About

Hello fellow cord cutters!

Cord Cutting 2018, the definitive guide is updated regularly to give you the latest techniques for getting inexpensive Internet access and choosing the right products in the cord cutting realm. But don’t mistake me for some self-aggrandizing guru. I’m just your friendly neighborhood cord cutter.

You don’t have to pay a heap of cash to enjoy your favorite TV shows. I will show you how to cut cable with ease. What? Your Internet-only plan is too expensive? I have some battle-tested knowledge that I’ll share so you can get a lower price. It will take practice, but it’s not hard. Learn these techniques and you can save money every year for the rest of your life.

Below is a quick glossary to help you get around the site. Even if you’re not a cord cutter, you can find something on the site that’s helpful or useful.

A number of companies from around the globe invite me to review and rigorously test new products.  I don’t always say yes. That’s another way of saying that I put a lot of thought into:

  • Reviewing hardware and software that I believe might be genuinely helpful, or useful to users. 
  • Finding out what works best on a day-to-day basis for those willing to eschew the traditional entertainment setup. 

I purchase new hardware throughout the year as its released, so readers like you can find out everything you want to know before spending your hard earned money. Here are some categories you can click on and check out. 

Reviews: If you’re trying to figure out which Roku model to get, or how well a live streaming platform like PlayStation Vue works on Amazon Fire TV, then this is where you want to be. 

Antenna Guide: (a.k.a. How to Choose the Best Antenna & DVR): This guide that gives you some tips on figuring out where you can find broadcast towers near your home that transmit over-the-air (OTA) signals for major networks like NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC and PBS. I also have a few things to say about indoor and outdoor antennas. 

Internet Without Cable: Cord cutters or people looking to just stream some Netflix without cable often ask how to get a better deal on just an Internet subscription. I’ll show you how to either find other providers in your area, or how to negotiate a much better price than what you’re paying with some proven methods that I still use today. 

Latest: Looking for the latest news on what channels are added to a streaming bundle? Chances are you can find it with our latest reporting in this section.

Best Apps for Streaming : If you’re wondering how to get the best news apps, or what TV Everywhere apps work with your live streaming subscription, here’s where you’ll find all that out. 

Live Streaming TV: Comprehensive guides on streaming platforms like Sling TV, fuboTV and PlayStation Vue are updated regularly. There’s also comparison guides like Sling TV vs PlayStation Vue: the definitive guide. 

Uncommon Knowledge: Did you know that you can connect a TV remote to a PlayStation 3? No? Here you’ll find some useful tidbits that might make some of the tech around your house more useful than you first thought.

Politics & Net Neutrality: It’s nearly impossible to write about any kind of consumer tech without politics getting involved. Here you will find an occasional editorial (often backed up with some reporting) on issues that impact consumers.

CCR YouTube Channel: Sometimes you really want to see what a product is like before you buy. I understand. I’m like that too. That’s why I set up a YouTube channel to share whatever I can about what I’m reviewing. Consider subscribing and sharing with a friend if you think I got the goods. 

Aside from all the product testing, reporting and writing that I do for The CCR, the Fourth Estate is beginning to ask what I think about cord cutting, and what’s happening in the industry.

RealClearLife recently interviewed me about how to find the best streaming service.

Here’s a recent radio appearance. (No, that’s not me in the photo. That’s some creepy looking clip art.) 

Welcome to the world of cord cutting

What is this weird thing called cord cutting, anyway? Who are these strange people cancelling their cable subscriptions?

Those heathens!

We’re not a bunch of people sacking away jars of fruit in our dirt-floored cellars waiting for the next big revolution. Cord cutters might be the consumer equivalent of those dudes in Lexington who were drinking beer one time and got worked up about paying taxes to those pesky Brits. 

We broke free of the zombie-like habit of paying ever-rising cable bills month after month. We discovered the rich land of cable alternatives. A fairly tale kind of wonderland where there is a feast of programming.

And look! The antenna reception is crystal clear. The Amazon Fire TV actually streams more than just Amazon Prime content. It has live streaming TV! My Internet subscription is only $35 a month.  Once free, we could never see the world of home entertainment like before.

Cord cutting vs cable 

What is even considered cord cutting these days? Some people say you’re only a cord cutter if you use an over-the-air antenna and nothing more. Others have more of an anything-goes view so long as you dump your traditional cable or satellite package.

I’m not so sure of what the correct answer is. All I know is that I got sick of paying too much for a cable service that I watched too little of.

A lot of people are apparently feeling that way lately. There’s an interesting piece in Variety, saying folks who are ditching traditional cable are expected to drive down the revenues of big U.S. cable companies by 4.7 percent by 2026. We’re talking about a couple of billion dollars here. That’s a lot of money on the table.

How to get rid of cable fees

Despite those falling numbers, cable bills are expected to keep climbing. The current business model is that cable companies entice consumers with a low introductory rate. The cable or satellite company then tries to roll customers off that rate as soon as possible. The customer gets hit with a number of unexpected broadcast fees. If they get mad and call to complain? Talk them down and see if you can upsell them when they call. When the next customer calls with a similar issue? Repeat cycle.

