Kickertek is proud to partner with a variety of companies to offer you a variety of options for TV services at competitive rates. Give us a call to learn what company may best meet your needs.
Options in the Twin Cities area:
Options in the Twin Cities area:
- Satellite Television. DirecTV and DISH round out your choices for this type of service. We prefer DirecTV over all other services. We feel they offer the most programming for the money, and the most advanced technologies available. When we design home theaters for our customers, we will always use DirecTV if possible.
- Traditional Cable Companies. They still offer a great variety of programming, although not always as much HD content as the DirecTV or DISH. They have great On-Demand offerings.
- "Over the TOP" set top box services, such as Hulu, Netflix and AppleTV. Lots of great original content and flexibility. Usually, you can save money with these services, but be careful. Some of our customers have discovered that when they add up the cost of using 2-3 of these services, it can start to approach the cost of cable tv, so shop carefully, and really access your needs with each service. NetFlix and Amazon probably offer the most value for most customers, but there are a lot to choose from.
- Antenna TV. Did you know that you can tune in almost 40 channels with a properly tuned antenna on your rooftop? The HD quality of antenna service is fantastic and it's free! But it's lacks content and requires a TIVO box to use with a DVR (which costs around $20 a month). We offer an antenna tuning service, so if that is the direction you wish to go, we highly recommend calling us to look over your options.
Are you thinking about cutting the cord?
Download our own "Cutting the cord Guide" here
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The KICKERTEK Guide to Cord Cutting Cable TV was once the ultimate entertainment necessity. The over-the-air days of VHF/UHF television signals couldn't keep up with voracious viewers who needed more, more, more channels. Having a cable directly pumping all that content into your home became the norm, and the cable providers— which likely provide your high-speed broadband internet access as well— knew they had you on the hook. But cable providers didn't factor in that the internet they provide would become their worst enemy via access to streaming video. Services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video are the most well-known names in what's become known as "cord cutting"—doing away with pay TV and using over-the-air (like the old days) or internet-based services to get all your "television" programming. That means no more paying a huge monthly fee for thousands of hours of TV you don't watch (in theory). Instead, you pay individual services for a la carte programming. It's a lot like paying for just what you watch. Almost. In 2015, the FCC redefined what really constitutes "broadband" speed in the US as 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, up from 4Mbps, which was the standard since 2010. At the time, that put 17 percent of the population (55 million households) without true broadband. According to the FCC's 2016 Broadband Progress Report, 34 million US citizens (10 percent) lack access to such speeds; 23 million are in rural areas. The FCC toyed with lowering the broadband threshold number again, but backed off that plan in 2018 amidst backlash. However you define broadband, a 5Mbps download connection should be enough to handle your binge watches. But more is always better, especially as services role out high-definition offerings like 4K streaming. Here's what else you need to become a full-fledged cord cutter with access to (almost) everything you'd get via regular cable TV. www.Kickertek.net 402-965-0365 Antennas and DVRs Before we get to into the apps/hardware you need to make it as a cord cutter, consider what you can still get via over-the-air (OTA) broadcast. While you can watch much of what's available on the major networks and several cable channels using streaming apps, you simply can't get it all. That goes especially for the major networks, most of which require you to log in with your pay TV information to watch online. Before you jump on the antenna train, determine if you have over-the-air HD as an option in your home. Visit AntennaWeb or TV Fool for a listing of the stations broadcasting near you. If you can position your antenna facing the nearest broadcast transmitter, all the better. Just don't be surprised if Media Hubs There are a lot of ways to watch internet-based streaming TV as a cord cutter. The options for screens include your phone, tablet, computer, or a big ol' TV itself. All are perfectly capable: just download the apps for the services you want. The big names like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon are all available on just about every platform. On the PC, visit their respective websites. To be honest, if you've got a decent laptop and a nice TV, with