A Simple Plan To Get Rid Of CableBy Jeremy Evans / February 17, 2017 / Tags: Cut Cable, How-To
In this beginner’s guide to cancelling cable, you’ll learn how to cut the cord and start saving money in 3 easy steps.
For many years, I threatened to cut the cord and cancel my cable. I was tired of spending well over $100 a month to get dozens of channels I never watched, just so I could get the handful I wanted. I was sick of the idiotic hidden fees, the terrible customer support, and all the other headaches, hassles, and expenses that come with a cable TV subscription. But, like most people, I remained a prisoner to the cable company because I just didn’t understand how to get rid of cable without missing out on my favorite TV shows, movies, and live sporting events. I kept searching online for guides and advice on cutting the cord, but they were all very overwhelming, confusing, technical, and hard to follow.
⊕ Here, you’ll learn how to cancel cable in 3 easy steps. This is cord cutting — simplified.
Fortunately, I kept at it. After spending hundreds of hours researching cable TV alternatives, I got rid of cable — and I’m never going back. Since I cut the cord, I’m saving about $100 a month, and you can too!
Believe it or not, cutting the cable cord doesn’t require any advanced technical skills and is quite simple. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 88, I can show you how to dump cable now with my simple 3-step guide. Once it’s laid out in a clear, simple manner it’s easy to cut the cord and break free from your triple-digit cable bill. When you’re done, you’ll still have access to your favorite shows and channels. Even if you’ve never had cable but you’re searching for a legal approach to watch TV online, this page is packed with helpful tips you can use.
Trade-Offs, Compromises, & Common Mistakes
You can watch tons of great TV without cable. But it won’t be the same. You’ll like some of the changes — like saving money. Other differences you may not like so much (for example, if you love to channel surf through hundreds of networks, you’ll be disappointed). In general, you’ll be trading money savings for some conveniences. Not everyone will find this trade-off appealing.
If there’s a specific channel you know you can’t live without, check first whether you can (legally) watch that channel without cable. Go HERE and look in the ‘Channels’ tab to find out. If you can’t get a channel through a streaming service, you can try some other cable TV alternatives. If you find there’s no way to get a must-have channel without cable (or, no way you’re willing) then you’ll have to wait to cut the cord.
Will you really save money by cancelling cable? It depends. If you pile on a-la-carte subscriptions to streaming services, you will approach or even exceed the cost of cable at some point. This is a common mistake. I’ll show you how to avoid this and other errors would-be cord cutters make. But if you still insist on loading up on monthly services you won’t save any money by cutting the cord.
Finally, I’ve take a lot of the work out of the process, but you will have to put in some work to successfully cut cable. For starters, you’ll have to take the time to read this guide, and the ones that come after it, and follow the steps to cut the cord the right way. You don’t need any special skills or knowledge. You just need to want to cancel cable, and have the patience to complete the 3 steps I lay out for you.
How To Use This Guide
A big problem with cutting the cord is that many of the how-to articles out there are poorly organized and make things overly complicated. Another problem is that there are so many loosely defined terms and concepts thrown around. This jumble of terminology makes the process unnecessarily confusing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This guide will simplify the cord-cutting process.
I break cancelling cable down into three parts. I will walk you through each part and teach you the basics you need to know. I’ll clearly define the terminology and guide you through the steps you need to take before moving on to the next part.
Part One deals with streaming services. This is the fun stuff — the services that will let you watch your favorite shows, movies, channels, and sports.
Part Two deals with streaming devices. This includes your streaming box or stick, DVR, and other streaming devices. Think of this section as describing the equipment needed to create the bridge between your TV set and the internet. Since your programming will no longer be delivered by cables or satellites, it will all come from the internet.
Part Three deals with reception. This includes TV antennas and internet plans.
To keep from getting overwhelmed, you need to use this guide the right way. First, just read through this entire guide. Along the way, I reference other articles to guide you through the exact steps you’ll take to cancel cable — but I only provide links to these at the end. I do this because when I’m trying to learn about something, I find it annoying to click a bunch of links to other pages, which will then also contain a bunch of other links I’m supposed to click. It’s confusing and overwhelming. You won’t have that problem here. Just read all the way through and know that the links you’ll need are at the bottom. When you’re done with this introduction to cord cutting, you’ll know the basics and be ready to take the first step toward cutting cable.
Now, on to Part One.
