Entertainment Finance

Considering Canceling Cable? The True Cost of Cutting the Cord

Justin Pot 18-05-2015

Are you sick of paying for cable? You’re not alone. In the USA the price of pay TV keeps rising, far faster than inflation.

More and more people have had enough, opting to stop paying for cable, instead using the Internet for their entertainment needs.

Which brings us to a question: if you add everything up, do you really save money by cutting the cord?

The answer? It depends. Most cord-cutters combine a number of different sources for entertainment, including:

  • Streaming video services like Netflix and HBO Now.
  • An old-school TV antenna for picking up local stations (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBS, PBS), free of charge.
  • Newly emerging IPTV services, such as SlingTV, for watching cable channels online.
  • Free sites like YouTube and Hulu.
  • Piracy (which we won’t get into here).

Whether you’ll save money or not depends on how you mix the above pieces. Some are one-time costs, while others are monthly. Cord-cutting requires you to change your habits – it’s not for everyone. But there are some clear benefits.

With this in mind, let’s look at whether cord-cutting can save you money. We’ll be looking specifically at the American market; prices and offerings will naturally vary in other countries, but the basic ideas will be similar everywhere in the world.

What Does Cable Cost Anyway?

People who have cable know what they’re paying for it, of course. But if you’re contemplating cable, you might want to know the cost for the sake of comparison.

It’s hard to work out a baseline for cable costs though, because prices vary by region, and most companies do everything they can to keep actual costs off their websites. The “Special Offers” that only last 12 months are prominently shown, and the bundles confuse things further: how much are you paying for cable, and how much for Internet and a phone line?


Having said that, here’s what the FCC says were the average cable costs in 2013:

  • Basic (around 50 channels): $20
  • Expanded basic (around 160 channels): $65
  • Next most popular (around 245 channels): $77

Obviously whether or not you’d save money by cancelling cable depends on which of these three categories you’d be in as a cable user, but we’ll use these numbers as a rough guide.

The Easy Part: Watching Shows and Movies

A generation of people are learning the many pleasures of binge-watching A Short Guide To Binge-Watching [Weird & Wonderful Web] Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video have turned binge-watching into a mainstay of the mainstream. Before you begin binge-watching TV you should arm yourself with some important information. This short guide helps. Read More , where you discover a show that aired a while ago and watch it from beginning to end in a few months (reasonable people), weeks (most people), or days (insane people/me sometimes).


If you partake in regular binge-watching sessions, cord-cutting is perfect for you: many services offer access to a wide variety of classic, and recent, TV shows. They also give you access to all kinds of movies, all of which you can watch whenever you want. In the USA there are four main options:

Any one of these services will provide you with thousands of hours of potential entertainment, meaning you could just pick one and be done with it. When you run out of things to watch on one service, you could switch to another. If you do this, the cost for having plenty of movies and shows to watch will be between $8- and $15-per-month.


My recommendation: use a site like iCanStreamIt [Broken URL Removed] to find out which shows and movies are offered on which services 5 Ways to Search Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and More at Once If you're still having a hard time deciding which of the online movie streaming services is right for you, one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to making this decision is... Read More . Find a service with a couple of shows you’d like to binge-watch, then subscribe to that service until you’ve watched them all. When you’re done, cancel that subscription and move on to another service, with different shows you want to watch.

You could also, in theory, get all four of these services for $40.25 a month, which would already cost you more than basic cable but less than most expanded packages. You’d have access to a staggering number of shows, for far less than cable, and in many cases get new episodes the day after they air.

For many people, this is perfect. There’s one problem, though.

A Bit More Complicated: Live TV

Many cord cutters feel like the idea of live TV “channels” is obsolete TV Channels Are Dead: Why Sling Isn't The Future Of Sports TV Kids don't watch channels; they watch shows. Worse, TV channels have been an obstacle for comprehensive coverage of live sports events. Sling doesn't solve that. Read More . There’s no reason to watch shows on a set schedule with ads, when services like Netflix and Hulu let you watch things at your own pace without schedules.

Having said that, some people like to turn on a particular channel and just watch it. It used to be that this wasn’t possible for cord-cutters, but in 2015 there are a number of options either available now or coming soon.


  • SlingTV, $20/Month for 21 channels including ESPN and Disney; $5 expansion packages offer 6 channels each.
  • PlayStation Vue, $50/Month, offers 50 channels. Requires a PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4.
  • Apple’s upcoming service, reportedly $30/Month with access to 25 channels. Will almost certainly require an Apple TV and/or iOS devices.

Some of these services compare in cost to, or exceed the cost of, basic cable. However, all of them cost less than expanded basic cable, and you could even afford to combine any of these services with one of the one of the streaming services outlined above, for less than expanded basic cable and much less than top-tier packages.

Netflix and SlingTV combined, for example, would cost $28-per-month. You’d have access to more TV than you could ever watch, with more flexibility than even high-priced cable packages.

Having said that, there would still be a big hole for some.

The Basically Impossible Part: Sports

If you’re a sports fan, and want to stay within the law, cord-cutting probably isn’t for you. At least, not right now.

