Good evening! How many of you are familiar with cutting the cord? Nowadays, many people are getting rid of cable and satellite television in favor of various streaming services. It's a much cheaper option for television that works quite well for certain individuals. I've been experimenting with the cord cutting experience this year and it might work for you too. Keep reading to find out the perks and drawbacks of using streaming services instead of traditional television.
What is a streaming service anyway? You create a subscription, download an app on your tablet, computer, or cell phone, and watch tv shows and/or movies. That's basically how streaming works. The most popular streaming services are Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. But there are many others, including HBO Now, Showtime, Starz, CBS All Access, etc. Some streaming services offer live network television, including sports, news, reality tv shows, and more. Today, there's a streaming service for everyone. You can even find niche options for fans of anime, horror, superheroes, etc. Most streaming services are quite cheap, ranging between eight and fifteen dollars a month on average. Streaming options with live television cost a lot more. They vary widely between twenty and eighty dollars a month.
I had DirecTv for many years, but they kept raising the prices and it was becoming prohibitively expensive. A person shouldn't be wealthy to enjoy quality television. The cheapest cable and satellite packages cost around a hundred dollars each month. These are the least impressive packages with a small number of channels. The better packages usually cost more than one hundred and fifty dollars. In fact, it's not unusual for the premiere packages to cost more than two hundred dollars a month. Who wants to pay that kind of money for tv?
Here's what I'm doing at the moment. I'm currently using PlayStation Vue for live television. It includes most of the major channels, including the main sports, movie, news, and niche options. PlayStation Vue also includes local channels like CBS, NBC, ABS, and FOX. I'm missing a few channels. It doesn't have the Lifetime channels, History, or NHL network. Beyond that, I'm perfectly happy with the channel lineup. Like I said, streaming live television costs more. My package is almost sixty dollars per month. That might sound pricy, but it's still considerably cheaper than cable or satellite. In fact, this particular package on PlayStaion Vue probably includes many more channels than the lower tier packages through cable or satellite providers. There are some extra perks as well. PlayStation Vue doesn't charge tax in my area or hidden fees. Viewers don't have to pay fees for boxes, regional sports, installation, or anything else. PlayStation Vue and most of the streaming options don't requires contracts either. It's simply an app that runs live television and you can cancel at any time.
Most of my streaming services provide on demand television shows and movies. I use Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, and Starz. The monthly cost isn't much for any of them , but you can actually reduce the monthly charges and still have several options. For example, I pay for Amazon Prime and Starz annually. On demand streaming options are great because you can flip through their video library and binge anything. You can watch any movie or tv show whenever it's convenient. All of the streaming services on my list have a ton of content, so you should be entertained for a long time. It works pretty well for families as well. The kids can watch something entirely different than the adults.
Believe it or not, I found a few free streaming services. IMDB Freedive, Tubi TV, and Sony Crackle are entirely free. They also include ads. All of three of these streaming services have decent content, but it's less impressive than competitors like Netflix. Basically, they make good supplementary content to a viewer's primary services.
Even sports fans can join the streaming revolution. I'm currently subscribed to the WWE Network and ESPN+. The WWE Network is the right choice for huge wrestling fans because it includes exclusive shows and all of the Pay Per View events for no extra charge. ESPN+ is great for fans of niche sports, such as MMA fighting, rugby, and multiple college sports. They're pretty cheap too. The WWE Network is around ten dollars a month. I'm only paying fifty dollars per year for ESPN+.
Here are the biggest advantages to cord cutting. It's less expensive than traditional television. You can also get significantly more content for the money. You can take movies or shows anywhere. Watch a football game or movie while you're sitting in the back seat during a road trip. There's no such thing as, “I’m bored. There’s nothing on tv.” A few streaming services will provide more content than you could possibly watch. Many people have limited time for tv anyway. It's simply not worth the money for cable or satellite if you can only watch something periodically. There's a lot of choice because most streaming services are on demand. You're not limited to whatever is playing on a certain date or time. Even the live streaming services, like PlayStation Vue, have a certain amount of content on demand. Overall, you can get significantly more content through streaming services than cable or satellite providers. Many people are paying almost two hundred dollars a month for a single cable or satellite package. Instead, you can have a handful of streaming services that provide a lot more content for less than a hundred dollars each month. You're getting more content for less money.
