Cord Cutting 2018, The Definitive Guide with Everything You Need to Know

How to cut the cable cord and save money in 2018

Cord cutting makes up about 1 percent of the TV watching universe in the U.S. And it might already be an outdated term.

Here’s why.

cord-cutting-2017An explosion of programming choices has been shifting the traditional cable TV model at such a fast clip that consumers can barely keep up. It’s not about just shedding a hefty cable bill anymore.

For years, Comcast, Spectrum and Time Warner Cable have had exclusive rights to carry premium channels like AMC, History Channel or A&E. That’s no longer the case.

Getting those channels doesn’t require a cable subscription.

Companies like DirecTV Now, fuboTV, Sling TV, Philo and PlayStation Vue offer various “skinny bundles” of cable channels over the Internet for prices as little as $16 per month. 

By the way, TV antennas are cool again. They can blast a high definition feed of local channels like a fire hose, delivering sports, local news and major networks. All free for life. You can even record all that free programming now with a HDHomeRun tuner, Fire TV Recast, TiVo OTA DVR or Tablo  tuner.  

Cord cutting in 2018 has more momentum than ever. Never before in the history of television have there been more ways to watch a favorite TV series, baseball games, news and movies without a cable subscription. Big cable companies are pushing back hard against the idea that cord cutting provides you more value. 

You’ve already read stories in The Wall Street Journal and other respectable publications suggesting that you can’t really save money by ditching cable. The argument, the experts say, is that cable providers like Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and AT&T will just make your Internet subscription more expensive once you cancel your cable subscription.

What if I told you these experts are dead wrong?

I’ve been using some battle-tested strategies to pay as little as possible for Internet service. Right now, I’m paying $35 per month for an Internet connection with 50Mbps download speed. I saved just under $800 after kicking my cable subscription to the curb. In 2018, I’ll save hundreds of dollars more compared to my first year of cord cutting. And I’ll have even more to watch than before. Meanwhile, the “you can’t save money” narrative will continue.

You don’t need to believe me, or my methods. All you need to do is keep reading and absorb some of my game.

5 steps to cut the cable cord in 2018 and save money

  1. Get a better priced Internet connection.
  2. Decide about skinny bundles and subscriptions
  3. Choose a streaming device
  4. Build or buy a TV antenna for local channels
  5. Brag to family and friends about saving $$… be that annoying relative next Thanksgiving.

Step 1: Lower your Internet bill before you cut the cord

We need to start with a bit of tough love before we go any further. I don’t want to be the person to break it to you. I’m only doing it because I want you to save money, and you need to hear it.

You’re a tremendous wuss.

You wince at the thought of getting your cable and Internet connection ripped out of your home if you don’t agree to keep paying. Loser. You’ve bought into a false narrative. You act like they own the Internet.

Maybe you’ve been a Comcast or Time Warner Cable customer for years. You may even live in an area where there’s only one cable or Internet service provider. I did for years. Dealing with customer service reps, and asking for a lower deal usually ends with frustration. Any relief on your monthly bill is only temporary.

Free yourself of some common misconceptions and all the bad advice you’ve read. Read the findings of the 2016 Congressional investigation by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), a top ranking chairman on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Her committee delved into pricing and customer service practices for the major cable providers across the U.S.

What? You don’t have time to read a 60 page report and you just want the bottom line?

OK, tough guy.

It turns out those same jerky customer service reps who tell you that there are no lower priced “deals” to be had actually keep secret rate charts explicitly used to retain customers. Customer service reps are also trained to instill fear, and doubt in you when you start talking about cancelling or taking your business elsewhere.

I know it goes against common sense, but cable companies don’t reward people for being a longtime, faithful customer. Instead, they raise your rates until you can’t take it anymore. Why? Because luring you in with a low rate then raising it after several months makes them a lot more money. That’s the business model. Plain and simple.

How to negotiate with Comcast, Verizon, AT&T or Spectrum

There’s a great scene in The Godfather: Part II that’s on point with our discussion of negotiating a better deal for Internet and cord cutting. Watch this short clip because I need to ask you a question when you’re done.

If you had to pick a character, who would you rather be? The corrupt senator played so skillfully by G.D. Spradlin? Or are you the Godfather? Spradlin’s character sure reminds me of my old cable company. I think we’d all like to believe we’re Al Pacino’s character. Confident. Taking no bullshit whatsoever. Do you really act that way when you’re on the phone with your customer service rep from Comcast? Nah, I don’t think so. I’m sticking with some tough love here. You really don’t.

Let me put it to you another way.

Cable companies are like a pricey restaurant. They don’t really want you to order off the menu. But you can actually do it if you are willing to walk out the door and eat elsewhere. There’s an important difference here. You can’t threaten the waiter with leaving the restaurant. You actually have to get up out of your seat and start walking.

I will give you a quick example of how to do this. I want you to learn from my mistakes.

The wrong way to call for a better deal on cable and Internet

I had called my cable company once to see if I could get a better deal after being a loyal subscriber for three years. For many months, I loved the service that I got for the price I paid. Then one day, that price wasn’t so great anymore. All of these fees started showing up on my bill. The customer service rep I spoke with on the phone listened as if a grave matter of national importance was being discussed.

As he urged me to stay on the line, he valiantly worked the numbers. I waited. He put me on hold to perform the mysterious ritual of finding me a new deal. He needed to go to management on this one. He came back on the line for a quick moment to reassure me that we could work through my issue. He brimmed with enthusiasm. We’d do it. We’d succeed. Together.

I just wanted to save about $20 a month. No big deal, right? I had been a faithful customer for three years! I was on auto-pay, baby. But lo, he returned in defeat. The service rep, his enthusiastic demeanor broken, gave me the news. As hard as he tried, there was no lower price to be had.

I hung up and called back a couple days later. Oh yeah, there was a better deal to be had.  Getting it was no problem at all.

What did I do different? Just one thing.

How to get a lower bill on cable and Internet

I began the conversation by giving them my cancellation date. It would be at the end of the month. I wanted the address where I could return the cable box, DVR and cable modem.

Suddenly, I had someone’s attention. The exchange went something like this.
Is there anything we can do to keep you as a customer? Well, I said, if you give me your introductory rate for 50Mpbs of Internet at $35 a month, maybe I would consider getting cable again at another time.

Please hold. Many minutes pass. We can’t give you the introductory rate. That’s for new customers only. But we could offer you the same service for $45 a month for the first 12 months. What are my rental fees on my equipment, the cable modem and DVR?

Please hold. A minute passes. The rental fees are $5 each per month.

Once I was given this new price of $45 per month, I knocked off an additional $10 per month by buying a router and cable modem instead of renting them. They planned on renting me a cable modem at $5 per month, and charging me another $5 per month for a router. Instead, I was able to add to my savings just by asking the question about rental fees, a point you will get sick of hearing about if you keep reading my guides. 

So in the end, I didn’t even have to switch my provider. I suddenly went from no deal to the best one in town.

One phone call.

Don’t be afraid to hang up the phone with no deal in sight. It’s only then that people will take you seriously. Chances are you will have a retention specialist calling you shortly. He needs to make what’s known as a “save”. These companies absolutely hate it when they lose a customer. It’s akin to burning a bag full of cash in the fireplace.

You can help out that retention specialist when he calls by only opting for a low priced Internet plan – the one that’s not advertised. Broadband is scarce in America, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have options. One of the best deals around is Verizon fios (100/100 Mbps) for $39.99 per month when you sign up for auto-pay. 

I also have a guide: How to get the best deal for Internet without cable that lists more options for Internet without cable. 

Step 2: Should I get Netflix and Sling TV?

Everybody will have their own calculus with what works best for them in their own home. There are more than 200 streaming services competing for your hard earned dollar. I’m not going to go through every one of them, but I’ve assembled a rundown of just over 30 subscription and free streaming services that I’ve tried out. 

