Many people are realizing that they don’t need cable to watch TV. They are looking for ways to cut the cord and save some money, but it is awful confusing on how to do it. There are many different options and no real step by step solutions. The landscape on how to watch media and online content is rapidly changing. I hear it all the time I would like to I get rid of cable, but I don’t know how. Let’s take a look at your options.
The Cost of Cable TV
In most cases, it is cheaper to cut the cable bill. You should look at all of the your options in your area before you make the switch. For some just having an HD antenna may work, for others a streaming box and an Internet connection will do. In the US, the average cost of an Internet connection is about $46.00 a month. In many cases it is still cheaper to combine an HD antenna, a streaming box and a streaming service. Your antenna and streaming box will be a one time up front cost and a streaming service is about $8.00 a month. That is about $55.00 a month, compared to the average cable TV bill of $100.00 a month. Check out our step by step guide below on how to get rid of cable and see if it is the right choice for you.
4 Easy Steps to Get Rid of Cable
Step 1 – Buy a High Definition Antenna
Your first step to cut the cord is to buy an HD or over the air TV antenna (both terms mean the same thing). Most of the TV’s today have a built in tuner that allows you to receive free broadcast stations from the air waves. Just like the old days when everyone had an antenna to watch TV. Just check your TV to see if there is a plug in the back that says antenna in. If you don’t, it may be time to buy a new television or a converter box.
You will need to do a little research first on how big the antenna should be and where to place it. Some antennas can be placed in your window and others may have to be setup outside or in the attic. This antenna will allow you to watch most of the major networks that broadcast television stations. Those include: NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, FOX, CW and a bunch of smaller networks. This antenna will allow you to receive free television.
1byone Super Thin HDTV Antenna 50 Miles Range
This is a typical over the air antenna made by 1byone. This type of antenna will work for most households.
Where to Buy:
The 1byone Super Thin HDTV Antenna 50 is available from these retailers.
Step 2 – Canceling Cable
Here is the fun part. You get to call your cable company and say “I don’t want cable anymore”. They will try to scare you and entice you back. But stay strong and say no. You will still need to keep your internet connection though. Depending on where you live, your cable company maybe providing you with that service. Unfortunately here in the USA, there are not many choices in internet providers. It’s generally cable internet, FIOS, or DSL. So be sure to checkout the options in your area for these services. Just make sure if you stay with the cable company you keep the internet and dump the cable. You should have an internet connection of at least 10 mega bytes (mb) to get the best streaming results.
Keeping Your Phone With Magic Jack
If you have a phone service with your cable provider you can always switch to a service like Magic Jack. This device can be plug into your cable router to be used with your home phone over an internet connection. They also allow you to take your old phone number with you. I have been using Magic Jack for years and am very happy with the service. They cost a fraction of what you pay the phone or cable companies.
- Magic jack includes free mobile calling over WiFi on your smartphone and tablet with the magicApp.
- Free unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada.
- Free unlimited magicJack-to-magicJack calls worldwide.
- Free Caller ID, Voicemail, Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, Conference Calling and no monthly bills.
Where to Buy:
Magic Jack is available from these retailers.
Step 3 – Buying a Streaming Box
Now that you have your HD antenna and internet connection squared away, it is time to pick a streaming box. The box you choose will help supplement channels you do not get with your HD antenna. This is where things can get confusing. There are many choices from many companies. It seems like everyone is trying to get into this space. Choosing a streaming box to get rid of cable very much depends on what you plan to watch. Most of the major boxes allow you to stream content from many places. Some are free and some are not. There are many free channels that are preloaded on these streaming devices that you probably never hear of before. Some of these new channels are quite interesting, enjoyable and will provide hours viewing pleasure. If you are looking to stream some of the premium content, then you will need to pay for a monthly service. We will talk about that more in the next step. Let’s choose a streaming box.
Roku 4 Streaming Media Player
The Roku 4 is a great streaming device. It is very easy to set up. It has over 3,000 streaming channels and access to top streaming services like Hulu plus, Amazon Instant Video, Sling TV and Netflix. The Roku 4 will work with a wired and wireless internet connection. It will do 4K and 1080p HD streaming. Just plug into your TV using an HDMI cable. This box is awesome for someone looking to cut cable and start streaming.
Where to Buy:
The Roku 4 is available from these retailers.
Amazon Fire TV
The Amazon Fire TV is an easy way to enjoy Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, live and on-demand sports, music, photos, games, and more. This box plugs right into the back of your HDMI port and is easy to setup. Amazon Fire TV supports 4K Ultra HD. You can also watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and more. Fire TV comes with a voice remote. Just ask to check local theater times, news, sports scores, the weather, play music, and more. Enjoy over 4,000 channels, apps, and games including access to over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, Hulu, and more. Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HGTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.
Where to Buy:
The Fire TV is available from this retailer.
Step 4 – Choosing a Streaming Service
You can also choose not to use one of these services if you are happy with the free content available on the streaming box you choose. However there are a few options you can consider. These services are like premium content providers. Think of it like add-on channels on your cable box. You can choose one of these services or mix and match. Most people want more content than the limited free options already included in the streaming box. If you want to be able to stay current with your favorite TV shows or movies, you should consider a streaming service. All of these streaming services can be added as apps to your streaming media box. Each of these services require a monthly fee to have access to their content.
Let’s look at some of the options:
Amazon Prime Instant Video
Amazon Prime Instant Video has a great selection of TV shows and movies. You can instantly watch over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with titles for everyone. You also have access to ad free music that you can stream to your device of choice. They are constantly updating and rotating new content. If you become a Amazon Prime member for $8.00 a month, you can watch unlimited TV shows and movies.
Hulu Plus is another great streaming service. They have a huge amount of content from TV shows and movies. Hulu Plus is available on just about any device. Watch all-new episodes of TV’s hottest shows including comedies, dramas, reality, late night and everything in between. Plus, enjoy a huge library of past seasons of top shows and check out Hulu’s original series that you won’t find anywhere else. The service starts at $7.99 a month.
Netflix has become a household name. With Netflix you have access to a lot of content. They offer a large selection of movies and TV show for $7.99 a month. Their videos can be streamed to just about any device. They also have been creating their own shows like: House of Cards, Orange is The New Black and Grace and Frankie.
Sling TV is a $20 per month service that offers over 20 live cable channels, including AMC, ESPN, CNN, HGTV, TBS, Food Network, TNT and many more. Some of those channels offer on-demand video as well, and some include a way to pause, rewind, and watch several days worth of past programming.
Vudu offers many options from TV shows to movies. They have a nice selection of content, with many of the latest offerings. Vudu allows you to rent or own the digital content for a fee. It is a good choice to catch up on a season of a TV show or binge watch some movies.
More Options to Get Rid of Cable TV
Update: There are now even more options to get rid of your cable/satellite TV subscriptions. We have written a comprehensive article discussing the live TV streaming options that are becoming available. See the link below.
Combine Your Streaming Box With an HD Antenna
Hire a Streaming Media Player Setup Specialist
Need help getting rid of cable? Hire a Streaming Media Player Specialist in your area from Amazon Home Services.
Just type in your zip code, fill out some information and you will be emailed quotes from contractors.
I hope that this guide has clarified how to get rid of cable. The online streaming space is still evolving and I am sure things will become better and more streamline in the future. So stay tuned.
Feature image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If you have any questions or comments about how to get rid of cable, please feel free to leave a comment below.