Cordcutters Turn to OTT Services
And why they will never look back
In today’s divisive society, there is at least one thing Americans agree on: Cable Television sucks. A recent report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index revealed that the cable television consumers were some of the least satisfied customers in the nation.
The fact of the matter is that cable television is expensive, offers little choice, and has poor customer service. Bearing that in mind, it’s no wonder why millions of Americans are dissatisfied and desperately looking for Cable TV Alternative.
While the cable companies would like you to believe that ditching cable is too expensive or complicated; in truth, cord cutting is incredibly simple and cheap. You don’t have to give up your favorite shows in order to kill your cable bill. All you have to do is subscribe to a few Over-the-Top services (OTT).
What is OTT?
An OTT service provides video and television services over the internet directly to the consumer; without any intermediaries like your common cable provider or internet service provider. To put it a better way, an OTT service is an online video streaming service.
With an OTT TV Service, you can watch thousands of shows and movies for a fraction of the price of what a cable subscription would cost. Due to the diversity of the OTT market, it is possible to get access to all your favorite shows without a cable subscription.
“Global online TV and video revenues will reach $21.52 billion in 2016, a massive increase from the $3.48 billion recorded in 2010, according to the Online TV and Video Forecasts report from Digital TV Research.”
Do I need a Cable Subscription?
It should be noted that some OTT services still require a cable subscription; but typically you can get that same gated content elsewhere. To get access to an OTT service, you need an internet connection and a device to stream the video content on.
Video Streaming Devices
These devices can be your smart phone, your computer, a smart TV, or even a gaming console. However, for the best streaming experience possible, I would recommend purchasing a dedicated streaming device. Two of the best streaming devices are made by Roku and Mohu; and they are really worth a look.
Now while there are hundreds of OTT services on the market, there are really only four services that I would call a “Must Have”; and they are as followed: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO GO.
Let’s take at each service and see what makes them so special.
The granddaddy of OTT services, Netflix single handedly changed the television game almost overnight.
Originally, Netflix was a simple business that offered a cheap online DVD rental service. In 2007 they started offering online streaming; and now seven years later Netflix makes up 34 percent of internet traffic.
For $8.99 a month, you can get access to thousands of shows and movies. Typically, Netflix gives you access to television shows up until the most current season that is airing. With Netflix you can while away the hours binging on hit shows like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Dexter and even catch up on classic like The Andy Griffith show.
You also get access to some of the most amazing original content around. Shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Peaky Blinders, and Arrested Development have been gobbling up fans and Emmy nominations like nobodies business.
Simply put, if you want to cut the cord, Netflix is mandatory.
Hulu can best be described as a cousin to Netflix. Where Netflix has a huge stake in high dollar media, Hulu is perfect for the person that loves network television and esoteric foreign television. Hulu gives you access to current season television that airs on network television, i.e. ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW.
If you don’t own an antenna, Hulu is a great way to get your network TV. Most of Hulu is actually free, but for $7.99 a month you can get a Hulu Plus subscription and have access to even more content.
Unfortunately most of their premium content is available on Netflix, so there is little incentive to upgrade to a paid plan; not to mention Hulu Plus still has ads. Hulu is great, but stick with the free version unless you need Plus for access on your streaming device.
Now Amazon Prime is slightly different from other OTT services. Amazon is a little confused as to what company they want to be; and luckily for the consumer that translates to a wide swath of services that come with Amazon Prime.
For $99 a year, you get access to thousands of shows and movies, with a selection comparable to Netflix but different; as well as free 2-day shipping, a music streaming service similar to Songza and Spotify, and early access to online shopping deals. That’s a heck of a bargain, all things considered.
While Amazon Prime isn’t your one stop Cable TV Alternative, it’s tremendously useful at filling in the content gaps left by Hulu and Netflix.
Not only do you get access to shows not available on Hulu and Netflix, but you can also purchase current seasons of your favorite television show. Seasons and episode downloads are surprisingly cheap, so even if you don’t get Prime, it’s worth a look.
HBO Go is the fantastic stream app released by the premium cable channel HBO. With HBO Go, you get access to every HBO show ever as well as all the movies currently in rotation on HBO.
For now HBO Go is a special case. As of this moment, you need a cable subscription to access it; but that is about to change. In conjunction with the premiere of the new season of Game of Thrones, HBO plans to offer a standalone subscription plan for those without cable; it’s price to be announced.
While HBO Go is not a viable option today; in a few short months, this service will definitely become a must have.
Kill the Cable Bill Today!
Cable may not be out of business yet, but Winter is Coming. With a streaming device and these four Over-the-Top services, you will never again have to rely on bloated cable subscriptions and substandard service. When you add up the yearly cost of every service, it pales in comparison to the staggering heights one’s cable bill can climb to.
OTT Services and Their Effect on the Bundled TV Model
You may think you need cable; but in truth you don’t. The fact of the matter is that cord cutting is easier, cheaper, and offers a wider selection of content than any cable company could hope to provide.
As always, comments are welcome and encouraged. Cheers!
What OTT services do you use? And what tips do you have for us? Sharing is caring, and if we keep sharing with fellow cordcutters, than the movement will continue to gain ground!