I’ll do my best to quickly sum up the lay of the land in this brave new world of cord cutting. Not everyone will agree with me, or even agree what defines us as cord cutters. That’s fine. I pay my bills and you pay yours.

cord-cuttingI just want to give you some things to consider along the way to a life without a triple-digit cable bill.

A La Carte TV is already here — more or less

You can read plenty of articles loaded with starry-eyed anticipation that maybe someday… someday, there will be a la carte cable, or some form of a la carte TV.

Get over it.

A la carte TV is basically already here. It may not be in the exact form you want it. But if you can’t find something to watch these days between your TV antenna and streaming box, then I suggest you sell your TV and stick with books. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Even though I pay for Netflix, Amazon Prime and Philo every month, I still love free apps like YouTube. 

Philo is currently the skinniest bundle around — 40 channels for $16 per month.  You’ll still be able to watch The Walking Dead on AMC and all the River Monsters that you can handle on Animal Planet. 

If you can’t live without ESPN or sports channels, then a free trial of Sling TV might be more your thing. fuboTV offers a sports-first channel lineup with PAC-12 and Big Ten Network alongside entertainment channels. 

Hulu with Live TV is a pretty excellent deal if you want to make a quick switch from cable TV.

You’ll get 60+ live TV channels you’re used to seeing like local FOX and CBS alongside ESPN, A&E, History and National Geographic. The subscription also gets you unlimited access to Hulu’s massive on-demand library and Hulu Originals that many folks pay $7.99 per month for. Before signing up for a week-long free trial, look over Hulu’s Live TV channel lineup to see if it’s a good fit for you.

The entry-level DirecTV Now channel bundle is also a pretty good deal, considering that you’re getting 60+ channels for $35 per month.  

But listen, you don’t have to subscribe to any these services. You could also easily get by with the vast collection of free live channels and on-demand movies now offered by Pluto TV.

I am going to assume that you can find Netflix and that you will noodle around on your own and find other free stuff. That’s part of the pleasure in owning your own streaming device. Here’s a short list of subscription-based apps and free trials that you can use to get going.

There are so many genre-specific apps that you could spend days perusing every last one of them. There are new ones popping up nearly every month. Often you will find multiple choices per genre, whether it’s mystery, action or horror.

Sundance Now, for example, focuses on independent film. But let me repeat, you don’t have to do any of this. You could simply buy an antenna, stream free content, or simply buy a movie or entire season of a favorite TV show without any kind of subscription.

How do I stream cable channels?

Let’s quickly talk about skinny bundles that are transmitted over the Internet.

In case you’re confused, skinny bundles and live streaming TV are the same thing. 

The two that I like best at the moment are YouTube TV and Philo. In fact, many folks like to combine the two services for a robust channel lineup. 

I’ve been subscribing to YouTube TV lately because it carries NESN, a regional baseball network that I need to watch Red Sox games. For $40 per month, you’re getting 60+ live channels, two simultaneous streams and unlimited Cloud DVR. 

I rely on Philo, a new skinny bundle that offers 43+ channels like A&E, TLC and HGTV with unlimited Cloud DVR for $16 per month. (I got the slightly larger bundle that adds 9 more channels for $20 per month.) They’re basically filling in some channels that YouTube TV lacks. 

fuboTV is emerging as a notable sports-first platform that became the first to offer streaming select programs in 4K. So far, specific events on FS1 and FOX have been streamed in 4K. But fuboTV suggests that their 4K beta will soon extend to entertainment networks. 

In the last year, fuboTV has quickly expanded into mainstream premium channels like A&E, CNN, TNT, Viceland and History Channel.  You can also get many local NBC, CBS and FOX stations around the U.S. and channels like NFL Network.

You add 9 live Showtime channels to fuboTV for $10.99 per month. Look over fuboTV’s channel lineup in your area before starting a free 7-day trial. 

Sling TV is tremendously popular and has channels like A&E and TNT and many others. You can compare the Sling Orange vs Sling Blue channel bundles. Each bundle costs $25 per month, or $40 per month together. I’ve written a guide outlining the different options and plans comparing Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.

For a larger channel bundle, I recommend a couple of their channel lineups in my comprehensive comparison of DirecTV Now vs PlayStation Vue. You can also see my other guide: Sling TV vs DirecTV Now.

My guide to PlayStation Vue covers all the basics you need to know about channel bundles and prices. PS Vue has an unfortunate name that confuses people. You don’t need a PlayStation to stream Vue channels. Just about any streaming device works and you can even watch some channels on the road from your PC or tablet. 

If you’re just starting out with this cord cutting thing, I suggest trying something small like a free trial of Sling TV or Philo see if either is a good fit for you. Do it while you still have cable. That’s what I did. Just set the cancel date on your smartphone if you’re worried about forgetting the end of your trial date. 

Step 3: Choose a streaming device: “Should I get a Roku or Amazon Fire TV?”

When it comes time for choosing a media streamer, cord-cuttingI’m going to try to provide as much information for you as I can with my reviews on streaming devices. And I’ll even do my best to answer all your questions that you ask when you write. But at the end of the day, you’re going to have man (or woman) up.

There’s an important reason why I’m telling you this.

What satisfies my needs may not satisfy yours. A lot of reviewers mean well. If you read enough of them, believe me, many will say the same thing and it’s not that helpful.

In the end, you may have to disagree with some people to get what you really want – and need.

For a long time, I was eyeing a Roku because I loved the idea of having the largest app selection out there. I had also read about these groovy things called Roku private channels.

I mean, private channels? Are you kidding me?

That sounds like some cool speakeasy located down a dark alley with no sign on the door. You need to know a secret knock to get in the door so you can sip on one of the best Manhattans in town. For God’s sake, they even make their own bitters from scratch! Who doesn’t want that?

When it came time to buy a streaming device, I ended up buying an Amazon Fire TV instead.

The reason was simple. And it was contrary to much of the expert advice that I read on some very well-respected review sites. I’m still pleased that I didn’t listen to the criticisms and focused on my own needs. At the time, I wanted the fastest device for streaming PlayStation Vue. In early 2016, nobody was talking about that, and it really pissed me off. I should actually be thanking those people. I might not be sitting here now talking to you if it wasn’t for them.

A lot has changed in the nearly two years since I bought my first streaming device, and so have my opinions about what works best for my household. If I were buying a new streaming device today, I’d buy a Roku Streaming Stick or Streaming Stick+ for a 4K TV. 

My only point is this: Don’t let anyone tell you one device is better than the other. It’s all a matter of figuring out your needs, and finding the streamer that will best fulfill those needs. End of story.

 Step 4: Do I build or buy a TV antenna for local channels?

Anyone with a little engineering background will tell you that using a TV antenna to capture broadcast signals is an exact science.

Don’t be intimidated.

Clearstream-Eclipse-antennaTo tap into the variety of high definition programming up for grabs over the air (OTA), you just need a little know-how. I recommend that you at least skim my guide to buying vs building a TV antenna. The guide has some online resources for you with finding out what kind of TV antenna you may need based on where you live in the U.S.

I also weigh in on DVR options available for recording OTA programming. Believe it or not, there are plenty of folks who only rely on an antenna and DVR for most or all of their television watching. Like I told you earlier, everyone has different needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

I test indoor and outdoor antennas and DVR options for OTA chanels throughout the year. My favorite indoor antennas is the Antop Smartpass which has an amplifier and LTE filter. If you already know that you definitely want an indoor antenna and want to look over more choices, then read my take on the Best Indoor TV Antennas of 2018.

For an outdoor antenna, the Antop 400-BV is easily the best one that I tested this year. I also have a few pointers on connecting multiple TVs to one antenna.

To use the parlance of Gangland, one of my wife’s favorite shows, the antenna-only crowd are members of the Cord Cutter O.G. These guys are hardcore. No Internet. Or maybe there is some Internet, but it doesn’t really mix with their TV viewing.

They might roll with a DVR like a Tablo , HDHomerun Extend or TiVo OTA DVR to record their shows. They may also use apps like Plex or Kodi to stream their own content such as movies ripped to a computer hard drive or NAS.

