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Cutting the cord could cost you money if you're not careful

It seems so easy, stop paying for cable, start streaming and save money. Not so fast cord-cutters. You could end up paying a lot more for service in the long run.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu are all the rage these days, especially for cord-cutters. Even if you still subscribe to cable many of you pay for at least one streaming service. 

So how do you know which ones provide the content you want, and how much do you have to pay to get it? Consumer Reports helps cut through the confusion.

With new services like Disney Plus and older favorites like Netflix, the world of streaming media is rapidly changing. There are services designed to replicate what you used to get with cable TV. 

There are also newer services focused on creating original content. That content comes at a higher price than before. It used to be that cutting the cord by 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 changed so much that you have to consider the TV shows you want, the cost of different services, and the cost of broadband if it’s not included in a package. The bottom line is you need to figure out the shows you like, do a cost analysis and then decide. 

If you're confused a bit you are not alone. It's not always easy to figure out what it will cost to get what you want or if you can save money by switching. 

So what can a confused consumer do?

The first thing you need to consider is how you’re going to get your local broadcast channels. If you can buy an antenna, that’s a great way to do it. Then that’s the only cost. The service is free. 

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

Consumer Reports says if you do cut the cord but you’re not saving a lot of money, at least you’re probably getting more content, because you’re choosing services based on what they offer.

You can also change your service a month or two down the road if it's too expensive for your wallet. Just be sure you're not locked into any contract.

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