Updated · Feb 02, 2023
Freeze! Drop the scissors!
Have you done your research? Are you sure watching TV without cable is right for you? Hmmm, maybe we should clear this up first?
You probably know the cord-cutting trend is growing strong. In most cases, it saves you money and increases convenience.
If you’re still on the fence, here you will learn the pros and cons. If you decide it’s for you, you’ll also learn how to cut the cord with ease.
But before that, check out these crazy stats:
- There are 31.2 million cord-cutters in the United States of America.
- In 2020, 50% of 18 to 34-year-olds preferred to watch the news over the internet.
- 27% of US households plan to cut the cord in 2021.
Makes you think, doesn’t it? Are all these people going mad, or have they found the secret to enjoying TV the right way?
This cable cutting guide will answer your burning questions.
Should You Cut the Cord?
Picture this: you go home exhausted from work, immediately turn on the TV just to have some background noise, and then it’s time for the news. Taxes going higher, two dead, 15 injured, some random politian going madder than The Hatter, climate change is getting worse... oh look, what a cute guide puppy, traffic jam, sports news - and your favorite team has lost again. Every day it’s the same.
You eat dinner in front of the TV, not really paying attention to the old movie that’s playing because you’ve seen it a million times already. Then BOOM, the volume is suddenly 10x higher because it’s commercials time, you jump to the ceiling and fumble to get the remote - where is it, oh, under the couch, mute, much better... then eons later they’re over, finally. What were you watching? What was happening? You forgot.
You change channel after channel to find something you might enjoy or at least be remotely interested in watching but to no avail. Finally, you settle on a mediocre reality TV show and halfway through you’re already snoring on the couch.
So, basically, do you pay a lot of money, but watch only a few channels and/or TV shows? Are you sick of unskippable commercials? Do you often feel there’s nothing to watch on TV because everything is utter garbage? Do you want to scream it’s “Just. Not. Worth it!”?
Then getting rid of cable might be the best for you. Just to be sure, let’s consider some advantages and disadvantages of cutting the cable TV:
If you’re paying more than $50 per month for TV service, it’s worth considering turning to streaming services instead. Most start at $40 a month, and it really depends on what you want to watch.
Pro: If you choose a cheaper service like Netflix, you’ll save money.
Con: If you don’t want to give up anything, you’ll have to pay for several streaming services, and the expenses will add up.
Pro: You will control everything you’re watching. And you won’t see ads, or at least you can pay to omit them. No longer paying for the privilege of having nothing good to watch.
Con: If you watch a lot of shows that are on different streaming platforms, it will be more expensive to get the same content. Moreover, some local channels might be missing.
Pro: You’ll watch everything you want whenever you want instead of complying with the TV program. You can pause and stop something and go back to it later. Some streaming services like Netflix upload the whole season of a series in one day, so you’re free to binge-watch to your heart’s content.
Con: Sometimes you’ll have to wait a bit more until some particular content becomes available on your streaming platform.
Number of Devices
Pro: Most services allow you to watch on several devices simultaneously. Or watch something on your laptop and then continue on your phone, for example. Moreover, if it’s a small household or just one person, it seems like the better option.
Con: You might have to pay more to add more devices to the deal. If it’s a big household, cutting the cord might not be a good decision.
Pro: If something is not available in your country, you can simply trick the system by using a VPN, and voila - you have access to more shows and movies.
Con: Sometimes, VPN slows things down, that might be an inconvenience. However, that's not always the case. If you choose this option but don't want to bother searching for one - take advantage of our research on VPN services and their features.
Pro: If you already have a good internet deal, why not take advantage of it!
Con: The quality of the video you get depends on your bandwidth. To watch in FullHD (or better yet HDR), you need a good internet package - if your provider offers one. And, if you already have a package deal with cable TV and internet, you have to see whether it’s worth paying only for the internet.
Here’s the deal:
Before reaching a decision, it’s important to think about your viewing habits. How often do you watch TV? What do you watch mostly? Live sports? Reality TV? Which channels? Do you like channel surfing, or do you just turn on the TV for one favorite show?
Think about which aspects you value the most. That will make it easy for you to decide what service(s) to get.