Don’t try to tell these people that Sling TV or PlayStation Vue subscribers are cord cutters.


Step 5: Congratulations! Brag to family and friends about all that cash you’re saving

I wound up with an extra $800 bucks at the end of the year when I first cut the cord. I did have to spend some money to buy an Amazon Fire TV, and at least one antenna before I built my second one. But I still came out way ahead.

If you’ve made it to this stage, it may get you to start thinking about money in a broader context. You were almost blindly handing over hundreds of dollars a year to a company that promised you service like no other. Now you’re still getting the latest shows, sports and movies you want, and paying a lot less.

Funny how that happens.

I’d like to tell you that I slapped that $800 in annual savings into something like a Vanguard Index Fund, and I’m stacking more money from it. I didn’t.

But I am stacking some more money. More of my own.

I’ve been doing an across-the-board review on my living expenses. For example, my wife and I were paying about $90 bucks each a month for a cell phone service.

Now we’re paying half that for two accounts, and still have slick smartphones. You can pay even less for very reliable cellular service. Read about carriers like Republic Wireless or Straight Talk and Tello if you’re interested in delving into the subject. T-Mobile even has an offer where they will pay for your Netflix account if you sign up with their service. 

There’s a lot of money on the table when you start thinking differently about your expenses. But before you do, I want to impart a couple more liner notes and FAQ’s about cutting the cord.

What’s the best cable modem for cord cutting?

I had made the terrible mistake of renting my cable modem from my local cable provider for years (amateur) before finally buying my own. Not only did I shed the monthly five-dollar-a-month rental fee from my current broadband bill, I can now utilize more of the broadband that I actually pay for. The rented cable modem was at least three years old — if not older. Before I finally gave it the heave ho and drove it back to my cable provider, I did a speed test to see how much broadband I was actually getting. Let’s just say, it was a lot less than half of what I was paying for. The MOTOROLA SURFboard (Model SB6141) clocked in twice as fast, just under the 50Mpbs as I was paying for.

I now recommend using a TP-Link High Speed Cable Modem (TC-7620) or an Arris SURFboard SB6190 because the model I originally bought is being phased out. My review of the best cable modems for cord cutters covers all that.

Many broadband providers require a cable modem with DOCSIS 3.0 so if you decide to go for a used modem, be sure you’re getting one that’s recent enough to be compatible with your local broadband provider. Your cable modem is the foundation of your Internet connection.  Somehow, the importance of it is often overlooked by many people. There’s another building block also often overlooked, but worth re-visiting if you are entering the land of cord cutting.

What’s the best wireless router of 2018 for cord cutting?

Keeping a wired connection to your media streamer will always give you the best reception possible. I have zero interest in a wireless connection for my main television. But we don’t live in a wired world that much anymore. If you have a second (or third) television that streams off of a media stick or gaming console, it’s a good time to check the strength of your wireless router.

You don’t need to spend a small fortune to upgrade a wireless router.

But keep this in mind: you were paying about $100 or more per month to a cable company for the pleasure of channel surfing their lineup of channels. Now you’re creating your own channel lineup, and you will want the best-performing infrastructure to run it on.

For whatever it’s worth, here’s my rule of thumb for buying a new wireless router or cable modem for the purposes of cord cutting.

Budgeting a month’s worth of your old cable bill for a new router that will last years is a good call.

If you need a new router, Netgear R7000 has a nice range for a big household. It’s what I use at home. I also have some updated picks for 2018 in my review on the best WiFi routers for cord cutters. If you get to a point where you’re considering sharing an Internet connection to save on your monthly bills, this is a decent router as well.

Need something more powerful? Then consider a Google Wifi mesh network or the Orbi Home WiFi System by Netgear. I have written about both in my review of the best mesh networks. If you want a lower priced option for a mesh network, I was impressed when I reviewed the Nova Whole Home Mesh WiFi system.  

Cord cutting Picks for 2018

Below is a quick roundup of the best cord cutting tech in 2018. You can find reviews for on all of these items on the site. 

  • The Fire TV Cube adds voice controls to your TV, sound bar and even (ahem…) a cable box — if you’re into that sort of thing. Being able to turn on your TV, or even start a show on Hulu while you’re TV is still off really feels like a luxury coming from a more expensive television. I just reviewed the new Fire TV Cube and thought that Amazon did a really great job.
  • I like new Roku Streaming Stick+ quite a bit and have one set up on the TV in my bedroom. I spent several days testing it out with a couple of TVs around my house. The Streaming Stick+ is geared for 4K HDR, but can be used with TVs that only stream 1080p. I found it to be really solid with streaming Netflix and Amazon Video even when far away from my WiFi router. If you’re looking for lower priced streamer, then check out the new line of Roku media players. If any of them are out of stock at Amazon, you can buy them directly from Roku. Roku is currently offering a free trials of DirecTV Now and HBO Now with an activation of a new Roku device.
  • A NVIDIA Shield TV is in my living room for streaming in 4K, gaming and recording channels that I pull in with my TV antenna. It’s easily the best all-in-one cord cutting streamer out there. Check out my review of NVIDIA Shield TV with Plex Live TV and DVR. I have tested a HDHomeRun as an OTA tuner for Shield, and a Hauppauge WinTV dualHD.
  • For an outdoor movie night, the Nebula Mars II is the best portable projector for streaming. Read my review of Nebula Mars II to see how I tested it out. 

No matter what you buy for home entertainment hardware, make sure you don’t get ripped off when you buy HDMI cables.

If you’re in the market for a streaming device, and a live TV platform then you can leverage both with the same money. 

Prepay for two months of Sling Orange and you can get a Roku Express or a RCA indoor antenna. You can also get a new Roku Ultra for just $50 by pre-paying for three months of a Sling TV subscription.

Good luck, and be sure to comment on what you did to cut the cord in 2018. And start bragging about how much money you saved in the comment section below.

*Note: This guide was originally published May 8, 2016 and has been updated. 

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94 Comments on Cord Cutting 2018, The Definitive Guide with Everything You Need to Know

  1. I have started cutting the cord by adding antenna outside that is bringing in 34 channels. I use netflicks, hulu and fire tv. All 4 tvs using different devices. Dish reduce my bill and I keep 200 channels as I have no contract for 77.00 a month with one joey. looking forward to learn more from your website to get more value from the services I use.

    • You’re lucky. I live out where God lost his shoes so I can only get 3 stations and 2 of them are Hispanic with an antenna so I am sort of stuck. I am going to cut the cord by going with Roku.

      • I started with DTVN last year and got so frustrated with the constant buffering / or just stopping for no reason…Spare me the comments on wireless.. I am wired directly. Final insult was that I couldn’t get but 2 of the local channels CBS and NBC.. Fox and ABC the locals don’t stream to DTVN..
        This month Finally switched to youtube tv…TV saver! All locals, a better picture and no buffering. Plus unlimited recording ability And 30.$$$ cheaper a month.

  2. Great article ! I live just south of Pittsburgh and am thinking of cutting the cord with Comcast. I have a question since I did not see it specified in your article. Over the weekend I saw PS Vue streamed at my daughter’s house in Sacramento but I did not like the video quality. I believe they streamed it through an iPad. One of the things with my X1 Infinity box is the high definition crisp picture. Can you specify if Sling or PS Vue can deliver such crisp 1080 definition if streamed through a Rocky Ultra or an Amazon Fire box? Thanks

      • Hi Brian, Thanks!

        PlayStation Vue streams with 720p resolution. I use an Amazon Fire TV, but with an Ethernet connection to get a nice picture. Right now, if you look at PS Vue, Sling TV and DirecTV Now and fuboTV, they all stream at about the same quality. I can tell you that when I have family or friends over, they think the TV is showing cable. (I don’t have a 4K TV.) Check out a video of my TV streaming PS Vue on Amazon Fire TV:

        I hope that helps.

