Entertainment Finance

7 Pitfalls of Cord-Cutting You Should Consider First

Dann Albright 19-02-2016

Cutting the cord Cut That Cord! How to Ditch Cable If you've read about the cord-cutting phenomenon but aren't sure where to start, this is a guide to cutting the cord and ditching cable TV for good... Read More on your cable service is probably something you’ve thought about, if you haven’t done it already — statistics are showing that pay TV services are losing customers by the millions, and will probably continue to do so.

But before you cut the cord to save yourself some money 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 , there are a few things you should be aware of. You’ll decrease your cable bill, but there are still costs — some in cash, and some in convenience.

Here’s what you need to know.

You’re Dependent on Your Internet Connection

Not too long ago, I had a strange issue with my Internet connection — it would go down for about four hours every afternoon starting between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. There was no precipitating event, I had perfect service throughout the rest of the day, and it seemed to be only in my apartment, because public hotspots from other Comcast customers were still available.


If you’re not getting TV through your cable provider, that means you need to get it from the Internet — which means you need a good, stable Internet connection. You might think that getting cable TV and Internet service from the same provider means you’d have the same quality of service on both, but that’s not necessarily true. Even with solid cable service, you’ll sometimes have an Internet blackout.

And while this isn’t usually a huge deal, if you’re watching the World Cup, the Super Bowl, or a season finale of Doctor Who, you really don’t want your connection going down. If there are certain shows or events that mean a lot to you, this is something to consider.

You’re Much More Likely to Hit a Data Cap

Data caps Why Do Data Caps Exist and How Can You Bypass Them? ISP and mobile data caps are frustrating, but why do they exist? Here's how to bypass your data cap and enjoy limitless internet. Read More are really annoying, especially because there are good arguments that they only exist to make cable companies more money.

If you’re streaming a huge number of gigabytes through Netflix, YouTube, and questionably legal streaming sites, you could be consuming a monumental amount of data (especially if you’re streaming in HD), and that could slow your connection or cost you more money.

In fact, one of our own readers reported that he went over his cap because he accidentally left some YouTube videos playing while he fell asleep — he hadn’t had trouble previously with watching movies on Netflix, but these constantly running YouTube video did him in. It’s not hard to imagine that going on a serious TV binge could run you up against your data cap and get you slapped with extra charges.


There certainly are ways around this, but the two most effective are streaming less content and not watching in HD, two strategies you wouldn’t have to use if you just kept your cable subscription.

It’s Harder to Watch Sports and Live Events

Illegal streaming is an increasingly big business, and there are tons of options out there for watching sports Where Can I Watch Live Matches Online For Free? Don't miss a moment of your favorite team, regardless of whether their games are broadcast in your area. A variety of sites around the web can serve you (legally questionable) streams of every live match... Read More and live events, but it’s not always going to work very well.

If there are hundreds of thousands or millions of people watching the same thing, you could have trouble finding a streaming service that will not only give you a good quality picture, but also be able to handle the traffic.


The World Cup, the Super Bowl, the Olympics, US presidential debates, reality TV shows, and other hugely popular televised events are going to put a big strain on illegal streaming servers. You may get a high-quality stream in HD, or you could get an SD stream that skips and hangs. Depending on how committed you are to watching a particular event, whether it’s worth the risk may change how you feel about paying for cable.

It’s Hard to Get Live News

If you’re a news junkie, cable TV is almost a necessity. Sure, you can get a lot of great news online Watch Streaming Live TV News Online with Livestation Read More , but if you want the cable news experience, that’s pretty much the only place to get it. You can get news from free local stations, and you might be able to find a way to stream things like CNN, FOX, or MSNBC, but it’s much easier to get it on cable.

This is especially true if you like to flip between different news stations to get different views and types of news. Which brings me to my next point…

Channel Surfing is Hard

Whether you like to channel surf or not, it’s hard to argue that it’s not a good way to discover new things, especially if you have a cable or satellite package that has hundreds or thousands of channels. You just never know what you’re going to find — new shows, weird movies, interesting people, fascinating documentaries; the list of things you might come across seems infinite.


