It's more than a little strange to try to explain cable TV to my kids. To them, images on a screen are just the result of whatever app you picked. Those of us of a certain age, however, can remember a time when televisions weren't flat, when pictures weren't color, and when antennas and tinfoil were constantly adjusted. To them, there's no difference between network and cable channels, premium or otherwise. It's all #content, and it's all available, all the time.
It's also easier than ever — easier, but not painless — to mix and match and, ultimately, save some cash in the process.
That was the goal back in the fall of 2016. My wife and I looked at our $245-a-month cable bill and figured there had to be a better way to spend that money. Or, even better, to save some of that $3,000 a year to be spent somewhere else.
So we started researching on what we needed to do to get rid of cable TV. Was our internet connection fast enough? What hardware would we use. (OK, that part was easy, thanks to my chosen profession.) Which streaming services were we already paying for, which new ones did we want to check out?
And most important — what was it all going to cost?
You have to do your homework
It's important to remember the purpose of all this. It's not just to cut cable TV for sake of cutting cable TV. Because there's nothing inherently bad about cable TV. It's all the things you want to watch, in a single set-top box. It's easy, and it's fast.
The problem, at least in my case, was the cost.
My monthly breakdown until the day we flipped the switch was something like $75 for internet, and something like $170 for the cable TV part. A good part of that was the basic package, of course, plus whatever premium channels we had. But it was the nickel-and-dime stuff that really added up. Rental fees on each set-top box, and taxes and fees to go along with it. That's essentially throwing money away. And there wasn't a damned thing we could do about it.
So our working number was $245 a month. If we were going to switch to an all-streaming scheme, we'd have to come in under that. And, frankly, we'd want to see a pretty decent margin given that we were giving up the simplicity of cable TV.
Out came the spreadsheet. What were we spending every month? What would we be spending? The math isn't optional. But neither is it difficult. It's also important to do an audit once a year or so. Because as we've found out, prices and plans can and do change.
Your internet connection still matters
Funny thing about TV these days. "Cable TV" is digital. It gets fed into your home as these bits and bytes of data, and the box connected to your TV translate them into visible pictures. "Streaming TV" is also digital. It gets fed into your home as bigs and bytes of data, and translated by other boxes into visible pictures.
Technologically speaking, there really isn't a difference. (Yes, the devil's in the details, but that's another thing for another time.)
But that also means that your internet connection is more important than ever. Don't depend on a 5 Mbps DSL connection to get things done here. More speed means more headroom. But you also don't necessarily need a 100 Mbps connection, either. I remember one cable company rep trying to upsell me from our 30 Mbps (downstream) and 5 Mbps (upstream) connection, asking about how many people I had in the house, and how many connected devices we had (heh), and that we'd definitely need something faster and more expensive.
Your situation may well vary, but we've been doing just fine, thank you very much.
Your network situation also will make a big difference. If you're plodding along with an 802.11 b/g connection for years, it's time to update your router. And the other rule of thumb is if you can use a hardwired ethernet connection with your streaming box, do it.
Our current cable bill for internet-only: $80 a month.
The hardware you'll need
I didn't really worry too much about the cost of hardware, or what it was we'd be using. That's mostly because hardware should be a one-time cost.
There's a world of hardware out there when it comes to watching streaming video. I haven't used it all, but I've definitely used a lot. Here's what I've learned over the past 18 months or so.
A good display is important
If you're going to splurge on one thing, make it the display. And the good news is that $1,000 can go a really long way these days, giving you something bigger than you'd ever had before, with a greater resolution than you ever though you'd need.
If it fits your budget, go ahead and get a set that's got the "UHD" resolution. (That's also known as 4K.) Same goes for HDR (that's the cool "colors look awesome" feature), though definitely look for something that does Dolby Vision and not just the open-source HDR10. Better yet: Find a set that does both.
That doesn't mean that all your new streaming shows are going to look magical. So much depends on the streaming source — if it's not being streamed in 4K, you won't be getting that magical picture you were hoping for. (And upscaling only goes so far.) That actually hasn't been a deal-breaker for me, though. 1080p content looks just fine at a proper viewing distance. It's just that 4K looks that much better.
