you do watch is available online or through one of several screening services, this could be bad news for cable companies. The idea of cutting the cord is starting to spread and, despite cable companies being able to boast ample content, it’s clearly not being consumed to its fullest extent by consumers.

What do you think? Are you in the same boat, paying for all these channels that you don’t use? Have you been thinking about cutting the cord? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear what you think!

Case Study: Cord-Cutting on the Rise

cortarelcableThinking about cutting the cord? You’re not alone! A recent report, conducted by Experian Marketing Services, reveals that the number of Americans that no longer subscribe to cable is steadily growing. In the last four years, it increased 44 percent, totaling 7.6 million homes across the country.

On top of that, of all the homes that subscribe to Netflix or Hulu, 18.1 percent are considered to be cord cutters. The report also shows that if at least one resident of any household owns a smartphone or tablet, their chances of being a cord cutter increase by 20 percent, since users will use their devices to watch streaming video through apps like CNN, Netflix and YouTube.

What’s bringing about this change? Rising cable costs. The average cost for standard cable runs at around $85 per month, while both Netflix—the streaming-only plan—Hulu are a mere $8 per month.

Cutting the Cord? Here Are Some Cable Alternatives.

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So, you’ve finally decided to cut the cord. (Congratulations!) But now that you’ve cut back on a huge monthly financial burden, how do you go about getting watching your favorite shows? It may not be entirely as easy as programming your DVR, but there are a number of ways to help keep you connected to the entertainment world. Of course, start off with our FlatWave antenna to get all your local channels, but what about the non-network programming you love? Here are the two best options:

Dongles
If you haven’t heard of a dongle, it’s essentially a USB plugin that turns your TV, laptop, or tablet (the former being the most important of the three) into a simple streaming device. Google Chromecast ($35) was the first game-changer to enter the market. With it you can stream from Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, Google Play Movies and more. In April, streaming bigwig Roku is set to release its own dongle, Roku Streaming Stick ($49.99) includes the same options as Chromecast, with the addition of HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, and 1,000-plus TV stations. Finally, Amazon is said to be gearing up to release its own streaming dongle, though details are still scarce, so we’re unsure of pricing and details.

Stationary Streaming Devices
These gadgets, situated at your television’s side rather than portable ones like the aforementioned dongle, are another option. Apple TV ($99) and Roku ($49.99–99.99) are the go-to brands that most cord-cutters rely on. Both hook users up with virtually the same content type—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Youtube, Pandora, HBO Go, among others—but there are some notable differences. Apple TV lets you stream content—music, photos, and video—from your computer and Roku grants you access to 1,000-plus television channels. And for all you sports enthusiasts worried about missing out on your favorite team’s away games, which typically aren’t aired on local channels, both boxes give you the option to subscribe to season passes for MLB, NBA and NHL channels. They aren’t exactly cheap (roughly $200 apiece), but you’re still likely to save money over your annual cable costs.

Cord Cutting Revolution – Infographic

Cutting The Cord Infographic

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