As with many of the other points in this list, this is only going to be an issue for some people. Many — including myself — don’t like to channel surf, and aren’t bothered by the fact that it’s a lot harder to do when you don’t have cable TV.

Netflix and Prime Have Terrible Movies

Yes, I know they also have good movies. And the selection changes all the time. Using a VPN or another way to trick Netflix into thinking you’re logging in from somewhere else increases the selection, and there are tools available 5 Tools To Super-Power Your Netflix Viewing Experience I have to admit that I am a huge Netflix fan. I mean, I like Hulu and Amazon for my instant movies as well, but there's something about the convenience of streaming Netflix quickly and... Read More to help you find hidden gems. I know all that.


But after you’ve watched the best movies available — which doesn’t take a long time — you’re left with a lot of stuff that’s just not very good. Even if you have both Netflix and Amazon Prime, if you tend to watch a lot of movies, you’ll run out of good ones sooner or later.

Obviously this issue will only apply to certain people, and many won’t have an issue with this at all. But it’s something to keep in mind.

The Cost Savings Might Not Be as Much as You Expect

If you’re paying a lot for a package cable subscription, you might think you’ll save a fortune by cutting the cord and streaming all of your content. And depending on how much you’re paying and how you go about it, that might be true. But there are a number of expenses that you need to be aware of.

For example, you’ll probably want at least two streaming services 6 of the Best Streaming Media Services Compared Streaming media has become the way of the future for many consumers, and as a result there’s no shortage of services to pick from. Let’s compare five of the best streaming media services to see... Read More , like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, or YouTube Red. That will likely run you a couple hundred bucks. You’ll also probably want a device that makes it easy to send video from your computer or tablet to your computer, like an Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or Roku. Probably only $20 or $30, but still an expense.

Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD Buy Now On Amazon

You might need to upgrade your Internet service to provide the speeds that you need to get high-quality streaming, if you don’t have them already, which could conceivably add $100 or $200 per year to the cost.


How much money you’ll save depends on how many of these things you decide to pay for, but when you add it all up, you’ll see that it might not save you as much as you expected, and the sacrifices may not be worth it. Cutting costs and saving money How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits One of the top new year resolutions on many people's lists is to spend less and save more. It's easier said than done, but you can still rely on several apps and tools to help... Read More , no matter how little, is always a good thing, but if you’re not saving as much as you expected, you may want to reconsider the convenience value of cable.

Slate has a good calculator tool to estimate your savings.

Is It Still Worth It?

Have you cut the cord? Or are you thinking about it? We want to hear about your experiences — do you find it worth the expense? We have some strong supporters of cord-cutting The One Reason You Need to Cancel Your Cable TV Cord-cutting is an over-reported phenomenon. The bigger trend is the cord-nevers, who have never and will never get cable TV. Why? For the simple reason that cable TV sucks. Read More at MakeUseOf, but we also have some skeptics.

Help us hash it out in the comments here; tell us how much money you’ve saved, how much of a pain it is to watch sports online, or why you’ll never go back to cable!

Image Credits: Cutting the cable by Steve Heap via Shutterstock, Victorpr via Shutterstock.com, Wiktoria Pawlak via Shutterstock.com, scyther5 via Shutterstock.com.

Related topics: Netflix, Television, YouTube.

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  1. techJunkeydad
    January 13, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I'm finally cutting the cord and about to save big! This article is very outdated now that streaming services offer local, news and sports so I implore everyone to look into cutting the cord. First we had Xfinity...super expensive and not all of their movie channels are HD (it's 2019, WTF?!!!), not to mention the infamous horrible customer service. Most recently, we had Fios and a few years ago, it was worth it. Faster internet and better picture with more HD channels. Now it is such a ripoff! Streaming DirecTVNow with Fios 300Mbps and no LAN line, cause who needs that?! Saving over $100/month because of ridiculous equipment rental fees, taxes and too many dumb channels we never watch. Thanks Roku!!! When will the cable companies get with it and go a la carte or smaller TV packages with better tech??? You mean to tell me TV needs such a huge box that costs $200??? TV sticks are $30-$100...better change or you'll be lost to Streaming and 5G!