Also: You don't necessarily need one with a smart operating system built in. I've got one display that uses Android TV as its built-in OS. It's deliciously simple to use that way, without needing any other streaming boxes. But it's also been abandoned by the manufacturer. So it'll never get updates. And running a separate box into now definitely clunks up the works a bit.
Me? I prefer a display that's more dumb than smart. Just give me a great picture and get out of the way. The Vizio M50-D1 set I reviewed a way back $648 at Walmart has performed admirably in that regard, without forcing its own smart features down my throat.
OK, so which streaming box to get?
This part is actually a little easier to navigate than you might expect. Android TV and Apple TV are the best. Period. If you're in an Android household, get the former. If you'er in an Apple household, get the latter. If, like me, you're in a mixed household, I'd lean toward Android TV, because it's easier to use Chromecast features from an iPhone than it is to attempt to use AirPlay from an Android phone.
Amazon Fire TV and Roku are good alternatives. Full boxes are better than HDMI dongles, because you'll never wish you the had less-powerful hardware.
Here's my breakdown:
NVIDIA Shield TV
If you want an Android TV, get an NVIDIA Shield TV. Full stop. There currently is no other Android TV box you should even consider. It does everything except for iTunes content. The base model is $179, but you can bump things up with extra storage and a game controller if you want.
Apple TV 4K
It's, uh, an Apple TV. And it's really good at $179. (I haven't bothered for the more expensive model with extra storage.) It's what I use the bedroom. It's fast, it's powerful, and you can watch content from every source imaginable. (Even Google Play content, though you'll have to use AirPlay to do it.) Just be sure to go ahead and get the 4K model, for future-proofing. The only negative? The remote sucks. (Get this one instead.)
Amazon Fire TV
Fire TV ($69 when it's not on sale) is a great inexpensive option. The new dongle does 4K content, but it doesn't do Dolby Vision, just HDR10. Amazon has a ton of great content now — pretty much everything you'd want. You'll not be able to get Apple content on here, though. My only nitpick is that the menu for the streaming service I use the most is really slow on Fire TV. Still, a great cheap option.
OK, so Roku has a ton of options when it comes to hardware. Again, I recommend boxes over dongles, and the Roku Ultra hardly breaks the bank at $89. I've never been crazy about Roku's software, though, (and again my streaming service of choice is really slow here, too) but Roku has a ton of options including news and games.
A couple other hardware notes for things I'm using:
- Again, I can't recommend the Logitech Harmony Companion ($129 at Amazon enough. It's a great universal remote, and handles other connected gear like lights and switches.
- If you need a TV but just can't do an external streaming box for some reason, get something with a smart OS built in. Android TV is best. But for a less-expensive secondary screen, you can get away with one with Roku or Amazon built in. We've got some entertaining space outside now, and we're using a 40-inch TCL model with Roku as the OS ($249 at Amazon), and it works just fine.
- Home theater audio is a pretty personal decision. I've been pretty happy with an inexpensive Vizio 5.1 sound bar ($229 at Amazon). It's also a Chromecast target (so it's great for wireless music without turning on the TV), and the rear speakers and subwoofer are wireless, so I didn't have to drag cables through the living room.
Don't forget an antenna and OTA content
Yeah, it's not the 1980s anymore. But there's still a place for a good antenna. All the major networks still broadcast over the air (and in 1080i, no less), and you'll often get a picture with less compression than you will streaming. Plus, the content is 100 percent free.
This also is how you can often solve the "What about my regional sports?" question.
You've got a couple options when it comes to mounting your antenna. Inside, or outside. Outdoors is always better than indoors. Higher is better than lower. But most important is to make sure it's facing the best direction for where you live. (For that, hit up AntennaWeb.org.)
I'll leave it up to you as to which antenna to get, but I'm using a ClearStream 2MAX ($56 on Amazon) with great results.
Now that you've got an antenna, you've got to plug it in to something. You can go straight into your display, if it happens to have a TV tuner. (Not all do these days.)
