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May 8, 2018
By Eric Bell, Contributing Columnist and Editorial Staff of MangoBoss
Cable has been a fixture of our media world for over 30 years. Back
when the Big 3 networks decided what all of us watched on television,
cable, led by the upstart Ted Turner, upset the paradigm and gave us
more choices than we knew what to do with. I mean, who needs 600
channels in a standard cable package really? That comedy show from
Uzbekistan may be truly unforgettable but I think I'll pass.
Today, cable is the prey and the hunter is a new kid on the block,
streaming TV. You get what you want and only what you want when
you want it.
The signal for the channels is "streamed" via internet to your TV, not
entirely unlike how regular cable works in other countries such as
France. There, if the internet goes out on one of their big cable
providers, say, SFR or Orange or Numericable, you lose your TV shows
Here in the US, cable is hanging in there, fro now. But recently, when I
had to make my internet choices for a new apartment in New York, I
decided to join the upstarts and go without cable TV, a choice called
"cutting the cord". For internet, I chose Spectrum over Verizon Fios,
though either would have been fine.
For everything else, I decided to create my own cable package.
The Cordless, Cable-less Choice Starts with the Type of TV You Buy
If the cable companies thought that TV manufacturers were going to
stay neutral in the fight for Next Generation TV, they were wrong.
Between the choice of staying loyal to cable or going with the new
cordless guys, TV manufacturers didn't even hesitate --- they went
with the new guys. They have seen this fight before and they have a
good hunch about who the ultimate loser will be. It's always the old
guys who lose the race for the next generation version of TV.
So, TV manufacturers have jumped in with both feet to make it
incredibly easy for you to stream TV into your television set and go
What you need to buy is a "smart TV". Literally, the TV will have "smart
TV" in its title or description when you buy it. I bought a 43", smart TV
from Sharpe for $249, on sale at Best Buy. I could have bought a 43"
smart TV from Samsung but it was $349 and I decided to difference in
the screens was not worth and extra hundred bucks.
The Cost Comparison
In New York today, and I've looked around, one of the most affordable
cable packages is $149 per month from Spectrum (the Silver Package).
That gets you your internet, fixed line telephones and all the cable
channels you can dream of, including Tennis Channel.
My basic internet costs $49 per month. I stream everything else. Roku
came with the TV an it acts like a TV network. I also get PLuto with the
TV and it acts like a TV netwrk, I get CBS live, NBC live (yes, I get the
Today show with Hoda every morning on my TV without cable), films,
For sports, I see ESPN for free, and synopses of sports on CBS and the
My only two paid streamers are Amazon Prime, which costs me about
$3 per month and ATP Tennis TV, which I buy for $14.99 per month
and cancel it the next month after the tournament I am interested in
My cable installer told me that the cable companies are fighting the loss
of revenue by hiking the cost of basic, unbundled cable. So, yes, you
can go cordless for now for $49 but, in the future, the cable companies
are going to make that choice hurt you. You might end up paying $100
per month for just a internet connection. It's already happening. When
I first thought of cutting the cord, the cost of internet alone was $39
for just the internet. Now, it's $49.
So, How Do You Make the Magic Happen?
You literally just buy a smart TV. Then, schedule your cable guy to
hook up the internet. Have your TV ready, so that when he hooks up
the internet, he also hooks up your TV. You might need to throw him a
few bucks fro the favor, standard practice in NY and elsewhere.
You will receive a remote with the smart TV. Turn on the power button.
Then, choose the home icon which looks like a house. That brings up
your choices, ROKU, AirTV, PLUTO, and so on. If you don't see what
you're looking for, then just select "search" and type in the name of
the channel you're looking for. Your TV screen will behave just like a
My advice is to get used to navigating around PLUTO or ROKU channel
first. They seem the most like standard old school TV.
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