What are the biggest drawbacks? Well, your internet speed will definitely affect the quality of the programming. Faster internet speeds will give you a better viewing experience. So, if you're using a cheap and slow internet service, cord cutting might not be the best option. Most streaming services limit viewers to two devices at the same time. That means you can't watch more than two screens simultaneously, which might be a problem for larger households. Streaming can also be a fleeting experience. A particular service might be here today and gone tomorrow. Some of these streaming services won't survive in the long run because the market is so competitive. Certain apps also need a USB stick, like an Amazon Fire or Roku. It's a device that can be plugged into the television's HDMI port. For example, the PlayStation Vue app can be downloaded directly through a PlayStation 4 game system, Sony televisions, tablets, and cell phone. But PlayStation Vue requires a tv stick for everything else. This might also be a difficult option for people who aren't particularly tech savvy. Streaming in general might seem confusing for many viewers and they're simply better off with traditional tv options.
Is cord cutting the right decision for you? Ultimately, you're the only one who can make that decision. It's probably a good idea for people who are comfortable with modern technology and searching for methods to save money while retaining a lot of content. I'm going to write separate posts for certain types of streaming options. Streaming appears to go into multiple categories, so I'll keep you up to date throughout the year.
Honestly, I'm paying a little more than a hundred dollars each month for all of these streaming services combined, but it's a ridiculously huge amount of content. It's still cheaper than traditional forms of television and I'm getting way more programming.
Are you using Netflix or other streaming services? Did you recently cancel cable or satellite television? Go and ahead and leave a comment. I hope this article helps and come back for next week's post. Good night!
Thanks for visiting my blog again! It's been a little while since I covered a major steampunk topic. Another steampunk interview seems like an excellent choice. Every steampunk maker has a lot of knowledge and art that should be addressed to the public. Today, I'm sharing an interview with Michael McCoy. He's a steampunk maker and small business owner who creates jewelry, hats, and other accessories. If you're looking for accessories to include in steampunk cosplay, check out his business called Broken Arrow Steam & Gears. He's very knowledgeable about the steampunk genre and subculture, so I'm glad he was willing to share this information with us. You can read the full interview below. Have fun!
Q: Why did you become interested in steampunk?
A: Actually, it’s my Dad’s fault. When I was young he introduced me to H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and other classic science fiction authors. I read The Time Machine, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Invisible Man, The Lost Continent, John Carter of Mars, and all those great stories, and I fell in love with the genre. When I discovered the term ‘steampunk,’ I was already hooked.
Q: How long have you been operating Broken Arrow Steam & Gears?
A: I started Steam & Gears in 2013 and it wasn’t too long after that when my wife decided to join in making steampunk items.
Q: Would you mind giving a little description of your small business?
A: Steam & Gears is a hobby business for us right now. I make steampunk jewelry and my wife makes mini top hats, fascinators, journals, hat pins, and other accessories. While we have an online page, virtually all of our sales are at shows. We have sold at shows in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. As we grow, we are adding more shows, and hope to travel to some of the big shows in other parts of the country.
Q: Are you working on any special projects?
A: We are both busy making things for the next event we are attending at the end of this month. I also have a side project I’ve been working on. One day, I was trying to find an upcoming steampunk event that was within a reasonable distance from my home, and realized there was no comprehensive list of everything in one spot. So, I decided someone had to make the list, and why not me? I am administering a Facebook page that is trying to link every Facebook steampunk event in the U.S. into one list so that you can see everything that’s going on without having to look for hours to find each event.
Q: How would you define steampunk? Everyone in the steampunk community has their own vision of the genre.
A: Actually, that’s a very hard question, and I haven’t seen a short answer that is really complete. My short version is that it’s a steam powered history that never happened. Imagine we kept inventing things, but never went past steam and mechanical power – that’s where steampunk exists.
At first I thought steampunk was only Victorian sci-fi stories, but it is so much more. Steampunk has moved out of the written story and includes music, art, dance, clothing, inventions, and for some, a lifestyle. Like steampunk, the Victorian Era was very diverse, and so are the people getting into steampunk. During the 1800s, while we were putting electric lights into New York City, and the first steam powered cars were on the scene, the Wild West was taking place. And during this steam era, other interesting things were happening in the rest of the world. For instance, 1870s Japan had Samurai warriors. There is so much to work with. Steampunk adds to the definition of what steampunk is by creating something new. It’s exciting to see the new costumes and creations every time I go to an event.
