Want to cut the cable cord? Here are options


When York County residents Kevin and Kristen Hahn were getting ready to welcome daughter Emma into the world five years ago, the couple realized they weren’t going to be spending a lot of downtime in front of the television.

The Hahns were paying DirecTV about $125 each month for their TV options, and weren’t watching many of the channels offered.

So they decided to “cut the cable” and switch from broadcast TV to a streaming option called Plex.

“If you’re looking to stream, there (are) so many devices out there,” said Kevin Hahn. “Finding the right device that works in your comfort zone is important.”

Today’s viewer has dozens of options to watch TV, movies and live sports. An increasing number of companies are trying to attract the millions of “cord-cutters” who want to ditch traditional cable or broadcast options for services that stream live content over the Internet.

Comcast recently announced customer bills would rise an average of 2.2 percent this year. AT&T said it would raise DirecTV’s prices by up to $8 a month by mid-January.

Through Plex, Hahn said he can stream all of his content through his TV. He said he uses Plex, Netflix and Amazon Prime to watch all of his favorite content and shows.

He said his new plan is much more cost-effective and works better with his family’s lifestyle. He said it’s a good tip to shop around for streaming options in the fall, when many new shows debut.

“One thing my wife and I comment on is that we don’t put (the TV) on for noise,” he said. “We may only put it on for a couple hours. It helps us be more focused, and it helps with kids not learning to sit in front of the TV all day.”

The Herald has put together a comparison guide to help break down top choices for watching content at home or on the go.


▪ Netflix

What’s it cost? $10.99 per month for a standard plan, $13.99 for the premium plan

What do you get? A strong mix of original shows (“House of Cards, “Orange Is the New Black”), movies, (“Beasts of No Nation, “Bright”) and new hits (“Stranger Things). Disney will pull access to its titles from Netflix at the end of 2018 to start its own streaming service. Netflix says it will spend about $7 billion on content in 2018. You can access it through the Netflix app on most devices.

Is it on-demand? Yes.

▪ Amazon Prime Video

What’s it cost? $99 per year or $11 per month. A video-only subscription costs $9 per month

What do you get? Exclusive series such as “Downtown Abbey” and “The Americans.” You can add HBO, Showtime and other premium channels for $9 to $15 per month. Amazon has about 40,000 titles to stream, but only a fraction of those are included with Prime streaming. You can access it through the Amazon Prime Video app on most devices.

Is it on-demand? Yes.

▪ YouTube TV

What’s it cost? From $35 per month

What do you get? It offers live TV to your phone, tablet and television without a contract. It’s compatible with iOS and Android phones and tablets. It’s currently available in 83 metropolitan markets. You can also stream you content from anywhere in the U.S.

Is it on-demand? Only in certain markets. Check with YouTube TV to see if you live in a market that offers on-demand service.

▪ Plex

What’s it cost? For a Plex Pass, $4.99 per month, $39.99 yearly or $119.99 for lifetime subscription

What do you get? You can watch from major U.S. networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and more, as well as local programming, news and sports. Mobile Sync allows you to sync movies, music and photos to your mobile device for offline viewing.

Is it on-demand? It can be used to watch on-demand content.

▪ Apple TV

What’s it cost? It costs anywhere from $69-$199, depending on how much storage you want.

What do you get? It’s a plastic box that connects to your television set via an HDMI cable. It then connects to your home wireless network and allows you to run Web apps. Apple TV has more than 50 “channels,” streaming content from Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, MLB.tv, ESPN, Disney, ABC News, CNBC and more. It also allows you to display what you’re doing on your MacBook or iPhone, on your TV screen.

Is it on-demand? It can be used to watch on-demand content.

▪ Sling TV

What’s it cost? Packages cost from $20-$45 per month.

What do you get? It’s a live TV package that features more than 30 channels, including ESPN, AMC, TNT, CNN, History, HGTV and the Disney Channel. You can pay more to get additional and/or different channels. Although Sling TV is a subsidiary of Dish Network, the satellite provider, it's operated as an entirely separate service. You do not need a Dish subscription (or a satellite dish) to get Sling TV.

Is it on-demand? It can be used to watch on-demand content.

Local cable TV package

▪ Comporium

What’s it cost? A basic package could cost around $70 per month.

What do you get? A full channel list depending on the desired package: comporium.com/channel-listing-local/.

Is it on-demand? It can be used to watch on-demand content.

David Thackham: 803-329-4066, @dthackham