You can Quit paid Cable and Satellite TV to save yourself a lot of money and still have a lot of TV entertainment options to enjoy. The point of frugal living and reaching financial independence is cutting waste from your budget. Then save and invest those savings. It is all about reducing the amount you need to fund your happiness focused simple living lifestyle.
Cutting $85, $100, $200 or more from your monthly budget adds up quickly. The simple act of cord cutting saves money that can be better put to work towards your financial independence goals. Being able to Quit paid Cable and Satellite TV while still having full home TV entertainment options is easier than you might think.
Quit Paid Cable and Satellite TV – Cutting the Cord
If you are not familiar with the term “cutting the cord” it is one commonly used to describe cutting yourself free from your Cable or Satellite provider’s programming. Cord cutting means NO more cable/coaxial cord to the THEIR equipment or their expensive monthly video bill.
It’s about being free of their prepackaged tier of grouped channels. That package you have to take and pay for whether you watch any of them or not. Once you decide to quit paid Cable and Satellite TV you now have new viewing options.
- You can watch free over the air network TV channels.
- If you desire you can also choose packaged channels and content through internet based providers like Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu.
Don’t confuse cutting the cord as cutting everything. You will probably want to keep your internet access for browsing, email, etc. You internet connection is also what gives you the ability to utilize streaming content providers like Netflix and others as mentioned above.
Ability to Quit Paid Cable and Satellite TV is Easier Now
The reason being able to quit paid Cable and Satellite TV is easier now is there is so much more information available online to research, the new TVs are now digital, and there are more options and lower costing internet TV streaming boxes to choose from.
Being easier now to cut the cord and quit paid Cable and Satellite TV doesn’t mean you don’t have something to do. You will need to do a little research and make some hardware decisions. Decisions about antennas, streaming device/box, content providers, etc. to get everything you want. More on that below.
You can pick up some new ideas and get information by checking out the website CordCutters.com.
If you are addicted to using your Cable or Satellite TV’s channel guide options to know what is on TV, you can download a TV Guide App onto your cell phone or tablet to keep you informed of what is playing. If you prefer to use your PC or Laptop you can use TV Guide online or one I like to use TitanTV.com.
You also have the option of doing what was done for decades before the digital age. Pay a small yearly amount to receive a weekly TV viewing guide in the mail.
Cord Cutting: What You Need To Quit Paid Cable and Satellite TV
There are a few things that you need to decide about and pick up to replace your expensive Cable or Satellite TV service before cutting the cord.
This is the most important device needed if you want to get free over the air network television. Today local TV channels transmit digitally. High-definition (HDTV) is the norm. An antenna for each TV you use for local TV viewing is needed or an Attic/Roof mount whole-house antenna.
Depending on how far away you are from the transmitters you can get by with the per-TV in-house antenna option. They simply attach to your TV where your Cable/Satellite Cord had previously attached. They can look like the old rabbit ears of the past, modern looking boxes, or flat wall mount antennas.
For those of us who live many miles from the transmitters we need to use the rooftop or attic style antenna. They may even include an amplifier. You can check the distance to your transmitters, the available TV spectrum ranges, the available over the air network channels and even find some recommended Antennas by using AntennaWeb or TVFool. When I checked my address I have over 30 channels available if I get the right roof mount antenna.
Antennas can also be found at many local retailers and online like at Amazon. Simply do an online search for “HDTV antenna” and many options will come up. Be sure to read reviews before buying. If you are like me needing a roof antenna. Then look around your neighborhood for anyone with a roof antenna and ask them how it is working for them. You might get the perfect recommendation.
Because I am 60 miles from the TV signal towers and without direct line of sight due to mountains I went with an amplified directional antenna. I bought one that was recommended by AntennaWeb.
Where I live winter brings snow and ice. There is also hail during some summer thunderstorms. Because of that I decided to put my antenna in the attic to protect it from the elements. It has a motorized directional adjuster and works great. I then used my existing inside coaxial cable to feed the other TVs in my home.
Digital To Analog Converter Box
If you are still using an old reliable standard TV instead of the new flat-screen style digital TVs it may be analog. Analog TVs are unable to pick up the new over the air digital signals. You will then need to use a Digital to Analog Converter Box between the antenna and your older TV. If you still use a VCR you would also need the Digital to Analog Converter Box. In this case you place it between the antenna and the VCR and connect the VCR to TV as normal. That way you are still able to record and watch incoming over the air TV.
Today’s digital TVs and Analog Converter Boxes require that the over the air channels are scanned in. If you have a newer Digital ready TV then there should be in your menu an option to change your “Source” from cable to antenna. You then have to do a re-scan for channels. If you are using an Analog Converter Box you will also have to do the channel scan function from the converter box.
Watching streamed content from the internet requires having a way to connect your TV to the Internet. If you have a Smart TV then it is capable of connecting to your internet service as long as your internet modem provides in-home wireless connections.
If you don’t have a Smart TV then an ancillary Streaming Device or Box will be needed. You only need to attach these to the TVs you want to view internet carried content on. My Blue-ray DVD player actually has the ability to allow connecting to HULU, Netflix and other content providers. Some game systems (Xbox, Play Station, Wii, etc.) also do this.