Sure, SlingTV – outlined above – gives you access to ESPN, meaning you’ll have a way to watch many nationally broadcast games. But anything not broadcast nationally isn’t offered on any current streaming service. There is a workaround though: most major sports leagues give you a way to watch their sports online.

  • MLB.TV: $130/Season (divided by a six-month season, that’s $21/month).
  • NHL GameCenter: $150/Season (divided by a nine-month season, that’s $16/month).
  • NBA League Pass: $125/Season (divided by a nine-month season, that’s $14/month)


There’s a huge caveat here: games involving your local team, and games broadcast nationally, will be blacked out. If you follow an out-of-market team this could work for you, but major games – including the entire playoffs, in most cases – will be blocked for you (there are workarounds to geoblocking How Do You Bypass Geo-Blocking Tactics? [We Ask You] Many of us know how to deal with egregious geo-blocking tactics, employing our own counter measures against them. It's about time we all shared what we have learned. Read More , but they’re legally questionable). For this reason, league-provided streaming options are best combined with something like SlingTV (which gives you access to ESPN).

What no current online service gives you access to, however, is the regional sports networks on which most local games are broadcast. That’s not likely to change, at least not anytime soon.

Still, combining one of these services with SlingTV can give you access to a whole bunch of sports for around $40-a-month – just not necessarily all of the exact games you want to watch. Combine this with Netflix and you’re looking at $49 a month – way more than basic cable, but surprisingly still cheaper than expanded basic.

Reminder: Broadcast TV is Still Free!

You might have noticed that major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and Fox – haven’t been mentioned yet. And there’s a reason for that: you don’t need to pay for these stations. At all. All of them are broadcast to you free of charge, and you only need an antenna to pick them up.

This is worth repeating, because many people seem to have forgotten: the major networks are available to you free of charge. Get a high-quality antenna like the Mohu Leaf The Best OTA Antennas and TV Tuners Money Can Buy in 2018 Using an OTA antenna and TV tuner, it's simple to make a do-it-yourself DVR. In this article we have found the best antennas and tuners money can buy... Read More and you can watch some of the most popular shows on television without any monthly subscription costs at all. The high-definition, digital signal means that, in most cases, the picture will look even better than when you use cable.


The FCC reception map can provide you with a list of TV channels you can get locally, right now, without paying a cable company. Combine this with a PRV (you could even build your own 5 Great Linux Media Center Distributions To Transform Your TV Read More ) and you’ve got a whole bunch of TV to watch with no ongoing costs.

There’s Plenty Of Great, Free Content Online

Of course, the above services aren’t your only options: there is a ton of entertaining content online that won’t cost you a thing. YouTube, for example, offers hilarious Web series, original animations 10 YouTube Channels for Original Animations YouTube has become the new home for original content creators, with many forging exciting new careers for themselves by making videos which are watched by millions of people. In the same way that reality television... Read More and so much more. Start finding channels you love, subscribe to them, and you’ll have no shortage of things to watch. There is even poignant political analysis to be found.

Then there are lesser-known sites with free entertainment, like Shout Factory – where you can watch classic shows like Mystery Science Theater, free of charge. This isn’t even mentioning all the great podcasts you can get for free 5 Podcasts You Should Seriously Check Out Right Away Do you listen to podcasts? You should. Not only are they a great way to keep up with the news, they can also be incredibly entertaining and enlightening. Even better, it's the ultimate multitasking medium.... Read More .

There is no shortage of free entertainment online if you know where to look. Finding it is one of the many pleasures of being a cord-cutter.

In Summary: Perfect, Unless You Love a Local Sports Team

So, what’s the verdict? Most people can save money, and there are some clear pros – beyond money – to cable-cutting:

  • Generally, you can avoid seeing advertising altogether while watching TV shows.
  • There’s no set schedule of when things are on, meaning you can watch things on your own time.
  • You have a lot of choice over which things you will and won’t pay for.

Having said that, there are a couple of caveats to keep in mind:

  • If you follow a local sports team closely, and want to watch their games live, you’re probably stuck with cable.
  • If you want to watch cable-only shows live, or soon after they air, you’re probably stuck with cable (there are exceptions, depending on the shows you watch).

In most cases you can probably put together a combination of services that will save you money while providing plenty of entertainment. It depends on how much you love the things cable currently does better than other services. In many cases the reason cable does things better (i.e., sports) is more about legal complications than technical ones, and someday there will be more options.

For now, however, cable cutting is, for many people, a very reasonable option. Do you think you’re one such person? Do the math yourself and let me know in the comments below. Let’s talk about saving money whilst being entertained!

Related topics: Hulu, Netflix, Save Money, Television, YouTube.

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  1. Eff Cable
    February 22, 2018 at 6:05 am

    Let me start by stating that, even were I to save money by doing a "bundle" (aka scam), I still wouldn't do cable. They make us watch tons of ads, the shows are garbage, creative shows get cancelled, only things on are reality tv etc. It's brain cancer period. That out of the way, I also cancelled netflix because they keep getting rid of good things and replacing it with racially charged\political bs which I can get for free online just about everywhere. Now then, you are only saving money on that bundle short term. Most "deals" are for 12mos afterwords jack up sky high. "Oh you don't even have to call to change your bundle, we will remind you!" annnd yep 1 2mos later I have an outrageous bill in my mailbox. in conclusion, Comcast is evil as are all other monopoly companies and I refuse to continue to support evil, monopolizing, talentless, brainwashing, idiot causing hacks.

