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Should you cut the cord? A guide to decide for 2015

Jared Newman | Jan. 22, 2015
Given the tagline at the top of this column, you might think I'm a diehard cord-cutting advocate. But while I personally abandoned cable TV years ago, and hope the trend of others doing the same will bring lower prices and more choice to everyone, I don't think it's the best solution for everyone.

Given the tagline at the top of this column, you might think I'm a diehard cord-cutting advocate. But while I personally abandoned cable TV years ago, and hope the trend of others doing the same will bring lower prices and more choice to everyone, I don't think it's the best solution for everyone.

In reality, cutting the cord will work better for some folks than others, but the good news is that it's getting easier to take the plunge as new services and hardware options emerge. If you're thinking about giving up your pay-TV subscription for an Internet-only plan, here are some questions to ask yourself first:

Are you a sports junkie?

Cutting the cord used to be nearly impossible for sports fans, as there was no way to legally get ESPN. Fortunately, ESPN will be part of the upcoming Sling TV service, which costs $20 per month and comes with 10 other live TV channels, as well as TBS and TNT (both of which occasionally show sports as well). Between these options and over-the-air NFL broadcasts, you could put together a decent patchwork of sports programming.

You'll still end up with some holes, particularly from regional sports networks such as Fox Sports that require a pay-TV subscription. Standalone services like MLB.TV are an option for out-of-market teams, but local games are blacked out. All of this means that sports is still the biggest reason to leave the cord intact.

Are you cable news fanatic?

Do you wake up every morning to the soothing sounds of talking heads who would never question your own politics? If so, cutting the cord may be difficult. Although CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC all offer live streams of their cable networks, access in all cases require logging in through a pay-TV provider.

If it's just news you're after — and not just the viewpoints of one particular network — you've got some options. CBSN is a streaming website and app that offers round-the-clock news, and other apps, such as WatchUp, can string together a daily newscast from dozens of sources. They're both free, and you can always turn to over-the-air broadcasts for local news coverage.

Any other channels you can't live without?

One of the hardest parts of cord cutting is letting go of a particular channel or show that you really enjoy. But speaking from experience, this becomes less difficult over time, as you realize there's no shortage of good stuff to watch through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other online sources. And as more networks, such as HBO and Showtime, offer their own standalone services, it's only going to get easier. You just needto rip the band-aid off.

 

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