Should You Switch to a Streaming Service?
This isn’t your father’s television anymore. Could the days of flipping through channels looking for something “good” to watch soon be over? They may be if you are a subscriber to Netflix, Hulu, or any one of the many streaming services out there. Streaming services take television viewing to a new level.
More and more viewers are cutting the proverbial cord that connects them to cable or satellite. These days, it is safe to say we can watch whatever we want, whenever we want, on whatever device we want. While I haven’t cut the cord yet, I am strongly considering it. Before I disconnect from the safe world of satellite television, I need to know what I will be getting with Internet streaming, how my family will benefit, and what I should consider before making my choice.
Benefits of Streaming Services
If I make the switch, I will get more flexibility, a totally different viewing experience, and unfortunately the chance of not being able to watch anything if I don’t have a reliable Internet connection. Streaming services offer the user the ability to subscribe and cancel without termination fees. The average cost of streaming services is $10 per month. I currently pay $100 a month for satellite service, which gives me 300 plus channels, of which I only watch approximately 10. In addition, with a streaming service, I can subscribe to my favorite shows and be alerted when new episodes are available. Some services even monitor your preferences and suggest shows similar to the ones you have watched. Too good to be true? Well, it is if you don’t have reliable Internet service. Without a good Internet signal, your chances of having a positive viewing experience are greatly diminished.
Impact on Family Viewing
Another factor in determining if I will make the switch is how this change will affect my family. Will my daughter still be able to watch those episodes of Good Luck Charlie and Austin & Ally that are on five times a day on The Disney Channel? Will my husband be overjoyed to have complete control over the remote, because each of us will all be able to watch something completely different on our own devices? With streaming video, my daughter would be able to watch unlimited Disney Channel. The good news is, I can choose whether or not she does. I realize I can do this now with satellite, but honestly, I don’t take the time to do it. With streaming video, instead of blocking content, I only need to subscribe to what I want her to watch. As for my husband, he already has complete control over the remote, so nothing will change there. I, however, will be able to watch something completely different while he is watching Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and Tuesday night something. You get the point.
Streaming does offer some unique educational content that may be helpful for students. Some of my choices would be Grammar Revolution, Mathispower4u, and Pro Guitar Lessons, all available on Roku. Math does not come easy for my daughter. We have spent many late evening hours looking through textbooks, searching the Internet, and looking through YouTube videos to explain a concept that she did not grasp in class. By subscribing to Mathispower4u, for example, she can quickly search for the topic and have it explained within a few minutes. Also, we could skip those expensive weekly guitar lessons. Instead of scheduling time to trek across town for an hour in an already jam-packed week, she can learn chords from the comfort of home by subscribing to Pro Guitar Lessons.
Things to Consider
Be sure to consider all the factors before you “cut the cord” on your television service. Ensure that all your favorite shows are available on streaming video. In addition, check the contract you have with your cable or satellite company—it may cost you more to cancel. And you’ll want to check your Internet service. If your Internet is slow or you have limited data, subscribing to a streaming service may not be a good option. One last consideration is to bundle your services, combining satellite/cable and streaming video. You may be able to eliminate some of the channels you don’t use on satellite or cable which could reduce your monthly bill.
Jane Sparkman is the technology content specialist for K12. For the past 22 years, she has been involved in education, both online and brick-and-mortar. She began her career as an educator and taught technology and business to high school students. She moved into the virtual world of education in 2007 as an adjunct instructor. Since then she has been in many roles including, instructional supervisor, content manager, and now content specialist. She has a particular interest in the importance of educating children in the area of business and technology. A native of Missouri, Jane obtained her Masters in Education at Southeast Missouri State University and she loves the St. Louis Cardinals.