  2. Eff Cable
    February 22, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Let me start by stating that, even were I to save money by doing a "bundle" (aka scam), I still wouldn't do cable. They make us watch tons of ads, the shows are garbage, creative shows get cancelled, only things on are reality tv etc. It's brain cancer period. That out of the way, I also cancelled netflix because they keep getting rid of good things and replacing it with racially charged\political bs which I can get for free online just about everywhere. Now then, you are only saving money on that bundle short term. Most "deals" are for 12mos afterwords jack up sky high. "Oh you don't even have to call to change your bundle, we will remind you!" annnd yep 12 mos later I have an outrageous bill in my mailbox. in conclusion, Comcast is evil as are all other monopoly companies and I refuse to continue to support evil, monopolizing, talentless, brainwashing, idiot causing hacks.

  3. SFS
    October 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    WAIT, you have to factor in cost of unlimited internet. In my area it's FAR more expensive than cable. I calculated that's it's cheaper to have premium cable + basic internet AND actually buy a couple blue ray discs a month for the latest movies in the highest quality. Steaming is MORE expensive than cable. Net flix in my area is actually $1200/year!!!

  4. SFS
    October 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    What what is the cost of unlimited internet???? In my area it's FAR more expensive than cable TV!!!! So cutting the cord would cost MORE. People begged me to get netflix, heck it only $8 - month, right? WRONG. It's actually $1200/year when you factor in Internet charges. And their movie selections (in canada) are horrible. Basic internet + reg cable is the cheapest option, an I can buy 1-2 b rays a month and still save money! People do not math!

  5. Olga C. Rivadeneira
    September 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks a lot. It truly help me to decide between cable and streaming TV. And yes I'm a sport fan. But my favorite sport is football. Other sport I like, too. But then again I can always go to a restaurant or bar to watch major games...lol!

  6. computer store bd
    September 17, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    We have a selfie stick and I love this, it’s so fun! Boo to people who are negative about it, they’re just for fun ?? and your pictures do look great awesome .

  7. mark
    July 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    If I cancel cable, how can I watch public tv?

    • Onjoy
      August 1, 2016 at 3:19 am

      It's on streaming channels. Or use an antenna and watch local PBS for free.

  8. imre botchi
    December 19, 2015 at 10:12 am

    6 channels I watch in HD on smart tv - TCM, AHC, CNN, Nat Geo, History. If Icut cable I lose my 6 favs. How do you get these without cable? I rent their HD DVR box to FF recordings, can't stand commercials. Big reason why I own 750 dvd movies. I spend $183.00 a month for TV, Phone & Internet. Basic cable isn't in HD, am paying for HD services to watch the 600 HD channels pack. I have a antenna for local digital range of 60 miles in HD, but I don't watch prime tv nor local news. Buckeye fb is shown on local network free, but sometimes on ESPN when it's a bowl/champ game. Dish is only slightly better then cable being you can record more at one time unlike cable where you can record two & you have to watch one of them at time of recording. There needs to be more options with cable tv. Most cable boxes DVRs have been reconditioned so many times that they need swapped out. I had 3 different DVR boxes go tiling on me after a month. I'm really upset with this cable company in Toledo, Oh. If all you have or can afford is Basic service, whats the use of having an HD TV? They brag about the new HD channel they added & you pay extra in thier HD package. It has come down to this, there are more poor people going without cable tv opting for antenna. The same people who own the local newspaper ( The Toledo Blade ) which lost money in sales are part owners of the (Buckeye Cable System ) & rates were raised on cable tv. So it just isn't all retransmission fees passed on to consumers. Toledo is a basket case don't drink their algae bloom cancerous water either. Don't move to Toledo, nothing but a rusted out blighted city. It's a dump!

    • SteveJ
      December 13, 2016 at 7:49 am

      Sling TV has most of those channels.

  9. imre botchi
    December 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Hate cable,commercials & renting hd dvr box. I watch 6 channels. I have antenna, desktop pc, smart tv,Amazon subscrib & 750 dvd's. I want rid of cable,but those 6 channels are cable only. Ticked off at cable rate increases . Not enough options open yet.

    • Justin Pot
      December 19, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      Which channels are they?

      • imre botchi
        December 19, 2015 at 7:37 pm

        Just not enough options yet & politicians won't do ditty.I got Amazon Prime, thinking of Sling for FB. Heres the shame,a friend has an antenna couldn't watch the college champ game because it was on a cable channel ESPN/BTN. It really has gotten bad on the cable side. Dish just dropped AMC, no loss to me I don't watch them at all. Cable probably will give in to AMC & pass on the fee to it's customers. People shouldn't ask their cable company to get this channel or that one. We should be paying only for what you watch & not 300 other garbage programs. The same people who own the local newspaper own the cable company. The paper lost revenue & the cable company was fighting with NBC & now AMC. It's a big rip-off that the cvable company is pulling. Congress won't act because their is OTA & that's a option for consumers. That is how they will treat these issues with cable.

