There are many trends in technology and entertainment that come and go, but one that’s certainly staying is the convenience of cutting the cord. This trend is so impactful that according to a new Consumer Reports survey, about one fifth of current cable subscribers are expected to ditch cable completely in the coming months.
The survey revealed that 20-percent of those who currently pay for a cable subscription said they were either very or extremely likely to drop cable in the next year, largely citing high cable pricing and billing frustrations.
Growing Discontent with Cable
This recent study simply reinforces ongoing changes in consumer behavior. Earlier this year a study by Nielsen showed that 48-percent of homes had ditched traditional cable over an eight-year period, with more than 16 million U.S. homes using over-the-air antennas and on-demand streaming services in 2018.
Sixty-nine percent of Americans who have used telecom services in the past two years say they have seen unexpected fees pop up on their bills according to the Consumer Reports study, which is one of the primary reasons consumers are increasingly steering clear of cable. These add-on fees have led to confusing or misleading charges in their monthly bills, regardless of whether they’re locked into a promotional rate. But with alternatives finally at their disposal, consumers now have the ability to abandon the wired or satellite cable model for greater pricing transparency, lower costs, and more content options.
Cable is No Longer the Most Reliable Choice
Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T is poised to spinoff DirecTV into its own public company, or merge its assets with satellite TV rival Dish Networks. Whether these reports come to fruition, what’s clear is the old guard of home entertainment is reacting to dwindling numbers of traditional TV subscribers.
Moreover, while studies often cite cost and billing practices among the main concerns with cable TV, consumers may soon be unsatisfied with the reliability of content offerings as well. Earlier this month, AT&T warned that DirecTV, U-verse TV, and AT&T TV NOW, could soon lose hundreds of stations as it negotiates with Sinclair—the second largest owner of local TV stations in the U.S. This is just one example of mounting tensions likely to continue in the wake of cable TV subscriber declines, leaving the fate of content offerings uncertain for millions of viewers in numerous markets.
Customers Turn to Cord Cutting—For Less
Cutting the cord, which is the act of ditching cable in favor of antenna or streaming, has grown steadily over the years. And despite cable companies wooing new customers with savings on bundles and other short-term discounts, cable simply seems unable to compete against the slew of content options that are now available.
Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video offer on-demand viewing of thousands of movies and TV shows, while cable replacement services, such as Sling, Hulu Live, and YouTube TV, also offer a cable-like experience to streaming customers that’s generally far less expensive than traditional paid TV. Plus, more streaming options continue to roll out, with Apple TV and Disney+ among some of the most exciting new choices available.
Streaming for Free
While you can access the best paid streaming services like those above on numerous streaming devices, there’s also a huge amount of content available to stream without spending a dime. A TCL Roku TV offers hundreds of free channels with a wide selection of movies, TV shows, news, documentaries, and even music. And, all of this free content is just as easy to access as all the other on-demand streaming services, right from the TCL TV’s home screen.
Some of these popular free streaming services include Pluto TV, Tubi, and The Roku Channel, to name just a few. Each offer slightly different catalogs of movies, TV shows, and other great content, which is typically ad-supported to help you watch what you want without accounts, subscriptions, and fees.
For TCL TV owners, simply visit the “Channel Search” from your Home Screen to find countless streaming services that are completely free!
Don’t Forget About Over-The-Air
There’s another way to get local broadcast TV completely for free. If your TV has a tuner built-in, like a TCL TV, you can simply connect an antenna to access network affiliate and local over-the-air TV channels instead of getting them through a satellite or cable provider.
Many TV networks, including NBC, Fox, and CBS, offer free programming. If you have an analog TV or an older HDTV, you might need a digital converter box to connect the antenna to your TV. All TCL TVs have tuners built-in, so you can easily enjoy broadcast TV—without a cable subscription.
How to Get Started with Streaming
With so many options for streaming movies, TV shows, music and more, along with many free choices, it’s easy to see why cable subscribers are turning to streaming and devices that can support a wider range of viewing options.