  2. Tess Warren
    October 30, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I am returning to cable after an extended time of using multiple streaming services. In order to get anything decent to watch, I subscribed to multiple services and when added up ended up costing more than cable when bundled with my other services. My package offers 3 premium movie services plus I can now watch real time news and local programming. Netflix rarely offers anything new, and Amazon sucks you in to all their other services designed to separate you from your money. HBO is the only decent service available, in my opinion, and it’s expensive as a stand-alone. Sling TV is pretty awful and Hulu is limited in their programming, and both of them have technical issues. For most people who think they are saving money, I think they would be surprised when adding up the actual cost of streaming. It all requires high speed internet and WiFi which are probably provided by the cable company anyway, that is the biggest streaming cost for anyone

  3. John Splinter
    August 18, 2017 at 12:29 am

    We haven't cut the cord yet but we're sharpening the scissors. Cable gives us SO MUCH CRAP (15 "shopping Chanel's" -- 30 rerun movie channels that STILL cost more money to use -- really?). And every year they sneak in higher prices. We plan to cut the cord in two months, when we can afford to pay off the charges the cable company levies when one quits too soon. Can hardly wait!! Going with inside antenna plus fire stick. Will save $140/month!!

  4. big Vee
    February 23, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    So strange, I didn't see the word ANTENNA mentioned in this article. An antenna is a great solution to finding news, and programming from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, PBS, GetTV, AntennaTV and more. For me, in the Virginia Beach VA area, there is just no need for a cable connection to TV. Again, just for my household, there is STILL more than enough TV access with our antenna and Amazon Prime. Even with a kicked up internet connection, I'm saving over $100 a month! I like that!

    • Dann Albright
      November 28, 2016 at 2:55 am

      That's true; an antenna can make a big difference! It might depend on where you live just how effective it is, but it's absolutely worth a shot. Especially with how cheap they are. Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. Dolores
    February 23, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    What strange in US... How bad is your internet conection? People reporting me that in cities the conection fall and speed decreases at peak hours(my sister lives in Chicago)! and now I see that coments: Internet company putting download data caps? If you do that in Spain, you will get massive leaving people to other companies.

    In Spain, in a remote zone(50km long from big city), you can purchase a coaxial internet + TV cable conection. 150mb download speed/ 20mb upload speed and paying 70€. In big cities, like Madrid or Barcelona you can purchase optic fiber with speeds about 300mb down/50mb up at same price.

    I use WoW + Teamspeak + youtube + spotify + jDownloader + AnyDesk during 8 or 10 hours without stop (the tower now smells a little burned :D) and I never got a "data cap": in numbers, I can download 3 or 4 terabytes with my internet conection each day without any cap or loose in the speed.

    Cannot understand you very well, how the first country of the world can have that lack of speed and data caps? or I understanded so bad (my English level is really bad)?

    • Carol
      November 16, 2016 at 12:51 am

      The answer is Greed

      • Dann Albright
        November 28, 2016 at 2:45 am

        Yeah, I'm going to have to agree with Carol here. It's just so ISPs can make more money.

  6. Chris Collins
    February 23, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Moving to the big city and getting into an apartment after being out in a rural area for so long had me giddy about finally having ISP choices.

    I was wrong.

    The apartment complex only allows internet and TV through AT&T. My only other option, if I weren't in the apartments, would be Comcast. Zero satellite options. Either option is 1000 times better than Windstream where I was. My only speed options with Windstream was 3 mbps down and if I was lucky, I would see 1.5 mbps down on a fairly inconsistent basis.

    With AT&T the best package being offered when we ordered was 45 mbps with U-Verse, 1 yr of HBO free and 1 yr of Amazon Prime. All of this for about 70ish a month, which is about was I was paying Windstream for my poor barely 3 mbps. Since we've been here, we moved in August, we've been getting consistent service ranging from 16 mbps to 53 mbps depending on the time of day I test. Peak hours I get about 16-20 and off peak hours I get on average 35ish. Late, late at night I get high 40s, low 50s.

