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Is Streaming the New DVR?


It seems that although "cord cutting" continues, the motivation behind it might not be all about saving money but also about convenience. According to a recent survey, 42 percent of people polled watched more online content this year than last year and the majority of those people stated that they used streaming services to catch up on misses episodes, not because they were watching something new.

So are people cutting the cord to avoid paying for a cable or satellite subscription or are they simply using various online services to watch programming they missed earlier in the week? It's hard to say. Cord cutting is definitely a factor, a fact shown in cable MSOs numbers over the last several years. But if you're willing to use several online services, you can avoid MSO DVR charges for the most part depending on your subscription level.

Avoiding the DVR Completely

So how can you avoid paying a monthly DVR fee and still get to watch your favorite programming? There are several ways but something people should realize is that using these methods, you can end up paying out more per month for the services than if you simply got a DVR from your cable/satellite MSO or purchased a TiVo. As well, there is some programming that while available from a streaming service, you're going to have to wait for. A good example is most cable programming from networks such as Discovery, FX and others. Most of these networks only make previous seasons of a show available to a service such as Netflix when the next season begins. If you don't mind being behind though, it can be much cheaper than a cable subscription.

If you're a fan of premium cable networks, keep in mind that networks like HBO, Cinemax and others require you to be actively subscribed to their cable/satellite provided counterpart in order to use their streaming service. HBOGo requires an HBO cable subscription. Not only that, but you have to have an MSO that has made a deal with HBO to provide the HBOGo service. If not, you're out of luck no matter what kind of cable subscription you have.

Streaming or DVR, Which is For You?

After several years of trying to find the best deal on television programming, I can tell you that finding the mix of linear content and streaming services that are right for you can be difficult to say the least. What works for us in our home may not be what's right for others.

For us, we wanted both full linear content as well as streaming services while traveling and within the home. That means a decent mix of services including cable and Netflix. We currently use an HTPC for cable content as well as Netflix access. We also use several Roku streaming devices in our home which provide access to Netflix, HBOGo and several other services on other TVs in our home.

Again though, this may not work for your family. While we tried to "cut the cord" and go without cable for well over a year, we found that we were missing a lot of the content we enjoy. Local network television is easy but getting cable content from popular networks can be hard to do. Very few offer any kind of streaming option no matter which streaming device you choose.

You do always have the option of buying individual episodes of newer shows from iTunes or Amazon. You'll pay for each one though and depending on the number of shows you watch, this can get just as expensive as a cable or satellite subscription.

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