But better is to get something like HDHomerun. Your OTA antenna plugs in, the HDHomerun box plugs into your router, and it then spits out the over-the-air content to multiple devices at once. The new HD Homerun Quatro ($150 at Best Buy will serve up to 4 streams at once. The HDHomerun Duo ($99 at Amazon) does two streams at once.
So you've got your hardware picked out. Now it's time for the software. The services, actually. And there's something important to note here:
You're not actually tied into anything. Virtually every streaming service you'll consider has a free trial period. Use it. Don't be married to one particular service. When pricing and channels fluctuate (and they will), try a different one to see if it works for you.
And there's not actually once streaming service to rule them all. You'll most likely end up using several. But as I mentioned at the top of this piece, it's still important to audit them once a year or so and see if you're still getting your money's worth.
You'll also want to spend some time perusing the various plans to make sure you'll be getting all the channels you actually want to watch — and also to minimize paying for the ones you don't want to watch. Just like with cable TV, the packages often give you more than you'll actually watch.
You'll have to do the math.
I haven't necessarily used everything out there, but I've at least taken a look at a lot of them. Here are some quick notes on what I've found.
- Netflix: I mean, how do you not have Netflix, right? What it maybe lacks in good movies it's started more than making up for in original content.
- Sling: This was the first service I trialed. But I found the Orange/Blue plan thing to be confusing, and I just can't stand Sling's on-screen menu system.
- PlayStation Vue: Never mind the name — you don't need a PlayStation to use this. It's what we use for probably 90 percent of our streaming content. It's easy to see which plan has which channels. And while the pricing has gone up a tad over the 18 months I've been using it, it's still the least worst of the services I've tried.
- DirectTV: Seems like a decent option for some — especially if you're an AT&T Wireless subscriber. I'm not, though, and so we stayed with PS Vue.
- Amazon Prime Video: I tend to not even count this in our monthly expenditures because I've always had Amazon Prime for better shipping options. But it's an excellent addition for free streaming content. And like Netflix, Amazon now has some incredible original content. Highly recommended.
- Hulu: We subscribe to Hulu. (My kids have things there they like to watch.) But the Hulu Live service just doesn't have all the channels we want. So we've not done that.
- YouTube TV: Looks promising. But it's not available where I live, so that's a nonstarter. Update: OK, I dunno what joker at YouTube thought it'd be fun to give me YouTube TV in Pensacola the day after publishing this, but WELL PLAYED.
- Movies Anywhere: A cool service for cross-platform families. Buy a movie one place (say, on iTunes) and watch it somewhere else, like on Android TV.
Again: Take advantage of free trials. Shop around. And don't be afraid to change things up if the math no longer makes sense.
I haven't quite touched on everything here. There are holes in my streaming scheme. There are plenty of things I don't use.
What about DVR and local recordings?
"But how do you record things?" is a question I get a lot.
The answer: I don't, really. So much of what we watch is available on demand. Or if it's that good and that important, I might just go ahead and buy it. Nothing kills the mood in Mr. Robot like commercials, and I like paying for good content. So that's $30 or so once a year that I don't mind spending.
But that doesn't mean you can't record things at all, or play back local content.
Services like Kodi and Plex work great on pretty much any hardware you might have. You can roll your own entertainment server on a decent networked-attached-storage box. A lot of folks do this. For what I watch and the way I want to watch it, I just don't need local storage anymore, though. (Same goes for music, too.) Streaming fits all my needs.
What about Xbox and PlayStation and Nintendo Switch?
For a lot of folks out there, gaming platforms can take the place of nearly all the hardware I mentioned above. If you're an Xbox person, or hit a PlayStation all day long, awesome. There are great options for each of those platforms, too. (The Windows Central folks have a great guide for Xbox.)
They're great options — just not the ones I use.
The bottom line
Let's wrap this up: There are there three things you'll want to do here.
- Do the math. See how much you're spending every month. I went from spending upwards of $3,000 a year on cable TV and internet to spending about $2,200 for internet and streaming content. (And unlike before, we're not throwing a good chunk of that money away on taxes and fees.) And once a year or so, do the math again and make sure you're not wasting money on things you're not actually watching.
