Consumer Reports: TV streaming breakdown

Streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu are all the rage these days, especially for cord cutters, but many people who still subscribe to cable also pay for at least one streaming service.

How do you know which services provide the content you want, and how much do you have to pay to get it? Consumer Reports cuts through the confusion.

If you're having a hard time trying to cut the cord, you're not alone.

"I've been trying to cut the cord for two months," said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Jim Willcox. "And It's funny. I write about cutting the cord. And I'm finding it really difficult."

What makes this so hard for consumers and even for Willcox, who has been covering streaming media since it began?

"Every time we come up with a service that we think we can use there's a program or a network or a channel that one of us wants that's not being offered that we say we can't live without," he said.

From new services like Disney Plus to older favorites like Netflix, the world of streaming media is rapidly changing.

"There are services that are designed to really replicate what you used to get with cable TV, but in a streaming service," Willcox said. "But then there are also these newer services that are really focused on creating original content."

It used to be that cutting the cord and replacing cable with a streaming service could save lots of money, but that's not always the case anymore.

"The calculus of cord cutting has really changed so much that you have to take into account everything from the TV shows you want, the cost of the different services, the cost of broadband is it gonna go up a lot more if you debundle it from a package," Willcox said.

So, what can a confused consumer do?

"So, one of the first things you need to consider is how you're gonna get your local broadcast channels," Willcox said. "So, if you can get an antenna, that's a great way to do it. It doesn't cost anything except for the cost of the antenna."

Next, sit down with your family and write a list of all the shows you can't live without. Then, see which services can provide them at the lowest cost. Websites like reelgood.com can help you find out where many shows and movies are available for streaming.

Consumer Reports says even if you do cut the cord, and you're not saving a lot of money, you're probably at least getting more content that you actually want to watch-- since you're choosing a service based on what they offer.

All Consumer Reports material Copyright 2020 Consumer Reports, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not-for-profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit consumerreports.org