Streaming Boxes are small and a couple of top Boxes are Roku, Amazon Fire TV and the Apple TV box. However there are many other makers of these boxes and at varying price points. I bought one at Walmart made by RCA on sale for $30 that connects to Netflix and Hulu. It also has free content providers like YouTube on it. That was cheap at the time. Prices seem to be always coming down and adding more features. My more recently purchased Roku2 includes many different free streaming channels along with access to the pay content providers listed below (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc).
Whatever box or device you buy just make sure it supports the content provider you are interested in using. Also make note of the connections the device or box supports. For example, if it requires and HDMI connection port on the TV then make sure your TV has one. Otherwise there will be no way to easily hook it up to the TV. Depending on what ports your TV does have there may be connection conversion alternatives available. For example, some boxes and the older versions of streaming boxes that can be found on eBay or Amazon may have the 3 cord (yellow, white, red) AV type TV connection.
Content Providers and your Internet:
This is where cord cutting has become easier to adjust to. You can catch some of those cable programs you love and would miss after cutting the cord. They do have monthly subscription fees that you will have to pay but are far less than what you were charged by the Cable or Satellite TV Company. They usually run $9 to $15 a month. These are the Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, etc. content providers mentioned earlier in this article and with more detail below.
Whether you have chosen to keep your current internet provider or go shopping for a new-customer deal with a competitor, just make certain you have at least a 5 Mbps (Megabits per second) speed connection and a wireless modem.
You want a higher speed internet connection if you think there will be multiple TVs simultaneously viewing using the internet. Or others using the internet on the computer or online gaming while you are watching your internet content.
The Federal Communications Commission recommends at least 15 Mbps in those circumstances. I only have a 1.5 Mbps internet connection and we can watch SD Programs without delay or queuing. HD on the other hand does not stream without stopping and queuing up for the next segment until it needs to do that again. Netflix matches content to available internet speed and in my case has never queued for any programs we watch.
Content Providers to Help Quit Paid Cable and Satellite TV
Good old free over the air TV is bigger and better than ever. Long gone are the days of having only 4 or 5 stations to pick from. Network TV now has affiliate channels to complement their primary channel. Not only that but these local broadcast stations (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and some independents) can come in HD-quality.
New over the air free High-Def transmission comes to us now through the national shift away from Analog TV transmitters to Digital a few years ago (the reason an older TV/your VCR requires an Analog Converter Box). These stations should cover all of our favorite prime-time broadcast shows that we want to watch along with our national news, local news, and weather reports.
For watching some of those cable shows that we are hooked on (The Walking Dead-AMC, Game of Thrones-HBO, etc.) then a streaming content provider is needed. Once you have lined-up the internet connection and decided on your preferred streaming device you can expand your TV viewing beyond Local Network over the air viewing. You do this by subscribing to one or more of the growing content providers. They also allow viewing on your portable devises like tablets, Computers, and cell phones.
Content Provider List
These streaming content providers all have their strengths and weaknesses. If you are trying to cord cut and duplicate your cable or satellite TV package you may want to subscribe to more than one service. Here are some Streaming Content Subscriber examples:
Sling TV (good for sports lovers)
YouTube TV (up to 6 accounts, DVR, includes some live TV programming)
iTunes (Apple pay-per content store)
Local over the air Network TV also have streaming available to catch shows you may have missed and want to bring in through your streaming device.
ABC (Some content may require cable or satellite subscription to view).
CBS (Some content may require cable or satellite subscription to view).
The CW (On-demand shows available through their PlayOn subscription)
FOX (Some content may require cable or satellite subscription to view).
The best thing to do is first do a web search on Streaming Content Providers. This will bring up subscriber content provider sites but also show you some opinions as far as which is best for what kind of content you want to watch.
Content Provider Review-
According to DigitalTrends.com
“Amazon and Netflix are definitely the two best choices for movie watchers, Hulu Plus is the undisputed winner when it comes to TV shows, and Sling TV is best for Live TV. We recommend a combination to get the most bang for your buck. Sports fans will want to combine Netflix or Amazon Instant with Sling TV, and if you’ve got stock in currently airing TV, you’ll also want to consider Hulu Plus. There’s a bit too much of an overlap in content between Netflix and Amazon to make it sensible to subscribe to both. YouTube and iTunes are great for filling in the gaps. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in your subscription-based streaming library, there’s a high likelihood that you can find it in a pay-per content store like iTunes or Vudu. Mix and match TV streaming services for the best results!”
Will Cutting the Cord and Quitting Paid Cable and Satellite TV be financially worth it?
Certainly before starting down this road you have run the numbers. That being the monthly Cable/Satellite savings cost to the cost to buying hardware like the TV antenna(s), streaming device(s) and sign up to one or more of the streaming content providers. There will come a point if you sign up for too much that you have close to the same monthly obligation.
The good news is they don’t force contracts on you so you can cancel at any time. Many also offer a free trial period to see if you really want to go that route. That is something you can try doing before actually cutting the cord to see if you can love the new arrangement.
A decision has to also be made as far as hardware. Equipping multiple TVs with streaming devices can add up but you will recoup your cost. Choosing a roof top antenna and utilizing your current in-house cable wiring may be cheaper than individual TV antennas if you have many TVs to make over the air Network TV ready.
With a little research and number crunching you can easily Quit Paid Cable and Satellite TV and start saving money to put to better use. Like Early Retirement.