Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable
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The average American household now pays more than $103/month for cable television. And for what? An excessive number of ads, hundreds of channels you never watch, and below-par customer service. It’s not exactly an enticing deal. Thankfully, people are starting to wise up; cord-cutting is more popular than ever.

In the second quarter of 2017, the pay-TV industry lost more than 760,000 subscribers. Experts predict that by 2021, the total number of cable subscribers will drop to 181.7 million – a 10 percent decrease in just five years. And Netflix now has more subscribers in the United States (52 million) than any of the “big six” cable companies.

It’s an undeniable fact: cord-cutting is here to stay. If you’ve been reading about the cord-cutting phenomenon but you’re not sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. This is how to cut the cord and ditch cable TV for good. And it’s the only guide you’ll need to read on the subject.

The Pros and Cons of Cord Cutting

Before diving into the specifics of how to cut the cord, we need to make one thing clear: Cord-cutting is not going to be for everyone. There are some pitfalls you need to think about 7 Pitfalls of Cord-Cutting You Should Consider First 7 Pitfalls of Cord-Cutting You Should Consider First Before you cut the cord to save yourself some money, there are a few things you should be aware of. Read More and lots of questions you need to ask yourself 10 Questions to Ask Before You Cancel Cable 10 Questions to Ask Before You Cancel Cable You're probably considering canceling your cable right about now. And you're certainly not alone. However, there are some questions you need to ask yourself before you cancel cable. Read More .

Let’s briefly summarize some of the pros and cons of cutting the cord.

Pros

Save Money: It’s almost impossible not to save money by cutting the cord Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord When you add everything up, do you really save money by cutting the cord? We do the math involved with cancelling cable in favor of Internet services. Read More . Yes, there might be some up-front equipment costs, but long-term you’ll be much better off. You could subscribe to several leading video-on-demand (VOD) providers, and still pay considerably less than the $103/month cable TV average.

Fewer Ads: Most streaming services don’t have ads; you can watch your favorite shows uninterrupted. Even some free services that do have ads – such as The Roku Channel The Roku Channel Lets You Watch Movies for Free The Roku Channel Lets You Watch Movies for Free The Roku Channel -- a free channel offering hundreds of popular movies -- has now rolled out to all current-generation Roku devices. Read More – screen significantly fewer ads than cable TV.

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable roku channel 670x322

Flexibility: Subscribers have been asking cable TV providers for à la carte packages for years, but the companies have steadfastly refused, presumably knowing it would lead to a significant loss of revenue. While not truly à la carte, cord-cutting offers a much more customizable experience.

Cons

internet Speed: You might be surprised at the number of channels you can get using an over-the-air (OTA) antenna What Can You Watch Using a TV Antenna? What Can You Watch Using a TV Antenna? What if there was a cheap, legal way to gain access to many of the big networks? You'd probably lap it up. Well, it turns out there is! Step forward the trusty TV antenna. Read More , but ultimately streaming services will provide most of your content. Therefore, you need a fast and reliable internet connection. Netflix offers a handy guide on its website.

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Data Caps: If your ISP institutes a data cap, you might need to boost your internet package to the next level.

Your Favorite Shows: Thanks to the growing prevalence of network-provided streaming services, you should always be able to get the shows you want. But it might not be worth subscribing to HBO Now if you only want to watch one HBO show. You might need to make sacrifices.

Devices

Broadly speaking, you need four things to be able to cut the cord successfully: a set-top box or streaming stick, an OTA antenna, an app for your locally-saved media, and some video-on-demand apps.

Firstly, let’s take a look at some of the devices that are available. Usually, you’ll only need one device. In terms of app availability, the choices are near-identical. The differences are found in the hardware and operating systems.

If you’re not sure which is right for you, check out our comparison article Chromecast Vs Apple TV Vs Roku: Which Media Streamer Suits You? Chromecast Vs Apple TV Vs Roku: Which Media Streamer Suits You? Media streaming devices are simply awesome. Those little boxes that connect to your TV can add a wealth of entertainment options to your living room. But which device is best for you? Read More .

