Every time I read an article about saving money by ditching cable or satellite TV, I wondered if doing so would be practical for me. After all, I'm not one of those outliers who rarely watches TV or stays silent when the conversation shifts to Sunday's episode of "The Good Wife."
I was drawn to the idea of keeping money in the bank, but thought I'd miss all the foreign language programming my satellite subscription offered. I know having such a diverse programming lineup is certainly one of the benefits of satellite TV, as so many foreign shows supplemented my language studies and helped me become (almost) fluent in Spanish.
But then I realized that ditching my TV service for a streaming subscription really is the way to go. There are so many options out there and I can watch my favorite shows on any of my devices, no matter where I am. Perhaps that's why it seems like everyone I know is opting to cut the cord and why I did too.
Millennials Are Making the Switch
It was easier to make the switch when I realized I wasn't alone. We're all tired of paying for channels we don't watch just to get those we do. And it seems my peers agree. Between 2008 and 2012, the number of millennial TV viewers dropped by almost 20 percent, and a recent study by analytics firm comScore showed that 24 percent of millennials don't subscribe to conventional pay TV.
We're Watching Online
It's not that millennials aren't watching TV shows, because we certainly are. Research shows millennials are turning to streaming sources to watch traditional television programming and exclusive streaming content on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. When my friends all talked about watching Hulu on their lunch breaks, I started wondering what I was missing, and how I could get more quality programming for less money by switching to streaming TV services.
Figuring out How to Pay Less and Get More
It took some research to find the combination of streaming subscriptions that provided access to all my favorite shows and still helped me cut costs. If you're wondering what to do, know that you can get the basics from Hulu and CBS All Access for network TV. Netflix can bring you hit exclusives like "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards" and you can get premium shows, like "Game of Thrones," on HBO Now or the Showtime service.
Purchasing subscriptions to individual shows on iTunes or Amazon can shave even more money off monthly expenses. For sports fans, DISH Sling TV offers a sports package, or look into league-specific subscriptions, which provides access to NFL, NBA, or MLB games online.
Still, I Had Concerns
Once I started to convince myself that streaming content instead of getting it through my satellite subscription wasn't such a bad idea, new concerns crept in.
Will I have to pay more for Internet service to get the bandwidth I need for streaming so I don't have to deal with episodes constantly buffering? I did some digging and found that if my home's Wi-Fi connection drops out, I can use my data plan to continue watching the show on my tablet without a pause in the action. The ability to watch programs anywhere – at home, on the road, or at a favorite coffee shop – is yet another benefit to streaming TV. And I'm only paying for the devices I already have and use, so I'm not incurring the additional expense of a screen and a cable box or satellite receiver.
Why I Won't Go Back to Cable or Satellite
Once I made the decision to ditch my satellite TV connection, I never looked back. I can enjoy binge-watching all my favorite shows with none of the stress or guilt of worrying about filling up my DVR. I can watch what I want, wherever and whenever I want. Most importantly, I'm saving hundreds of dollars a year. Netflix marathon, anyone?