  10. Anonymous
    September 25, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I read articles like this all the time... "cutting the cord". This is a misnomer as when one cuts the cord in most cases one also cuts his internet connection.

    I initially ordered comcast internet (and internet only). Bundling TV actually lowered the monthly cost by $20. I believe the reason for this is that several channels (Home Shopping Network and about a dozen or so other channels selling products) actually pay the cable companies a fee based on the number of customers.

    These articles never address this. In many markets it is cheaper to get the TV and simply not use it if that is one's desire.

  11. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 5:42 am

    According to the Cambridge dictionary, online piracy is the act of copying illegal content and passing it along. BitTorrent technologies are in violation; Kodi add on streams are not, because they neither copy nor share. You as a viewer are doing nothing illegal when streaming with Genesis, as long as you don't copy or record.

    If you still feel racked with guilt, just remember that big media companies have monopolized media markets, jacked up theater prices and cable rates, limited our choices, avoided taxes, and bought off Congress to ensure they can continue profiting at our expense. If that's not theft on a monumental scale, I don't know what is.

    • Justin Pot
      September 10, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Whether this is legal or not is a totally grey area. What we can say is that it's totally illegal for the streaming services to offer these streams, and that for legal reasons they disappear regularly. As such, the addons can be flaky and unreliable.

      As for the second point: I think Wal-Mart is morally reprehensible, but that doesn't mean I'd feel perfectly fine shoplifting from them.

  12. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Before I cut the cord in June, I was already paying for Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime because cable offered little worthwhile programming. My only new cost is Sling TV at $20 a month. Total monthly savings: $95. Yes, it pays to ditch cable if you do it right.

    • Justin Pot
      September 10, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      That's a great example of how well this can work out, people just don't realize how optional cable is if you're willing to put in the time to learn a new setup.

  13. Stephen H
    May 24, 2015 at 2:57 am

    We use a rooftop antenna to get about a dozen channels we actually watch, Hulu+ for other TV or missed episodes, and PLEX - a completely free software that streams your own content to multiple devices. I am basically my own netflix - having 5+ Terabytes of TV and movies (not to mention iTunes music) that I can stream and - now that I purchased a lifetime plexpasss for 150.00 - download to my mobile devices. Every movie I own is on my plex - and pawn shops sell DVD's for $1, and if you buy in bulk, you can get an even better deal.

    • rcprimak
      May 24, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Swapping, trading or reselling commercially licensed DVDs is illegal in the US.

    • Stephen H
      May 24, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      No it isnt. Either cite your source or stop spreading misinformation. It is completely legal to sell or give away a DVD as long as you retain no copies.

  14. Jagdesh
    May 23, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Would love to cut cable as soon as all this services become more global =)

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      Where do you live, Jagdesh? There are usually different services in different countries.

  15. Sheeva
    May 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Dating myself, I remember when Mom n Dad had an old Zenith tube TV and an inside/outside antenna. We got quite a few channels including cross-border (Canada). The picture quality was acceptable - eyes didn't get crossed trying to watch. But then, cable came on the scene. Mom n Dad couldn't seem to get a good reception anymore and were forced to got to cable - $10 a month which meant we had to go without the little things we enjoyed like going to the zoo or taking the ferry to the island, etc. We just ended up watching more commercials (sic). As I had my own family, we had cable initially, $35 a month and it too was a luxury but using antenna was not practical anymore. We went along with this for a while but eventually the escalating costs were just beyond us. We cut the cable so many years ago and have never missed it. Now we enjoy the occasional OTA shows and stream from YouTube or directly from the local stations. All our money is invested in Internet and Cell phone bills. So, the moral of the story is, 'ask yourselves what is more important? Paying big corporations big/huge monies to be entertained for a couple of hours a day or use our collective creativity to acquire entertainment in whatever fashion we can.'

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Very well put, Sheeva.

  16. Steven L. Roberts
    May 23, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I cut the cable January of last year, keeping only my internet service and adding a NetTalk Duo VOIP and Hulu Plus along with an antenna. My monthly bill went from $120 puter month to $60. It wasn't a big adjustment for me because, other than the local news, I never watched TV on a schedule anyway; I DVR'd everything. My only complaint had been the lack of any current CBS programming on Hulu, but now with CBS Access ($5.99 / month), that's resolved.