Roku

If you want a one-size-fits-all solution, a Roku is the best choice. It’s the most agnostic out of all the set-top boxes, and it’s straightforward to set up How to Set Up and Use Your Roku Streaming Stick How to Set Up and Use Your Roku Streaming Stick So, you have bought a new Roku Streaming Stick and are wondering what to do next. We're here to help, with the complete guide to setting up your new Roku Streaming Stick. Read More .

The company refreshed its entire hardware line-up in mid-2017 A Brief Guide to the New Roku Hardware for 2017 A Brief Guide to the New Roku Hardware for 2017 Roku has refreshed its entire lineup for 2017. The problem is it's difficult to keep track of so many different devices. Let us help you with this brief guide to Roku's new hardware. Read More . It now offers five standalone devices.

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable roku ultra 670x417

  • Roku Express: The Roku Express has a maximum picture quality of 1080p HD and the entry-level remote cannot control your TV.
  • Roku Express+: The Express+ can connect to your TV using HDMI or composite A/V ports. It’s fantastic for adding smart capabilities to older TVs.
  • Roku Streaming Stick: The Roku Streaming Stick offers MIMO Wi-Fi support and ships with a smart voice-controlled remote control.
  • Roku Streaming Stick+: The Roku Streaming Stick+ offers 4K resolution and high-dynamic-range imaging.
  • Roku Ultra: The Roku Ultra is the company’s top model. In addition to 4K resolution and high-dynamic-range imaging, it offers a USB port and a micro SD slot for expandable storage.

Roku Ultra | 4K/HDR/HD streaming player with Enhanced remote (voice, remote finder, headphone jack, TV power and volume), Ethernet, MicroSD and USB (2017) Roku Ultra | 4K/HDR/HD streaming player with Enhanced remote (voice, remote finder, headphone jack, TV power and volume), Ethernet, MicroSD and USB (2017) Roku Ultra new 2017 Model. Buy Now At Amazon $89.00

You will also find the Roku operating system built into some mid-range smart TVs.

Apps on Rokus are called channels. You can install both private and public channels. Public channels The 20 Best Free Roku Channels You Shouldn't Miss The 20 Best Free Roku Channels You Shouldn't Miss Having already recommended the best private Roku channels for you to install, here is our pick of the best public Roku channels you really shouldn't miss. And even better, they're all free. Read More are found using the on-device channel store or by using the web portal. Private channels 20 Private Roku Channels You Should Install Right Now 20 Private Roku Channels You Should Install Right Now In this article we explain how to add private channels to your Roku, and recommend 20 of the best that we think you should install immediately. Read More need a unique code and are installed through the web portal.

Chromecast

The Chromecast is Google’s contribution to the cord-cutting world. It’s a dongle that plugs directly into the HDMI port on your TV.

Unlike the other devices on this list, you do not install apps directly onto the device itself. Instead, you use your computer, phone, or tablet to cast content to your TV. Because there are no apps to worry about, Chromecasts are very easy to set up How to Set Up Your New Google Chromecast How to Set Up Your New Google Chromecast If you own a brand new Chromecast but have no idea how to use it, let our easy-to-follow guide help you get started in mere minutes. Read More . Chromecasts are compatible with iPhones, iPads, Android phones and tablets, Macs, Windows computers, and Chromebooks.

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Because Chromecasts require a secondary device to allow them to display content, they are probably not suitable for first-time cord-cutters who want to add smart capabilities to their television sets. They are, however, perfect for other TVs in lesser-used rooms in your house; you can do a surprising amount with them 7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Chromecast 7 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do With a Chromecast You have finally taken the plunge and bought yourself a shiny new Chromecast, but what happens next? Here are seven things you didn't know you could do with one of Google's dongles... Read More .