- Figure out your hardware. Is your router up to the job? What streaming boxes do you need?
- Pick your streaming services, but don't be married to them. You can mix and match. You can try new ones. Take advantage of free trials.
After that, just sit back and relax and watch a show. And figure out what you'll want to do with all the money you're saving.
Don't even care for cable. Hulu, Netflix, and Prime Video I'm good. If I need sports I just use my moms U-Verse account to Watch ESPN. Been 3-4 years now.
so you do care about cable. you just "borrow" someone else's cable when you need it.
We cut the cord a little over a year ago. We pay for Amazon (Prime), Hulu (No Commercial), Netflix, HBO, and CBS (No Commercial), but that's it as far as streaming services go. Everything else we buy through Google Play (or Vudu). Even at an average $30 or so for each TV show season, we STILL save almost $100 per month from when we had cable. Yes, it means that we don't get to see the shows until the next day, but then, we also don't have to deal with commercials, preemption, or any other hassles of live TV. Oh, I should point out... we don't get very good OTA coverage either, so we simply don't bother. Any show we want to see (that's not on a streaming service we have), we buy. Period. It's still cheaper than what we used to spend with cable. Youtube TV has finally come to our area, and when we initially cut the cord, we were disappointed that we couldn't utilize it to help us through the transition. Honestly... now that it's here, we really see no reason to get it. Once you realize that you can a la carte for cheaper, it just doesn't make sense to go back to a cable-like service.
I'm looking to go the streaming route after my DirecTV contract is up next month. Will be using a Roku Premier and trying to decide which service to go with.
I just talked to Direct TV and said I can stream cable for the price I am paying for my equipment. My contract is up next month also. They dropped the price $60 a month for a year no contract. I get 220 channels for the price of DirectTV Now 120 channels..Call Direct TV they will deal. They don't want to lose subscribers. They already dropped $10 a month 6 months ago so I am saving $840 from advertised. I have 2 years free Netflix from different promos and Hulu ad free and Amazon Prime. Plenty of options.
I have been wanting to cut the cord for a long time. Need to research it a little more to have recording capabilities. If anyone has any suggestions please PM me. Tired of Directv. My only reason to keep it has been the NFL package but I've lost interest this year.
I use PS Vue and it has a pretty good DVR but only keeps recordings for like 28 days I believe. But thats sufficient for me and especially since damn near everything is available on-demand. They give you the option to add NFL Redzone but I don't think the full NFL package is available. I kind of lost interest the past 2 seasons myself and my favorite team plays on CBS anyway and that channel along with many a few other local channels are available on Vue. It's worth at least giving the 5 day free trial a go and see how you like it.
When using the PS Vue DVR, are there commercials (and if so a way to fast forward through them)?
I find cutting the cable made my watching habits much more selective. I researched things a bit more, and watched for entertainment and education more, and mindless surfing didn't happen. YouTube TV was great. Then we moved to an area that has a top data speed of 3mgbs down. Sad. Had to get back on direct TV, and pause all other. Always check the internet situation before you move.
3 MegaGigabits/sec? I wanna live there!
I'm surprised the article OP is just getting 60MB down for $70 a month! I pay $70 for 1Gbps down and 45Mbps up. Xfinity with my own Arris SB8100 and an Asus AX88 router to cleanup. I have Netflix, Amazon and YouTube Premium. I trade for other services. I trade my YouTube Premium for Hulu and Netflix for Philo. With my antenna that means I have access to just about every channel and service for a small price (aprix $100 with internet included). Oh and I have a Xfinity login from my dad and a hacked Xfinity Stream app on my 4k FireTV which works like a charm. I also have a few "other" apps I use for the occasional movie or TV show I can't find elsewhere. But I try and pay before sailing the high seas if Incan avoid it. At one point we had everything at once, Xfinity cable, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Premium, RedBox Instant and more! Oh and Pluto and has some great channels we kill time with like 007, Chef Ramsey and some gaming ones which are cool to watch. So you can save money and watch everything you could ever imagine!
