We decided to completely stop paying for cable/satellite service and solely go with FAR CHEAPER OPTIONS like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV (includes channels like ESPN, TNT, TBS, AMC, Adult Swim, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network and more) and HBO NOW.
You will need a streaming device such as the Amazon Fire Stick or a Roku (we have both) or gaming console (i.e. Playstation, Xbox) unless you’ve got a Smart TV that has these streaming apps already installed. These streaming devices are great and very easy to install. Just plug into an available HDMI port on your TV and let the device walk you through a couple easy steps and you’re done.
We found Netflix and Amazon Prime to be more than enough to keep us and our kids happy. Most of these apps also come with a FREE 7-30 day trial giving you a chance to decide whether or not it’s a good fit for you and your family before actually shelling out any cash for it. If you were to get everything I listed above it would end up being just $55.23 per month – MUCH less than what our cable company wants!
One drawback to cutting the cable cord? No easy way to record your shows to watch later (unless you get Playstation Vue, see below). If you think you can’t live without being able to DVR things, you may consider Hulu which is another streaming app that’ll cost you just $7.99 a month (or $11.99 a month for commercial-free). They’ve got a lot of shows including a lot of your (current season) network TV shows that will let you watch your favorite shows in an on-demand type format the day after they air.
If you really like having live TV and a DVR to record shows you should consider Paystation Vue. You don’t even need a Playstation gaming console in order to get it and it offers you over 100 live TV channels (including both ESPN and Fox Sports Channels – for you sports fans) and the ability to record over 500 shows all in HD!! For more information on this option refer to this article: All You Need to Know About the Playstation Vue :: A Cord-Cutting Game Changer.
What about local news, weather and other shows that don’t end up in an on-demand format? This is where you’ll probably want to add a TV antenna to the mix. Yes, over the air tv still exists and most of it is in the exact same HD quality that you would get from either cable or satellite.
Depending on how far you are located from the broadcasters will dictate how expensive of an antenna setup you will need to acquire. Antennas will generally be given a mileage rating telling you how far away a broadcaster can be from you and you still be able to pick up their signal. Remember, the ratings are usually based off of good weather conditions, so be sure to factor this into your purchasing decisions (if it’s going to be questionable, you’ll likely want to spend the extra money to avoid future headaches).
You can either buy a smaller antenna to hook up directly to each set (here are some) that you want to be able to receive your locals in HD on OR if your cabling permits it you can buy one nicer antenna and feed your entire home with it as long as you are able to hook the antenna up to the input of the first splitter that feeds your homes existing coax cabling. Be mindful that if your internet or home telephone runs off of coax cable you’ll want to make sure that line is independent from all others and not off of a splitter that your planning on having the antenna hooked up to.
You will now be able to get a bunch of different HD channels/programming including ESPN, HBO and your local networks for a fraction of what you’re paying for cable.
You will, however, still need to have high speed internet and WiFi. My local cable provider offers 5 different internet speeds. We subscribe to the middle tier which is advertised as the “up to 50 mbps download speed and 5 mbps upload speed” and often run 2 Rokus, 1 Amazon Fire Stick and multiple laptops simultaneously and very rarely have an issue. We did invest in a decent dual band wireless router, but (for us) the fastest two speeds were still overkill and not worth the extra money every month. Most apps suggest you have internet with download speeds no lower than 12 Mbps. Internet speeds do fluctuate a little so if you’re too close to the minimum required speed needed you’ll likely have some occasional lag issues, especially if you plan on running multiple devices at the same time. In short if you want to avoid headaches go with a package that has better speeds.
If you’re not quite ready to take that money saving leap of faith and sever the cord completely, streaming devices such as the Roku or Chromecast also make a great addition to an existing cable/satellite subscription. There are many apps that are FREE with your paid (cable or satellite) subscription like Watch ESPN or HBO Go that you can access with an Amazon Fire Stick in places that may not be wired for cable but still have WiFi access.
We sometimes use ours on the back deck when the weather is nice or take it with us when we travel and beef up the basic cable in our hotel room.
So, will you be cutting that cable cord?!
Sling TV: How Much it Costs, Why You Want It and What are Your Options
All You Need to Know About the Playstation Vue :: A Cord-Cutting Game Changer
Buying TV Antennas :: What to Look For, How to Install & What to Expect