Part One: Streaming Services
Without a cable provider, how are you going to get the TV you want to watch? The answer is with a streaming service.
There are two main types of streaming services:
(A) Live TV streaming services that deliver live TV, live sports, news, and other live programming from both network and cable channels. Programming is delivered via the internet, instead of through cables (as with cable TV) or by satellites (with satellite TV).
(B) Video-on-demand streaming services that deliver movies and TV shows on-demand (some examples are Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video)
You will probably want both a live TV service and a video-on-demand service.
(A) Live TV Streaming Services
This is where things may start to sound unfamiliar for beginners. But thankfully you don’t have to get confused and overwhelmed like I did. I’ll lay it out for you clearly.
First, remember that most of the stuff you watch on TV comes from traditional network broadcasters. NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS, and the CW are all network broadcasters. As such, all their content is available for free, as required by law. In order to watch it all you need is a decent antenna. I’ll cover antennas in a bit.
Of course, there’s a bunch of TV programming that’s not available for free. This includes content on the “cable” channels like ESPN, AMC, TBS, CNN, Fox News, and Discovery. In the past, you had to have a cable or satellite subscription to get these channels. Now you don’t.
To get live TV without cable, you’ll need what’s called a live TV, or internet TV, streaming service. At this time, there are three legitimate options: fuboTV, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Each of these internet TV services will let you watch a slew of channels like ESPN, ESPN2, FX, AMC, A&E, Disney, and TNT among many other popular channels. Think of these Internet TV services as inexpensive cable TV without the contracts. Plans start at $20 per month with no contracts. Each service offers a free trial so you can check them out for yourself. These services are described in detail in the Streaming Service Guide (you’ll find the link at the bottom of this page).
A note for sports fans. You can get a lot of sports channels with fuboTV/Sling TV/PlayStation Vue: all the ESPN networks, Fox Sports, beIN, and more. With an antenna you can watch live sports on ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. But, if you’re like me, you’ll want even more. You’re in luck. You can watch EVERY game in EVERY major sport, LIVE, without cable.
In fact streaming services will allow you to watch more live sports than with your cable plan, because you can avoid all the blackouts and restrictions. How do you do it? For starters, every sport now has its own streaming service: NFL Game Pass, NBA League Pass, MLB.tv, NHL TV, fuboTV and MLS TV (soccer), and Tennis TV. You can live stream every game without cable using these. So for now, know that you don’t have to worry about sports. You’ll have all the sports you want.
(B) Video-On-Demand Streaming Services
As I stated earlier, video-on-demand streaming services provide access to TV shows, movies, and other streaming media on-demand — meaning anytime and anywhere you want to watch. On-demand services do not provide live TV. Instead, these services will let you watch previously aired TV shows (with many episodes available the very next day after they air on live TV), and movies no longer showing at theaters. Examples of on-demand streaming services include: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Google Play, LoveFilm, Baidu, NowTV, and Vimeo.
Some on-demand services charge a monthly fee for unlimited access to all their shows and movies. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu all use a monthly subscription model — but with no contracts. The price depends on the plan you pick, but each one costs around $10/month. Since you’re saving so much money by not having cable, you may want two or three of these on-demand services. A great trick is to swap out from month-to-month, so you always have tons of new stuff to watch. For example, get Netflix this month, then get Amazon Prime Video next month, and Hulu the month after that. The ‘no contracts’ perk lets you do this. Just one more benefit of canceling cable.
Other on-demand services charge for each movie, TV episode, or TV season that you buy or rent. Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and iTunes use this pay-per-view model.
Other services are free, like YouTube and Vimeo.
Part Two: Streaming Devices
The best way to think of a streaming device is as the bridge between your TV set and the internet. In the past, you needed an antenna or cables/satellites to get your shows piped into your living room. Now the internet can deliver this content. To make it work, you need a device to convert the internet data into a stream that your TV can handle. That’s where these streaming devices come in.
A streaming device will let you watch streaming services like Netflix, Sling TV, Amazon Video, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, YouTube, and more right on your TV screen. These devices will act as your cable box replacement, only they are much smaller, give you access to more content, and don’t come with a monthly fee.
There are several streaming devices on the market. They are all reasonably priced, and all work quite well. Once you set up the streaming device (which only takes about 5 minutes), you’ll see options to access all the various streaming services, like Sling TV and Netflix.
