So, you’re thinking about joining the millions of Canadians who’ve cut the cord? Here’s what you need to ask yourself.
How Good Is My High-Speed Internet?
When it comes to Internet speed and streaming, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, faster is better. Two: if you have another user (or users) in the house, you’re going to need more Mbps if they’re using the Internet at the same time you are. With those two caveats, this is what Netflix recommends in terms of Internet speed and streaming per screen:
3.0 Mbps: Recommended for Standard Definition (SD) quality
5.0 Mbps: Recommended for High Definition (HD) quality
25 Mbps: Recommended for Ultra HD quality
Want to test your speed? Check here.
One final point: in terms of your bandwidth usage, the size of your screen does not matter. What matters is the resolution in which you stream. SD quality is at least 480p, HD quality is at least 1080p, and Ultra HD is at least 2160p. Of course, if you’re using a smaller screen, lower resolution won’t look too bad. However, if you sprang for a 70” TV but can only watch Game of Thrones on standard definition, you might get a little frustrated.
How Much Internet Data Do I Get Per Month?
You will need approximately 1GB of data per hour of hour of standard definition TV you watch. If you watch TV on high definition, you’ll need 3 GB per hour. If you’re the kind of family who only watches TV on the weekends, maybe a 150 GB per month plan is fine. But if you have a toddler who’s into watching the same episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates over and over again, or if you have a teen who’s bing-watching Pretty Little Liars, you may need an unlimited data plan.
Am I Close to a Broadcast Tower?
If you want to take advantage of a digital TV antenna to minimize the use of our internet service, you’ll need to see if you’re within range of a tower. There are online resources you can use to see what stations are in your area, like this interactive map from the CBC. Chances are though, if you’re in an urban area, you’re within range.
Do I Want to Cord-Cut or Cord-Shave?
Cord-shaving is when you cut away as many TV channels as possible, keeping only the few you can’t get anywhere else. You still get cable, just only what you really want. We have an entire article about it here. Cord-shaving can be a smart move if you can’t replace certain channels with an online equivalent, or if you just want to take a half-step towards getting rid of cable.
What Sports Do I Need?
Since you can’t get sports over Netflix or one of their competitors, you’ll have to buy a sports streaming subscription separately. Make a list of what sports and teams you follow and start doing some research. For example, you can watch baseball on MLB.tv Premium and football fans are covered by NFL Game Pass. Packages change from year to year and can vary on what teams you get depending on where you live. There are some free streaming services like SportsCanada.tv, and of course the CBC frequently streams games for free.
The Bottom Line
There are lots of factors to consider when you’re thinking about cutting the cord. However, with the average monthly cable bill $66, and with some families paying a whole lot more, it’s no wonder that so many people are deciding to make the switch.