an HDMI cable between them you have all you need to be a cord cutter. Stream on your laptop and watch on the big screen. Media hubs come in to other main forms: a thumb-drive sized unit that plugs into the HDMI port on the TV, or a larger media hub the size of a CD player. If you're thinking about a larger unit that promises faster performance and perhaps even onboard storage, you want the latest Amazon Fire TV or maybe the Apple TV 4K. Again, Roku makes an entire line of products like this, but our analysts haven't cared for some of the latest. Every single one of these products supports the holy trinity of cord-cutter video streaming apps: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video. Other than that, if you've got a specific service you want to watch, be careful. Buying any media hub (or console or smart TV) doesn't guarantee access to every streaming service. Know Your Cord-Cutting Services The key to effective cord-cuttery is being aware of what apps are available on your hardware of choice, knowing the programming on the various services, and just how much they're going to cost you. Netflix $7.99 per month for one SD stream; $10.99 per month for 2 HD streams, $13.99 per month for 4 streams plus 4K/Ultra HD content support. Netflix is the grand-pappy of online streaming. It started as a DVD-by-mail rental service, and while that's Hulu $7.99 per month, with some free content; $11.99 to go commercial free Hulu is literally owned by companies that run three of the major TV networks. So it's the place to go to find the latest TV shows from ABC, NBC, and Fox the day after the program airs. To view these shows on apps with media hubs, consoles, or smart TVs (complete list here), you have to have the premium subscription (which used to be called Hulu Plus, but is now just Hulu). Hulu carries many shows from other sources, like Syfy, that can only be viewed on the Hulu website via a browser, for some asinine reason. Prime Video $99 annual or $10.99 monthly Amazon Prime account, or $8.99 for streaming video service only Prime Video is a nice hybrid of an all-you-can-eat streaming service like Netflix, plus a video-on-demand store, with plenty of original content to go with it. It's "free" to anyone with a Prime account, which is best known for giving customers free two-day shipping—but you can also get Prime Video for $8.99 a month as a standalone service, with none of the other Amazon extras. YouTube Red $9.99 per month If YouTube is a staple of your cord-cutting experience—and with millions of hours of video uploaded every second, it probably should be—then maybe this paid experience will be to your liking. After a one-month trial, 10 bucks a month gets you completely ad-free YouTubing—plus access to original shows behind the paywall. These aren't TV shows in the classic sense, but originals created by YouTube stars. YouTube also partnered with big names like Eminem and Katy Perry, as well as the Sundance Film Festival. You also get access to YouTube Music and Google Play Music. Don't confuse it with YouTube TV, which we discuss below. Crackle Free, ad-supported Pretty ubiquitous among the streaming hubs, Sony-owned Crackle offers an eclectic selection of content for free, mostly with ads. We are talking really bad commercials cut in at odd moments in movies—sometimes in the middle of a scene—as if an algorithm handles it rather than a human. The movies tend to be pretty craptacular with occasional gems. It's trying more and more to do original content. CBS All Access $5.99 per month with limited commercials; $9.99 per month for no ads When you're the No. 1 TV network, you get to do your own thing. That's why CBS launched its own streaming service. You get one week to try All Access free before the fee is applied. That six-or-nine bucks a month gets you access to some of the most popular shows on TV the day after airing, including The Big Bang Theory, Mom, Elementary, Survivor, Amazing Race, even daytime shows. There are also a few thousand old TV shows streaming here, such as Cheers, all the versions of Star Trek (the rights are owned by the CBS Corporation), Brady Bunch, The Twilight Zone, and Hawaii Five-0. HBO Go and HBO Now GO requires cable subscription to HBO. Now is $14.99 per month HBO GO has been around for a while, and is a great streaming service, but is only available to existing HBO subscribers with a cable plan. It has no limits on concurrent streams, though, so plenty of people without pay TV use shared passwords for their Game of Thrones fix. Showtime $10.99 per month Showtime has made itself an add-on with just about any service that offers the option. It's available through Hulu, Amazon Prime, and CBS All Access, plus the live TV streaming services (below). Or use the apps on Apple TV, iOS, Android, Roku, and Xbox One. The price to get Showtime those services is generally a couple buck lower per month, a $24 a year savings. Starz $8.99 per month The premium cable channel Starz—home of some great