Go Edward Scissorhands on That Sh*t

How to Cut The Cord on Cable TV and Get More Content for Less

Yes, it really is time to finally cut that sh*t.  Go Edward Scissorhands on it. There’s never been a better time to be cable free than right now, and it just keeps getting better every day that goes by.

Here’s what you need to do.

First, get ready for a fight, not a break up with your cable company if they also provide your Internet. Yes, you’ve been in bed together for a long time, but like any relationship, over time the benefits start to go away.  That’s what’s happening right now, and you need to stop paying so much for those benefits that you aren’t getting anymore.

Not only do you need to ditch the cable package, while you’re at it, you’re going to need to INCREASE your Internet.  Shouldn’t cost much, maybe another $10-$15 a month, but it’s worth wrangling with them a big to get a level or two up from their basic speeds because you are a about to become a mad dog streamer and you need that bandwidth.

Depending on how crazy you were in your previous life, you may have cut your monthly nut down from $250 to $75.  Good job.  But now you don’t have anything to watch so let’s fix that.

You might already have a couple of these things on hand, so look around.  Do you have:

A Smart TV

A Roku or Amazon Fire Stick

A Playstation or Xbox

A mobile device of any sorts that has a HDMI plug or HDMI connector; even an old Tablet laying around can work.

Assemble one of any of the above to each of your TVs, or a projector if you’re a fancy pants.

Next step: Sign up for some streaming services or log in with the ones you already have.

Do you already have any of the following:


Hulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Nat Geo

Amazon Prime

HBO Now/Go

Sling TV

If you don’t have any of those already, I would love to know what you do with your free time.

No really, you need to sign up or contact your friends and family and hit them up for a log in.  How many of those services you need are really up to you but figure each one is around $10/month which isn’t bad considering your last cable bill was $250 and you watched 0.458% of the 4000 channels offered.

Also, while you’re at it, download the YouTube app to your device or TV.  When all fails, just open this and see what the top or recommended video are for you. 

Now, you’re looking pretty good.  If you’re a sports fan, you got some good content via ESPN+. If you’re into movies, you don’t know what to do with yourself.  If you have kids, they will be forever entertained with Disney+.  If you already had Amazon Prime and weren’t using the video part of it, you were doing that cable thing again, paying for shi*t you don’t use.  Stop it.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, you can also get great streaming music services for free and free Kindle books each month.  And still get your two day delivery, all for the same price you are paying now. But be ready because you know it goes up every year.

Ok, what’s next? How about a dirty little secret.  Yes, we all like those. 

You know why you don’t need no stinkin cable?  Because it’s already in your house, beaming around your walls like a ghost you can’t see.  You just haven’t taken the initiative to catch it, and unmask that ghost.

What is this ghost we speak of?  It’s the HD cable broadcast signals that are in the air and free to grab.  Depending on where you live, some people will be better off than others, but give this a look.  You can get an HD antenna for next to nothing, and the ones nowadays can suck in signals from a long way away. There are even 4K antennas for a great price.

One thing that sucks about HD antennas though is that sometimes they can be affected by weather.  So if that’s a problem, or your signal is weak anyway, don’t fret.

Check out a service called Available in quite a few markets around the country, you can stream your local HD programming via the Locast app on our Smart TV or connected device.  And it works like a charm.  It’s totally free but has some silly interruptions to force you to donate $5 a month.  It’s worth it.

While you’re downloading apps, look for apps from many of the major TV networks as sometimes the content is easily accessible and free there too.  If you have a “friends and family” log in to a cable provider, try their apps too.  They’re trying to cut down on sharing, but it’s worth a shot.

Next, consider getting a networked attached hard drive.  This is a big storage drive that connects to your router.  If you or friends have a bunch of content, save the files to the hard drive and access via your streaming device on your TV. 

Prices are really good on these lately.  Backing up all your media is a good idea anyway.  Get it off your phone before you lose the phone or transfer to a new device and it takes 12 hours to move a decade’s worth of photos and videos over.

Next tip. Upgrade your wireless router and modem, especially if you can’t remember the last time you did. 

Technology is on fire right now and getting better, faster and cheaper than ever before.  You’re streaming shi*t now.  You need to move those 1s and 0s.  If you have an old device it’s likely it can’t even process modern day Internet speeds.  And again, you’re paying for more stuff you don’t use.

Cable was fatally wounded years ago but was able to somehow cling to life because some people like you just couldn’t let go.  But times have changed.  And now it’s dead all the way, and pretty much in the grave.

Who’s talking about cable programming, or waiting to watch something at 9pm on a Wed?  People are talking about what’s streaming because that’s what’s cool and what the whole world is watching.  And now you’re ready, Scissorhands, to go and join the party.

19 replies on “How to Cut The Cord on Cable TV and Get More Content for Less”

I do not do that but I believe you can. The easy way is to use Aereo, the new streaming cable provider popping up in certain pockets of the country. Otherwise you would need to run it through a computer with a TV tuner and record, which is a little more involved.

I just started doing research on this today since I am moving and Comcast is our “only” option. It sounds like Aereo is dead. Sling TV sounds like good and offers streaming devices for free or at discounts. The research I did sounds like the best option is to have Sling TV (with HBO in my case) with a Roku, and a Tablo DVR.

