How To Cut The Cord And Still Be Able To Watch Cowboys, Rangers, Mavs And Your Other Favorite D FW Sports Teams

A big question for Dallas-Fort Worth sports fans who watch TV: Are you ready to cut the cord?

If you're looking to save money, chances are the answer is yes.

Services that allow consumers to stream TV digitally online are now easier to use than ever. What's better news? These services are finally good alternatives for Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars fans.

As rates continue to rise, ditching traditional pay-TV providers for digital streaming services, a practice commonly known as "cord cutting," is becoming more popular.

According to Leichtman Research Group, cable bills rose 39 percent between 2011 and 2015 and the average price of cable per year surpassed $100 per month for the first time in 2017. Satellite services average around $90 for most premium channel packages.

Last year, Pew Research found that 15 percent of Americans had already cut the cord. Top pay-TV providers lost nearly 1.5 million subscribers in 2017.

If you're tired of waiting for a technician to come to your house, sick of customer support issues or the $100-plus monthly bill, kicking pay-TV to the curb might sound appealing.

But sports fans may be more hesitant to give their TV provider the boot.

Sports junkies need a lot of TV channels. And no digital streaming service covers everything.

But it's getting better. And if you're a D-FW sports fan, you can now cut the cord and watch almost all the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers, Stars and most college games online.

SportsDay tested out five major digital streaming services to give you the best options.

What you'll enjoy

Let's begin by examining what digital streaming services provide.

D-FW sports fans can watch almost every Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars game live. Almost all streaming services include the ESPN and Fox families of channels plus local networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC), which makes watching college sports easy. In addition, the majority of these services offer both Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Southwest Plus.

The most popular streaming services -- Hulu TV, YouTube TV, DirecTV Now, Sling TV and Playstation Vue -- allow customers to select packages of channels. And the cost is about half that of cable or satellite ($30 to $60 per month).

Certain services provide many hours to unlimited DVR storage, allowing users to pause, rewind and record their favorite shows. Some services offer limited commercial or commercial-free options for both live TV streaming and video playback.

Streaming services can be watched on multiple devices simultaneously, such as desktop and laptop computers, phones, tablets -- basically anything that can connect to the internet. Simultaneous viewing on two or three screens at once is common, but some services require an extra fee for additional devices. Portable devices allow users to watch TV on the go, an added plus.

What you'll need

There are also some things you should consider before you cut the cord.

None of these streaming services allow you to cherry-pick the individual channels you want just yet. And again, not every channel is available. If you're looking to watch horse racing from across the globe or something as obscure as Myanmarese chinlone, cord cutting probably isn't for you.

If you currently bundle your TV and internet with the same provider, you'll need to evaluate whether dropping your pay-TV packages will raise the cost of your internet connection. The value of using a streaming service for TV could be offset by more expensive Wi-Fi.

Consider the strength of your internet connection. If your modem puts out a less-than-perfect four-bar wonder or three-bar warrior, watching TV online might cause more headaches. The cost of improving internet speeds may not be worth it.

With a streaming service, expect to experience a delay of up to 60 seconds depending on the quality of your internet connection.

Finally, you'll need some way to connect to the internet via your TV. If you already own a smart TV, you're all set. If you don't, many external devices such as Apple TV or products from Roku or Amazon can connect your TV to the internet. The most basic of these devices can be purchased for a one-time investment of less than $50.

Which should I choose?

Which streaming service is best for you? That depends on which of the local teams you care about.

Hulu TV and YouTube TV ($40 per month) are best for fans of local pro teams. Both provide the local channels and national networks needed to cut the cord without missing a single Cowboys, FC Dallas, Mavericks, Rangers or Stars game. However, these services lack some of the sports-dedicated channels (MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, NHL Network), and that could disappoint hardcore sports junkies. Confirm that the service includes the national networks you want before subscribing. The Longhorn Network is also not included.

If you're looking for the best overall value, Playstation Vue provides most of the local channels you'll need plus a better selection of national sports networks for only $5 more than Hulu TV or YouTube TV. Vue includes the Longhorn and SEC Networks for Texas and Texas A&M fans. Vue does not come with TXA 21, meaning you'll miss out on many FC Dallas matches and an occasional Mavericks or Rangers game. And for those who are curious -- no, you won't need a Sony Playstation to use Vue.

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How to cut the cord and still be able to watch Cowboys, Rangers, Mavs and your other favorite D-FW sports teams
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