Grayson County presents a number of challenges to local cord-cutters wishing to find alternatives to traditional paid television services.
While a number of terrain issues exist in Grayson County that make it difficult to find a uniform solution to those wishing to ditch cable and satellite TV for alternatives, Sherman Best Buy In-Home Advisor Joshua Keelin said the most common reason people cut the cord is to save money.
Cost saving comes from purchasing the required equipment, such as a Roku, Apple TV or similar streaming box to deliver the content to the TV as opposed to paying a monthly fee to lease the box from the cable or satellite provider, he said.
“Depending on what kind of viewing you have will determine what type of cost savings you will see,” Keelin said. “It is possible to see anywhere from $25-$150 a month depending on exactly what their needs are. Certain streaming services are going to offer different types of content. If you find yourself watching the same styles of shows, or the same couple of channels and not using all the hundreds of channels you can count on one hand you are watching, we can find a content service that costs between $10-20 a month instead of paying for hundreds of channels you are not using. That is anywhere from an $80 to $95 dollar saving a month in subscription fees in bills.”
A small upfront cost for the equipment is usually between $50-150 depending on what type of device the user goes with.
Another important factor to consider is the ecosystem of electronic devices in the home. Keelin said someone using primarily Android or Kindle devices might opt for something that uses Chrome casting. Alternatively, a family that uses mostly Apple products such as iPhone, iPads and the like would likely be more inclined to get an Apple TV.
When it comes to network enabled devices, Keelin recommended seeking the strongest network with the fastest speeds available to get the best results. The needs for network bandwidth will depend on the number of devices. For example, if a home is streaming to multiple TVs while also using connected devices would require faster download speeds than someone just streaming a single service to one television at a time.
The bare minimum for most services is around 5-8 mbps per device for good results.
The other type of cord cutter is the individual seeking to get away from paid services entirely, Keelin said. Those individuals might seek the older option of installing an antenna on their home. However, he warned that like with internet service there are a variety of environmental factors including terrain, trees, the lake and the hills surrounding Grayson County that can affect over-the-air TV reception.
“With TV you have to be able to reach 30-60 miles to get any sort of good reception,” Keelin said. “We offer multiple types of antennas that will work in different places. Having an in-home consultation is a pretty good starting point to figure out what type of antenna is going to work best for your environment.”
He said there are too many variables to determine which locations in the county can receive which signals. Some viewers could get upwards of 20 or more channels depending on factors while others might struggle to receive even three or four stations. Keelin said something as simple as a tree can change everything and reception, like internet service, can vary from an individual’s house to their neighbor across the street.
“We do see people trying antennas,” Keelin said. “More often than now what we see people doing is going to some sort of streaming service to get TV. There are programs now like AT&T Now and Playstation View as well as Hulu Live that offers a variety of cable-like streaming services. You can still get the local channels, you can get whatever is playing life and it doesn’t require hardware like an antenna or dish on the home.”
Another motivating factor that has increased the number of cord cutters in recent years is the increased mobility of consumers. Keelin said a major benefit to cable is the vast number of channels at your disposable while the downside is being tethered to the living room. He said with mobile streaming services people can watch their favorite TV programs on the go, even live sports and other local programs. He said that is a big driving factor to cord cutters alongside cost.
Internet providers have the same challenges as over-the-air TV reception in terms of getting a signal to the home. Individuals who live outside the city limits of most towns will need to resort to either a line of site wireless provider, satellite provider that offers internet in the home or rely on mobile hot spot if their provider offers that option. He said like with TV reception things could be vastly different from one home to the next even in the same neighborhood and said a consultation is the best way to determine exactly what solutions work best for each location.
“With all the different ways to get TV into the home we are seeing many different ways clients are using that now. We are seeing a shift towards less restricted viewing options,” Keelin said.