Since today is National Streaming Day, I thought it’d be a good chance to share my story of how I finally cut the cord. To start, I would say that cutting the cord isn’t terribly easy. There are a variety of different services and devices to carefully consider. If you’re looking for a quick-fix then keep overpaying your cable company each month, full-time streaming likely isn’t for you.
Everyone’s TV watching habits and preferences are different so there isn’t a one-size fits all approach to cutting the cord, but hopefully my experiences will help you finally kick your money-grubbing cable provider to the curb…
Let’s address the elephant in the room. It’s impossible to completely free yourself from Comcast’s, Cox’s or Time Warner’s death grip, since you’ll still need a broadband internet connection to stream, but you can drop their overpriced, bloated cable TV offerings to significantly reduce your total bill. For example, my monthly cost for internet and cable TV (I use Ooma for my home phone) went from $170 to $82. We finally made the decision to drop cable because we generally just watch live news and a couple TV shows (Seinfeld, Friends, New Girl, American Pickers, etc), which seemed to be easy to replicate through streaming and the final straw was when Comcast dropped the YES Network (Yankees baseball).
Since our TV requirements are pretty basic, we were able to sufficiently replace cable with just a couple services and devices. Obviously, the more content you demand, the harder it will be to achieve significant monthly savings, so it’s important to calculate all costs before making the move.
The main piece to our cord cutting puzzle is Sling TV. For $20 we get monthly access to nearly all of the channels we watch, including TBS, YES, CNN, HGTV, History and others. It’s dead simple to setup and works with a range of devices, except Apple TV. But Sling TV’s excellent promos make it easy for Apple users to add a Sling TV compatible streamer to their setup. I opted for the free Roku 2, which requires 3-months of service to be prepaid. I put that box in my bedroom and then purchased a separate Roku 3 for my main TV downstairs. I haven’t had any quality or reliability issues with Sling TV over the past month, but if you’re concerned with that there’s a free 7-day trial so you can give it a test run.
For local channels I’m using a Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor Over-The-Air Antenna. I bought the certified refurbished model on Amazon to keep my costs even lower (side note: it came in near-mint condition). It is able to grab channels like Fox, NBC, ABC and others in HD. Of course, channel availability is dependent on how far your are from a tower so be sure to check this tool to see what channels you should receive. We use it every day to watch the news and live events like the Kentucky Derby. Overall the quality (uncompressed HD) has truly impressed us, except the video has gotten a little sketchy at times during heavy rain storms. To record content from your antenna you could use TiVo’s Roamio OTA DVR with streaming apps, but it’s not cheap.
We already had a Netflix account ($10 per month) and are keeping it since that’s our main source for movies and seasons of TV shows. There’s not much to say here that you probably don’t already know. Netflix is a very reliable streaming service with lots of great exclusive content (House of Cards!). We’re also Prime members so we logged into that app, but honestly we don’t use it too much because we’re not into its original shows and the other content can mostly be found on Netflix.
After a month of going without cable TV we have no regrets. The cost of purchasing a couple extra devices and services still doesn’t come close to the monthly cost of cable TV. Looking to finally make the move? Amazon’s cord cutting 101 guide is a great place to start.