Just because you don’t install apps directly on a Chromecast, you don’t need to worry about the availability of content. Most of the popular streaming apps are Chromecast-enabled, including Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Crunchyroll, FOX, and Google Play Movies.

You can pick one up for around $35, which puts them in a similar price bracket as the Roku Express and Express+. Given the two devices’ feature sets, you should probably opt for the latter.

Apple TV

Apple TVs are the most expensive and least flexible streaming devices on the market. However, if you’re heavily integrated into the Apple ecosystem, they could be the best choice for your needs.

Once you have set up your Apple TV How to Set Up and Use Your Apple TV How to Set Up and Use Your Apple TV Here's how to set up your Apple TV, what you can do with it, and what to do when things aren't behaving as you'd expect. Read More , you can download and install the usual array of apps from the App Store. Perhaps more interestingly, the device also works brilliantly with other Apple devices, apps, and services such as Siri, HomeKit, and Apple Music.

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable apple tv

Apple TV also has AirPlay technology, meaning you can use your device to cast your Mac’s screen to your TV How to Cast Local Media From Your Mac To Chromecast How to Cast Local Media From Your Mac To Chromecast You can cast any movie, music, or photo from your Mac's hard drive to the big screen. It's just a matter of knowing which apps and tools can do it. Read More . You can finally kiss goodbye to all those dongles and adaptors.

(Note: If AirPlay is the only important factor for you, you can find cheaper alternatives that will still work 4 AirPlay Receivers That Are Cheaper Than Apple TV 4 AirPlay Receivers That Are Cheaper Than Apple TV Built as a veritable entertainment box, the Apple TV isn't cheap. It's tempting to look for alternatives - AirPlay receivers that are cheaper than the Apple TV. We've laid out four options. Read More .)

Amazon Fire TV

The Amazon Fire TV takes a similar approach to the Chromecast; it’s a dongle which plugs directly into the back of your TV.

All-New Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (2017 Edition, Pendant) | Streaming Media Player All-New Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and Alexa Voice Remote (2017 Edition, Pendant) | Streaming Media Player All-new, streamlined Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD and HDR support. Includes HDMI output, micro USB for power or purchase optional Amazon Ethernet Adapter to take advantage of the speed and reliability of wired internet. Buy Now At Amazon $54.99

However, unlike the Chromecast, you can install apps on the Amazon Fire TV How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Fire TV Stick How to Set Up and Use Your Amazon Fire TV Stick The Amazon Fire TV Stick is an excellent and affordable streaming device for first-timers. This guide will help you set up and start using your Amazon Fire Stick without any stress. Read More . It comes with its own Android-based operating system and on-screen user interface.

Apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO, YouTube, ESPN, AMC, HGTV, Comedy Central, CNN, and many more are available. You can also sideload apps onto your Amazon Fire TV How to Sideload Apps Onto Your Amazon Fire TV Stick How to Sideload Apps Onto Your Amazon Fire TV Stick Your Fire TV Stick can run almost any Android app, and installing them couldn't be easier. Read More .

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable amazon fire tv

Because it’s an Amazon device, the Fire TV also offers Alexa. That means you can use it to control your smart home, give voice commands to your TV (such as telling the device to play a particular show or display a specific channel), and you can even install third-party Alexa skills. If you have an Amazon Echo in your home, it could be the best device for you.

(Tip: If you have an Amazon Fire TV, you should consider using Velcro or double-sided tape to affix the dongle to the back of your TV set. Given its weight, it’s liable to damage your TV’s HDMI port if you leave it dangling freely.)

Android TV Boxes

Much like the mobile version of the Android operating system, Android TV comes in many different variants, some of which look drastically different from each other.

For example, the aforementioned Amazon Fire TV runs on Android, but that version of the operating system looks nothing like the Nvidia Shield’s operating system.