        • My plan is to use sling and alternate between Amazon Prime and Netflix for certain things. I don’t need them all year. Amazon Prime will be a month around xmas, and then 6 months later. Then 1 month for Netflix to catch things I want to watch there in between. No need for a full year. I may use sling. Depends on what all channels and shows I can find there. I have never had much luck cutting a deal with comcast though, and I will still be dependent on them for internet.

        • I don’t know about that with the resolution and picture. I only have experience with Vue and Sling. I have been using Vue for about a year and a half. I don’t know what it streams at but it has always been a very good picture for me using my firestick. Even when my net goes down to 6m, but lower will bring on some stutters. Sling on the firestick or browser was definitely lower quality. Fuzzy for smaller items and hair looks like dark blobs. Much harder to make out say race car #’s. Still decent, but I need better for a lot of what I do. With Vue the problem I have is tons of goofy glitches and molasses operation with the firestick. I understand other devices like the fire box work better. Using either firefox or chrome has lots of player crashes and some stuttering that I am trying to fix on my pc. May be my setup but I am suspicious with the fact that all other streaming is fine. I know the firestick worked much quicker and better with Sling and any other content provider. So I believe that Vue’s setup is not working well with the firestick or with browsers. They are using adobe flash, the one that has always had these kind of problems and is dying a slow death as everyone moves away. They need to ditch that. I wish I could get YouTube TV to try that, but I am afraid that all of these services are going to end up finding a way to insert commercials that there is no way to get around. So we pay and still are forced into lots of loud obnoxious rude commercials. I really wish that cable would bring their prices in line and let me keep my real dvr. Near perfection with a wired connection and no need for extra speedier expensive net service and all of the glitches with that. At this point video and even phones are much better wired. Need lots of work to ever get that all working reliably.

        • I am just now starting my research on cord cutting. It’s very overwhelming. I pay AT&T over $200/month for channels I don’t need and internet. My question is, I have 5 tvs that, at any one time, 3 are being watched. If I went with Sling or something similar, would I need a device, i.e., Amazon Fire TV for each?

          Enjoyed the article!

          • I started with playstation vue and then they started increasing price and removing stations. I’m currently using nvidia shield on main tv and amazon firestick on others running Nextflix, Pluto TV, Terrarium TV and Mobdro. I only reoccurring cost is Internet.

          • Not necessarily. You should first check to see how many Smart TVs are in your home. Some of them might already have built-in streaming features for platforms like Sling TV, Netflix, etc.

            If you do need to buy multiple devices, I advise not buying them all at once. Try out one — whether it’s Fire TV or Roku — and go from there. Hope that helps!

          • PS Vue has jacked the price to $45/month for Core, and even with Core I’m missing live ABC and CBS.
            I use FireTV boxes and PS4’s for watching so Vue made sense, but I really miss having ABC and CBS.
            Looking now in to Hulu Live vs DirecTV Now versus YoutubeTV. It looks like YoutubeTV would give me all 4 live networks ABC CBS FOX NBC but Google doesn’t offer a app for FireTV or PS4.

          • Pvue has went from $30 on the basic to $40 as there is no longer that package. I thought that meant all of the locals or at least two would be upcoming. Only one so far FOX. I have been given a grace period on the increase for now and maybe that is partly because I still have only one network. Otherwise I have been beset with regular glitches, problems including messed up dvr recordings, etc, etc. The list it long. I still cannot get smooth play using the browser app. Just last night an amazon update was required for my firestick and that along with phone calls, Pvue reset etc had me out of tv for one full hour. I sit down to watch some tv and this is what I get for an evening? I don’t know why but I am delaying going to a YouTubeTV trial because PVue is still $30. I think I am going to do the trial though because the aggravation is worth more than $5 difference if YouTubeTv is ok.

            I still maintain that net tv is simply not ready. Sling was better service but it was a little too low of resolution for me and it is too expensive. So speaking as to Vue this is all still beta and we are the guinea pigs paying for their experiments. Must be nice to be able to do that, make money while experiment on your subscribers. Things like netflix, hulu with set content seems to work fine but this Vue operation is fly by night.

          • Hi helpful55.
            I agree with you that “net tv is simply not ready”. We’re still in relatively new stages of how these all shake out. NOTHING out there now can match the simplicity we’re accustomed to with dedicated cable boxes and one interface for all our TV watching. We all have our gripes about the various interfaces offered by Comcast, FIOS, Charter, who have you, but in the end for the “average user” even with their downsides they are “better” than the myriad of interfaces you have to deal with combining the likes of Amazon Video with Netflix with (Hulu/YouTube/DirecTV/etc), alongside the convenience of a single remote with consistent buttons. I do think a LOT of people WANT to switch to streaming-only TV, they try it out before they “cut the cord” and don’t like the inconsistency, or they try it after “cutting the cord” and end up going back. Like for me, I already cut the cord and went with PS Vue, but like I said it’s missing half the live TV I want to watch, so now on my FireTV boxes or my PS4’s I have to use some other app (with totally different controls, user interface, etc.) to get those other channels, then I hop over to Amazon Video or Netflix to watch a movie and that’s all different too. Then if my kid wants to watch something, he’s got to hop between 3 or 4 or 5 different “apps” to find something of interest.

  3. Great article. I’m just starting to look into cutting the cord and this was most helpful. I just ordered an Arris 6183 and Netgear R6400 in preparation for switching from Centurylink DSL (1.3Mbps max in our area) to Suddenlink (200 Mbps) as our current DSL modem/WI-FI router belongs to Centurylink. I’m leaning toward Sony Playstation Vue and noticed that you preferred the Amazon Fire TV streaming device for this. I was wondering what makes it better for Vue? Thanks

      • Perfect. Thanks. One sentence kind of jumped out at me “And, while the Wi-Fi performance is impressive, having an Ethernet connection is crucial for a near flawless live TV feed over the web”.

        We don’t have any wired connections in our house only wi-fi. How big a problem Is this going to be when trying to stream live TV, such as Sony Vue?

        • You can certainly go WiFi with the modem and router you just bought and get a decent picture without lag. I’ve done it while testing out the Fire TV in a number of scenarios using Vue. But I prefer to use Ethernet because it greatly lessens the chance of running into lag. My router is close to my Fire TV box so connecting them with an inexpensive Ethernet cable makes sense.

          • Thanks again. That reassures me a little. I guess, worse case, I can always run some ethernet cable, although our house layout will make this a bit fo a challenge 🙂

          • If you can’t or don’t want to run ethernet cables, and you’re having lag or pauses trying to watch a FireTV box via wifi, check out getting a set of powerline adapters. You’ll plug one in at your router and another at your tv, and then use ethernet cables to connect them to your router at one end and your firetv at the other.

    • If Comcast is giving you a good price for Internet at the moment, then go for it. But be aware that your rate will change after their promotion ends.

      As for Kodi, it can be useful if your are using something like HDHomeRun, or PLEX. But I think if you’re just starting out with streaming, you should try a Roku or Fire TV device. They both have easier interfaces for platforms like Netflix or Amazon Video. They also have apps for live TV streaming services like PlayStation Vue or Sling TV if you want a bundle of cable channels. Good luck!

  4. We are in the market for a new TV. Also, DirecTV has again upped our rates to nearly $120 monthly, so we are looking for ways to “cut the cord”!
    What advice can you give to pick the right TV in order to facilitate the best set up?

    • Hi Larry,

      Choosing a TV is a big decision, and one that should be based on your specific needs. Most TVs on the market today are smart TVs and have software geared toward streaming Netflix and other platforms. There is a school of thought that it’s actually better to not have a smart TV because eventually the software updates stop rolling out. So long as you have enough HDMI ports on your set, you can use any popular streaming device like a Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

      You should make sure your TV comes with a good old fashioned tuner so that you can connect an antenna for OTA channels. Believe it or not, there are manufacturers that stopped including traditional tuners in their sets.

