Like many TV viewers, I’m toying with the idea of cutting the cord with my traditional contract-based provider in favour of a more modern approach, heading up by rise of streaming services. This is the first in a series following that journey, and the solutions and hurdles I undercover along the way.
As reported by the BBC this week, with the recent tightening of households budgets, it seems everyone is thinking about cancelling some of their unnecessary monthly bills, including streaming services.
For a while now I’ve been planning ahead for a future of cord-cutting – a phrase that originated in the United States a while ago, where expensive cable TV contacts are fast being ditched for cheaper individual months subscriptions.
Here in the UK there are three main TV options: Sky, Virgin Media, and Freeview (sold by a variety of smaller providers under various guises, as well as a standalone non-subscription option with a compatible hardware purchase).
I’ve been a Virgin Media customer since university during their origins as Telewest and then NTL, nearly two decades. While I’ll delve more into contracts and pricing in future posts, it’s fair to say after years of tough negotiating, I’m on a very good deal for a broadband, TV, and landline bundle – even better than new customers can get.
While I’m not thinking of leaving Virgin Media anytime soon – their broadband is by far and away the best in the UK (despite their terrible Superhub routers – another post for the future) – like most people, we haven’t used a landline in years, and in recent times have found ourselves watching very little outside of the basic Freeview channels largely due to the rise of streaming services.
That’s not to say there’s not some perks. The V6 set-top box is a decent piece of kit, crucially allowing multiple channels to be simultaneously recorded, series-linking, and the ability to store recorded programmes indefinitely.
But with the landscape very much heading towards a streaming future – with even the once steadfast Sky having recently launched the internet-only Sky Glass – it seems like a good time to be planning for a future beyond the traditional platforms.
Stay tuned for semi-regular updates on the process over the coming year or so.