shows like Counterpart, Power, Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Outlander, and The Girlfriend Experience—is both streaming for those with a cable/satellite subscription to it, available as a discrete streaming service (Starz Streaming), or as an addon to Amazon Video. Live TV Stream Services A couple years ago, some services decided it wasn't enough to just provide some a la carte streaming of shows. They wanted to provide what is pretty much a full cable-television subscription experience over the internet. These are those services. Sling TV $20 per month for Sling Orange basic package (30 channels); $25 per month for Sling Blue (45 channels) Sling TV was the first of these types of services back in 2015, and is available on many devices (Xbox One, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS, Android, Windows, even the Chrome browser, and a few other hubs, though notable not on PlayStation 4) with a ton of add-on options. That's why it calls itself "a la carte tv." Big Ten Network (BTN2Go) Games and events included in the BTN Plus subscription are non-televised games and events. To check if a game is included with your BTN Plus subscription, look for the "BTN Plus" designation next to the game or event you want to watch. A BTN Plus Subscription does not include access to other televised (BTN/ESPN/CBS/etc.) content on BTN2Go. Sony PlayStation Vue $39.99 a month to start For the base price, you get on-demand stuff from almost all of the networks (but not The CW) and even get them live in some markets. There are lots of basic cable stations (minus Viacom-owned stations like SyFy and Comedy Central). Each new tier of service adds more channels, going up to $44.99 to add some sports programming, and $54.99 for 90 channels, ending with $74.99—that Ultra package has those 90 channels plus paid cable services HBO and Showtime (but no Starz) for a little less than adding them separately. DirecTV Now $35 per month for 60+ live channels to start Like PlayStation Vue, AT&T's DirecTV Now has several tiers, starting with $35 a month, going to $50 for 80+ channels, $60 for 100+, and $70 for 120+. That does include Viacom stations and all the networks except CBS; the priciest plan offers up multiple Starz-related channels; HBO and Cinemax are here but for $5 per month extra each; Showtime is $8 per month extra. Hulu with Live TV $39.99 per month Hulu is more than just a place to find some streaming originals and a lot of day-after-air shows. Last year it launched a live TV service—and it quickly became the PCMag Editors' Choice in this arena. Yeah, you pay more, but for that $39.99 you get access to the entire Hulu library we discussed above, plus lots of cable channels, including many local affiliates that stream live (depending on your location). Cinemax, HBO, and Showtime are all add-on options like they are with regular Hulu. Sports and news stations galore. You can "record" 50 hours of programming to the cloud-based DVR or upgrade it to 200 hours for extra; it also costs more to have access to Hulu with Live TV on multiple screens. YouTube TV $35 per month We mentioned before: YouTube TV is not YouTube Red. Red is more like an advanced, commercial-free version of regular ol' YouTube. The YouTube TV option costs more and has a lot of catching up to do to rival the other live TV streaming services. It's in limited cities, has limited channels, and is available on limited devices Premium channel add-ons include $11-a-month Showtime, $5-a-month Shudder, and $7-per-month Sundance. The big plus: unlimited storage in the cloud-based DVR option. THE BOTTOM LINE FOR OMAHA Cord cutting has its conveniences, but will it really save you cash? At least one survey says it does. LendEDU found that the average cord-cutter saves $115.33 per month after killing cable. That's probably true if they only use one or two streaming services. Now consider all of the services we've mentioned above, not even factoring in the cost of buying a media hub or smart TV if needed. Assuming you need subscriptions to all of them to get as thorough a cross section of channels as you'd get with cable, it's not cheap. Remember, all these prices are before applicable tax and with the lowest tier of service and there is NO live Husker games on BTN2Go (unless they are normally untelevised) Service Monthly Yearly Netflix (with HD and 2 Devices) $10.99 $131.88 Hulu (without commercials) $11.99 $143.88 YouTUBE TV (with DVR) $35.00 $420.00 Amazon Prime Video $8.99 $99.00 BTV2Go (no live games) $9.95 $79.95 YouTube Red $9.99 $119.88 HBO Now $14.99 $179.88 CBS All Access $5.99 $71.88 TOTAL Cord Cutter Package $97.94 $1165.52 DISH TV 120+ Package* $59.99** 718.88 DirecTV Choice Package* $46.99*** 563.88 *Pro Tip – Consider switching your pay TV service to get the new customer PROMO rates on a new DISH or DIRECTV service. **2 Year price guarantee. No DVR service and 1TV ***1s t Year price. 2nd Year is $89.99. No DVR service and 1TV www.Kickertek.net 402-965-0365