    I haven't even turned on the U-verse receiver since getting an over the air antenna for local stations. Everything else is either Netflix, Amazon Prime, Vudu, HBO Go, Crackle, Google Play, CBS All Access (most of our favorite prime time shows are on CBS, so All Access acts like a DVR for us), and Hulu Plus. We either use the Xbox 360 (wife's favorite choice) and Chromecast from my tablet, my preferred method. During football, I signed up for the Chromecast offer of 2 months free of Sling TV which gave me Monday Night Football. I'm not a huge sports fan except I like to watch NFL. I'm not a fantasy football, know all the stats, tell you who won the Superbowl in 1998 type of fan, I just like to sit back and watch a game.

    Cutting the cord works for us. We can usually find something to watch somewhere. I sign up for free trials whenever possible, but even paying for Netflix, Hulu Plus, and CBS All Access, I'm still paying much less than I did when I had Direct TV.

    We moved in here last August and we have at least 2 phones, 2 computers, a tablet or two, and binge watching whenever we're home, which is usually nights and weekends. I've not had any increase in costs on my bill nor have I heard anything about going over a data cap from AT&T.

    So far, so good.

    • Dann Albright
      February 24, 2016 at 12:12 am

      Ha! ISP choices! Yeah right. :-) Wouldn't that be nice?

      Sounds like you have a pretty good system set up—I especially like the idea of signing up for a free trial to get Monday Night Football. That's really smart. And with all of the different streaming devices and services you have available, I'm not surprised that you can always find something to watch! Glad you haven't been accosted about a data cap. From what I'm hearing here, it sounds like that's pretty rare, but it definitely could happen.

      Thanks for your comment!

  7. CoolHappyGuy
    February 23, 2016 at 12:36 am

    We cut the cable when we moved into our new house (October 2015). Originally, I planned to use a leaf-type antenna to get OTA live TV. When I tried it in the new place, I only got 2 channels. I had to sell it and my Tablo DVR. :(

    Soon after that, I was reviewing my Comcast bill (my ISP), when I noticed a $3.25 TV charge. I contacted them and told them that I don't get TV. They said that it was an FCC imposed charge and that I, in fact, DO get OTA channels streamed through my broadband connection. Furthermore, I was entitled to a freebie box so that I could get these channels (with a remote). As a result, I get the major OTA channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, some others) so I can get my live news and not miss out on Sports! Sweet!

    Is it worth it? Totaly! I get videos through Amazon Prime (which also entitles me to free shipping, freebie MP3 music, and a Kindle library; so I don't even count it as an extra expense), Hulu, and Netflix. I save about at least $75/month. The only real downside is that since I am reliant on the streaming services for my series, I have to be patient when they come out. Technically, I could watch these OTA but I don't have DVR capacity (or, rather, I haven't added a DVR through Comcast). I'm totally ok with that.

    So guys, check your Comcast bill. You may have OTA and not know it. I think it's hilariously ironic that Comcast is actually HELPING me cut the cable!

    • Dann Albright
      February 24, 2016 at 12:09 am

      That's funny! I'll have to check my bill and see if I can get those channels through broadband. I've never really tried, but if that's something I could do, that would be really convenient! We don't currently have a box, but if I could get a free one, maybe I'd spring for it.

      Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Anonymous
    February 21, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I Promised Myself I Will Never Ever Ever Drop My Pants For Cable Intentionally, Even If I Lose My Beloved F1 SUNDAYS.

    Unfortunately, ISPs Are, The More And More, Making Basic Cable Mandatory For All Internet Contracts, But Basic Cable Does Not Include Premium Sports, So My First Paragraph Still Stands.

    GO, 44 !

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Yeah, it's difficult to talk them into letting you get an internet/non-cable subscription, but they will do it. They just don't like it. :-) I've been streaming sports online, and it's worked decently well, so I'll probably go without cable for a while, but it's going to be difficult once MLS season rolls around!

      • Anonymous
        February 24, 2016 at 3:33 am

        F1, INDYCAR, MOTOGP+ And ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE Are My Top Sports Interests.

        Thank You For Responding.