Only 18 months? You're behind the curve! I cut the cable back in 2011 or 2012 (can't remember - it was when the Roku 2 just came out), and don't miss it at all. And I don't even bother with OTA TV. My personal Plex server, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are all I need. I had Hulu for a while but realized I wasn't using it.
Yeah, I tried Hulu instead of Netflix for a while...hated it and went back to Netflix.
We use an OTA antenna and a TiVo OTA that had the subscription included for $399. This gets us all of our network television. We use Sling for the cable channels on Roku streaming boxes. We already had Netflix and Amazon Prime when we had cable so I do not figure that into cost or savings. We added Hulu for $8.99. Our cable and internet bill was $199.52. Our internet is now $45.00, Sling with HBO and a 4 for the price of 2 add on package is $50.00. Hulu is $8.99. We are saving some money this way.
I've had an OTA antenna on the roof for years, since before OTA TV went digital. I've also been using a TiVo to record any shows me or my wife want. That plus Amazon prime and Netflix subscriptions, and we have everything we need to watch. But if/when my Tivo ever dies, I might look into adding YoutubeTV or similiar. A new Tivo with lifetime subscription costs in the $400-500 range, which would go a long way to paying a subscription service.
The only reason I went with the TiVo OTA was the price with lifetime service of $399. So far I have been happy with the setup.
My hardware. TP-Link OnHub router connected to a network switch. Hardlined to Xbox, PC by TV and my Philips Hue Bridge. Just swapped a Roku 3 for a Roku Stick + (this has to be wireless). I have what is called "Blast Plus" with Comcast. For $118/month (includes T&F), I get SD cable with HBO. My cable box is not actually hooked up at all. It is a small black thing (SD remember) not one of the big fancey DVR set top boxes). I'm not even sure I pay for it. Why do I have SD cable? Because when I launch network Roku channels (CW, ABC, NBC, USA, etc) they ask me to verify those channels are part of my Xfinity cable package. Right now the only thing I pay extra for is Netflix at $11/month. My girlfriend shares her paid Hulu access with me. So my bill for Internet, TV et al each month is $129. Not great but not horrible. Oh my Internet down averages 200+ Mbps (definitely more than I need, even for all the online gaming I do - Xbox and PC). The Google WiFi app tells me I have 17 devices hooked to my network (I'm at the office, when I get home you can add my phone to that). I've been thinking about dumping my Blast Plus (I am grandfathered in, this package is no longer available and Comcast would LOVE for me to upgrade to a $150 HD package). I figure I'd need Internet + HBO (Game of Thrones and Ballers) + access to most networks. My current package does not have TNT, Bravo and sports. So I guess I need to do some shopping. The one thing about my Internet speed is I don't "pay" for it. Meaning my initial speed was 75 Mbps. Comcast has been boosting it over time (probably in an effort to keep me) and my bill has only gone up $6.00 in three years.
It's been over three years since I cut the cord. Wow, $80 a month for internet with a cap? He needs to get his own modem if he hasn't already to cut that down by ten. I pay $42 for internet with no cap using my own modem. I have a HD antenna, Roku, Chromebox and use Hulu, Netflix and Amazon prime so, that's about $70 a month. I use a free website (no ads) that would allow me to get rid of Hulu and Netflix which I don't use much. I'm not a big fan of sports but I get all the games, including the Superbowl. You can get all the cable news show's on YouTube including some live breaking news which they stream. In fact, a lot stuff is available on YT. The key to saving is to wean yourself off TV shows and I know it's a lot harder if you have kids. Just about every show is available online if you just search for it, with no ads. I even watched the Superbowl online last year.
must be nice. a lot of people in the US don't have a lot of competition for internet. For me, I have Charter (100Mbps) for $80/month or AT&T (1Gbps fiber) for $85). Yes, great speeds, but nothing for cheaper (unless I want slow speeds and data caps)
i was just having this conversation with my brother in law. We both went to internet only and PS Vue. However our internet provider, Spectrum, and Ps Vue raised their prices. He went back to cable since his savings were not that much anymore. I'm still saving money, but at this point I actually prefer PS Vue to cable. I don't want to go back to a lame cable DVR box. I'm pretty sure cable would have to be much cheaper before I decided to switch back
I don't really save any money by cutting the cord because Comcast charges just about the same for standalone internet as they do for a basic doubleplay package. Also, I record all my shows since I work til 9pm most days.