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable nvidia shield 670x359

And, as with the mobile version of Android, the quality between different devices varies considerably. At one end of the scale is the $300 Nvidia Shield Pro; it’s arguably the best all-around streaming device you can buy right now 7 Reasons the Nvidia Shield Is the Ultimate Tool for Cord-Cutters 7 Reasons the Nvidia Shield Is the Ultimate Tool for Cord-Cutters The Nvidia Shield may just be the ultimate device for cord-cutters everywhere. Here are seven reasons why it beats the competition without much effort. Read More . At the other end, you’ll find lots of cheap Chinese boxes which are only capable of running Android 4.2.

NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server NVIDIA SHIELD TV Pro Home Media Server Connected Google Life - Access all your Google content and smart home features with Google Assistant, share your Google Photos in 4K, and cast your favorite apps to your TV with Chromecast 4K. Buy Now At Amazon $361.81

Android TV boxes are also the device-of-choice when it comes to running Kodi on a set-top media player. Kodi is available in the Google Play Store, but you won’t find it in either the Apple App Store or the Amazon Appstore.

We’ll discuss Kodi in more detail later, but if you’re not sure which Kodi box is right for you How to Choose the Best Kodi Box for Your Needs How to Choose the Best Kodi Box for Your Needs Want to buy a Kodi box but unsure which one you should choose? In this article, we recommend particular boxes for particular needs, helping you narrow your choices. Read More , check out our extensive guide.

Apps

Okay, so you have bought a set-top streaming device and hooked it up to your TV. Now what? Well, you need to install some apps.

You can divide VOD apps into two categories: free and paid. All cord-cutters should install as many free apps as possible. The paid apps require more research. You need to make sure the app is offering content you care about, and also keep an eye on the combined monthly cost of all the apps you’re signing up to.

Free Apps

Here are some of the best free streaming TV apps Canceled Cable? 8 Streaming TV Apps to Fill the Void Canceled Cable? 8 Streaming TV Apps to Fill the Void If you have canceled cable you may be wondering what to watch next. These streaming TV apps may be the answer, as they offer a traditional viewing experience. Read More you can install right now.

  • Pluto TV: Pluto TV offers more than 100 channels of news, sports, and entertainment. It also has a VOD library of more than 1,000 movies and TV shows.
  • Crackle: The Sony-owned Crackle is an ad-supported app. It specializes in classic movies, though you’ll also find some original content.
  • Tubi.TV: If you dig past the fluff, there are some quality movies on Tubi.TV. They include Fargo, Freaks and Geeks, American Psycho, and 12 Angry Men.
  • CW Seed: CW Seed is another ad-supported app. It offers both online originals and CW Network classics. Highlights include Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.
  • YouTube: There’s more to YouTube than cat videos and PewDiePie. With a bit of effort, you can find hundreds of films and TV shows.
  • Network TV Apps: You can find free apps from FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. All the apps offer some classic shows but lack recent episodes of currently running series.

Paid Apps

Have a look at each of these paid apps and decide which is the most appealing to you.