And of course when you are trying to explain steampunk to a person who doesn’t understand what you are getting at, you can always ask if they saw the move “Wild, Wild West” and go from there.
Q: Do you have a favorite type of steampunk? Victorian, Wild West, post-apocalyptic, etc.
A: Yes, Victorian.
Q: Be honest. What did you think of the Mortal Engines film?
A: I enjoyed the movie. It’s set in a post-apocalyptical future and has some elements of steampunk. When I discovered it was based on a book, I went looking at the library and found that it’s one book in a series, so who knows? Maybe someone will take on the next book – or even the prequel trilogy. And the book is better (isn’t it always?).
Q: Are you looking forward to any steampunk events this year?
A: Yes! First up on the events list is Big River Steampunk Spring Faire in Hannibal, MO on March 30 and 31. We love the festival they have in the fall, and this year is their first spring festival, so we are excited to be a part of this event. Then we go to Old Timers Days Steampunk Festival in Van Buren, AR on May 18 and 19. We were fortunate enough to participate in their first steampunk event last year and are looking forward to see how it grows this year. There’s the first Annual Heavener Runestone Steampunk Festival in Heavener, OK on June 8 and 9. Heavener is known for its Viking festivals at the Runestone park, but this year they’ve added a steampunk event. We are hopeful it’s a big success. But the event we always look forward to is the Big River Steampunk Festival over Labor Day Weekend. This is a must-attend event in the Midwest and we love attending.
Q: Do you have a favorite steampunk novel or series of books?
A: I read a lot. I love the books by Wells, Verne and others that were the inspiration for the modern steampunk stories. I’ve enjoyed many steampunk series and books – here’s a few:
Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn
Tales of the Automazombs series by Toni Johnson
Carpenter and Quincannon series by Marcia Muller
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel Wilson
The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series by Pip Ballantine
The Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger
The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor
The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy by Jacopo della Quercia
The Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest
The Chronicles of the Pneumatic Zeppelin series by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr.
Burton & Swinburne series by Mark Hodder
Girl Genius Novels series by Phil Foglio
Daedalus series by Michael J. Martinez
The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
Clockwork Angels series by Kevin J. Anderson
Clockwork Dagger series by Beth Cato
Q: Have you noticed any changes in the steampunk culture recently?
A: I think that over the last year I have seen more people doing steampunk in different cultures – Asian, African, and Native American come to mind. Steampunk has expanded way beyond Victorian England and is so much more. And the events I attend are seeing more people in attendance each time as well. Steampunk is getting bigger and better with time.
Q: What are your thoughts on steampunk crossover projects with licensed properties, like Star Wars, Doctor Who, Marvel, Star Trek, and such? I find them quite entertaining.
A: I love anything steampunk, so I have no problem with crossovers. I’ve loved seeing the steampunk photos people have made with the crew of Star Trek, and the steampunk versions of the characters from Star Wars. Dr. Who has always been a bit steampunk, and the 8th Doctor’s TARDIS was very steampunk, as well as the ‘reboot’ TARDIS until after Rory and Amy leave. Any time anyone remakes something in a steampunk image, it’s fun.
Q: Do you have any big plans for 2019?
A: Hopefully we'll acquire a larger vehicle, so that we can go to more festivals. We currently travel in a Prius (yes, the 10x15 foot tent, weights, lights, tables, product, clothing, etc., etc. in a Prius) and a larger vehicle would make things much easier. If so, we may plan on attending some the steampunk festivals on each coast. And who knows?
(And big plans always include the Big River Steampunk Festival. Check it out online, and make your plans to attend!)
That's the end of my interview with Michael McCoy. I really enjoyed talking to him and hopefully, you learned a lot of great steampunk details from him. He brings a lot of positive energy to the subculture and it's always nice to see new steampunk creations. I'm leaving a couple of links, so you can find out more information about his work. He's also the administrator for a Facebook page called All Steampunk Events. My blog is going to include more steampunk news in the near future. Keep checking back for more posts. Thanks a lot for being a great audience and I'll see you guys next week.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.