      Having said all that, if I were to buy a TV today, I might consider either the new Amazon Fire TV edition made by Element that just hit the market. You will essentially get a 4K TV with the latest streaming software from Amazon Fire TV baked in your TV set. Fire TV is becoming a lot more neutral in terms of supported platforms and apps, but it’s best suited for people who use Amazon Prime. Also, the new line of TCL Roku TVs with 4K HDR look interesting to me for similar reasons. I haven’t tested out either of those TVs so I can’t recommend one over the other. But it’s food for thought. Hope that helps.

  5. WE have cut the cord and have oTA antennae in attic. We can get all the same channels except for ABC. It does not come in at all in that room. We know it’s not the tuner because we moved it from our living room in which we were able to see ABC. Any thoughts?

  6. Hi, I am definitely cutting the cord in two months when my dish network contract is over. AND NEVER EVER COMING BACK. However, @ljwerz be aware of Comcast! Worst service ever! I fell for the $19.99 a month and it has been barely a month since I started with them and already regretting it and even considering about going back to at&t
    Comcast /Xfinity is really a nightmare.

  7. So question…. my tv has 2 inputs on the back that look like cable connections. One is an ATSC input, and the other is a QAM (cable) input. I want my PIP to work, but I cannot receive any DTV signal by connecting my DTV antenna to the QAM and ATSC inputs. I get the channels on the ATSC, but not the QAM input, so PIP will not work. How do I get my TV to now allow me to continue using PIP, now that I’ve cut cable and only have an ATSC digital antenna? Any ideas on equipment to buy or adjustments I need to make?

    • Hi Dana,
      This is a little hard to answer because I don’t know the make and model of your TV. That said, your antenna should be plugged in to your ATSC input, and you will need to scan for channels once the antenna is plugged in. Your QAM input is not for your antenna. It’s for a cable hookup. If you have a quality TV, I imagine the picture-in-picture should work with OTA channels unless your tuner has some kind of restriction.

      • I have a samsung FPT5084x/xaa. It has just an NTSC/ATSC input (antenna), and a Clear QAM (cable) input. My tv requires the PIP to only work PIP if it’s coming from 2 different sources. So PIP will not work by pulling 1st and 2nd from the same source. They have to be different sources. ? This means my tv’s PIP will not function unless you or someone else knows of some type of equip that you can hook up to the Clear QAM input to allow it to receive ATSC signals (decoder/transponder?)? I have no intent of having cable any longer. Thanks.

        • Hi Dana,
          At the moment, I don’t know of a solution to that issue. If I run across something, I will zip it your way. Let me know if you solve this.

          • You could try using a splitter and sending one in the NTSC port, then sending the other to a converter box which does NTSC coax to HDMI conversion for you. Just google “ntsc coax to hdmi”, I found one for $80.

  8. Help! I am in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA and desperate to leave Comcast for a WiFi only service that will allow me to use google phone and stream movies and TV. I am a senior on a fixed income and am being priced out by the major providers.

  9. My search for competition to Comcast, fios, and Verizon has been unsuccessful. Where do I go to find reliable alternatives?

  10. Great article, thanks for all the food for thought! We originally got a great deal from Comcast, the triple play: $99/mo (plus taxes) for the first 2 years, for cable, land line and internet. But now the bill has crept up to around $175/mo. Getting ready to cut the cord, but we have two dilemmas: 1) we didn’t buy a Smart TV so because of some goofy issue with my laptop, I have to reboot it after connecting it to the TV in order to watch anything. A pain in the butt. Have searched extensively and not found a workaround. Are these fire sticks USB devices that would cut out the laptop connection entirely? And 2) we are middle agers with the same land line for 25 years, and it’s like a member of the family… lol. We’re afraid to let it go! It’s been part of our identity for so long, literally (for ID purposes with accounts and such) and figuratively speaking. But I think we’re going to rip the band aid off soon. About all we watch on our 700+ channel Comcast package consistently is Law and Order and Frasier reruns, and the occasional movie. Otherwise it’s just pointless channel flipping.

    • I am willing to bet that you can get plenty of Law & Order episodes free for life with a decent antenna. Streaming sticks like the Fire TV and Roku are HDMI devices. You can easily move your landline number to a cell phone or an Internet-based service (VoIP) like Vonage as well. Good luck!

    • I would suggest moving your landline to Vonage. I’ve been with them for more than 10 years….and I love it. They have lots of perks and its all for under $40. It even has it that if you miss a call at home it will go straight to your cell phone. Good luck.

  11. Per your suggestion I have purchased the Roku Streaming Stick, gone thru the installation process, adding some of the free channels, etc. pretty much easy stuff and all working great until I decided to remove the stick from one TV to insert it in another TV. The Stick was VERY HOT! is that normal? I like the stick because of portability, I can take it from the living room TV to the bedroom TV without much hassle, but seems like getting hot is not safe. After a while watching the Pluto channel and going into a couple of commercials when the program re-started, there was NO sound! have to go back to main screen to start Pluto over again. This continue to happen all the time, evening/night as well as during the day. Then another issue started, a screen will come up saying “the USB port didn’t have enough power to run the Roku and needed to be connected to another power source” – I then connected it to the wall, haven’t had this issue anymore. I started running tests, turning on the TV and checking the Stick and it would normally take only about 1/2 hour to start getting hot, after one hour I would need a towel to be able to remove it. Anyone had this problem? Help!!

    • Maria. As a roku stick user I have some info to help. First Pluto channel just does that, go back to the guide and re-pick it. Second roku sticks get hot. My suggestion is to get a roku stick for both TV’s to prevent burns.

      • Thank you Stephen! I actually contacted Roku via ‘chat’, the associate recommended to send it back for a replacement, stating that there was something wrong with it, yes it would get hot but not at the very high temp as to not been able to touch it. That exchange would take a week or more, so I decided to just return it to the store I purchased it from just a few days ago.

        In turn I went ahead and purchased a Premier+ instead, just a bit more money but problem solved! Thanks again.

  12. I am now paying a total of $184/month to Spectrum for my 3 in1 package! I am a 67 year old woman. I really need to lower my expenses for all three services. This is the best most detailed article I have found. But I still don’t know where to begin. I need is to know what steps to take. Is it possible to talk to you so you can walk me through. Thank you.

    • Trish, by no means I’m an expert of the subject but I just learned how to do it and cut my cable, I was just like you, didn’t know where to start. For two months I read and did tons of research on the subject. I found THIS website was the best one, easy to understand and follow. Reading it completely and then reading it again and again until you feel you know what they are talking about.
      Begin by finding out the expiration date of your contract with Spectrum, if you cancel before they will slap with you a nasty penalty charge.
      Then find service provider for Internet only, make sure you get high quality/speeds, download and upload. You can install in you PC to check the speed so you know you are getting what you are paying for. Spectrum charges $45/month, but I found out they do not include Wi-Fi which you need for your TV, that will cost an extra $5/month. I kept Frontier, my provider (it was Verizon before they sold) so it was easy to cancel phone & TV, no need to change equipment, just returned the TV boxes.
      Figure out what are the actual channels & programs you usually watch. I like actual “news” when things are happening, not a couple hours or day later.
      I tested a number of indoor antennas, my community doesn’t allow outdoor antennas. I get all the OTA channels, perfectly clear, ABC, CBS & NBC plus others. You will need a “streaming device” like Roku (which has a lot of free channels & content) or Fire Stick. and eventually if you want, you can subscribe to the numerous services available, Hulu, Sling, Netflix, etc. They are all different prices and have some offers to try for free .
      If you have to have a home phone, try Vonage, they used to have a $10/month subscription for seniors, we used them for many years until we moved to a new community and found out that we could only get the “Bundle” – 3 in 1 package!
      Hope this helps, other people help me, so I felt compelled to help others.

  13. I plan on moving into a new place of my own for my daughter and I. Money will be tight and cable is so expensive. We both watch cable tv and internet is a necessity. I’ve been researching and have read articles such as yours for the best option. I’ll have 3 rooms with tv’s. I’m considering Sling and adding an antenna. But I’m so confused on how to get best price for internet, what type of tv to buy, and what streaming device to use.

