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Pros and cons of getting rid of cable television

If you are like the many cable TV subscribers that cringe each time they receive their monthly bill, then you can probably understand why cable subscribers are "cutting the cord" at a higher rate than ever before. It's easy to understand why, since more and more content is available online. Many (if not all) of your favorite shows, movies and even networks such As Disney and ESPN can be accessed using streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Sling TV. And all with a lower cost than traditional cable packages. Sounds tempting, doesn't it?

Well, it is but it's important to make sure you know the pros and cons of ditching cable. Read on to determine if "cutting the cord" is the right option for you.

Pros

• The main reason for ditching cable is the potential cost savings. With the average cable TV bill sitting at over $120, that's about $1,440 per year. When all is said and done, you will pay approximately $900 to $1,000 per year for a high-speed Internet connection and streaming depending on the subscription services you might want. That's roughly a savings of about $500 annually.

• Another big advantage is ease of use. Streaming alternatives such as Netflix tend to be a lot easier to use than cable TV. With cable TV, you may go through hundreds of channels, many of which you don't use, before you find what you're looking for. Plus, you don't need to take a TV anywhere. Watch your favorites anytime from your phone or tablet as long as you have an Internet connection.

• For those who have struggled with spotty service during high winds or heavy rains, weather is much less of an issue because there is nothing attached to your home such as a satellite dish.

• Another benefit may be that you simply watch less TV. Instead of turning on the TV to watch whatever is on or channel surfing, users turn it on to intentionally watch a specific program. This can lead to less time spent lounging at home.

Cons

• Streaming services certainly aren't free and subscribing to multiple packages can add up quickly. If you decide to buy an Apple TV or Amazon Fire Stick, you're likely to spend up to $200 for that. You'll also have to pay for any subscriptions. Sites like Netflix and Hulu cost about $10 per month, and network subscription sites such as Sling TV start at a cost of $20 per month. Not only that, but you also have to consider the cost for high-speed Internet, especially if you don't already have that. As long as you manage your streaming services effectively, you should see a cost savings after switching, but it's wise to complete a cost comparison before making the switch.

• If you are a sports fan, one of the biggest changes between cable TV and streaming services is the potential loss of sports coverage. While there are plenty of apps, services and websites dedicated to helping users stream sports matches online, these are sometimes difficult to use. While many streaming providers are beginning to add comprehensive sports packages, these packages are often pricey and not available in all regions.

• Another con is the delay in online releases for lots of TV shows. This is especially true for Netflix, which generally doesn't release episodes of a show as the show progresses, but rather full seasons at a time. This could be especially frustrating for some.

Cable subscribers interested in ditching cable will need a fast Internet download speed, and it's probably not the best choice for the avid sports fan, but apart from that there aren't many reasons to not cut the cord. You might try it out and see if it works for you and your family. The main thing you have to lose is an overpriced cable bill.

Danielle Moser is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at threepeasservices@gmail.com.

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