I’m getting a little dizzy doing research on all this “cut the cord” stuff. I have got to start saving money on TV viewing but I’ve got to say, I’m starting to wonder with all the subscriptions, equipment etc, if its going to be cheaper in the long run. I live 60 miles from the city so I’ll need a powerful antenna, $150, new TV (mine is 20+ yrs old) $350, subscriptions to at least 1 viewing service – $20 a month, DSL – $50 a month, that DVR/hard drive thingy $200, and if I want to watch my local sports (MLB), what, another $20 a month? Seriously? How is all this all that much cheaper than what I pay for Directv now? Am I missing something? Please tell me I’m missing something…

Given where you live and the requirements you mention, you may be better off staying with cable overall. If you’re streaming TV via Hulu, or Netflix, or Amazon, you don’t really need a DVR since all the programming is on demand. But I would weigh your options and see what works best for you. Cutting the cord might not be right for everyone. Thanks for your note.

Yes, another option that had worked great for me is a private channel in roku. It has local, premium and sports channels so I don’t miss anything from cable and all that for only 15 a month.

So I am committed to cutting the cord but my head continues to spin. We currently are mostly Apple folks. Have Apple TV. Subscribe to hulu, Netflix, HBO Now. I can stream movies from my desktop Mac through Apple TV (I have a 1TB hard drive connected to the Mac) so I can watch things like home movies, my photos, movies I’ve purchased on DVD that I’ve ripped, etc. Is there some other big benefit of a network hard drive that I don’t already have?

I would say no, there really is no additional benefit because you are pretty much doing it by using your laptop as the networked drive. You just pointed out another good way to it that utilizes the Apple TV and equipment people may already have. Thanks for the note and good luck.

Wanted to share now that I have been ‘cordless’ for about 3 months as got tired of paying DirecTV 100 a month.
Went to Walmart and started with regular rabbit ears but that gave me nothing so went back and bought an attic mount
Per I would pick up about 10 channels but I actually pick up a ton more (see below)
I also recently bought xbox one part of the reason I chose it over PS4 was it has SlingTV ( I couldnt lose ESPN)
I already had Netflix, and work from home so my job pays for my internet.
So bill went from 100/mo to 28/mo and now I dont have to worry about kids watching Kardashians:)
I am hoping xbox adds DVR function per rumors as I do miss recording TV.

My channels living in zip 03109
2.1 PBS
2.2 World
4.1 WBZ- CBS
4.2 Decades
5.1 WCVB – ABC
5.2 MeTV
7.1 WHDH – NBC
7.2 This TV
9.1 WMUR – ABC
9.2 MeTV
11.1 PBX
11.2 PBX
11.3 WOrld
11.4 @Create
21.1 iON Life
21.2 iON TV
21.3 qubo
21.5 qvc
21.6 hsn
25.1 Fox 25
25.2 Movies
25.3 Laff TV
27.1 Univision
27.2 LATN
38.1 my 38
44.1 PBS
44.3 @create
44.4 PBS Kids
50.1 IND
50.2 GRIT
50.3 GRIT
56.1 CW56
56.2 zuus country
60.1 Telemundo
60.2 Telexidos
62.1 Cozi
62.2 Cozi
62.3 the works
66.1 unimas
66.2 bounce TV
66.3 get tv
66.4 Escape
68.1 ion TV
68.2 qubo
68.3 ion Life
68.4 shop tv
68.5 qvc
68.6 hsn

What is the best streaming player for accessing content on multiple tvs. If I use roku3’s in all rooms do I only have to pay once for subscription to sling tv or for each device.

I don’t know specifically for Sling, but with most services you pay for one subscription and then log in with the same account on all devices. There are limits to the number of devices that can share an account, but with three, I think you will be fine. Thanks for the note.

I have been cordless for the past 6 months and with my roku and a private channel I have more channels than with cable and I only pay $15.

I live in Manhattan and have been trying to get Time Warner Cable’s greedy hand out of my pocket for years. I cut the cable cord in April 2015 but had to keep broadband, at $41 a month, for Netflix and HBO streaming. TWC raised broadband to $79.99 after just five months. A few complaining phone calls persuaded them to knock the rate down to $47. Still, I want these folks out of my life for good.

Thanks for the suggestion about watching TV via iPhone. Question: How do I avoid the data-overage charges?

First off, congrats on cutting the cord and good job knocking the broadband cost down. That’s about what I pay for service each month from Comcast.

Avoiding data overages on a cell phone is tough. That’s all plan/carrier dependent but I think there are some carriers that will offer more or even unlimited data on some of their plans.

Data overages on broadband are becoming a whole new animal to deal with. See my note about what Comcast is trying to pull in Atlanta:
– Andrew

Thanks for you reply — and nice article. I’ll be looking out for the data overage charges. And whatever else TWC has brewing.

I currently use dish it costs about $120 per month I have five TVs in my house The hopper three Joeys and dish anywhere for the PC it’s in a remote area I pay $75 a month for Cox cable

I watch a lot of network television from the DVR and buy sports package for my teem baseball and basketball that are out of California where I am How should I cut the cord

Given the specialized sports it would be difficult to do. You might be good w the current setup you describe.

Nice article, but it does not address my number one concern: internet speed and internet access.

I currently get internet through my cable provider. I am not happy about it, but they are the only ones that offer speeds like 25 MB, 35 MB or 50 MB and higher download speeds and no data caps. This includes wifi.

I have looked online to try to find internet providers in my area. It boils down to two cable companies battling each other and so fairly equal on price, or going with a satellite internet provider with their data caps and low speeds, and very few other options even though I am in a major city.

Most cable companies seem to have a monopoly on local internet. There are very few options, even DSL or other, although DSL is extremely slow even where it is available.

The whole situation is very discouraging. Currently I get TV, a phone with unlimited minutes, internet and wireless all from the same provider. I see no way to get all of these services from different providers for less money.

Also, the online sites that list internet providers in my area are very inaccurate, which makes research more difficult.

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