  9. name
    February 21, 2016 at 1:20 am

    This article sounds like it was written by the cable company marketing guy. Almost all of the statements in this article are not true including live sports. You can get even ESPN if you want it through dish streaming service.
    Rather than sit in front of the stupid TV, go outside and do some walking. The country already more than 50% overweight. Don't kid yourself, your fat behind could not run across a football field if your life depended on it.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      So you're suggesting that people who are trying to get rid of cable should switch to a dish service? That doesn't solve the problem—it's still expensive, has more channels than you need, and probably has worse reception than cable. So unless there's something I'm missing, that seems like a pretty poor choice.

      Also, this is a site about how to use technology, not how to improve your health. Trust me, as a former health promotion professional, I'd be super happy to write about the benefits of going for a run instead of watching TV. But that's not what the article's about. It's about weighing the costs and benefits of getting rid of your cable contract. If you want to complain about who can and can't run across a football field, I'd suggest a site like reddit.

  10. waicool
    February 20, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    if you consider not giving your hard earned money to the corrupt media corporations for stuff you don't even watch a pitfall, then you could add that in here.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Yeah, that's definitely something you could consider a pitfall. :-)

    • Jim
      February 23, 2016 at 2:11 pm

      I believe that Dann was talking about SlingTV which is a steaming service by Dish that includes ESPN, TNT, TBS and quite a few others... It works with roku, Android, and [I believe] iOS devices plus the gaming consoles and other devices...

  11. Anonymous
    February 20, 2016 at 4:20 am

    If you're going to cut the cord and you know you're a heavy data user, it's probably wise to inquire with your ISP about a business data plan. The plan will cost a bit more, but a side effect is that your service will also be delivered and supported by a different and vastly more responsive business unit, and I'm not aware of business cable or DSL plans with a data cap at the moment.

    With regard to live news: It's not THAT hard, especially if you're OK with audio-only feeds. Between that and RSS (or Twitter, if you're one of those people) for news updates, the only thing you'll really miss out on is the fear-mongering-of-the-day or stealth-advertisement content that seems to slip in to televised news. Actual information is easier to come by if you skip it. I'd also like to take a moment to lament the loss of Al Jazeera America, which has (it's still operating at the moment) a very impressive digital operation. Putting aside the quality of content (which is surprisingly good) or its political aims, I wish other news networks would take steps to become as accessible as it has been. I particularly like that it worked directly in both Kodi and Plex. In the USA, CBS News and Fox News also have strong, free digital video offerings.

    Sports: Stop caring. Go to a sports bar if there's a big game. It'll be more fun with a bunch of people anyway. I don't approve of sportsing unless the uniform involves a bikini, but Major League Baseball and Hockey are really models of open access. Roku has every damned weirdo international sport, so if you're an Aussie Football fan or really like cricket, get one of those. There's also Sportsdevil, which is just a Kodi repository away. The NFL is the biggest problem but again, that's what sports bars and chicken wing restaurants are for.

    Channel surfing? Kodi has video addons that emulate it, either from quasi-legal streaming sties or from local library content. PseudoTV is in the same addon repositories as SportsDevil and AllUC. The message I am giving here is that Kodi (or an offshoot like TVMC) is a killer app are far as actually cutting the cord. No single box has perfect access to app the apps and sites, but a box that can get Kodi installed can get a lot closer than whatever app-ified experience is available with just an AppleTV or Roku.

    Cost: OK, here's the thing. You don't have to have all of the things all the time. Amazon Prime you're probably buying a year at a time. Fine. You didn't buy it for videos anyway. But you can start and stop Netflix and Hulu Plus at will. Maybe you just want SeeSo for long enough to see all of The Kids in the Hall or the forthcoming CBS site to watch the new Star Trek series. If you don't want to pay for a service all the time, don't. A nice thing about Netflix is that they won't charge you a reactivation fee. So only sign up when you want it. This is not that hard.
    If you have disk space and a technical bent, you can probably figure out ways to save and watch local digital content without using the internet. Some of the ways one can do that might not even result in a warning letter from an ISP.

    You're also going to want the right box and the right control interface. As far as the box: Don't rely on a smart TV. Please. First, Smart TVs have crummy controls and crummy user interfaces. They have slow (like, four year old smartphone-grade) processors and TV manufacturers have made a habit of not updating software for older TV models, meaning that you're unlike to have new service added AND that some services your TV supports now might not work in the future. Yay.

