BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — The COVID-19 public health emergency has greatly increased the importance of television and the internet in daily life. It also inspired a lot of people to explore the many streaming services that are available (Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube TV, etc.).
Are streaming services the best way to save money on television viewing? "There are advantages and disadvantages. It is not for everyone," explained Bill Hoyt, operations manager for the Smart Squad at Lifetime Service (known previously as Stereo Advantage).
Watching streaming services is a different experience than watching cable TV. With cable, you just press a button and go to the channel you want. With streaming, you have to use apps and navigate through different types of menus to get the program you want.
The benefit of streaming services is that you can join and cancel when you want, and many services offer a free trial period before you commit.
Cable TV bundles everything for you. You have to make choices concerning which streaming services you want to subscribe to as they come in a wide range of prices with various options.
Streaming services need the internet and an Apple TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire Stick to work with your TV - unless you have a Smart TV that has the ability to get programming off the internet.
One thing to keep in mind, said Bill Hoyt, is older TV's will generally each need their own streaming device to operate. Having multiple streaming services in operation at once will also require a faster internet connection in your home.
While streaming services can be cheaper than cable, many do not include the local channels. Buying multiple streaming services can be just as expensive as cable.
"It is not magic. It is a series of choices you can make if saving money is a priority," said Jared Newman. Newman is a tech journalist for TechHive.com and has a large following of subscribers to his newsletters on cord-cutting.
People need to be "flexible" when choosing a streaming service and do some research ahead of time, Newman told 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly.
To help you see which streaming services are right for you, Newman suggested the following links which will compare prices and show you what programs are available: