Like many Americans, I looked forward for the day that cable television alternatives were available because I was sick and tired of getting hit with a $150 bill. Many times my bill would even balloon to $200 if I decided to buy an on-demand movie for my kids. I’d switch to satellite trying to minimize the constant bill hike, but soon found out that satellite was more of the same.
If I had an issue with my monthly bill, I would usually take the hit rather than deal with the headache of talking with a customer service rep. I grew tired of the hidden fees after being a customer for a year. I wanted to cut the cord, but getting rid of cable met I couldn’t watch live NBA games, or enjoy television shows like The Walking Dead.
After years of spending hundreds of dollars every month on cable TV, I decided in 2016 to cut the cord for good after finding cable TV alternatives. I found out that cutting the cord for good isn’t that difficult. Ditching cable for online streaming was so easy that my 7 year old could do it. I’ve written a comprehensive 3 step process on how to get rid of cable TV forever even for free.
The process I share with you isn’t illegally like so many other guides out there that encourage people to download spammy software or visit illegal European websites. The process and the streaming services I reveal to you here on CutYourCableCord.com is absolutely legal.
The first thing you must have in order to stream content online is internet service. I recommend internet speed of at least 3.1 Mbps – 6 Mbps for a reliable, consistent connection. Buying shoddy internet service will cause a lot of issues when trying to stream live content on your TV and/or mobile devices.
Get Sports On Sling TV
If you watch a lot of sports Sling TV is your game ticket. Packages start at an incredibly cheap $20 per month and there are similarly priced “skinny bundles” directed specifically at sports fans. Chances are high you’ll find your favorite games on Sling TV.
The channel lineup for Sling TV is extremely impressive if you are a sports fan as they broadcast ESPN (best option to watch live NFL games), ESPN2, TBS with the entry level package. For just a couple bucks more you can get even more channels like ESPNU, ESPNews, and Bein Sports HD. Other sport channels like FS1, FS2, and NFL Network is also available with the Sports Extra Package. For more information on Sling TV go here.
Another wonderful feature of streaming is that you can watch your favorite game from your PC, mobile device, laptop anywhere there’s an internet connection within the United States. This exciting feature means you’ll literally never have to miss another second of your favorite games! Sling TV also has a number of unique features which bring the user experience very close to that of cable.
The Advantages & Benefits of Switching to Sling TV
Three Day Replay
A feature called three day replay lets the user watch any show that’s appeared on any channel within the last three days. Unfortunately it’s not available yet on all channels.
Pause, fast forward and rewind
Any long-time cable customer will be familiar with the DVD-like functionality of most cable services. SlingTV is no different. While not being able to do everything a DVR can, you can still pause, rewind or fast-forward your favorite shows at any time.
Content On Demand
Most cable companies offer a wide range of on-demand content, Sling TV is no different. This feature is wildly popular among movie watchers. Just as one example HBO offers almost all programs it has ever aired as on-demand movies.
Sling TV is currently running an amazing offer for T-mobile customers of 30% off for their basic TV package for the first year. That amounts to just $14 a month, a delightful improvement over hundred-dollar cable bills. So if you’re on the T-mobile network, this really is a no-brainer.
The only slight bump in the road to quitting a bad cable habit by switching to streaming is that you’ll need a streaming player if you intend to use your television. But no worries, Sling TV has you covered. They’re giving away a free Roku 2 streaming player and customers also get 50% off the more fully-featured Roku 3 player. These players are actually easier to set up than cable or Uverse installations, being pretty much plug and play.
Finally if you want to truly replace all cable features with streaming you may want to consider an Amazon Prime subscription. In addition to nearly any movie or television show you can imagine, you get access to millions of streamed songs, the free Kindle library, free two-day shipping and a host of other amazing benefits. New members get a free 30 day trial and the paid service is only $10 a month.
The only additional requirement to run Sling TV is that you have access to a good internet connection, preferably around 3-10mbps. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
Three Steps To Cutting Your cord and ridding yourself of cable forever
1) Choose a streaming player
This is the only technical part. But don’t worry, hooking up most streaming players is actually easier than setting up a cable system. The really great thing is that Sling TV will include a free Roku 2 streaming player or give customers 50% off a Roku 3 streaming player.
Both have many great features but many customers love the Roku 3’s voice recognizing remote which allows quick searching for shows without typing words on a numeric keypad. In addition to rave customer reviews the Roku 3 has drawn acclaim from magazines such as CNET.
2) Get a streaming player
If you don’t already have a smart TV that allow you to download streaming apps, I suggest getting Roku. You can get get the Roku device for free if you prepay for Sling TV three months in advance. The Roku player is extremely easy to setup, and the functionality is so easy that my five year old can operate it without assistance.
