The complicated steps to kiss cable good-bye

Michele Murphy

The WOW bill arrived last week and I completely understand the company’s name, but for reasons I doubt it ever intended.

I'm done hemming and hawing about making a switch, although the problem about which switch is best for me still looms. Are you asking that question, too? Seems possible based on the volume of social media posts I see that aren't exactly love notes to cable providers.

Typically, I've just switched back and forth between cable companies. I do not understand a business model that punishes loyal customers with higher prices while offering new customers inexpensive entry points.

I called Time Warner and the out-the-door price to match my current services saves me about $50 a month.

I asked whether I could somehow eliminate the monthly fees for cable boxes to accrue additional savings. By now the salesperson and I are buddies so she told me she uses Roku at her home. That clicked. I finally recognized one of the names I've heard in connection with streaming services.

Off I go in search of Roku because I'd calculated it would pay for itself in a few months plus I'd never again have to return the darn boxes to some obscure office.

Please know there are other options you may find better suit your needs. Some services currently offer a Roku device with prepaid subscriptions. Also, you cannot completely divorce the cable guy because you must maintain Wi-Fi (internet) for streaming to work.

I'm feeling more confident about next steps until the nice salesman at Best Buy helps me realize one or a combination of available streaming services may work as well, or better, for me than the cable company. He reeled off names like Sling, Hulu, YouTube TV and others I have already forgotten. But just like the services may provide a Roku with a paid subscription, Roku, once attached to a TV, offers free trials for several streaming services.

I investigate the various services, their plans, station lineups and costs. Another reality sets in. I just may not get the same number of stations I now have. So, how many stations do I watch regularly? What can't I live without?

As the choices come into focus, I call Gerry Vogel at Avon Lake Public Library (ALPL). He recently had a standing-room only crowd turn up on a night when the weather was foul to hear him talk about "Cutting the Cord."

He explains the industry is changing more rapidly than most of us can keep up with. New services are entering the market constantly. What is free today with your Netflix or Amazon Prime account could very well cost you next year, maybe next month. Vogel says a lot of people are having trouble adjusting to the huge paradigm shift that has occurred with just television viewing, much less streaming options. We're no longer forced to be home at a certain hour on a certain day to view the latest episode of a favorite series. With streaming service, we can watch whenever we want. This is hard to adjust to if you've spent decades tethered to TV schedules.

Figuring out a device that allows you to stream, and then streaming services that provide the news, sports and entertainment you enjoy, may just cause you to throw your hands in the air and stay with the cable company. In truth, your hands ought to be glued to your wallet. Cable companies count (pun intended) on your being afraid or otherwise unwilling to make the change.

They're not getting another dollar from me except for internet. What about you? Still need help? Then head over to ALPL at 7 tonight when Vogel will again present "Cutting the Cord."

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