  17. lott11
    May 23, 2015 at 9:46 am

    You keep saying that KODi is piracy, it is not all that way you can add most on air channels.
    Sure there is piracy but I use Kodi TV and I use USTV NOW there is a free subscription or payed.
    I moved out side the US and I use it.,
    On to the point for phone line, Obihai voip it use cost $ 5.00 a year plus I could add Google voice hone too.
    Now like all things it changed it $15.00 I have 2 voip lines plus Google voice call forwarding is included, My model is an Obi202 purchase 3 years ago.
    My cost in Colombia for 20 GB unlimited internet plus voip is $ 70.00
    and I have 3 kids that use the internet most of time for school or streaming.
    And for music WWW, upbeatapp.com it is free.
    To record TV use a hauppauge tuners or even USB tuner what ever fits you budget.
    All you need is and Intel Core 2 or any 2 core AMD 2600 or higher 2 GB ram more is better.
    A graphics card AMD 9600 or higher, plus room for what ever you will record on the hard-drive.
    To the part of streaming it is not illegal, there are over 7000 channels on the internet all you need is the IP address.
    This are not torrents, they are live channels being stream.
    I pay $249,00 for the rights to watch BBC, I was told that my area was not cover they did not refund me.
    Now I watch those channels and I do not even use a VPM.
    They just want you to pay for the content, regardless if you watch it or not.

    • Justin Pot
      May 25, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Kodi isn't piracy, but Genesis is. I use Kodi every day, there's a lot of great stuff on it that's perfectly legit.

  18. Dagmar Finch
    May 23, 2015 at 6:19 am

    I haven't had cable in years and years. I have Hulu Plus and for the amount of tv I watch, it is plenty. Now and then I go to a tv website (CBS or ABC) and watch a show there. I could never understand the need to pay so much money for very limited programming and constant repeats. I love my Hulu and can afford it.

  19. TonyW
    May 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    Cutting the cable isn't really possible when your local provider (Comcast in my case) applies a bandwidth limitation to your Internet (300 GB/mo for me) - trying to stream 2-3 hrs of HD shows and movies over the Internet (from any source) every night will easily exceed 600+ GB per month. Clearly should be illegal, but it's not.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      Yeah, Comcast's regional monopolies are a problem. Hopefully some competition gets to your market soon Tony.

    • L. Grimes
      August 6, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      I have the same problem. AT&T has recently come to my area, but unfortunately they now have a 250 GB bandwidth limit. These monopolies and limits on bandwidth need to stop

  20. Fred
    May 22, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Thanks for a very interesting article. I too, cut the cable - part way because I needed to reduce expenses drastically. I was paying for tv, phone and internet. With tv I was gettong 200+ channels and watching only about 10 - big money waste. The phone was unnecessary. I kept the internet but have one of the lower speeds. I have over-the-air with my own antenna for tv and like the better picture. For a house phone I use MagicJack which goes over the internet and I put their app on my ipad and my phone number goes wherever I go. I get plenty of movies on youtube and hulu. I'm happy with the choices I've made.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 10:50 pm

      I'm glad you've worked out a system!

    • PacoH
      May 22, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      Oh really? Sounds like you've used it. ;-)

  21. PacoH
    May 22, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    I was paying like $30 for basic cable for about 5 WATCHABLE channels (26 total). I cancelled it and installed rabbit-ears and got the same channels, but poorly because I am at the fringe edge of reception. Subscribed to Netflix streaming after years of DVD rental from them. Problem with Netflix: OLD (2 years+) TV shows and movies, all 2nd tier. No HBO. After about 2 months my wife and I couldn't find anything we liked so we cancelled. Considered HULU but found you had to watch ADS--no way to fast forward! Excuse me?! I don't do ads, PERIOD, let alone PAY for them. That's why I quit cable in the first place. Other services are similar to these 2.

    One thing that really pissed me off--the GD cable company notified me when I exceeded their undisclosed "cap" of 300GB by 2 GB! This for a 100Mbit $70 per month account. Excuse me?! A typical Netflix stream is around 7 GB per hour for 'Ultra HD', acc. to Netflix. So if I watch 2 one-hour TV shows a day (14GB) and one typical 2 1/2 hour movie (18GB) that's 32GB per day. Per person! That's 960GB per month per person! Multiply that by 2 or 4+ people and the cap is even more ridiculous. I have just ignored it completely. They are obviously trying to make it as difficult as possible to cut the cable. And they have a monopoly so there is no alternative.

    See previous comment for the FREE solution. ;-)

  22. PacoH
    May 22, 2015 at 9:35 pm

    XBMC/Kodi + Genesis Addon = FREE TV (up to 1080p with NO ads) and movies

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Note that Genesis is piracy with a really nice interface. If you want to do that, cool, but that's what it is.

  23. Frank
    May 21, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    This doesn't count in the problem of bundles - Cable equals entertainment but also broadband internet and phone...

    • Justin Pot
      May 21, 2015 at 2:34 pm

      Cutting the entertainment part will save you money overall, even with the bundles. Saving $20 on TV channels you don't need isn't saving, it's spending. The FCC numbers above outline how much cable actually costs, with bundling nonsense not factored in. Ask for just Internet and phone, they'll give it to you for less. If they say that will cost more, they're talking crap – push though it.

      As for landlines, we'll have an article about replacing them up on the site very soon.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      May 21, 2015 at 11:10 pm

      VODAFONE In My Area Has 2 Internet Choices:

      A - Old Copper ADSL - It Should Be 24/1, But In Reality Is 12/.8, For $22,

      B - FIBER 50/5, For $26.