    You're better off with a Set Top Box. I'd suggest a FireTV or a Roku 3+, depending on how much you might value being able to enjoy local content (get a FireTV - it's really easy to add Kodi to one and they have SD card and USB ports, plus a local DLNA client for screencasting if you just want to play something) and/or need access to weirdo streaming sports (Roku 3+). Both have reasonably fast, responsive interfaces. I'd avoid buying anything that doesn't have an ethernet port, but if you're one of THOSE people, both the FireTV and Roku have "stick"-style device (the other big reasons I don't like sticks: messy cabling, crummy 802.11 reception from behind a giant slab of glass and metal and limited audio output options). Streaming video is better when you have a wire. It eliminates a possible source of problems.

    I'd also avoid the Chromecast. Technically, they're decent and inexpensive hardware, but they're kind of a hassle to control unless you and everyone else who might be using it have a PC, phone or tablet handy. I'd rather have something that has a real remote.

    I also don't like the AppleTV, in part because I'm underwhelmed by the app ecosystem and vendor lock in but also because they're expensive compared to Amazon and Roku devices.

    You can also get boxes that can run straight Android or Linux/OpenElec. The experience you have with these guys can be pretty uneven. Android in particular isn't made to run with a TV remote control, so it can be pretty frustrating.

    Low cost Intel Atom PCs like the Intel Compute stick and on up to the Gigabyte Brix or Intel NUC are really very good and possibly even better when they're running Windows 8 or 10. Turns out, one of the times that the Start Screen and Modern-style Windows Apps work really well is on a large screen you're running from the couch. The Windows Store versions of Netflix and Plex are actually showpieces for what Windows Store apps can be, too. Down side here is that a PC will cost more and might use more electricity than a regular set top box, and you'll have to do some experimentation to find controls you're happy with.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      You can get a business plan as an individual user? I've never heard of that, but I can see how it would be beneficial. As for sports, ignoring your remark about your own questionable preferences, "stop caring" is terrible advice. That's just not going to fly. You have your thing, I have my thing, and other people have their thing. If it's watching ports, they may want to keep cable, and that's fine. As you point out, there are plenty of options for streaming sports, but in some cases, it's going to be easier to pay for cable (or at least a single premium channel or online subscription) for sports. I'm not saying I recommend it, just pointing out that sports fans may want to keep that cost in mind if they're thinking about getting rid of their cable contract.

      • Anonymous
        February 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm

        @Dann Albright,

        Sports are more or less the worst case scenario for streaming. They're incredibly fragmented across region and interest. Even with traditional TV services, fans are subject to regional blackouts and exclusive telecast rights across networks and services to which they may not even have access (e.g. DirectTV's exclusive access to some NFL games). The problem in this case has as much to do with how telecast rights are sold, but I don't expect the situation to improve at all in the transition to streaming services. Sports fans are going to wind up being nickel-and-dimed worse than anyone for the cord cutting experience, just as they are now for traditional televised media.

        • Dann Albright
          February 24, 2016 at 12:04 am

          That's a good way to think about it, sports fans getting nickel-and-dimed. Illegal streaming seems like the only way around that, but you face a pretty big compromise on quality and consistency! Telecast rights are the worst.

  12. Leah
    February 20, 2016 at 1:37 am

    The biggest thing for me is sports. Baseball most importantly, but also football, March Madness, and the Olympics. Of course you can get some of that online but only if you have a cable or satellite subscription. If you're not into sports I think it might actually be worth it, though.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      That's definitely a big concern for a lot of people—as I mentioned in the comment above, some people are just going to find it worth the cost to pay for cable or at least an online subscription to be able to watch sports when they want. I agree with the Olympics; they're super fun to watch, and it's great being able to watch them live over a more stable connection like a cable TV one.

    • Anonymous
      February 23, 2016 at 1:49 am

      Actually, you can get the MLB package (every out-of-market game) on Roku and it's only $110 for the year (and they usually give discounts if you buy later in the season).

      As for March Madness, just get a digital antenna and watch them on CBS or whatever station is broadcasting it. You can also watch the Olympics that way, and I think they also show some Olympic sports on the NBC app.