  • Netflix: The quintessential streaming app. You can enjoy House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things, and countless more Netflix originals 15 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2017 15 New Netflix Originals You'll Be Watching in 2017 Netflix is now producing its own original content. And some of the new Netflix Originals set to debut in 2017 definitely look like they'll be worth watching. Read More . And don’t forget the service’s vast library of movies and old TV shows. ($8/month for the basic package).
  • Hulu: Unlike Netflix, Hulu provides the latest episodes of many popular TV shows. It also offers an extensive library of movies and TV shows. The app is only available in the United States. ($7.99/month with ads, $13.99/month with no ads).
  • Amazon Prime Video: Amazon’s answer to Netflix. Its crown jewel is the Top Gear reboot The Grand Tour, but other original series such as Transparent, Patriot, and Sneaky Pete have also received critical acclaim. ($8.99/month).
  • Disney Movies Anywhere: The app is free, but the content isn’t Movies Anywhere: What It Is and Why You Need It Movies Anywhere: What It Is and Why You Need It You may have heard about Movies Anywhere by now, but what is it, and why do you need it? In this article, we take a look at Disney's new digital locker. Read More . The app collates all the movies you’ve bought from other providers and displays them all in one interface. It also offers 7,300 in-app movies to buy, including the entire Disney catalog.
  • PlayStation Vue: PlayStation Vue is a live TV app. It provides premium channels, a cloud DVR app, and streaming on up to five devices at the same time. Channels include ESPN, FOX Sports, TNT, TLC, CNN, BBC America, and many more. ($39.99/month, for the basic package).
  • Sling TV: Sling TV is PlayStation Vue’s biggest rival Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. PlayStation Vue: How Do They Compare? Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. PlayStation Vue: How Do They Compare? In this article, you’ll learn the differences between three major OTT internet television streaming services: Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue. Read More . The premise is the same; you can enjoy live TV for a fraction of the cost of a cable TV subscription. Channels include ESPN, AMC, CNN, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, the Disney Channel, TNT, IFC, and A&E. ($20/month, for the basic package).
  • HBO Now: HBO Now differs from HBO Go in that you don’t need a cable subscription to enjoy the content. By subscribing to the app, you can access to everything HBO offers, including the latest releases. ($14.99/month).
  • Showtime: Do you enjoy Homeland, Shameless, and Dexter? Perhaps the Showtime app is right for you. The subscription gives you access to the network’s back catalog, whatever movies the network is airing that month, and even some boxing matches. ($10.99/month).

Software

Now you have access to a wide range of video-on-demand content, but you still need a way to access all your locally-saved media directly from your TV set.

There are three apps worth considering: Plex, Kodi, and Emby.

Plex

Plex is the most user-friendly app of the three Your Guide To Plex - The Awesome Media Center Your Guide To Plex - The Awesome Media Center If you have a lot of locally-saved movies and TV shows, you need to install Plex. And this is the only guide to getting started with Plex you'll ever need to read. Read More . There is a free version and a paid version. The paid version – called Plex Pass – costs $14.99 for three months, $39.99 for a year, or $119.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Only you can decide whether you require the paid version. There’s a chance you might not need it 5 Reasons Why You Don't Actually Need a Plex Pass 5 Reasons Why You Don't Actually Need a Plex Pass If you have lots of locally-saved media on your computer, Plex is a must-have piece of software. But do you actually need to pay for a Plex Pass? Let's find out... Read More , but it does offer a lot of great extra features Plex Pass: What Do You Get for Your Money? Plex Pass: What Do You Get for Your Money? In order to know whether or not you need a Plex Pass, you first need to know exactly what you get for your money. Read More .

The best feature of a Plex Pass is perhaps live TV Plex Live TV: Everything You Need to Know Plex Live TV: Everything You Need to Know Plex has added live TV channels to its service, but what exactly is Plex Live TV? We have everything you need to know about this exciting new option for cord-cutters. Read More . If you buy an OTA antenna (such as the highly-recommended Mohu Leaf), you can watch and record any shows that are aired on OTA channels in your area.

Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna, Indoor, Portable, 25 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 10 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110543 Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna, Indoor, Portable, 25 Mile Range, Original Paper-thin, Reversible, Paintable, 4K-Ready HDTV, 10 Foot Detachable Cable, Premium Materials for Performance, USA Made, MH-110543 Free TV For Life: 25 mile range HDTV Antenna to access High Definition Over-the-Air TV channels without a cable or satellite subscription, including ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision and more Buy Now At Amazon $14.99

Plex also launched a customized news service Plex News Should Help Keep Cord-Cutters Happy Plex News Should Help Keep Cord-Cutters Happy Plex has launched Plex News, which is comprised of news clips from an array of sources from across the political spectrum. Keeping you up-to-date with what's happening in the world. Read More in 2017. News had previously been a problematic topic for cord-cutters, but Plex’s offering has largely plugged the hole.