Yep, same for me. The shows my family likes are spread thin and wide and after the math I did, I would spend the same or more to get what they're after.
Internet, Playstation Vue, and Hulu are all I pay for. T-Mobile takes care of my Netflix now. Only subscribe to HBO when there are show on that I want to watch. Same for sports. If I need additional coverage for NFL or college football I just upgrade. Haven't missed cable at all.
If it wasn't for my wife, I would have done this a long time ago. Almost 80% of my media consumption is done online.
Perhaps I skimmed too much but was there any discussion of internet data caps being implemented in several markets and how that will affect the cord cutting savings?
FIOS is your future, whether you like it or not. Ajit Pai is seeing to that. /s
Yes he went over his terabyte cap one month for a charge of $50. That's where 4k rears it's ugly head. 1080p is good enough right now. When OTA is 4k and it will be soon, then jump on THAT bandwagon. Great story Phil!
I haven't cut the cord yet. I like to have local stations, forecasts etc. When I can get that, then possibly I'll make the jump.
So get an antenna for like 30 bucks and put it on your roof. Boom, all local channels. I have a townhome and I put a $18 leaf style antenna on the wall on the top floor. We get NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX clear as day, as well as a bunch of other weird channels in between. But that gets you the local news, primetime TV shows, and a lot of sports as well. The Olympics look better OTA than through PS Vue.
I cut the cord for TV cable about seven years ago and I actually already cut the cord for home Internet as well. All five family members in my household have unlimited data on their smart phones and two of us have free unlimited data on our tablets included in our cellular package so basically that’s all we use now and whenever we want to watch something on TV we just connected one of our devices to it. For local sports and news I have an OTA antenna.
Waitin for Tmobile and Layer3
I'm interested to see what they end up putting out as well.
We cut it around the same time and don't miss it at all. I do miss rewind to replay something, but I don't miss DirecTV/ Cable.
Hahaha, I never had "the cord"! Cut Netix as well. As a Amazon Prime member I get enough entertainment.
I live in Canada and our options are more limited. No Hulu, no Playstation Vue, etc. Unless you want to play with US VPNs and stuff. So I have Amazon Prime, Crave TV and Netflix on my downstairs Xbox One. And the same on my upstairs Playstation 4. OTA is so totally not an option as we only get one channel even with an outdoor antenna. So I'd be missing my sports if I cut the cord completely. But, the three services mentioned above do cover a huge chunk of what we look for on TV.
There's a helpful site to compare all the streaming TV services at www.suppose.tv. You enter the channels you watch and it shows you all the options and their costs.
I haven't dug deep there so it's possible I just haven't done it right yet, but it doesn't seem to understand that ABC, NBC, and Fox are all available just fine without Hulu Live and work well on a normal Hulu sub. That said, this is a fantastic resource.
Cut my cable 4 months ago and don't understand why I didn't do it sooner. So much freedom. Plus I'm saving $50 a month now and have better TV offering and internet speed that is 3 times faster than my previous one.
We cut our cord over 3 years ago. Pretty much the same setup as Phil. Except I use a Tablo 4 tuner box for my OTA content and recordings. With 4 tuners I never need to worry about recording conflicts.
We use OTA, Hulu, Netflix and Prime. We have Tivo for OTA and a Fire stick and Roku Ultra for steaming. Don't miss Dish at all.
So with that Harmony Companion remote, can you just channel surf? I want the ability to just hit up and down buttons to walk through the channels. I don't want to be forced to use the menus to access a channel.
I'm guessing not if you have to mix and match services just to cover the bases that a single set top cable box can do. I view cable as a luxury and a big part of why is that everything is there in one place, uninterrupted, especially local content. There's no denying that one can save big by cutting cable but comes at a price and only the individual can decide if it's worth it. To me it's not but that's just me and the value I find in what I'm getting.
