Cutting the cord

Earlier this year, three major telecommunications companies announced price increases on cable packages (along with internet and wireless), so it’s little wonder that an increasing number of viewers are feeling a little financially disconnected. Prior to this announced increase, the average subscriber spent $53.56 a month on cable.

In 2015, the number of Canadian cord cutters grew by nearly a quarter of a million people. Viewers are increasingly looking for ways to bypass traditional cable and lower their costs as the rising price of cable has significantly outpaced the Canadian inflation rate.

But aside from looking at a blank screen, how can you cut your costs and still have plenty of entertainment?

Hoist the Antennae
An antennae, which can be purchased for under $80 or as a DIY project for a few dollars, allows you to pick up 10 to 20 HD stations or more, depending on your geographical location. Check what you’ll receive at your street address at tvfool.com. Where possible, choose an outdoor antenna (versus the indoor variety) which usually picks up a higher number of stations. The image quality for antennas is actually better than cable signals, and the best part is your monthly bill: $0

Streaming the signal
The decrease in cable subscribers has in large part been caused by the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Canadian services Shomi and CraveTV. For a fee ranging from $8 to $12 per month, you’ll receive a variety of popular movies and TV series’ (and in some cases original content). If you’re considering a streaming service, you may want to take advantage of the free trial each of the providers offer to determine which is best for you.

Netflix

Turn on a media player
You can stream from your computer or make use of one of the many streaming media players on the market. A streaming media stick can be purchased for as low as $40; more robust players start at $100. These devices will let you access numerous sources of free content in addition to paid programming. The key to choosing a streamer is selecting a device that offers a wide selection of content sources (including free content), while providing an easy to use interface.

Shomi

Slim down for 2016
As of March 1, 2016, cable providers were obligated to offer a basic cable package for $25 per month, as well as individual add-on channels. You are no longer forced to pay for the excitement of watching the Aquarium Channel under some bundled package. If you’re a casual user, you may find not having to pay for a bloated cable package a welcome relief.

With any paid cable or streaming service, ask yourself if it’s something you’ll be using all year round. If you tend to spend little time parked in front of a TV during the warmer months, consider paring down your commitment to these paid services during that time.

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