Our family decided to cut the cord last year and cancel our cable TV subscription. We were spending over $180 a month on our “Triple Play Package” for phone, internet, and cable TV. Cable TV deals appear to be a steal in the promotion. However, we all know they double in price once all the extras, fees and taxes are factored in.
At the time, our family severely needed to eliminate expenses. My wife and I spent hours reviewing the budget. After realizing our cable TV provider collected over $2100 a year from our cable TV habit, cutting the cable cord became our top priority.
The next few days were spent researching how to watch TV without cable. Within a week, a plan was devised and we ended our cable subscription. The solution we crafted allows watching the shows we’ve always watched, only at half the cost.
Follow these steps to design your family’s own plan to cut the cord:
1. Have the Right Internet Connection
A quality internet connection is the key to cutting the cord. While streaming standard definition video is possible with as little as a 2 Mbps internet connection, I recommend a speed of at least 10 Mbps for each simultaneous HD video stream.
For example, if you have 2 TVs and a child that likes to watch shows on a tablet, then you would want 30 Mbps. Here is a great resource to find a new internet service provider.
2. Purchase a TV antenna.
Modern TVs made in the last 7 years all have digital tuners allowing for the reception of digital TV signals using an antenna. The picture looks amazing and displays in crystal clear high definition.
If possible I recommend an outdoor antenna, as you will get better reception and more TV channels. For information on the antenna, we ultimately went with, check out my review of the Mohu Sky.
3. Sign up for Streaming Subscriptions
Next, you will need a content provider for movies and TV shows. There are several options to choose from. Luckily, free trials are frequently (if not always) available with each service. They all have their different strengths; therefore this is ultimately a personal preference.
Popular choices are:
4. Find a Streaming Device
Unless the family is happy huddling around a tablet or computer screen, a device to stream content to the TV will be required. There are a number of options, but there may already be a device with this capability in the home.
Be sure the device supports the streaming services your family prefers. Here are device options to examine:
- Blu-ray and DVD players
- Gaming Consoles: Wii, PlayStation (3&4), Xbox (360/One)
- Smart TVs
- Over the Top Streaming Devices: Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast
Examine devices already owned for streaming capability before purchasing one. Our family chose Apple TV due to Airplay, which allows casting content from an iPad or iPhone to the television. However, Roku 3 is a highly rated option for non-Apple households.
5. Replace the Landline
A simple solution to replacing the landline phone is simple using cell phones. If cell service is unreliable in the home, there are numerous “voice over IP technologies” (VOIP) that allow using an existing internet connection for a phone line.
Our family decided on using our cell phones, but the following solutions are also home phone alternatives:
Total Savings from Cutting The Cord
Our final solution eventually cost $100 up front, and $70-$80 a month for internet access and TV content. Ultimately, we saved over $1000 a year, and had the pleasant surprise of extra time in our day.
Initially, we didn’t understand where the free time originated. Eventually, we realized those extra hours every week were the ones wasted on commercial watching and surfing over 200 channels.
There are few decisions in life that provide both time and money, but we found cutting the cord on cable TV afforded us both.
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If this article didn't answer your specific question, check out the Cord Cutting Guide. It provides links to the most important articles in our over 200 pages of content to help you ditch pay TV.