For the other half of this topic, I'd love to see a full article on Internet providers, plans, prices and caps. And techniques, such as bundles for basic cable that disable the caps. The situation is extremely variable and liable to get worse the longer Ajit Pai runs the FCC. It's a big topic that would be of interest to much of the AC community.
Its called SetTV. Just Google it, $20 month gets you over 500 channels, including all the premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, etc. and all the live PPV events. As long as you have a fast internet connection and an Amazon Fire stick you're good to go!
I cut the cord over 5 yrs. ago. I don't miss it since I have a Roku box that gives me Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Sling tv all for a fraction of what I used to pay Comcast. Winning!! LOL!
Thanks Phil Great article.
Going to look into doing something...anything.
Still have to get the Internet from somewhere.
Cut the cable a decade ago. We've missed access to a few things from time to time, but nothing to make us consider going back. I've used a media server (in different forms) for longer, and heartily agree that Plex is the best solution. I also use Netflix and Hulu. Between the internet and streaming services, we pay $80/month. I'd like to see that number go down, but it doesn't seem likely.
If I remember correctly we cut the cord in 2014 (maybe April). We haven't looked back. We pay for Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime (not necessarily for video but we get it non the less). I added antennae to every TV in the house for live TV and I pay for the NHL center ice package. On occasion when we really need to see something, ESPN is an example, we use my family log in to Xfinity. We maybe do that a few times a year. Times like the college football national championship. Which brings me to the fact that the ESPN app sucks monkey balls. What a horrible app, always crashing, stuttering, pixelating, etc. We use a combination of Apple TVs and Chromecasts. We haven't looked back since. Before we left, I was paying $145 for just Direct TV alone.
So about local sports...does the antenna solution work if my sports channel is AT&T SportsNet? Is that what those HomeRun boxes do?
So the HDHomeRun is a network digital TV tuner. There are two different types. OTA(over the air) and Cable based boxes. I have the connect quatro that Phil talks about in the video. So this OTA tuner takes the antenna signals that it is feed, and feeds it throughout your home network. For example, I can use the HDHomeRun app to watch my local CW affiliate from my PC, tablet, phone and PS4 or Xbox one. Now for sports, I'm assuming that your ATT sportsnet channel is offered only on cable or satellite TV. So this won't work with the HDHomeRun Connect quarto since it's OTA capable only. Now they also sell the prime. This box uses your cablecard and with this you can watch your cable TV in the same manner as outlined above. Only one caveat, it doesn't support DRM playback outside of Xbox one S or PC. So if your cable provider encrypts their channels and you plan to want to watch using your Android phone, tablet or PS4 your out of luck. It's a huge pain but they are working at it but who knows when it will be out. Basically the HDHomeRun tuners are great but really a niche product for power users. I would never suggest these for my parents or friends who aren't tech savvy. Hope this helps
Cut the cord in 2009. Netflix, Amazon and OTA HD via antenna. We get HBO Now occasionally to catch up on their shows. I miss having 162 White Sox games. But that's about it. My main observation is that TV viewing habits change. You're not stuck to a schedule. You only turn it on when you want to watch something specific. No more surfing. All in all I prefer it, even without the cost savings.
I can't cut the cord until I find a "TV" app that does at least 5.1 surround sound. I keep checking... But that somehow, amazingly doesn't exist yet.
Cord cutting is the growing action done by many cable TV users. That is done due to the failure in fulfilling the promises that cable providers make. And it triggers the customer to get rid of the company. But still there are some companies that provide quality service on cable TV. Like, the best cable TV service is provided by Spectrum in McAllen city of Texas. All of its customers are satisfied with its cable service due to it’s a vast list of TV channels from all categories.
Hey here is a short cut. Cancel xfinity. Went to googleTV. Went back to xfinity as a digital TV customer (new customer promotions). Up internet to 150mps, got 250 channels, 10 hours DVR, no premium channels and use xfinity stream beta. Reduced my bill from $250 to $97. $97 is a $40 discount promotion for one year. So a year later I will drop xfinity for 60 days and re-up. Can’t beat channel lineup offered by xfinity.
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