Your cable company sucks. I know it, because everyone’s cable company sucks. It costs about a bajillion dollars a month. You’ve got a thousand channels, but there’s never anything decent to watch. And you get random calls with offers to upgrade to the latest amazing deal (It’s not a deal if you get the same thing for more money, right?).
If you’re reading this, you are looking for ways to get that monkey off your back without tossing your TV in the dumpster. If you still want TV without the cable, you’re in the right place. Here are X tips for cutting the cord.
1. Try Broadcast TV
I know what you’re thinking. Broadcast TV? Doesn’t that mean twisting those rabbit-ear antenna whenever you change the channel, hoping that you get TV without interference. You’d have to stand on your head, holding one arm out just to get a decent picture.
Broadcast TV has come a long way since those bad old days, especially if you live in a major city. Since broadcasters switched from tha crummy analogy to digital, more and more broadcast stations have popped up, all for free. Now you don’t need cable to watch that Korean soap opera that’s got you hooked.
This is also the only option if you want to truly cut the cord. The rest of your TV options require an internet connection to stream even free content. Broadcast TV is totally free.
Antennae are also better, too. You can get amazing HD picture without worrying about where the rabbit ears point or without setting up a weird public art installation on your roof.
Check out new antenna like the Advanced Technology Ultra HD Antenna. You get crystal clear HD TV without paying insanely high subscription fees. Picture quality with this antenna can be even better than cable. Cable broadcasts compressed HD, while this guy gets uncompressed for a better picture.
2. Streaming TV
While broadcast TV is light years past what it was even ten years ago, you still might want more. That’s where streaming services come in.
You probably know the big boys like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. But these days just about everyone has a streaming service, and even some are free.
That’s important, because streaming services can quickly add up to the same insane price as cable. Add up Netflix, Hulu, and a few other services, and you’re not saving money anymore.
Check out free streaming services like Pluto TV, Sony Crack, or Tubi. They offer streaming TV and movies without subscription fees. They’re all ad-supported, and they tend to have a slightly older catalogue. But free is free, right?
Speaking of free, many TV channels host episodes of their ongoing shows on their website for free. They don’t navigate as easily as a streaming service, but you can get a lot of your favorite shows without paying a penny.
3. Streaming To Your TV
If you’re streaming, you want to be able to watch it. While a lot of people watch TV on their phones, you’ll probably want to see it on a bigger screen at least once in a while. There are several ways you can get streaming content on your giant flat screen.
Plug In Your Device
Most TV’s and laptops have built-in HDMI cables. So, the easiest way to get streaming TV on your home television is to plug it in. Simple, isn’t it?
There is a drawback. You can’t use your computer while watching your show. If you like to have TV running in the background, this won’t be the best option for you.
If cords aren’t your thing, there are a number of wireless devices like Chromecast or Roku stick. They can project from your device’s screen, but they also will stream through your home WIFI on their own.
You’ll be able to stream your favorite TV and scroll through Instagram at the same time. Let’s face it; no one uses just one device anymore, anyway.
You can also get a separate device to stream content to your TV. There are a ton of options out there. There are generally two different categories:
TV Specific Devices
Boxes like Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Cube, and the rest are specifically designed to stream and store your TV and movies. They all work with even the best TV’s and they are easy to use.
Console gaming devices also have streaming capabilities. Playstation 4 and Xbox One both have streaming apps with all the major services. Nintendo Switch hopped on the bandwagon a little late, but it has streaming TV, too.
If you’re already a gamer, you almost certainly have one of the three (or all of them) at home. If not, the combination of a gaming console with streaming capabilities can give you more for your money. It’s also a great way to convince your significant other why you need to get one.
If you don’t want to manage multiple devices, you can go for the smart TV. There are plenty on the market. Basically, they are a combination between a stand-alone streaming device and a television.
4. Streaming Services Aren’t Cable
When people jump from cable to streaming services, they often treat these services like cable.
When you pay for cable, you sign up for a package deal, and you pay for everything every month. If you just want ESPN for football, you still have to pay for it in the spring and summer. If you’re hooked on Game of Thrones, you have to pay for HBO the whole year.
You don’t need to do that with streaming services. You can sign up a month at a time, so you can mix and match your streaming services to save money.
You can even sign up for some standard cable packages for just a short time. Services like Playstation Vue offer a lot of the same channels you’d get on cable without a long-term contract.
5. Online cable network channels
If you love network TV but only watch a few channels, this might be the option for you. With online cable network channels, you only have to pay for the channels that you watch, which can significantly reduce your monthly entertainment bill. HBO, Showtime, CBS, and Starz are four of the most notable networks that offer this service, and you can subscribe to each individually or add them to your Roku or Sling accounts for an added fee. These services range from $6-$15/month each, so you’ll no longer have to keep cable just to watch your favorite show. Additionally, most major networks add recently-aired episodes to their websites for a short period of time for free. Even better, many smart TVs and other streaming devices allow you to download network apps right onto your device, and many are free.
Cable may still be a great way to enjoy live television, but new technology has opened up the options available to consumers, and you now have complete control over what you watch, when you watch it, and how much you spend. There’s something available for everyone who wants to cut the cord, from those with larger budgets who simply want more choice to those who want to enjoy free TV, so don’t be afraid to explore your options to find what best suits your lifestyle.
Cut That Cord
Cutting the cord can save you a lot of money every month. With cable prices going up every year, it makes more and more sense to make the change.
A study from lendedu found that the average user saves $115.34 a month when they drop cable. That’s more than a hundred dollars a month including subscriptions to their streaming service. The same report says that many users subscribed to streaming services while they had cable, too.
Unless you really love what your cable company gives you, cord cutting makes sense. You save money, you get great TV on demand, and you get more control.