      As A Longtime Customer, I Would Love Jumping From (A ) To (B ), But After 2 Years There Is A Price Increase Of 40% - No, Thank You.

      But, The Worst Is, I Do Not Want TV, But With Or Without TV The Price Conditions Are Exactly The Same - WTH ?

      If They Twist My Arm Too Much, I Will Jump To The Competition - FIBER 30/3 For $28.


    • Patrick Piklapp
      May 23, 2015 at 4:45 am

      I just hooked back up on internet and the company kept trying to push a bundle with home phone. I told the representative that I was not home enough to warrant a home phone, as my cheap prepaid cell is the number everyone has. It wasn't worth it to change over to a number that will not get answered 16 hours out of the average day. With my cell, they will get quicker responses and easier to handle.

  24. Sjcabc
    May 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    Why do all these articles forget to mention you STILL need the cable company for internet service. Right now it costs $50 with my package of services. If you want internet only it is $55. And in the future I can see them going the way of the cell phones charging for data.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      What comes with your package? Everyone always says that their bundle is cheaper than Internet only, but every time I've talked about getting a bundle the sales rep always ends up wanting me to pay more than I am now...

  25. Larry
    May 20, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    I am a new cable cord cutter and also a landline phone cutter. I had a bundle for the internet, TV and DirecTv and was paying, or should I say getting robbed. My bill was like $225, $65 for phone, $60 for internet (12MB) and cable was the rest, about a $100. Now I am paying for another internet provider (40MB) about $50 and lineland Voip $12 and using the internet to watch netflix $9 and hulu plus $8 for a grand total of $79. Might even go with HBO online for $15 and still will only be half of what I was paying

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      That's a great success story! I'm really impressed.

  26. A41202813GMAIL
    May 20, 2015 at 12:58 am

    Even If I Lose Live F1 For Good, I Promised Myself I Will Never Ever Get Cable.

    Installing A Satellite Antenna Can Get You Shows That Are Not Geo Blocked, Because Some Countries Still Issue Live Sports In Free To Air Programming.

    Unless, Of Course, There Is A Legal Cartel With All ISPs Making TV Bundling Mandatory Inside Their Internet Packages - Many Already Do That, Anyway.

    There Is A Saying Here: Go Rob To The Highway, Instead.


    • Justin Pot
      May 20, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Yeah, there are some interesting free signals you can get for free with a satellite dish, I've been meaning to look into this at some point. Stay tuned.

    • A41202813GMAIL
      May 21, 2015 at 10:57 pm

      Staying Tuned In MUO Is A Long Time Pleasure.

      Thank You For Responding.

    • Justin Pot
      May 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm
  27. likefunbutnot
    May 19, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    One of the most ridiculous aspects of cord cutting is just how sickeningly well piracy can work. I have no Earthly idea when the shows I watch air. I don't know what channel they're on. I have a tool that looks at RSS feeds and grabs new episodes of whatever I tell it, in the quality I want, as they become available.

    Even for content like The Daily Show, which is available free from Comedy Central the morning after it's broadcast, the pirate version will be online within minutes rather than hours and there will never be weird issues with video playback, something that still happens probably at least once a week with the official version.

    I seem to have content access problems every time I bring up Netflix on a Windows PC and half the STBs and SmartTVs in my house are telling me they're about to lose access to Youtube because of an API change. The tool that works the best and most reliably, putting aside the legal ramifications, is piracy.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 10:11 pm

      Yeah, piracy is much much more user friendly than any of the legal options.

  28. Shawn Rosvold
    May 19, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    We got rid of DirecTV about a year and a half ago. We already had a Netflix account, so streaming onto our Samsung Smart TV was a piece of cake. Everything else we want to watch can be found from various online sources, usually torrents. We use free broadcast TV for the latest news and the occasional PBS shows that we want to watch. We also bought a TiVo to record those shows so we don't have to watch the commercials. So, our monthly TiVo and Netflix fees are about 30 dollars. The TiVo cost $249 and a new antenna was about 100 dollars. We were spending almost 1000 dollars a year on DirecTV satellite, so we're ahead of the game. We don't miss DirecTV at all.

  29. Leah
    May 19, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Ah, I see you did cover the sports thing.

  30. Leah
    May 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I can't even fathom cutting the cable for the simple fact that I cannot get sports over the internet. Ah, yes, I can get an MLB.TV subscription and yes, I can watch ESPN 3 and other sports channels on my smartphone, tablet, and laptop. But, I cannot watch local sports teams. Each sport has blackout rules that tell me I can only watch them on the designated channel either on cable or satellite. Until I am able to watch my local sports team on a computer I either have to stick with cable or satellite or not watch at all. I do not choose to not watch at all.

    That, for me, is the true cost of cutting cable.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 7:46 pm

      Yep, as I say in the article sports is the single biggest shortcoming of this approach. Cable companies know this, so change is going to take time – for legal reasons, not technical ones.

  31. karen
    May 19, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Great article. I am still trying to figure out what to do in our situation but we have a 23 yr old TV, slow internet and dad insists on keeping the landline phone.

