Cable TV or What? aka Cutting The Cord

cutting the cord guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s time to cut the cord, get rid of the cable TV, or at least more people are talking about it. And some people are actually doing it. Before you decide which option to choose it’s good to do some research and compare prices and features, and then decided what’s the best for you. In this post, you are going to find a list of several different options you can choose instead of cable tv.

Before you do anything you should ask yourself a question why do you want to get rid of cable tv? Is it because the monthly costs are too high or maybe you are not interested in most of the channels offered by the cable company? You should also consider the fact that maybe cable TV is the best option for you and then “cut the cord” option is not the best choice. Cable TV service is very easy to use, plus the customer service will take care of most of the issues. With the “cut the cord” options you will have to select what device and services you need, compare the prices, check if that works together, and then you have to set it up yourself (it’s not difficult).

5 Things To Start With:

Cutting the cord means that you will need few things that replace your cable TV. Some of them are based on monthly subscriptions and others will generate one-time fee.

  1. Streaming Movies-on-demand apps
  2. Streaming Live TV apps
  3. streaming devices
  4. Over the Air TV (antennas) – optional
  5. Internet connection

Streaming Movies On Demand Apps

It’s movie time. You can now have access to thousands of movies and tv shows on demand and you can watch it on your TV, mobile device or computer. You decide what and when you are going to watch it.

  • Netflix – one of the most popular movies-on-demand services (visit Netflix website)
  • Amazon Prime  – if you are Amazon Prime member you already have access to many movies for free (visit Amazon website )
  • Hulu – access to popular movies and original shows. Coming soon (2017): Hulu said it has partnered with Disney and 21st Century Fox for its upcoming live TV streaming service. The deals involve Fox’s news, entertainment, sports, and other properties, along with Disney’s portfolio of networks from is ABC Television Group and ESPN (for more info visit Hulu website)
  • Crackle – free streaming movies and shows. Not as big catalog like Netflix or Amazon but it’s free (visit http://www.crackle.com/Crakle website)
  • Stand alone apps like: HBO NOW, Showtime, Starz, etc.

Streaming Live TV apps

Before you select one (or more) of the following apps, compare plans with the list of channels they offer to make sure you have your favorite channels available. Those services (apps) allow subscribers to watch a collection of live and on-demand TV channels on their TVs, mobile devices or computers. It’s just like a cable TV, except it’s delivered over the internet.

  • AT&T DirecTV Now – over 140+ live channels, DVR feature (for complete review AT&T website). If you’re a DirecTV Now and AT&T Wireless customer, you can stream most movies and shows on the DirecTV Now app over the AT&T wireless network without it counting against your data usage allowance (more details DirecTVNow data usage)
  • SLING TV – over 60+ sports, news and movie channels, DVR feature (for more info visit Sling website)
  • PlayStation VUE – 4 plans available with max. 90+ channels: live TV, movies, sports, news. Cloud DVR (for more info visit PlayStation VUE website)

You can add premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc. to above services for additional free.

AT&T DirecTV, Sling TV and PlayStation VUE update their list of channels and add additional features (like DVR) so it’s good to check what’s new. They all offer free trials.

Streaming Devices

To access those applications you need a device like:

  • Apple TV (for more info visit AppleTV website)
  • Roku – 5 different sets (for more info visit ROKU website)
  • Amazon Fire TV/Amazon TV Stick/Amazon Fire TV + HD Antenna (for more info visit Amazon website)
  • Google Chromecast (for more info visit Chromecast website)
  • Sony PlayStation, XBox
  • Smart TVs
  • Blu-Ray players

Those devices give you access to several applications with movies on demand or stand alone channels applications.

Over The Air TV (Antennas)

What is Over-The-Air TV (OTA TV)? Those are television stations in your local area, the channels that you currently watch on cable or satellite to view local news and major network shows. OTA can offer live content from local network stations: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and more.

You get the access to some local channels (list of channels may vary depends on your location) via Over The Air TV. To do that you need to install indoor or outdoor antenna and connect it to your TV set.

Here are some articles that might help you to select the right antenna:

  • How to choose the right antenna (CordCuttingReport.com)
  • All about Over The Air (LifeWire.com on over the air antennas)
  • AntennaWeb.org will help fine tune the antenna, you can check what local channels are available in your area
  • Tablo – is a next-generation DVR that plugs into a digital TV antenna to capture live channels (for more info Tablo website). Tablo transmits live TV and your recordings to other devices on your home WiFi network (computers, smartphones, ROKU, Apple TV, Amazon TV, Chromecast, Xbox, etc.). More on Tablo set up please check DisableMyCable.com
  • How to connect one antenna to multiple TVs (CutCableToday.com article)

Internet Connection

To be able to watch movies and tv channels you will need internet connection from your local provider. Most streaming movies services need 5 to 10 Mbps (megabits per second) in bandwidth for smooth streaming, and you will want an average speed of at least 15 to 20 Mbps to deal with pauses and buffering. For HD (High Definition) video streaming, Netflix recommends it will require approx. 5 Mbps. If you want to stream movies in 4K UHD, then you probably need approx. 25 Mbps (for more information please check Lifewire’s article on Internet Speed Requirements)

 

4 Steps for the Cutting the Cord Beginner



Now it’s time to check different combinations:

Package 1 “Almost Everything: News/Local and On-Demand”

  1. Sling TV or PlayStation VUE, DirecTV Now
  2. Netflix and/or Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime
  3. Over The Air (antenna)
  4. Internet Connection
  5. One of the streaming devices

Package 2 “Movie Buff. On-Demand”

  1. Netflix and/or Amazon Prime
  2. HBO Now
  3. Internet Connection
  4. One of the streaming devices

Package 3 “Live TV and On-Demand”

  1. Sling TV or PlayStation VUE, DirecTV Now
  2. Netflix and/or Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus
  3. Internet Connection
  4. One of the streaming devices

Package 4 “Sport”

  1. Sling TV or PlayStation VUE, DirecTV NOW (with sports package)
  2. Over the Air TV (antenna)
  3. Internet Connection
  4. One of the streaming devices

You can create more combinations based on what you like to watch and how much money are you willing to spend. It’s time to cut the cord, let’s do it the best way possible.

 

Additional resources:

  • In case you don’t want to cut the cord completely check this article by TheWireCutter.com
  • Plex – With Plex Media Server software and Plex apps (available on smartphones, tablets, streaming devices, gaming consoles, and smart TVs) you can stream your video, music, and photo collections any time and anywhere (for more info visit Plex website)
  • T-Mobile Binge On streaming videos – on qualifying plans you can stream all you want for free without using your data. With Binge On, Simple Choice users on a qualifying plan are free to stream unlimited video on your favorite services like YouTube, Netflix, HBO Now, and more without using your high-speed data. Nothing to configure – all automatically applied to your qualifying plan (for more info visit T-Mobile binge-on)
  • DTV Reception Maps – use this program (provided by Federal Communications Commission) to check for the DTV signals that are available at your location