  14. If playstation vue, direct now, hulu, etc are only giving you 720p why would i want to go and buy a new 4k tv? Wont my picture quality on the 4k tv be less than optimal with these streaming services?

    • Ken, Keep in mind that the live streaming services you mentioned aren’t the only game in town. Netflix, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies and other services all offer 4K content.

  15. Effective July 2017 Playstation Vue basic slim package has increased to $39.99 plus tax. This is no longer the favored option.

  16. I’ve been following this cord-cutting trend for a while and have read many articles. This is the best, clearest how-to I’ve read. Our DIRECTTV contract is up in April, and we will probably cut the cord. We’re tired of playing the promotion game with Cox, Dish, Direct TV. But the real issue is the internet promotion game with Cox and Centurylink here in Phoenix. The thing is, my 6 and 7 year old already find the shows they want on Hulu and Netflix (one paid and one trial account). So I figure we can get broadcast via OTR, record to Tivo OTR (my wife and I had Tivo years ago and loved it) and stream the popular services through it. I’ve also invested in AppleTV devices for a few years (this is an Apple ecosystem household) and that service is getting better and better (competes with Roku and Sling, to a lesser degree) at having channels available via Apps. Great article!

    • Thank you, Andy! You’re right about the Internet promotion game. It’s the key thing to hone in on when you’re cutting cable. Once you have that nailed down, the rest is pretty easy.

  17. My question on “cutting the cord” is how do I do this when I have 4 tv’s in my house? I understand that I might have to purchase 4 wireless antenna’s, and that’s no big deal as I know I can get a good one for about $40, so that’s $160 total. Can 1 antenna be purchased and connect it to my wireless router to work for all 4 tv’s? And what if I purchase Playstation Vue, how do I or can I make that work for 4 tv’s? And what about purchasing a dvr to record 4-5 shows at once, is this possible?

    • Hello Greg,
      Here are a few suggestions that might help you. My father-in-law is going through the same thing right now (with 5 TVs). I just got off the phone with him this morning. So I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him.

      He’s considering a PlayStation Vue subscription and using an antenna to get some local over-the-air (OTA) channels.

      Instead of rushing out and buying a bunch of equipment, focus on the one TV in your home that you watch the most. Pick one streaming device. It can be a Fire TV, or Roku or something else that you might think fits your needs. Take advantage of a free trial for PlayStation Vue (or similar service) before you cancel your cable.
      Go to a site like AntennaWeb, and figure out where to locate your antenna for that one TV.

      Over the next couple of days, take note of what you like and don’t like. You might try one streaming device, say a Roku, and suddenly decide that a Fire TV is better because you stream a bunch of shows from Amazon Video. You might (like me) want a couple different streaming devices for the features they offer.

      You will realize how to put together your overall setup a lot better once you nail down what your exact needs are.

      As far as an antenna goes, I don’t know the layout of your house. But you may want to consider buying a single outdoor antenna, and using a splitter so you can connect more than one TV to it in your home. It will save you some cash. Wire is pretty cheap these days.

      A PlayStation Vue subscription has a Cloud DVR feature. OTA channels can be recorded a number of ways now. A TiVo OTA DVR is a decent product, but there are other options too. Don’t forget that the antenna guide and reviews section is in the menu above for further guidance.
      Hope that helps.

  18. Well we did it. Cut the cable. Installed a Clearstream 2V Antenna HD antenna on the roof, side of chimney, The antenna hooked into the old Time warner box so it goes to all 8 rooms where there is a cable outlet. Ended up with about 40 Digital HD stations, some duplicates I will need to delete. Picture as good as if not better than Time Warner / Spectrum. Turns out our neighborhood is in a good spot for over the air tv reception. We are using Playstation Vue, (nothing to do with playstation games) as an online streaming app for all the same channels we had with time warner, such as AMC, TNT, SyFy, HBO, etc. along with Netflix and Amazon Prime. We have more channels now that we had with TWC at over $150 per month less what TWC was charging us. Playstation Vue app has a built in cloud recorder with unlimited use for recording to the cloud, your favorite shows, and fast forward, etc. We did purchase a Tivo Roamio OTA to record the channels off the antenna. So we can save our favorites and skip through commercials. Okay, it gave us one more remote to deal with because we now just switch between Live tv and internet tv. But for a savings of $150 mo, I can live with it.

    • Update: Been using PSVue for a couple months now. Overall just okay. TV guide / listing is below par and very hard to navigate but my biggest irritation is trying to use my phone or tablet while traveling. The constant re-entering of passwords and 2nd phone text verification is overwhelming. They also use one of the picture verification codes that is such a pain that I am now considering switching to something else. Also, you need to make sure you sign on with your portable device prior to leaving home, if you don’t you will NOT be able to watch anything on it as it must first “sync” to your home account before you can use is away from home. It is a nightmare constantly signing into the service when you are not at home.

      • I was pissed over that stupid robot test garbage. I complained several times and they have made it a lot better, but maybe not for everybody? I used to use the signs test, I don’t know really why, but I have found the cars panels work well. Hit the left bottom button until you get to cars, Usually just need a few clicks for that to work. I used to have lots of fun when my ISP kept changing my IP address and had to call maybe several times a week to have my Vue location reset. I understand their need to make sure people aren’t using this when it is not allowed but they need to make the access better for customers.

  19. There are plenty of good ideas to think outside the box and stop letting the (cable companies mostly) rip you off. But for many of us that just need some kind of basic content, be it network, movies, sports or some kind of combination and not pay an arm and a leg it is still hard.

    I hate to be a downer but I think I see some things coming that are a continuation of manipulation of the content consumers (us) get, with how we can view and how we will still have what we pay maximized over us. I think that the content providers are likely going to give us a complete on demand service so we won’t have to mess with a dvr system. But guess what, that then gives the providers full control over what exactly is provided. What I mean is they are going to make sure we cannot move to where we want timewise in a program easily and we certainly can only avoid some of the commercials if any of them. The content providers are going to make sure any deal they make requires this kind of thing and allows for no in house dvr systems. I have to watch some programming on the nbc sports site (on demand) and it is an eyeopener as to how awful and controlled that viewing experience is.

    So what have we gotten in the end, is the same, no ala carte and possibly no way to even dvr on our own to have some control there. And now not only similar cost for the packages we need to have adequate internet service when we may not normally need that at all. Some only use their limited cell service and they will not be able to get by with that at all, they now have to have some kind of decent speed and data plan. $$ anyone?

    Same as when they came in with cable in the 70’s, they told us we would now pay for tv, but there would be no or limited commercials. That lasted a very short time until we were paying and getting more than ever commercials. The standard is over 20 minutes of each hour, used to be 12. I don’t know what the answer is but how many billions do some need to amass on the backs of average and well manipulated people?

  20. Great Advice!!! Which I followed to get 100MBPS for internet only service for $40/mo.

    I started out at $98 with my current bill, including two $10/mo cable boxes for decoding even the basic cable (local channels), which I had cut back to in March from a $200 bill under a “promo” deal for staying with their “triple play”. I had also just bought a $19 HD TV antenna and can pick up all but 3 of the 60 channels in reach perfectly on my first pass. I bet I can get those 3 clear (one is ABC) if I work at location/angle. Also took out a PlayStation Vue free week trial offer, and it works fine on my smart Sony Android TV (have to upgrade my dumb one which has Apple Gen 3 – probably will do your recommended Amazon FireTV).

    So yesterday when I started out by saying I no longer wanted any TV or phone, they said they had done their best in March and could only give me internet only for $75 – a very minor $3 savings since the boxes were coming off anyway. I said I was canceling to go with Frontier DSL (24 MBPS) for internet only at $35/mo for 2 year guarantee (no contract). (I had already lined that up subject to a confirming call the following day “after I talked with my wife.”)

    That is when the fun began.