Cable companies are trying their best to keep you as a customer. They also don’t want you to join the growing tribe of cord cutters across the nation. One way they try to block you is by maintaining ridiculously high rates for a subscription to only broadband.

Many people shrug their shoulders when they’re told that they will have to pay a hefty monthly rate for an Internet-only subscription.

There’s something these companies really, really don’t want you to know. You actually have bargaining power to get a lower rate on an Internet-only subscription, even in if you live in an area with little or no competition.

What’s The Cord Cutting Report all about?

I saved a little over $792 in my first year ditching cable. That money more than paid for the new cable modem and router I bought to set up my home for years to come. My savings will pile up to thousands of dollars in the next few years. You can do the same. All you have to do is read what I’ve put down to get you going.

Go ahead, kick the tires a bit. Check out the posts and tell us what you think.

If you are new to the site, welcome. Start with Cord Cutting 2018, the definitive guide. 

Want all the latest from yours truly about cord cutting and saving money? Sign up for my somewhat weekly newsletter.

 

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4 Comments on About

  1. ‘Cord-Cutting’ is a misnomer. The fact is that the same companies that provide satellite, cable and voice/tv services that you are ‘cord cutting’ from… are the monopolies that own internet access. Early on, the idea was that you would install a digital antenna to get all local channels free, and then come up with some way to easily distribute that to all of your devices. IE: Roku, HDHomerun etc. Once your family is used to 500 channels and internet content which is EVERY typical Comcast/AT&T or other customer, it is UNLIKELY that everyone is going to be satisfied with only local channels. When you cord cut, you end up building alternative content sources into your system. IE: Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc. Truth is, your internet connection is the backbone of almost any entertainment system.

    ISP’s figured out this ‘cord cutting’ thing long ago. That is why they set LOW download maximums into their pricing models. If you have internet only from Comcast, AT&T or other ISP’s, you will pay $30-$45 per month additional for unlimited data plans. For a typical family of 4… with 3 to 4 TV’s, Roku’s, smartphones etc pulling content from the internet you will EASILY exceed the bandwidth maximums for internet only packages and you are forced to add unlimited data to your plan. Also, you must have high speed access to feed multiple devices in the household now that much of your video content is coming from the ‘net… so you are looking at a 10-12mbs plan at a minimum. The ISP’s know what they are doing and to think we are all ‘outsmarting’ them with a few gadgets or apps is nonsense.

    This is why they require big $$$ for unlimited when you ONLY have internet access… then if you bundle TV programming, you get the unlimited data included in many plans. They make internet only for those who stream a lot of content (cord cutters) cost so much that you are only saving $10-$20 a month by cutting TV packages. You dump your $120 per month high speed internet + TV subscription and end up with $50 for high speed internet + $40 for unlimited data + $12 Netflix etc etc. You are now at about the SAME monthly cost for as your cable TV+internet subscription. It may feel good to dump cable TV… I did it 15 years ago using TV tuner cards and Beyond TV with an antennal LONG before anyone heard of the term cord cutting… Feels good? Maybe. Cheaper? Very likely not. Everyone on these ‘cord cutter’ pages talk talk talk about the technology and individually praise the concept… But add up all of the hardware, the services, the subscriptions, the high speed internet and the unlimited charges and it’s all about the same. Where is that analysis??

    • I agree with you on a couple of things. Cord Cutting is becoming a misnomer. With live streaming services, people watching TV on smartphones and the growing use of TV Everywhere apps, what we are really talking about is New TV vs Old TV (cable/satellite). If you step away from what’s happening in TV, there’s a similar thing happening with media in general thanks to the Internet. There are people running podcasts out of their garage that have further reach than some well known newspapers or magazines.

      Getting a decent Internet connection at a fair price is still a hurdle for a lot of people. There’s no question that cable/ISP’s are using a lack of competition to their advantage to shore up revenue from the thousands of people dropping their cable packages for some kind of streaming/OTA option.
      According to FCC data from 2016, 51 percent of the U.S. has access to only one provider for high-speed Internet. ISP’s want to keep it this way, and they spend a lot of money with convincing our feeble-minded representatives in Congress to enact policies that discourages competition and local ISP providers. I think broadband expansion, wholesalers of DSL and 5G will force more competition eventually, but it won’t happen overnight. So the way I see it, it’s not a matter of outsmarting them, it’s just being smarter about what choices you can make right now.

      I have cost comparisons in my cord cutting guide, and in some of my reviews like the one for HDHomeRun. You’re right that the costs aren’t talked about enough, especially in the mainstream media. The assumption that the price for Internet is always a fixed price is rubbish. This was debunked during a 2016 Congressional investigation into cable/ISP pricing. You can find info about that here on the site.

      Is recouping your savings by buying your own equipment a long term play? Absolutely. Can cable provide me a better value over so-called cord cutting options? I don’t think so.

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  1. Binge watch these four shows over Memorial Day Weekend – CUT THE CORD:

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