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Apple TV on a Budget

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Apple TV on a Budget

Cutting the cord and moving to Apple TV could save you a lot of money. This article covers how to save money with Apple TV.

Apple TV Is Cheaper and Better Than Cable

Let’s face it, cable is expensive. Once you get past the introductory deals, you may be paying over $100 a month for cable or satellite service. To make matters worse, you must often sign a multi-year contract to get those low introductory rates. When you add it up, you’re spending over $1200 a year for cable.

Have you really looked at what’s on cable TV? It’s mostly garbage. There’s a plethora of low-budget food and reality shows. I found myself spending an eternity sifting through hundreds of channels of trash TV. It’s almost as if I was spending $100 a month to have someone dump a bag of garbage in my living room.

The other problem with cable or satellite service is that it doesn’t always work. I’ve never had reliable cable service. When it doesn’t work, we’re forced to stay home from work, waiting for the almost mythical cable guy to show up. They fix your cable, but it breaks a few weeks later. Poor weather conditions can impact satellite TV reception. That’s unfortunate, because most people want to watch TV when it’s too stormy to go outside.

After having serious and repetitive failures with cable, I got fed up and decided to cut the cord. I bought a second generation Apple TV and never looked back.

Cutting the Cord in 2011 with My First Apple TV

I purchased my first Apple TV in the summer of 2011. It really didn’t have much to offer, but even then, it was enough to cancel cable. The only decent native apps were YouTube, Netflix and iTunes. Netflix provided a lot of entertainment, but AirPlay really saved the day. AirPlay is Apple’s technology for beaming content to Apple TV and other receivers. The combination of Apple TV, AirPlay and an iPhone more than made up for the lack of cable TV. In fact, I saved so much money, I bought an iPad and still came out ahead.

Flash forward to 2017 — opportunities for cord cutters have greatly improved. Apple introduced a new Apple TV running the tvOS operating system. It also features an App Store for Apple TV. We no longer have to wait for Apple to work with content providers, deploying a few “channels” on occasion. New tvOS apps are added to the App Store every day. Virtually every network, streaming service and major sports league offers a tvOS app.

TV Providers Are Resisting Cord Cutters

There is a dark side to the innovative promise of Apple TV. Cable and satellite companies are massive industries, often operating as monopolies in many areas. Devices like Apple TV are a huge threat to their business. Unable to innovate, these industries have colluded and negotiated to block access to their content on TV devices, such as Apple TV. One of the most frustrating aspects of Apple TV is the need for a TV provider (cable, satellite) subscription to activate most network apps. For most people, this made cutting the cord impractical.

Over the past few years, new services have emerged that provide a cable-like experience over the Internet. Providers like Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW and others offer cable services without the cable. The prices are reasonable and there are usually no strings attached. The only downside is that major players are blocking access to content on these services. Virtually every service is missing a few key channels such as Comedy Central or CBS. The new industry has opened the window to renegotiate fees. Viacom expects exorbitant compensation for their content. If you buy an Apple TV, they still want you to subscribe to cable. Realistically, cord-cutters need to understand that they can’t get it all. (next page →)


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