    I would be interested in seeing how other countries handle cable tv. I've heard in Canada you can order the channels you like and not get package deals but not sure if that is true.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 4:33 pm

      I've got an article coming out soon all about replacing landlines, so stay tuned for that. As for Canada: I'm not incredibly familiar with TV options there, but I think what you're talking about is upcoming and not current.

  32. Anonymous
    May 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Cut the cord seven years ago and haven't looked back. I've found that Netflix, Hulu, and Prime have most everything I want to watch. I will also use Redbox from time to time.

    The one drawback is the internet service seems to be going up just like the cable bill used to.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      Yeah, the prices for Internet connections are a problem. Tip: call the company and say you're going to switch, you can usually get the price to go back down for a while.

  33. Doc
    May 19, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    "An old-school TV antenna..." You do know that, in the US, standard-def TV is being phased out? You'll need a decent HD-ready antenna.
    I cut the cable about a year ago and haven't really missed it. Almost anything I want to watch is on YouTube or DailyMotion, and while I have Netflix, I'm the one in the household least likely to use it.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

      Standard-def TV has been gone for years, and I don't think anyone sells antennas that aren't HD-ready anymore. But yeah: if you find something at a thrift store it might not work.

    • fred
      May 23, 2015 at 12:24 am

      A standard antenna will receive HD signals just fine.

  34. Anonymous
    May 19, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Internet access. You still need Internet access and have to subscribe to that. Still a cost never mentioned in any "cut the cable " articles I've read.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:27 pm

      Technically you also need electricity, but I don't include that either.

    • JP White
      May 19, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      The only reasonable internet cost to consider when 'cutting the cord' is a faster plan if your current plan proves to be insufficient.

      Plans with 3MB down or more is good enough and 6MB down is plenty. Most broadband plans folks have already meet these minimums.

  35. brad
    May 19, 2015 at 5:25 am

    cable is $30/mo so I just do it. I also still use antenna and Netflix. But I don't buy into the rental equipment (modem, dvr, hd tuner etc), I have all of my own equipment with a 3TB dvr (aka my 10 year old pc)

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      How many channels do you get for $30/month? That's more than I'd ever consider paying but everyone's calculus is going to be different.

  36. Frick
    May 19, 2015 at 2:12 am

    HD antennae, NetFlix, HuLu plus a $50.00 internet package..... I'm saving $100.00 per month over what I used to pay. Left my stepdaughters TV unplugged, it took her 3 weeks no notice because she watched most content on her smartphone, that's what sealed the deal. 16 months later we're all still surviving without cable.......amazing!

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      The story about your step daughter's TV is the sort of thing that startles cable executives awake in the middle of the night.

    • K.I. Matthews
      May 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      That brings up another charge which can be saved - extra outlets. Your wireless router doesn't care where devices are located and will service more than one device.

    • PacoH
      May 24, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      I think sharing OTA TV shows is a gray area. I mean they are available FREE to anyone with an antenna. And people DO record shows and they DO share them with other people, just not to a global community. Sharing HBO shows, which are not FREE, on the other hand, is piracy but HBO turns an eye to it since its is getting enough revenue and it is kind of flattered that there is such an interest in their shows, especially GOT, the most pirated show in history. Another interesting factoid I read is that Netflix and all the other streaming providers keep their prices so low because they know their biggest competitor is the piracy scene. They price it just low enough that some people will pay them rather than go the piracy route.

  37. Bill
    May 19, 2015 at 2:02 am

    Peer 2 Peer Networking is not Piracy, it is a File Sharing system that TV cable service providers would like to Abolish!

    • Michel
      May 19, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      dude, file sharing copyrighted content is piracy.

  38. Scott Dargie
    May 19, 2015 at 1:25 am

    I've been without cable for almost a year now and I really don't miss it. Here in Ontario Canada I was paying $44 a month for basic cable with very few channels. Now I pay $7.00 a month for Netflix and the rest I use several different websites to get free TV programs that interest me and my family, we also use XBMC which is now called Kodi for TV channels and latest movies. It works out great for us.

    • PacoH
      May 22, 2015 at 10:08 pm

      Yes! XBMC/Kodi with the Genesis Addon is the only way to go.

  39. Ben
    May 19, 2015 at 1:15 am

    One thing to think about in terms of pricing. Many people like to have netflix in addition to a cable subscription. When I lived with my parents I payed for netflix and used it more than I used their cable. When I moved out I continued using netflix (and added hulu and amazon) and the transition was quite easy. (Except when I want to watch the playoffs).

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      You're right, to many people Netflix isn't an additional expense. I should have noted this.

  40. Elizabeth
    May 19, 2015 at 12:43 am

    Cut the cable cord several years ago. Added a Mohu Leaf antenna (good), Roku (good), already had Amazon Prime before they added video and music (free shipping for supplies and gifts) and added Ooma for home phone service. The only thing I really missed was the ability to record shows. Then Channel Master DVR+ came out and since there are no DVR monthly fees I am happy.

    P.S. Family and friends have been using me as the early adopter/tester. Several have picked up one or more of the services mentioned above based on my positive experiences.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      One of the funnest things about doing this is figuring out what works and helping your friends do it too!

