Students save money with streaming services

By Isidro Medina
Pulse Staff Reporter

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Online streaming services like Netflix and Hulu entice students to cut the cable cord with offers of cheaper prices, high-quality content and convenient access on a wide range of devices.

“I barely even watch [cable] TV anymore. The only show I care about watching is The Walking Dead, and I can just stream it online whenever I want,” said Miranda Rasche, a 21-year-old Liberal Arts major. “TV forces you to watch commercials and whatever [the cable companies] choose for you.”

Convenience plays a role in the cord-cutting process. Smart phones, smart TVs, tablets, laptops and video game consoles make it easier than ever to access online streaming services. Netflix is even available to watch on the Nintendo 3DS portable console that is mostly meant for casual gaming on the go. Even Sony offers live TV shows through their Playstation Vue service.

One group on campus that calls themselves “The Lounge” meets every day to hang out, watch movies and play video games.  As media lovers, they are a diverse bunch.

“My parents pay for cable, so we usually DVR everything and watch it later. I have Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, too, so I just binge-watch The X-Files all day when I really want to annoy my parents,” said Ian Stewart, a Computer Science major and a proud member of The Lounge.

While the group watches a mixture of content like World War II documentaries, Gotham and Flash, Japanese cartoons (Anime) are a clear favorite with the group.

Crunchyroll is an online subscription service that specifically brings Anime to your favorite console or mobile device. The monthly subscription ranges from free to $11.95. Netflix also offers a limited library of more mainstream Anime titles.

Some students are too busy and find it difficult to justify the high price tag of $28/month and up for cable.

Melanie Huerta, a full-time sophomore Education major said, “As a single mom, I don’t have time to watch TV. Most of the time, I just put on YouTube to keep my daughter entertained. Why am I going to spend a lot of money for cable TV?”

Time Warner Cable’s website has a list of charges and upgrades that can quickly add up. The base 40-channel package starts at $28 a month without bells and whistles. The next tier is the Essential IV, priced at $55.49, and that does not include the monthly equipment rental fees, convenience fees or taxes.

Netflix monthly plans range from $7.99 for basic to $11.99 for premium plans. Hulu’s price point is the same as Netflix’s; however, Hulu’s top-tier plan is commercial-free.

Entertainment Weekly reported the 50 most-watched broadcast shows of 2014-2015. Toward the top of the list are shows like The Big Bang Theory, Empire, Scandal and Dancing with the Stars, all of which are available on various streaming services or via a digital antenna.

With cheaper prices and ample content you can access almost anywhere, online streaming services are virtually irresistible to the wallet-conscious student.