Streamable video content, like that offered through Hulu and Netflix, continues to rise in popularity. According to a new study from Forrester, by 2025, half of consumers younger than age 32 won’t pay for a cable subscription. These “cord-cutters” and “cord-nevers” want their shows and channels whenever and wherever they are.
However, that doesn’t mean cable is on its deathbed — far from it. Plenty of consumers augment their streaming services with traditional cable packages. XFINITY® makes it especially easy to bundle Internet services with TV plans, allowing customers to experience the best that cable programming and streaming services have to offer.
For those unsure as to which option best fits their viewing tendencies, this guide offers a succinct comparison between XFINITY TV and streaming service options.
Streaming services have their fair share of advantages. The most prominent benefit is price. Some streaming options, like Netflix and Hulu, are much more cost-effective than basic cable packages — running anywhere from $8 to $15 per month. Sling TV is slightly more expensive, starting at $20 per month, but it also offers total access to around 20 basic cable channels.
Beyond the fact that individual streaming services cost less than cable, cancellation fees aren’t a part of the equation. Consumers aren’t subject to the same terms and conditions found with cable. There are no contracts, simply subscriptions. Users can purchase and cancel their accounts when and if they wish.
Streaming also offers high levels of convenience, allowing users access to shows wherever they have Internet. And with new devices like the Google Chromecast, users aren’t confined to streaming on small screens, either — they can easily broadcast streamed media from their connected device onto any screen with an HDMI input.
Streaming services don’t offer as much variety as cable — there isn’t a one-to-one exchange in terms of shows and channel lineups. For consumers who want regular access to sports channels or have to know who wore what to the Oscars, that lack of access can be a deal breaker.
Additionally, streaming video relies on an Internet connection. For subscribers enrolled in a slower DSL service — or even a lower tier cable Internet package — viewing capabilities may be limited. If the Internet connection can’t handle the load, the show quality will deteriorate.
Finally, users may be somewhat restricted by the device they use to stream or broadcast content. Apple TV’s apps are limited, and Chromecast only works via the connected device. If kids want to watch Saturday morning cartoons but don’t have access to the requisite app or device, they’re out of luck.
XFINITY Cable TelevisionPros:
XFINITY features a robust channel lineup, showcasing one of the greatest benefits of cable TV packages: channel selection. Cable customers have access to more shows and dedicated channels like ESPN and HGTV.
Another advantage is that cable subscribers can somewhat customize the package they want. Premium channels like HBO® are add-ons to the more basic packages. While it’s not quite comparable to the a la carte options recently developed in Canada, U.S. customers can opt out of certain packages, thereby saving money on their monthly bill.
For those interested in mobile viewing opportunities, XFINITY has an additional benefit — many channels offer cable subscribers remote streaming options via app or Internet connection. Customers just need their XFINITY username and password to access live content from a host of channels.
If price is a deterrent, subscribers can also bundle XFINITY TV with Internet and other services. This can save a substantial amount of money. It’s also convenient, as users have to pay only one bill, instead of dealing with two or three separate statements every month.
Certain XFINITY plans do require contracts, which means that there may be an associated fee for early termination. Other costs, such as equipment rental expenses, may also be included.
In addition, some package pricing can be confusing. Many plans feature a low introductory rate that expires after a certain length of time, leaving subscribers with higher bills than they originally planned for.
When it comes to accessing TV and video today, it’s a buyer’s market. The cable industry’s efforts to keep pace with streaming services has given consumers a wide range of options.
For those ready to cut the cord, XFINITY offers reliable standalone Internet services, with some areas seeing speeds up to 2 Gbps. These faster speeds will ensure consistent streaming and a better viewing experience across all devices.
Viewing doesn’t have to be all or nothing, though. Consumers who can’t access their favorite local news program via streaming services may want to augment their current Netflix subscription with a basic cable plan, for example. In that case, XFINITY has competitive bundling packages for Internet and TV, allowing subscribers to leverage the advantages of both options.
In order to choose the service that’s right for them, consumers should consider the pros and cons of both options carefully. Once they’ve analyzed their viewing habits, they can find the XFINITY service package that fits their needs exactly.
*Pricing and speeds are current as of writing. Pricing and speeds are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas. Say goodbye to streaming boxes and hello to even smoother services. Chromecast and Roku both offer stick HDMI thumbnail sized devices that plug into the HDMI port on your TV. You just plug in the stick and connect it to your Wi-Fi network. Both products look alike, but perform differently, so it is important to understand how each product functions.
Chromecast streams video straight from your tablet, smartphone or laptop to your TV through an app on your mobile device. It is different from other airplay devices because you operate it only from your mobile device. When you access the service on your device, you’ll pair your Chromecast app with a services app like Netflix. Simply select the movie/show you want to watch and it will play on your TV screen. Your mobile device acts like a remote, but the interface operates within the app on the device.
Positive Features of Chromecast
Chromecast retails at $35, and is one of the cheapest options for streaming on the market. Chromecast is good for those who have an extensive media library on their computer because you can easily stream that library to your TV.
Negative Features of Chromecast
The Chromecast product acts as an accessory to your mobile devices. It has no traditional on-screen TV menu interface or remote control, as you need a mobile device to control it. The selection for channels and sites is not as extensive as the competition. Chromecast-compatible services include Hulu Plus, HBO Go, Netflix, Google Play, Pandora, Crackle, YouTube, Plex, Viki, Vevo, PostTV, RealPlayer Cloud, Rdio, Songza, and PostTV.
How Roku Streaming Stick Functions
The Roku streaming stick retails at $49.99 and acts as an airplay device similar to Apple TV or Amazon Fire, but for a lower price tag. Roku comes with a remote and a typicalmenu interface. You can add a Roku app to mobile devices similar to Chromecast, and control it from there. There is even a feature that can stream your favorite photos, movies or music from your mobile device to your TV, so you can show off those family vacation pics or listen to music while you make dinner.
Positive Features of Roku Streaming Stick
Roku is a simple, affordable way to turn any TV into a Smart TV with an easy remote. Roku offers over 1,000 choices in sites including Hulu Plus, HBO Go, M-Go, Amazon Instant Video and Netflix.
Negative Features of Roku Streaming Stick
If you prefer to watch or listen with headphones, then it should be noted that the Roku streaming stick remote does not have the headphone jack like other Roku products. The Roku costs about $15 more than Chromecast, but that payout gives you more of a viewing selection, so that may be worth it to you.
The Future of Streaming Sticks
Streaming sticks are still fairly new to the marketplace, but are attractive to consumers because they are affordable and small and don’t take up space in your entertainment center. Roku is your best bet for overall viewing selection and price.
Find John on Google+