Streaming devices include such popular brands as Amazon Fire TV and Roku. Expect to spend a one-time expense of $50-$100. A comparison of streaming devices in this post will only confuse matters. For now, just know that you will need a streaming device and that they are reasonably priced, easy to use, and work great. (The link to my Streaming Device Guide is at the bottom of this page.)
Part Three: Reception
Reception is another area that tends to cause confusion for budding cord-cutters. The confusion comes from the fact that there are two reception needs to address when cutting the cord: A) Getting an antenna; and B) Your internet plan.
(A) TV Antennas
I think getting a television antenna is crucial to the overall decision in cutting the cord. Most people don’t understand just how many FREE TV channels they can get with a quality antenna. When I cut the cord and got my ClearStream antenna, I was shocked to see I had crystal clear reception of over 75 channels!
Chances are, you live within range of dozens of excellent over-the-air (OTA) broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, The CW, and PBS — along with a slew of other regional channels. The cable companies have blinded us from the fact that local news, local professional sports, and most of the country’s favorite TV shows are all available for free over-the-air in brilliant High Definition. And get this — the channels you can watch free with an HD antenna will show up better than they did with cable! The reason is that cable companies have to compress the data to deliver all that information through a cable cord. That compression comes with a loss of picture quality.
I want to emphasize a couple of points about these HD antennas. First, these antennas aren’t the old-school rabbit ears that people used to put on top of their television boxes. These are sleek, modern devices that deliver very high quality TV reception. And did I mention the channels you can get are totally free?!
Second, today’s antennas are reasonably priced and easy to install. For example, the ClearStream I use cost me $50, and I installed it in less than three minutes. It’s so unintrusive that nobody even notices it.
And don’t worry — you won’t have break out a compass and “point” your antenna in the direction of a particular TV station, or get out a ladder and risk your life on your roof. Today’s antennas are so powerful they don’t need to be pointed. They pick up tons of channels in HD from right inside your living room. My antenna picks up transmission signals from as far as 50 miles away!
Again, comparing antennas is beyond the scope of this guide. For now, just know that a one-time investment of about $60 for an easy-to-install antenna is a major step in cutting the cord. (The link to the Reception and TV Antenna Guide is below.)
(2) Internet Plans
What about the internet? It’s an issue for almost every cord-cutter. Since internet service is usually bundled with a cable or satellite package, getting high-speed internet without cable tends to be a major obstacle for those who want to cut the cord. Typically, when a cable customer wants to break away from cable TV, but keep the internet with her current provider, the cable company will jack up the internet fees so that it’s no longer cost effective. So how can you break away from the cable company and still get a fast, reliable internet?
Don’t worry. You can get a quality internet service and still come out with significant savings every month versus cable. The trick? Compare internet service providers in your area.
Chances are there’s more than one internet service provider (ISP) in your town no matter where you live. You just have to do some basic comparison shopping. In my TV reception guide, I’ll give you several sites that make it easy to find the best plan in your area.
For now, I’ll just say that I believe DSL Extreme is the very best ISP for cord cutters. There’s no information cap, which means you’re able to stream as much as you want with no extra fees or throttling, and they have fantastic deals.
People also often ask about internet speed. The answer is straightforward. You will need a minimum of 10 Mbps download speed. If you watch a lot of TV during primetime hours, or if you have other people in your house who will stream separately, you may want 20 Mbps to be safe.
Just remember — you don’t have subject yourself to a cable bundle to have affordable, high-quality internet access.
Now It’s Time To Get Started. Complete These 3 Steps To Successfully Cancel Your Cable
Cutting the cord can seem intimidating. But it’s straightforward once you understand the terminology, and break it down into these three simple parts: streaming services, streaming devices, and reception. When you feel comfortable with above overview of these three parts to cutting the cord, you’re ready to get started.
Here are the three easy steps you need to complete to successfully cancel your cable:
1) Choose a streaming service — GO HERE TO GET STARTED
2) Choose a streaming device — GO HERE TO GET STARTED
3) Get a TV antenna and an internet plan — GO HERE TO GET STARTED
Bonus Step) Call up your cable company and cancel your service. (Optional: tell them what you really think of their company and how it treats its customers.)
When you’re done with these steps, congratulate yourself! You just cut the cord, and are now saving hundreds without missing any of your favorite TV!! That was pretty easy after all, wasn’t it?