      • Dann Albright
        February 24, 2016 at 12:05 am

        MLB for $110 isn't too bad! If that's the only thing that you're worried about, it actually seems like that's a pretty good deal. If you watch a lot of baseball, that is.

  13. Mike
    February 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    We cut the cord about 4 years ago, and really haven't missed it. Granted, we aren't huge sports fans, and the few sports events we really do watch (happens maybe once or twice a year) is either on OTA TV, or we can pay for a month of Sling TV to watch it. We were paying for Internet whether we had cable or not, and we had Amazon Prime for the free shipping anyway, so those aren't an added expense. We also don't watch movies often enough to need Netflix. We just rent what we want from Amazon Instant Video (which ends up being cheaper unless you watch more than a couple movies a month), or buy the disc if it's something we really love and want to see repeatedly. That saves us money, and we can watch it more on our terms (no fear of it disappearing from Amazon/Netflix, no fear of data caps or Internet outages, etc.), so it's better than streaming anyway. For TV shows, I've found that most shows are available from network web sites for free, or we just watch them OTA when they air. We get over 90 channels OTA where we live, so plenty to watch there. We use Kodi for our TV interface, and find a ton of (legal) free content that way as well. I've found that we actually have more to watch now than we did with cable, and we're saving about $60 per month or so. Win-win!

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Sounds like you have it all figured out! Having 90 channels OTA is great; I'm not sure how many there are here, but I'll have to look into it. Your movie-renting and -buying habits sound like you've thought them out pretty well, too. I'm glad to know that there are some others out there that still like to buy movies! I don't very often, but sometimes it's worth it. Some movies are just worth watching a bunch of times. As I've mentioned in a number of comments on this article, sports seems to be the make-or-break issue on this. Some people are happy watching the sports they can get OTA or online, while some people want to get all the sports they possible can. For the latter, it just might be worth it to keep a cable subscription. If everyone gave as much thought to their choices as you've laid out here, I think we'd all be set!

  14. Anonymous
    February 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    As Robert A, Heinlein said in his novel "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" - TANSTAAFL!
    The ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:54 pm

      In general, I agree with that . . . but I'm not really sure what you're referring to in the context of the article!

      • Anonymous
        February 23, 2016 at 12:12 am

        As you say in the second paragraph: "You’ll decrease your cable bill, but there are still costs — some in cash, and some in convenience." Nothing is free. Sooner or later, one way or another, one winds up paying.

        • Dann Albright
          February 24, 2016 at 12:06 am

          Ah, I see what you mean. Yes, that's indeed true. Whether it's for different services or through watching ads, you do end up paying somehow. Unless you stream illegally, in which case you pay in quality and consistency. Which is a different kind of payment, but still a payment, I suppose.

  15. Greg
    February 19, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    I cut the cable several months ago; well got rid of satellite service. I am only dependent on my internet connection for thing like Netflix and Amazon Prime TV, both of which I had before dropping satellite service. I use an over the air antenna, receive over 50 channels in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, and do not lose those channels when I lose my internet connection. Plus, I can't even remember the last time I lost my internet connection other than a power outage.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:55 pm

      That's great that you have such a stable connection! Now that I've moved back to Denver, the internet connection here seems to be better than it was last time I lived here; I had pretty regular connection breaks last time. But without them, watching things online is no problem at all (well, the Super Bowl was a little tough, because of the number of people streaming it at once). 50 channels over the air helps a lot, too!

      Thanks for reading!

  16. Anonymous
    February 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    I disagree a bit with some of the points or assumptions on this list since my experience differs.

    1) I have been using a Roku as my regular way of streaming content for the last three years, and I don't believe I have ever hit my data cap (or necessarily gotten close to it). I'm not sure if my streaming shows are coming in at their highest quality level possible, but it's completely clear. I can understand, though, if you accidentally leave it streaming overnight.

    2) Yes, it is harder to watch live sporting events, but not as hard as might be thought. I bought a digital antenna (one-time charge of $30, IIRC) so now I can get NFL games (that also solves getting local newscasts as well). Also, some sites allow streaming of at least some live sports, such as the ESPN app or the NBC app.