    The “retention desk” at Optimum kept going successively lower. First $62, then after a long hold while they were “processing my cancellation”, came back with $45 for a year at 60 MBPS – down from the 100 MBPS package they had in their standard package. I said they had to get to $40 for a year or $45 for 2 years or I was gone, but they could cut me to 50 MBPS or “even lower” – that the DSL speed was fine for my needs. We ended at an impasse and I said cancel me. It was like the guy got huffy and hung up on me.

    How long did I have to wait for the “save” call to come in? Turned out about an hour! And then I got to my $40 for 100 MBPS for the front end cost of a $30 modem purchase. That was down from the initial offer of $50 which I refused…provided I buy my own modem and avoid a $10 rental fee.

    I bought your recommended budget Motorola/Arris SB6141 certified/refurbished surfboard modem for $30 off Amazon. 8 channels are plenty for me. I have to take the 2 cable boxes back anyway so their modem goes along for the ride. I wanted to offer to buy their modem off them for $30 but they wouldn’t have accepted that for sure…and I bet my modem return gets trashed.

    Will have to repeat this next year when the “promo” runs out. Thanks for educating me so well.

  21. I followed this plan to the T this week. Cancelled Spectrum Phone, Internet and TV pkg running me $ 240/mo. Spectrum would not give me the $ 45/mo intro internet deal: $ 70….. so I cancelled everything, ordered Verizon FIOS next day and got 50/50 for $ 40/mo. VZ installer finished install of the FIber install at basement demarc, and ran an ethernet up to my preferred router location… he even gave me a 4-way splitter I used to connect my curve 30 HDTV antenna i installed in 2nd floor spare bedroom window, used the coax in that room as the antenna feed to the basement, hooked up the (4) essential TV’s and scanned for channels…worked, got 25 DTV channels, with good signal strength for the biggies, ABC NBC CBS FOX.

    I then subscribed to Playstation VUE $ 55/mo with sports pkg , that I can connect natively with my Droid SONY smart TV, I connected that app to my apple 4 TV as well as a spare ROKU I had lying around that was never used. My grown kids can use the playstation vue account remotely while at college, and one child working in NC. I have $ 8 netflix, and $ 8 hulu so those totaling at home: $ 111/mo. vs. old spend of $ 240. I will get dinged with a $ 10/mo increase for FIOS interent month #13…

    What was surprising: the over the air clarity of antenna stations, and big audio improvement as well.

    What I lack: HBO, could add for $ 15 if I feel like it. MSG network: I have no way to watch my favorite team NY Rangers… I could add NHL center ice, but I know black out rules in hockey are a nightmare in my area: Syracuse NY with HOME team markets of Sabres, Rangers Isanders and Devils…..

    It was a good feeling turning in all of the Spectrum equipment today, wish i had done it sooner, last months increase of $28 put me over the edge.

    • Yep, Spectrum would not deal with me either. so, I shut them down completely and went with ATT fiber giga-power. We had ATT phone service so we got a discount on the fiber network of $10, plus another 15% off for being retired military, and a $50 gift card to boot. No caps, forever price with guaranteed no price hikes, EVER for $59.00 per month.

    • Liverpool, congratz on the new found freedom. You are off to an excellent start. I live in TX and had spectrum triple play up until July 2016. I still have internet with them at a rate of $57 monthly tax included. I initially had the same setup as you with PSvue and Roku on 6 TVs as we have 4 kids and living room; also powered antenna on roof for all local content with over the air single line DVR to record CBS shows my spouse watches. AS of this monthly, I cut PSvue as well. Since last year, they lost several channels, added taxes and starting in September 2017, increased the rates. AS a result of this, I had to search deeper for better savings and cord cutting. Roku is proprietary and restricts many open source options available to cord cutters. I have now switched all TVs to Amazon Firestick, but not running kodi as many would say. Kodi is 2016, and the new available apps for cord cutters is Terrarium TV, and Mobdro. You can youtube both to see how they easily work. Find you a couple of teens in your area who can help you locate someone to assist you with this firestick project. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

  22. I am really excited that I found this site. I am beginning our quest to cut the cord. First, I plan to make the indoor DIY antenna that was demonstrated in the video. Next, I will be calling Verizon to strong-arm them into a serious reduction. We currently pay close to $180 a month for Fios service (cable TV, phone and internet) we do not use DVR service and only have 2 TVs (one with an HD box and one with a standard box. I wish to keep only the phone and internet service. We have an Amazon Fire Stick and are looking to get the most out of it. Wish me luck… momma needs a new pair of shoes!!!

  23. Hey, it sounds like you’re so busy with all this nonsense that you don’t have time for a real job!!!….congratulations on that!!

  24. To say PSvue is the best streaming option is to say you have not used any other streaming option. It may have been arguable before they lost the Viacom channels and before their price hike. But after both of those they rank 4th. Directions even without a cloud dave has the best channel selection closely followed by sling. Fubo and Hulu are as good or better than PSVue at this point. I started my cord cutting with PSvue and have used every option in case you were wondering how I came up with my ranking.

    • It’s true that PS Vue has lost some value since A) dropping Viacom channels, and B) issuing a price hike. Existing customers won’t get hit with the hike until Oct. 28. You lost me with “cloud dave”.

      If you mean DirecTV Now, it’s a very solid service. I do like it a lot. And as stated above, it will be a big contender in 2017, especially if they start streaming in 4K as promised. I haven’t decided whether I’m sticking with PS Vue after my rate increases. I’m leaning toward switching to YouTube TV, but have another month to decide before my monthly rate increases.

  25. We watch MSNBC, CNN, Fox Sports Ohio, major networks and some TVG (horse racing). Also TCM and HBO and Showtime. Live near Louisville KY. Not most of the other “200 channels” on Spectrum. What would be my best bet? Have my internet thru them too, but could change. I own my modem and router.

  26. Have you reviewed the new Amazon Fire TV Edition? Am considering buying one but am reluctant to shell out $449.00 without being able to actually see the set in a local showroom.

    • No, not yet. Be sure to keep checking out my review section. I’ll be trying out a lot of new hardware between now and the holidays.

  27. Dying to do this but our one concern is the ability to still see our local St. Louis sports….how can we make sure we’ll still get the Cardinal and Blues games?

    • You should investigate two things. Figure out what channel(s) broadcast your team games. If it’s the local FOX or NBC affiliate, then an antenna might solve that problem pretty quick. If you need a regional sports network, there are lots of live TV streaming platforms like fuboTV and DirecTV Now that carry those networks. Check out my how to watch MLB guide on the front page of the site.

  28. What could I replace my rented modem/wireless tower combo with and still get high speeds for my son’s gaming computer?? Xfinity blast is costing me $100/ month with equipment rental. We don’t have tv or phone, just internet and generally have 1 tv streaming with computer gaming going on in another room and a couple tablets or phones. Its only 2 of us.

    • The cable modems that I mention in this guide should work fine for what you’re describing. If you are looking for an ISP, go to the top of the page and click on “Internet” in the menu. That will give you another guide with a few pointers. Good luck!

  29. Our contract with Xfinity is not up for 2 more years…..any ideas on how to avoid a huge penalty for leaving early?????? Very good article and helpful ideas. Thank you.

  30. Wow, thank you so much for this informative article. But to be honest I’m still so freakin confused. We have 5 TVs, so my first questions is do we have to pay for 5 Subsctiptions every month? My second questiton is, should I buy my own modem and router? I’m not exactly sure what each one does but would I still need to pay for an internet connection if I had them?

    • Hi Lisa,

      Each live TV subscription has a limited number of streams per household. PlayStation Vue, for example, offers up to 5 streams on different devices; YouTube TV offers up to three streams at once. So the question might be for you: How often do you have all five TVs going at once. An outdoor antenna with a splitter can deliver free over-the-air channels to all your TVs with no limitations.

      Buying a modem and a router is a decent investment that can save you money compared to renting them from your cable provider. Just remember: a modem is the first thing connected to your Internet line coming into the house. The modem connects to your router. The router transmits the signal throughout your house.