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The company has deals in place with Sky News, CBS News, Reuters, The Associated Press, Deutsche Welle, IGN, Euronews, The Financial Times, and many more. The more news you watch, the more Plex can learn about your preferences, and show you videos you care about.

Lastly, Plex also includes channels 20 Unofficial Plex Channels You Should Install Right Now 20 Unofficial Plex Channels You Should Install Right Now One of the best features of Plex are Plex Channels. And one of the best parts of Plex Channels is the Unsupported App Store. Here are 20 unofficial Plex Channels you should install right now. Read More . You can grab some from the Channel Directory within the Plex app, or you can manually install third-party channels using ZIP files.

Download: Plex

Kodi

Kodi is Plex’s great rival. Don’t worry; you won’t get into trouble for using it What Are Kodi Boxes and Is It Legal to Own One? What Are Kodi Boxes and Is It Legal to Own One? With Kodi boxes becoming increasingly popular, we set out to explain what Kodi boxes are and offer you a definitive answer on their legality. Read More . The app and the associated Kodi boxes are entirely legal.

That said, Kodi does have a reputation for being a pirate’s haven; there are hundreds of illegal add-ons floating around the web. Using one of them could get you in trouble with the law. If you want to be safe, stick to the Kodi-approved add-ons in the official Kodi repo.

In many ways, the open-source Kodi is more customizable than Plex 12 Ways to Make Kodi the Best Media Player for You 12 Ways to Make Kodi the Best Media Player for You This article explores the best ways of customizing Kodi to make it the absolute best media player for you personally. Turning it from being merely good into unashamedly great. Read More . If you enjoy tinkering with every aspect of an app, you’ll love it. However, Kodi requires a lot of user maintenance, especially if you’ve made several changes. If you prefer to take a set-it-and-forget-about-it approach, you’ll probably appreciate Plex more.

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable kodi repo

You’ll also find it’s much harder to use Kodi as a central server for distributing your media to other screens and gadgets in your home. It’s not impossible, but it’s way beyond what beginners will be capable of. Plex is designed for that very purpose; setting up a server is as simple as signing into your account.

Ultimately, both apps let you manage and watch you locally-saved media. Only you can decide which is the best fit for your needs.

Download: Kodi

Emby

Emby is the least well-known of the three, but many users claim it offers a happy compromise between Kodi and Plex. The app provides the open-source flexibility of Kodi, but uses the same server/client model as Plex.

Emby also has an advantage over Kodi in terms of availability. You won’t find Kodi in the Apple or Amazon app stores, but Emby is on Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, and more. An Apple app is rumored to be imminent.

Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable emby

If you want to use Emby on multiple devices, you’ll need to sign up for Emby Premiere. It costs $4.99/month, $54/year, or $119 for a lifetime pass.

Download: Emby

Over-the-Air Antennas

The final piece of the jigsaw is an OTA antenna. You’d be amazed at the content you can watch for free with an antenna.

For example, did you know that the Super Bowl, the NBA finals, the U.S. Open, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the UEFA Champions League final, the French Open, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup have all been on free-to-air channels within the last 12 months?

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Image Credit: igterex/Depositphotos

Furthermore, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, The CW, and PBS are all entirely free to watch. Better yet, the signal in 96 percent of American homes is strong enough to receive all six.

Remember, if you’re planning to hook your antenna up to an app like Plex or Kodi, you’ll also need a digital tuner. The current favorite among hardcore cord cutters is the HDHomeRun. It includes two tuners so two people can watch different channels at the same time.

SiliconDust HDHomeRun CONNECT. FREE broadcast HDTV (2-Tuner) SiliconDust HDHomeRun CONNECT. FREE broadcast HDTV (2-Tuner) Cut the cable and cut monthly fees; Watch live HDTV on up to 2 devices simultaneously on your wired network Buy Now At Amazon $79.33

Are You Ready to Cut the Cord?