  41. michel
    May 18, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    All I want is one single channel that my son likes, but I'm not going to pay for any kind of bundle. I'm waiting for the day I can go to the channel's website and subscribe to watch it live in the browser. I would pay for a single channel - if it was reasonably priced. I don't see why no one does this. I guess they'd rather do without my money.

    • Justin Pot
      May 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      I agree with you, but there's some weird economics at work here.

      In the short term, while millions of people are willing to pay for hundreds of channels they don't use, TV executives would literally rather do without your money. If you could pay just for one channel, lots of people currently paying for all the channels might switch – and the results could be less money paid into the system overall.

      This will inevitably change later, I think, but for now the system is too entrenched.

    • michel
      May 18, 2015 at 11:55 pm

      yeah, I think the problem is, the channels don't want to deal with viewers, it's just easier to let the middleman - the cable companies - do that. And the companies insist on bundles. Where I live, if I wanted to pay for that one channel, I'd have to pay over $40/mnth, not including taxes and whatever other hidden charges they think they can get away with. For myself, the two channels I actually watch are the only ones that post nearly all their shows for viewing on their sites, so I just stream on demand. So I get what I want at no charge. Unfortunately, few channels do this, and not my son's favorite kids channel.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Well, HBO has opened the floodwaters: they're selling their service directly to viewers now. We'll see how other channels follow up with that.

  42. dragonmouth
    May 18, 2015 at 9:51 pm

    You only mention cutting the TV cord. No mention of Internet and Phone. I get all three from the same provider. If I cut the cord, I lose Internet and phone or have to pay through the nose.

    • Justin Pot
      May 18, 2015 at 10:51 pm

      Bundling is a problem, but you can replace your landline with something much cheaper easily enough – there's an article coming out on that soon. And paying for Internet alone is far, far cheaper than paying for a three way bundle.

    • WinDork
      May 19, 2015 at 1:04 am

      @dragonmouth I empathize. I have Verizon FiOS and they have me by the bundle as well. I've turned in all three boxes and reduced my cable down to local channels (which I do not watch since I have no box). The bill is reduced, but I am looking for better ways as well. I also subscribe to Amazon Prime, which also provides Prime Music (not mentioned in the article) as well as Hulu Plus, which recently added Cartoon Network and Adult Swim programming to its offerings. Candidly, we are still paying for more television than we are watching. If I could figure out a way to get rid of cable from my bundle without getting bent over, then I'd be all over it.

    • Garrett Gitchell
      September 2, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      We got one of those bluetooth from cell phone to home phone adapters. We were already paying for unlimited cell phone calls. That part was easy. We use our smart tv for everything now. Most important for a lot of people is watching local sports teams about 50 minutes after the start with DVR to zip through commercials. It takes some work (and not much savings) to get to that point...

  43. Tripp3235
    May 18, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I just cut the cable. (Well satellite). Got Tivo OWA so I can DVR my local shows (which is why I've kept it so long). I don't consider Netflix and Amazon Prime additional costs because I was already paying those while having satellite. I did add Hulu Prime and then the tivo service is 14. So I went from $58 to $22.

    • Justin Pot
      May 18, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      Well done!

    • Jaime
      May 19, 2015 at 12:17 am

      So TiVo has a monthly charge as well? I'm looking to cut my DirecTV by the end of the month, so I'm looking into all my other cheaper options. I currently have Netflix that I stream via my Amazon Fire.

    • Aaron
      May 19, 2015 at 4:10 am

      @Jamie: Tivo has a monthly charge, but you can also pay a one time, lifetime (of the box) fee instead. More money up front, but it eventually pays for itself assuming you keep the box that long. Personally, I love the Tivo interface and would recommend Tivo all day long, but others may have different ideas for you.

    • Justin Pot
      May 19, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      It's also possible to build your own DVR, and not pay any monthly fees at all.

    • Jaime
      May 19, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks Aaron. Good to know.

      @Justin, can you elaborate as to what you mean by building my own DVR? That is the one thing I'll miss the most when cutting cable. Also, what is your thought on channels that will only let you stream online if you have a cable subscription, i.e. USA?

  44. Lynda
    May 18, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    When we lost our home to the flood in Colorado in 2013 and ended up in a different town, in an apartment we decided to forego cable. We have an antenna and Netflix and honestly do not miss cable at all.

    • Justin Pot
      May 18, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      I live in Boulder, lots of people near me lost their homes during the flood. I'm really glad you and your family are safe, wherever you've ended up. As for not missing cable: lots of people agree with you.

    • Lynda
      May 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Justin, I lived in Lyons pre-flood and moved to Longmont. I work in Boulder, so we're practically neighbors! Getting a little leery of all this rain! Thank goodness for Netflix!

    • Patrick Piklapp
      May 23, 2015 at 4:33 am

      Cut the cable a couple of years ago when local company double charged me two months running. I really don't miss it with my wacky schedule anyway. Antenna gets 40+ stations and I can usually find something to watch or stream free sites via the computer.