How to Cut the Cable Cord
in 2015 & Still Watch TV
UPDATE – THIS STILL WORKS TODAY IN 2017!
People, it is 2015!! There is no need to pay the large cable providers all your hard earned money anymore! You can still watch TV, record your favorite shows, and watch Sports without paying a large cable bill.
We cut the cable cord about two months ago and I could not be happier!! In today’s world of technology, there is no reason you should be wrapped into a long contract with a cable company paying for services and channels you do not watch.
What Channels Are Free
In the United States, the FCC offers a map that displays which DTV (digital TV) channels you’ll be able to receive at different locations, as well as their relative signal strengths. Head to the FCC’s DTV Reception Maps site and plug in your location to see what channels you can receive free via antenna. In my area, I receive ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, IND, TBN, MYTV, CW, PBS, and more.
Equipment You Will Need
If you want to join the 2015 Revolution of Cutting The Cable Cord, first things first, you must have an antenna. Assuming you have an HDTV, you can use the traditional “rabbit ears” antennas or the large outdoor rooftop antennas, but to get the best reception from your free channels, you will need to purchase an amplified HDTV antenna. Since most of our channels have a strong signal, we purchased the AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna – 50 Mile Range. Of course you can purchase the shorter range of 25 mile or go up to the 60 mile range if you like. If you happen to see a weak signal on a lot of your channels, you may need to invest in a stronger amplified outdoor HDTV antenna. The FCC’s website has more details on the types of antennas you’ll need in different situations.
The AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna – 50 Mile Range is a terrifically designed, compact, economical, indoor, HDTV antenna, available through Amazon for around $50. We placed our antenna in a closet located in our master bedroom, which we have a coaxial cable terminal and a 110 V power outlet already located there. This made distribution of the antenna output to multiple rooms in our house extremely easy. We simply fastened the ultra thin antenna to the inside wall of the closet using the two sided adhesive strips provided with the antenna, plugged the power cord into the power outlet, and connected the output coaxial to the existing 4way splitter already in place that was left over from the cable provider. If you don’t have the convenience of a pre-existing terminal with 110 v power outlet, you can always locate anywhere that is convenient for you near an available power outlet.
Now…..you can stop here be totally FREE of a monthly bill having only invested $47.99 for the Antenna.
To move forward you do have to have home internet with a wireless router.
How to Record Those Free Channels
One of the main technologies we had become very attached to with cable was the DVR (Digital Video Recorder). Much easier to operate and preset recordings than the old days of the VCR, my family just can’t seem to function without recording our favorite programs on a DVR. More often than not, we record our favorite programs and then watch them at our own convenience rather than the channels determined live feed. After much research, we found the TiVo Roamio OTA HD DVR and Streaming Media Player available through Amazon for
around $50, to be our best choice for our needs. UPDATE: TiVo no longer offers this device for $50. It is now $399.99 (check the price though, it is on sale a lot). Understand, you MUST purchase the OTA (Over The Air) DVR since you will be recording programs broadcast “over the air” rather than through a cable or dish provider.
The TiVo Roamio OTA HD DVR and Streaming Media Player will record up to 4 programs at a time or 3 programs while you watch a recorded program. This DVR operates similar enough to most of the major cable companies’ DVR’s that learning the basic operation is extremely simple to those of us already acclimated to a DVR and it’s controls. TiVo also has a very useful app you can download for free on your iPhone or droid. I personally use this app for setting up first run program recordings more often that I use the remote control.
You will need to turn on a TiVo services that cost $15 per month on a subscription, but that is small pocket change compared to the ever increasing cost of cable. BECAUSE YOU PAY A MUCH HIGHER PRICE FOR THE DEVICE NOW THEY OFFER THE SERVICE FREE. This subscription is what makes program listings available for search capabilities with a 14 day program guide and a one time preset of your favorite programs to record week after week. The TiVo Roamio has a 75 HD hours of playback, which we find easily manages all our programming recording needs. Many streaming apps are also available through the TiVo Roamio, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and many others, all without having to switch your TV inputs.
Stop here and have invested $97.98 for the Antenna and $399.99 for the Tivo.
Supplementing The Loss of Cable Channels
Although my family primarily watches the free networks you can receive by using an over the air, using a HD antenna, there are some programs we are just not ready to give up by cutting the cable. There are many streaming apps to choose from, but we have comfortably settled into Sling TV. With Sling TV, we pay $20 per month for most of the basic cable channels available through your typical cable provider, including History 1 and 2, AMC, A&E, HGTV, ESPN 1 and 2, Disney Channel, Food Network, and others. For low additional cost, you can add children, sports, and other specific packages that even includes HBO. Sling TV is a non-subscription streaming service which you may add on or cancel at any time. Sling TV can also be watched from most any streaming device such as Roku, PC, tablet, or cell phone.
Another hot streaming service my family devours many hours of their week watching is Netflix. They have plans from $7.99 per month and just like Sling TV, you can watch from most any streaming device such as Roku, PC, tablet, or cell phone. Plenty of great shows to entertain the family available on Netflix. We have been loyal subscribers to Netflix for over 4 years.
Of course, Netflix and Sling TV are just a couple of the many diverse options available to supplement your viewing needs when cutting the cable. We are also Amazon Prime members so we automatically get all of their wonderful shows plus free shipping on Amazon along with all of Amazon Prime other benefits. I recommend reviewing all of these programming, cost, and streaming applications to see what best suits you and your family’s needs and desires.
To Sum it All Up
Equipment to Purchase
- AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna – 50 Mile Range $47.99
- TiVo Roamio OTA HD DVR and Streaming Media Player $499.99
- Received a FREE Roku Stick when we signed up for a 3 month subscription to Sling TV. $0
- Total Equipment Cost: $547.98
Monthly Services we Pay
- Netflix $7.99
- Sling TV $20
- Total Monthly Services: $27.99