Roku comes with a USB and slick remote control with a headphone jack. The interface is jammed packed with many favorite channels and APPS like Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu. If you like the standalone HBO Now streaming service, you can download the APP right on the Roku interface.
3) Go old school with an (OTA) antenna
Many people today don’t even consider that the way their grandparents watched television, with an antenna, can still be a great alternative to cable. And it’s 100% free! With the right antenna many households in metropolitan areas will be within range of 50 to 100 different broadcasting television stations.
One great antenna is the Mohu Leaf 50 (Choose The Best Antenna). This antenna can clearly receive channels up to 50 miles away. Also the Leaf 50 antenna has a sleek, modern design. It’s probably not like any antenna you’ve ever seen, more Ipad than rabbit ears. The ultra-thin antenna can hang unobtrusively on your wall, your friends won’t even know what it is!
How to get good internet on the cheap?
The first thing your cable company will likely do when you tell them you are dropping their television services is inform you that your internet costs will skyrocket if you don’t stay subscribed to your bundle deal.
This is one of the dirty tricks they use to keep unwitting customers locked in their money-grubbing claws. But despite what the cable company’s representatives would have you believe, the internet service providing business is quite competitive. There are probably tens of ISP’s in your area that you don’t even know about!
You just have to go out and do a little comparison shopping. Yes, it will take a little bit of time but the savings can be mind-blowing. Many areas have good internet packages with speeds of 10mbps and higher for as little as $15 per month. Some of these will require year-long contracts but not all. The important thing is to get out there and start comparing so you know you are getting the best value!
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my phone service is bundled with my cable TV?
There are many VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services available. As the name suggests, VOIP uses the internet to direct voice calls from your phone to any phone number around the world. It’s a highly competitive industry, which means there are plenty of great deals available. I suggest shopping around to find the best VOIP option for your needs. VOIP packages are almost always a lot cheaper than other telephone networks.
Can I still DVR TV shows without cable?
Switching to OTA (Over the Air) TV doesn’t mean that you have to go without your DVR. Again there are plenty of options available, from basic record and pause/play functions to multiple channel recording and playback to several devices. Generally speaking, internet TV doesn’t require DVR as one can usually access programs directly from the network at any time.
What if I need help installing my antenna and other cord cutting gear?
While cord cutting equipment is made to be super easy to install, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. If you’re not technically savvy or too busy to install the equipment yourself, help is available. As with any TV and home theater installation, there are technicians in your area who specialize in this type installation.
What about smart TV?
To stream live TV you don’t need a smart TV. In fact a smart TV might not be the best choice, as some networks block viewing of certain channels on your smart TV. If you already have a smart TV, there’s no need to worry because there are streaming devices that are compatible with your smart TV. Your best access to internet TV is through using a streaming device.
Will this work on multiple devices?
If you’re using an antenna, you should be able to connect all your TVs to the same antenna. The antenna can be split using a coaxial splitter. From the splitter you can run cable to any room in the house.
With streaming devices, you’ll probably need one for each TV. Depending on which device you’re using, you may need a primary device for your main TV and then connect secondary devices to your other TVs.
What if I’m not ready or able to cut the cord?
It’s understandable that people often resist change. You may have some cable TV favorites that you simply can’t live without. Perhaps you don’t have access to affordable fast internet. In the end, it’ll be your decision.
It’s worth looking at what streaming options are available first. Knowing what’s available and being able to compare prices will help.
Perhaps start by moving to a cheaper cable package and try out a streaming package as well. See how they compare.
What are cable TV alternatives if I live in a remote area?
Remote areas are challenging when it comes to connectivity, but there are solutions. One can get long range TV antennas, which can receive signal from as far away as 100 miles.
When it comes to internet, there’s a good chance that you don’t have DSL or fiber available to you. The best way to go, would be to get a satellite internet connection. A satellite connection provides fast reliable internet anywhere in the world.
Which One is Better: Netflix vs Hulu vs. Amazon Prime.
All three have their benefits, but as far as streaming video go, Netflix is by far the better platform with Hulu a close second. Amazon Prime is a good service as well, but majority of customer use it as a means to get free 2 day shipping and not a primary video streaming service.
Which is better DirecTV Now vs. Sling TV?
Just like any competing companies there are some positives and negatives. Both services are excellent cable TV alternatives. DirecTV Now is owned by the satellite company DirecTV, while Sling TV is owned and operated by Dish Network. The only difference is the channel lineup and cost between the two. The ease of use on both services are excellent and about the same. However Sling TV has been doing it a lot longer than DirecTV Now, who have recently entered the online streaming industry.
The big difference as it stands right now is DirecTV Now offers a lot more channels for less. While DirecTV offers 100 channels for $35, Sling offers twenty channels for $20. The entry level package on DirecTV is relatively new so we’ll have to wait and see what Sling counters with before jumping ship (read Sling TV vs DirecTV Now).