In this guide, we’ve introduced you to some of the most important devices, apps, and software you need if you want to successfully cut the cord.

To recap: you’ll need at least one streaming set-top box, a couple of paid streaming apps, all the free streaming apps you can get your hands on, a home theater app for your locally-saved media, and an OTA antenna.

Now we want to hear your input. Have you successfully cut the cord? What tips would you pass on to someone who is just starting their cord-cutting journey? And if you haven’t cut the cord yet, what’s holding you back?

As always, you can leave all of your thoughts, questions, and opinions in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

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  1. Gary Gemmell
    December 8, 2017 at 9:41 pm

    Its rather funny - we in the UK always think the USA is so far ahead of everyone else but when it comes to getting ripped off by the companies you seem slightly worse than us in the UK.

    Virtually no UK ISP's have a data cap allowance these days but you do in the USA - That is so backward!

    What are your prices?

    I have the basic Virgin UK cable package which includes 200MBPS no data cap cable internet.
    Tivo 500GB box with the basic channels package but i receive more channels on my freesat box than this one.
    I also get telephone provided which i really dont need with free calls at the weekend
    Price is rather expensive at £41.95 a month

    My brother has Talktalk Adsl ISP which also has not data cap - speed of 20MBPS.
    PVR 320GB with all basic freeview channels - (more than my virgin tv i may add)
    Telephone with no free calls.
    His total package cost is £21.95 a month which is probably the best package in the uk in terms of price and what you get for the money!

    I would be interested to hear what you yanks think of these prices?
    Do your ISP's not offer unlimited data at all or if they do how much does it cost for this privilege?
    Seems to me you are all being ripped off and lagging behind in the technology?

  2. Brian
    December 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    One thing definitely missing here is: A PVR/DVR unit.

    Digitally record your tv shows from your antenna. They're reasonably priced (about $35) and will save shows to a portable hard drive or USB thumb drive. You can play them back at any time and zoom through commercials. iView makes a couple great products (both of which I own), the 3500-STB and the 3200.

    No subscription charges, no need for fast internet services, all the network shows you watch when you want them and you can skip all the commercials.

  3. Dave
    December 8, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Good article about the many services available besides traditional cable TV. But you didn't mention enough about IPTV apps that run in the streaming Android boxes such as Fire TV. I'm using an Android based IPTV app that includes 500 channels of HD quality channels that stream incredibly smoothly even with only 4Mbps broadband. The price is very reasonable, only $30 per month or $75 for 3 months, and other subscription options available to save even more. I really am convinced after having IPTV paid service it will be the big cable cutter.

  4. Chris
    December 8, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I am all in with ditching cable, however, I tried it for 3 months. It was ok with the exception of not knowing if I’d be able to reliably watch my local team. Biggest drawback? I got hit with insane data cap fees from my provider. Every time I streamed a show on Netflix it cost me. Cutting the cord became MORE expensive than keeping cable. Sad but true.

  5. Sam
    December 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    There's another aspect that this article and all the others that push the Pollyanna idea that cord cutting is such a great money saver. For a lot of people, an OTA is non-starter if you can't receive any TV signals or the ones you actually watch, or they don't come in reliably all the time. That's why cable systems were invented over 65 years ago in the first place. Those people will have to find and pay for a more expensive service to receive their local stations if they want local news & weather reports, and live programs or special events like the Superbowl or the Oscars. I've tried several antennas in my apartment, none of which worked. An outdoor antenna isn't allowed for most renters or condo owners/home associations with restrictions. When you start to add up the cost of the only or maybe second ISP available to you with your streaming costs, you'll find that it'll most likely cost MORE, and you just might lose some of the channels you want to watch. Keep that in mind.