    3) Yes, channel surfing is harder to do, but that's a habit that can die and leads to hidden benefit #1. Streaming means you don't waste as much time because you have to consciously choose programs to watch.

    4) Yes, Prime's movie selection is limited, but that's not the end of the story and leads to hidden benefit #2. When you've watched the good movies or TV shows, you end up watching what you otherwise might not think to watch. I've seen any number of very interesting TV series that I only watched because I ran out of other good stuff.

    5) I think the money saved is substantial. I calculated what I've paid over the last three years (Roku, digital antenna, Prime membership) and it averages to less than $12.22 per month. Contrast this with $30/month for only basic cable, and cord cutting is a clear winner.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks for your very well-thought-out comment! It's good to know that you haven't hit your streaming cap. I think that's probably pretty rare, but it's not hard to imagine that those caps will be getting lower and lower in the future so cable companies can get more money out of subscribers. Does your digital antenna only give you local NFL games? That could be a big factor; I, for example, no longer live in my home team's state. Not sure if that would make a difference or not.

      I totally agree with your points on channel surfing and the movie selection available on streaming services. Personally, I absolutely hate channel surfing . . . but I'm sure some people love it, so I thought it might be worth considering. No one is going to have all of these issue with cutting the cord, but each one may be more important to one person than another. As for discovering new movies and shows, that's definitely true, but it can take some time, especially if you're picky about your genres.

      Thanks for sharing your savings figures; that's a pretty solid amount of money you've saved yourself!

      • Anonymous
        February 23, 2016 at 1:45 am

        Yes, my digital antenna only gives whatever games are available in my local market. I could pay the $200 (?) for the out-of-market NFL games package, but I didn't go for it.

        Anyway, I checked my last few months of bandwidth usage and I used 90 GB in November, 160 GB in December, 258 in January, and 128 GB so far in February. I think Comcast normally caps residents at 300 GB per month now, but for some reason they gave me 600 GB, so I'm nowhere close to my cap.

        • Dann Albright
          February 24, 2016 at 12:07 am

          I would imagine it'd be pretty hard to get up to 600 GB—that's a ton of data! Even if your cap was 300, though, it seems like you'd be safe. This year, I just streamed Vikings games online . . . but they were generally pretty low quality. I guess that's the tradeoff for not paying to watch!

  17. Anonymous
    February 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    "You’re Dependent on Your Internet Connection"
    Yep, and when your Internet connection goes down, you still have your cable TV....
    ...no, wait, what?

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      Yep. Sometimes you do. Why that is, I have no idea.

      • Anonymous
        February 23, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        In my experience, when Time Warner's internet went out, so did all cable channels, digital or no.
        With TWC moving to all-digital (even "basic cable" will soon require an adapter, making every channel digital no matter what tier), it's going to be absolutely all or nothing...if the NOC goes down, or the cable's broken, you get no service at all.

  18. Steve Nutting
    February 19, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I am using Cableone currently for internet and although it easily fast enough (100mbps) for me to run all my TV through them the data cap is the killer. Having a home of 6 internet users I use about 200+GB of my 300GB every month without trying to run all my TV through the pipe. For my family my guess is if I went to full time TV plus regular internet browsing I could use up to 500-750GB of data maybe more. So I have since backed off from trying it currently until Cableone has a better data cap configuration. I really want to go ONLINE with my TV but at this time it would not be feasible for a big family. If I was a single person or even just a small family it is doable.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 11:00 pm

      That's a good point—data caps aren't going to be an issue for everyone, but if you have a family, it could be a problem. Especially if there are other factors, like having a big sports fan or someone who works from home in the family. Thanks for sharing this; a lot of people think that worrying about data caps is crazy, but obviously it just depends on your situation!

  19. umdmariachi
    February 19, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Even when I had cable I kept Netflix and Amazon Prime and used a Playstation 4 to stream.
    I think most people considering cord cutting are likely to already have one or two of the services in addition to the cable subscription, not either or.

    • Dann Albright
      February 22, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      That could be true; if you would be paying for one or two of these services anyway, even if you kept cable, then the cost calculations change quite a bit. Good point!