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How to Cut the Cord: Top Streaming Services for 2024

Sarah Osman-Mikesell - Writer for Top10.com
A couple watching their favorite shows through TV streaming services.
In the last decade, I've observed a significant shift in how we consume media, with traditional cable TV increasingly giving way to streaming services.

TV streaming providers are revolutionizing the way we consume entertainment. This is especially evident in the fact that younger generations are most likely to opt for digital streaming over cable TV.

With smart TVs and streaming devices becoming more user-friendly, there's never been a better time to cut the cord. You can watch your favorite shows on your schedule, often at a lower cost.

So, here's how you can become a cord cutter, make the switch, and embrace streaming.

» Ready to cut the cord? Check out these tips for choosing the best TV streaming service.

Cord Cutting and the Shift From Cable TV

In the United States, a growing preference for original content is fueling a rise in video streaming subscriptions. Cord cutters—those who switch from traditional cable to internet streaming options like Hulu + Live TV—drive this trend.

By 2027, it's anticipated that the video streaming market in the US will serve over 180 million users. This demand has spurred a boom in streaming platforms, each offering niche content that resonates with specific audiences.

Take my friends, for instance: they exclusively use Crunchyroll to indulge in a variety of anime—a choice that suits their preferences and budget.

A man and woman watching sport on a streaming service.

5 Tips to Successfully Switch From Cable TV to Streaming

  1. Evaluate your internet plan: Ensure you have a reliable internet service plan with unlimited data to support the heavy data use of streaming, especially in high definition (HD).
  2. Assess your content needs: List your essential shows, movies, and sports, and check which streaming services offer them.
  3. Choose a streaming device: Pick a device that fits your needs and budget, such as a smart TV, Roku, or Amazon Fire TV.
  4. Consider your sports viewing options: If you're a big sports fan, look into streaming services that provide the games you follow; some services like Amazon Prime and Hulu deliver specific sports content, like Thursday Night Football and ESPN, for additional fees.
  5. Use a free trial: Test out streaming services with a free trial while you still have your cable subscription to see if it meets your needs before fully transitioning.

Technical Considerations

For smooth streaming in 4K, ensure your internet speed is at least 25 Mbps (Megabits per second - a unit of measurement for network bandwidth). However, for a family of four wanting to stream simultaneously, aim for 200-400 Mbps to ensure everyone enjoys uninterrupted viewing. Most devices today, from tablets to smart TVs, support streaming, but for non-smart TVs, a gadget like the Amazon Firestick can bridge the gap.

Slow or buffering streams often point to Internet Service Provider (ISP) issues. A quick solution is to run an online speed test to diagnose the problem. If it's the router, reset it by unplugging it, waiting a few minutes, and then plugging it back in. If that doesn't fix the problem, it may be time to upgrade your internet plan.

Costs: Streaming Services vs. Traditional Cable TV

Cable bundles can hit your wallet with $130 to $200 monthly fees, while standard streaming plans are cheaper, starting as low as $7 to $10 per month, with premium tiers at about $15. Live TV via cable, priced between $50 to $100, also often can't compete.

With streaming, the price you see is what you pay—no hidden taxes or fees. These services also offer flexibility with no long-term contracts, allowing you to cancel anytime. Plus, you avoid the inconvenience of scheduling repairs or replacements for cable equipment, which is why TV streaming is worth the price.

A family streaming TV.

Discover the Best Streaming Services Tailored for Movies, TV Shows, and Sports

For International Content: Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV offers an extensive array of international films and TV series, from old-school classics to the latest shows, including "The Lions of Sicily," "The Golden Spoon," and "Extraordinary."

Hulu + Live TV Hulu + Live TV Visit Site

For Family Entertainment: Disney+

Disney+ is a family-friendly streaming haven, featuring an exhaustive library of Disney and Pixar animated classics alongside original series for kids.

But it's not just for the little ones. With the entire "The Simpsons" anthology, the Star Wars saga including "The Mandalorian," and a comprehensive selection of Marvel movies and shows, there's something for every age group.

Disney+ Disney+ Visit Site

For Sports Enthusiasts: ESPN+

ESPN+ (an ESPN and Hulu bundle) brings together hockey, major league soccer, and the high-energy fights of the UFC. It's your one-stop shop for catching all the live-action and replays of your favorite events.

This package delivers a dual advantage: ESPN's exceptional sports broadcasting and Hulu's diverse show and movie library. Enjoy live games, expert commentary, and an abundance of sports-centric content at your fingertips.

» Check out our 10 best sports streaming services.

For Football Fans: Sling TV

Sling TV has got you covered if you're a football fan looking to stream and watch the NFL games. This service brings the excitement of the game right to your screen, ensuring you don't miss a play, touchdown, or field goal, no matter where you are.

With Sling TV, you can easily keep up with your favorite teams and players all season long.

Sling TV Sling TV Visit Site

For Movie Buffs: STARZ

For film enthusiasts, STARZ presents a compelling lineup of blockbuster hits and cherished classics, including "My Best Friend's Wedding," "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," and "Alice, Darling."

The platform also hosts a robust selection of STARZ original TV shows to ensure a varied and satisfying viewing experience for every cinephile's appetite.

A woman streaming a STARZ original TV show on her laptop.

The Future of Streaming and Cord Cutting

I'm convinced that streaming is the future of TV. But given the abundance of streaming services, I anticipate a shift toward bundled packages—similar to those offered by Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.

My hope is that these combined plans continue to be more affordable than traditional cable; otherwise, they may lose their appeal. Nonetheless, I believe that within the next decade, cable as we know it will likely become obsolete.

» Discover 10 things you need to host a successful watch party.

Sarah Osman-Mikesell - Writer for Top10.com
Sarah Osman-Mikesell has written about film and pop culture for over a decade. She holds a BA in creative writing and is pursuing her master’s degree in the same field. Aside from her work at Top10.com, Sarah’s writing has been featured in SheKnows, The Huffington Post, Success Magazine, and more.