Let’s recap the main points:
Advantages of Cord Cutting
- Might reduce your bill, especially if you have a small household or a few favorite shows
- You choose what to watch
- You choose when to watch - you can do it even when traveling
- You can watch on different devices - TV, laptop, tablet, phone…
- You might have access to content not shown in your country
- You just need a good internet provider and deal
Disadvantages of Cord Cutting
- Might increase your bill, if you have a large household or many favorite shows (from different providers)
- Some channels or shows might be missing
- You might have to wait longer to access some content
- You might need to use VPN to access more content
- The quality of the video depends on your internet deal
So what exactly makes younger generations forego cable entirely?
Sure, the main reason to get rid of cable that comes to mind is money. But that’s not all. Streaming services allow you to browse categories of thousands of movies and TV shows and watch them whenever you want. The freedom and flexibility are quite tempting. Many people say there’s nothing good on TV anyway, so why waste your time?
Everyone who’s ever browsed Netflix or Amazon knows the rush of excitement when you have so many options to choose from. It might even be overwhelming but in a good way.
Even if you have to pause an episode midway and turn off your device, you can easily go back to it later as if there’s an invisible bookmark. Who doesn’t like having that kind of control?
Besides, streaming services keep track of your preferences and helpfully suggest similar shows and movies you might like.
You can see why so many people have cut the cord and will never go back, right?
No wonder cable companies have taken serious notice of cord cutting, and some have started offering better and cheaper deals to keep up with the competition. You gotta move with the times, or you’re out.
Now, let’s see how to finally cut the cord.
Cord Cutting Basics
So, to cut the cord first you take the scissors… just kiddin’. Here are the 5 steps you need to follow to cut cable TV stress-free:
1. Decide whether to try an antenna first for live TV channels.
This is the answer to how to cut the cord without home internet. You can first try with an indoor or/and an outdoor antenna.
An antenna can help you save a few bucks, but still has many of the drawbacks of cable TV. Namely - that you still can’t exactly choose what to watch and when. If that doesn’t work for you, follow the rest of the steps.
2. Pick an internet provider.
This is usually your cable provider. Plans start at about $25 a month, but this depends on the speed you select. If you’re going to stream on several devices simultaneously, you’ll need better speed.
Tip: Home internet speeds should be at least 15Mbps for each device you have running.
3. Decide which device you’ll use to stream through your TV.
The main options are Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast and Apple TV. The first three cost about $50.
4. Choose a streaming service for live TV.
An antenna can’t give you everything. If you want more options, these are the alternatives to cable and satellite TV: you can try Hulu Live, DirecTV Now, Sling, or YouTube TV. The video streaming subscriptions vary between $15 and $45 a month. Arguably, Sling has the richest selection.
5. Select your apps.
There are numerous options that offer a wide variety of original content: Amazon, Netflix, HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance Now, AMC, and more. Apple TV+ and Disney+ are available too.
The costs for different apps vary a lot: Netflix’s current base streaming plan is $8.99 a month, while HBO costs about $15 a month. Most apps offer free 7-day trials, so you can test all of them and find the best fit for you.
Alright. This was basically how to cut cable TV and these were the most common cable replacement services.
To cut or not to cut?
Let’s not be too dramatic! There are always pros and cons, but it is up to you to decide what you prefer and whether cutting the cord on your cable will suit you.
You can always try life with an antenna and/or streaming TV. You might then realize it’s not for you and go back to cable, OR deem cutting the cord your best decision ever and wonder why you haven’t thought of it sooner. Whatever the case, at least you won’t be left thinking “What if?”
That’s all, folks!
Now you know how to cut the cord. And remember, it’s not simply about saving money. It’s about control - watching what you want when you want, on a device of your choosing.
Happy streaming and until next time!
Should I cut the cord?
Is cord cutting right for me?
How do I cut the cord?
- Try an antenna first and see if it fits your needs - if not, proceed to the next step
- Pick an internet provider
- Decide on a device for streaming through your TV
- Choose a streaming service for live TV
- Choose your apps
What do I need to cut the cord?
Teddy is a graduate of the University of Glasgow with MA French and German. A total bookworm and a curious cat, she loves writing, traveling, taking photos, and learning new things. Her interests include languages, literature, technology, cinema, sports (especially volleyball and table tennis), and board games. ~Geeking instensifies~
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Updated · Feb 01, 2023