      • I would like to start cutting the cord. I am under a contract with Comcast and have a year to go. I have 5 TV’s connected at a rental of $10 each. I would like to find a way to return at least 4 of the boxes back in. What can you recommend that will still allow me to access the channel content that I am paying for? I do have a Amazon Fire box. Thanks for your help.

  31. Help! I’m loosing my mind! I decided to cut the cord. I purchased a new smart tv as my HDMI ports did not work on my old flat screen. I purchased a Roku to stream Direct tv now. The screen on Hulu and Netflix is cropped sometimes vertically and sometimes horizontally. (TV Visio smart) won’t let me change the Aspect Ratio as my old tv did.
    I can’t rewind or record with Directtv now. I can rewind with Netflix.
    The new Visio smart tv does not have an input to receive Antenna tv. WTH? NBC does not stream live on Direct tv now. The main analog channel I watch. Now I have to buy a converter box at 40.00 dollars for local channels as another problem most are unaware of is data usage while streaming.
    Also to hook up my DVD player I need another converter to switch from A/V to HDMI ports.
    I missed a show last night and the only way to watch is to wait until it comes on again.
    There is no comprehensive TV guide. Directtv now has a guide but it’s not specific as to what exactly is on, for instance I I wanted to watch Robert Plant on The Big Interview on Axs tv. I kept clicking on the guide to see what guest was being interviewed. I finally went to the Axs page on my iPad to find a guide.

    Directtv now 39.99 Netflix 9.99 PBS 5.00 all in all for the extra 60.00 per month I’m ready to go back to cable.

  32. I live in the country and the only thing I can get is Hughes Net. I also have DIRECTV service. my bill is out of this world. I tried the fire stick but I had to up my Hughes net, and that was too expensive cause I had to buy more mgs. I need some help on getting rid of my DirectTV and Hughes net . I also have 4 TV’s. What do you suggest that I can do ? I don’t know nothing about this stuff but I do know that I’m paying way too much to watch tv !! I also have WIFI thru Hughes net. Can you help?

    • Hi Judy, it depends on where you live, as to the options available to you. To seek free options first put your zip into this site to see how many stations are within 60 miles of your location: There are about 18 towers within 60 miles of me. Each town broadcasts multiple channels depending on the network they are connected to. With my 18 towers, I get 68 channels. If you can get enough channels in your area, it may be worth investing in a very good rooftop digital antenna. I have a Clear2 which cost me about $60 bucks, but their are even better ones out there. Depending on where your towers are located, you may want a very strong multi-directional antenna. That’s going to be the best option for free OTA. I ran my antenna directly into where my cable connected to house, so all my lines in the house received the signal. I also purchased a $15 in-line signal booster. You can also find those on amazon or google them. Also, are you sure hughes net is only provider for your area? make sure you check every option to see an unlimited internet provider as unlimited internet and streaming device with Terrarium TV is ultimate cord cutter dream. What is your zip code? I’ll check any additional options for you.

      • That’s all helpful advice, Greg. But be aware that Terrarium TV operates in a legal grey area. So if a user gets into any kind of trouble for using it, they’re on your own. I wouldn’t recommend using them.

  33. I called Direct TV about 4 months ago asking for a better deal. Bill at $115.00 a month and was told no better deal was available since a special $20.00 per month discount had just run out. I mentioned cancelling and rep said she would transfer me to the cancellation department. I said no thanks and hung up. They provided me the “opportunity” to find something better. Purchased high gain outside antenna and due to , ground terrain, distance of 35 miles from transmitters , many trees and 30 year old coaxial in house, had to add preamp for strong enough signal. Total about $200.00 for antenna and amp. Still a few freezes in bad weather, but nothing I cant live with. Then I tested Hulu with live TV with local channels. Would have to pay additional fee for static ISP to get local, but with outside antenna get those plus the subchannels. HULU works great and two receivers can be on at same time for $45.00 which includes taxes and othe minor government fees. What a good feeling telling Direct TV they provided the impetus and opportunity for me to find a way to save $70.00 a month and get everything I watch. All sports channels etc. And if you have static ISP, you might get local channels without antenna depending on location. I dont pay much for internet and static ISP was $20.00 additional a month. With OTA channels, no need for that cost. And I am tech illiterate, so someone knowing more might do better than I did.

    • Love your story Ron P. I laughed out loud when I got to where indirect tv gave you the impetus. It is too bad that there is so much evil greed in this world. Even beyond the outrageous satellite and cable costs that is why even with streaming services many of us have to pay for a load of channels we don’t need. We get about half an hour of content per hour, so even with all of the ad revenue they also charge us a ton to send their ads to us. I do not trust them to not run a lot of these costs up when they get us again stuck using their services. If it isn’t collusion it is in effect the same thing. Evil.

  34. I ‘Cut the Cord’ a few months ago on National Cord Cutting Day (it was coincidence). YouTube TV through Chromecast for my older TV’s. Called and threatened to cancel the internet and phone from Comcast until I got hte Retention Specialist. Now I got the cheapest and fastest internet and phone and I’m still saving just over $100 a month. Sad thing is my wife already figured out how to spend those savings and then some…

    • Glad to hear about the savings. The key is to stay on the phone when you call. They won’t hang up on you, and they have to do something to please you.

  35. Amazing. Was paying $115 a month to Direct TV and ask for a better price. They said they did not have one. I said I was going to consider cancelling and she said, “I will connect you with our concellation department” I said no, I needed to work out an alternative. So I bought an OTA outside antenna with an amp because we are on the fringe of receive local channels. Get 20+ local channels free. Then subscribed to HULU with live TV to get the sports and News channels along with ones like TNT. That cost $40.00 a month. Talked to Direct TV and they offered $55.00 for two years/ Said sorry, you had your chance. I am saving $70.00 a month and get more than with your $115.00 since Direct TV does not have the local subchannels like OTA. If enough people cancel and do not buy into the companies coolaide with special offers when they threaten to cancel, maybe they will lower the proce for everyone, not just new customers and unhappy customers.

  36. Wow, a whole lot of good information!
    6 months ago I decided to try and replace my Dish Network service. I built a HTPC with plenty of power, storage, and have a pretty high speed internet service. I put up an outside antenna and get all the stations from about 60 miles away in the computer using a Hauppauge 4 tuner card. Then I started looking at program content providers including IPTV providers and several others such as Hulu and DirecTV Now. I was able to get Kodi and NextPVR loaded on the computer and had some success with OTA and the 2nd IPTV provider I tried. Then I had a problem with them. I decided I would go with DirecTV Now and actually got it working but not with Kodi. I think PlayOn will allow me to connect DTVN to Kodi but not sure how that will work.

    The bottom line is why has someone not come up with a clean DVR software package that interfaces well with both OTA and the legit streamming providers such as DTVN? The Dish DVR is super and that’s the kind of product I want to emulate using the PC. Microsoft was close with their Windows Media Center but that’s no longer supported or upgraded.

  37. There are many choices for free TV and each one may offer something just a little different. I cut off Direct TV after they went to about $120.00. I purchased a top of the line antenna and due to where I live, 35+ miles from transmitter, rolling hills and lots of trees with my house setting down a hill about a story below street level and trees all around, I had too much interference so had to also purchase antenna booster. Can get all local channels except in bad weather, then Fox does not come in. Purchased Hulu with live TV and can also get Fox through that. But beware, there are some internet providers that do not have static IP addresses unless you pay more for that. You are assigned “local” where their servers are located, not where your internet service is located. My provider wants $20.00 for a static IP, but since I can get all locals over the air, not need for that. HULU only buffers if there is another computer connecting to the internet and that is only for 5-10 seconds, so for me that has not been an issue. And it has all the sports I want as well as all the Fox cable channels. So for$40.00 a month instead of $120.00, i can live with a brief buffering now and then as well as local stations from south carolina. Still get the programming so who cares.

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