  6. David
    December 7, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    I'm still waiting to see an admission that, for many people, the cable company is your only viable option for the broadband you need to make this work. For me, it always comes down to how much it costs to set up just what I need versus what the cable folks will charge me, but I still need to stick that broadband price onto either choice.

    • sam
      December 7, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      I was trying to figure out who would be able to use ANY of these options except for the INCREDIBLY LIMITED OTA channels WITHOUT a broadband connection?

      Exactly how is someone supposed to stream Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV or anything else "streaming" without cable exactly? Oh, and cutting everything BUT internet service means that the cost of "just" internet service is oftentimes jacked up BECAUSE you canceled cable and telephone if you had it.

      This "article" is just naive and disingenuous in all it's "hey you can save lots of money" approach when it completely ignores that you must FIRST have a cable connection to GET internet. How about you start with THAT monthly cost first and then factor in all the rest of the services on top of that?

  7. Johng
    December 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    You leave it an important factor. Stand alone internet costs more. Spectrum would have charged me more for not having cable than having it. Right now, after taxes, I pay $95/mo for 100Mbps. They are offering me $59 for 12mo to add expanded HD cable. Right now I have basic with a box, though the spectrum app gives me all cable channels. In my area, cutting the cord saves almost nothing.

  8. Mark Davies
    December 2, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Good article!! Very useful!

  9. Jim
    November 28, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    You didn't highlight the area of DVR/Cloud DVR as I'm sure people would like to know before if they can record shows on the different platforms and what that may entail.

    • 13thGeneral
      November 30, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Seriously, not a single mention of device services like Tivo or retail DVRs

  10. dragonmouth
    November 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    I notice that all the "Cut the Cord" articles never mention the security/privacy aspects of cord vs. no cord. Or is security/privacy a quaint outdated concept that is no longer applicable in today's world, whether using cable or streaming?

    • Giovanna Visconti
      December 7, 2017 at 6:37 pm

      Amen to that!

      And while I agree that having hundreds of useless channels, and being assaulted (and I DO mean assaulted!) by ads, ads, ads...because the cable companies have to pay the "content providers" who themselves have to pay the talent, etc., in a never-ending circle...there are several other issues, starting with:

      If you live in a city like New York, in an apartment building, an OTA antenna can often be disallowed. That is the case where I am. So that's number one.

      Additionally, as someone else pointed out, the cost of internet service alone, which you'll need in order to DO the streaming will NOT be minimal!

      If you retain landline service, there's that charge even if you use a provider other than your current cable company. (On top of your cellular service, of course, and some people have to retain landline...especially in New York.)

      And then there's the issue of local channels. And I don't mean just your local ABC, CBS, NBC affiliates--if you care about those--and/or PBS. There are local sports channels. For example, in New York if you're a Yankees or Mets fan, ALL but a handful of their games are on their own channels. The "handful" are on other LOCAL New York channels which you also have to be able to receive, by the way, via that streaming option! Ditto for the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Knicks and Nets. Not sure about the Giants and Jets; there are so few games and the NFL is so financially in bed with the national networks, it probably doesn't affect them.

      Anyway, add it all up and even aside from the security issue, which I'm not minimizing, and the "DVR" issue which is very important, and I'll bet that phone/Internet/TV in any combination will cost as much, or likely MORE, than many of us are currently paying for triple-play cable service with all its many faults!

      I own a Roku--and almost never use it because Roku (Apple, Amazon...whoever) has to pay for content also. I'm already paying for Amazon Prime (originally for shipping benefits). And that costs me $100/year. I'm not going to add another $100/yr. for more stuff I don't care about from Netflix.

      If I have to pay an independent fee for HGTV on Roku, which is part of my cable package already, what sense is there in that? Or for TCM, or for FS1, and on and on.

      The situation is a mess right now. And cutting the cord doesn't save much of anything, frankly. That's dependent, of course, on one's individual needs and wants.

      Currently, there just aren't really good alternatives.