A short while after I started this blog I wrote a post talking about the best ways to watch all your favorite TV and movies without paying for cable or satellite TV.
At the time I was fed up with my cable TV provider, and I decided to research all the tools and streaming services available that would enable me to cut the cord. It was time to get rid of the constant pay-TV price increases that seemed to have no end in sight.
While that post still has a lot of good information, in the past year or so we’ve seen a lot of big changes in the streaming TV world, and it has made dumping cable and satellite that much more feasible, without having to worry about losing access to your favorite shows.
So what are some of the changes that we’ve seen in the past year or two?
We’ve seen the rise of over-the-air DVRs that make it easy to record high-definition TV programming for no cost other than the cost of the DVR itself. We’ve seen several new streaming services pop up, like Sling TV and Philo, that promise to make cutting the cord much more pain-free. And we’ve seen big cable TV empires like HBO, which traditionally are only available via a cable TV subscription, launch their own a-la-carte online streaming channels.
The TV landscape is changing, and it’s easier than ever to drop your expensive cable subscription. So let’s get started.
My Cord Cutting Setup
Over the past few years, I’ve changed my setup a bit as the technology has evolved. Currently, this is the setup that I use at our house to get all of the TV programming we need.
- Nuvyyo Tablo TV Over The Air DVR: We got a Tablo TV DVR that allows us to watch live TV and record over-the-air TV shows and movies. We can then watch recorded shows on our computer via the web browser, or via any of our connected devices like our phones, tablets, Google Chromecast and Fire TV Cube (on our main TV) or Fire TV (on our basement TV). We can also watch recorded shows when we’re not at home. We liked it so much we bought a second Tablo.
- HDHomeRun Extend Tuner & DVR: The folks at SiliconDust sent us a HDHomeRun Extend over-the-air tuner that will sync up over your home network to a PC or NAS, and allow you to watch Live TV and record your favorite shows. I currently use it in conjunction with Plex Media Server to record TV shows and movies.
- Mohu Leaf 50 Antenna: The Mohu Leaf antenna is connected to our HDHomeRun Tuner (which is in a cabinet in the office), and it’s so small and thin that we’re able to just pin it to the back of our bookshelf. You don’t even know it’s there. It gives us great reception on 35+ free channels, many in HD!
- Mohu Curve 50 Antenna: The Mohu Curve antenna is connected to our Tablo DVR (which is also in the cabinet in the office), and it sits on top of the cabinet, looking like a piece of modern art. It gives us great reception, although at times I think the Leaf antenna gives slightly better reception at our house.
- Philo: Philo is quickly becoming our go-to option for cable TV programming. My wife only really watches a few channels including TLC, HGTV, Discovery, and Animal Planet, and they’re all available on Philo for only $20/month in their basic 60+ channel package. When hockey season rolls around I can add a provider with Fox Sports to get my Wild games, and it’s still cheaper than what we paid in the past! Read the full Philo review here.
- PlayOn: PlayOn media streaming software allows you to stream TV and movies from hundreds of online sources direct to your TV or another device. It also allows you to record shows from Netflix, Amazon, and other providers – so you can take the shows on the go and watch when you don’t have internet. Read the full Playon review here.
- Fire TV Cube: We have the Fire TV Cube hooked up to our 55″ TV in the living room where it functions as our main entertainment hub. We have another one in the basement because it works so well. It works great for Amazon Video, Netflix, Plex, Disney+, Crackle, Hulu, Playon, Tablo, and a variety of other services.
- Fire TV: We have the Fire TV Cube hooked up to our bedroom TV. It works great for Amazon Video, Plex, Philo, Tablo, Netflix, and other services.
- Google Chromecast: We have the Chromecast HDMI streaming dongle hooked up to living room TV, mainly so we can watch movies we own or have rented via Google Play, or to watch YouTube TV which wasn’t supported on our Fire TV in the past.
- Amazon Video: Amazon also has a ton of great content including more recently a bunch of HBO shows, new original Amazon programming, and tons of movies. We are Amazon Prime members, and Amazon Video was included in our membership. Gotta love that!
- Hulu + Live TV: We currently use Hulu + Live TV in order to watch regional sports programming.
So that’s my current setup, although it’s always subject to change as I receive new devices to review, or as new services launch.
Now that you’ve seen what I have and use in my cord-cutting toolbox, why don’t we look at some of the options when it comes to the best streaming services, over-the-air DVRs, streaming devices, and more.
Best Streaming Video Services
One of the biggest advancements we’ve seen in the past few months is the launch of a few online streaming TV services that offer a cheap alternative to cable TV for those who don’t want to pay an expensive monthly bill. The ones that made the biggest splash include YouTube TV, Hulu, Sling TV, and HBO Max.
- Philo – $20/month: Philo is quickly becoming the go to option for people who don’t want to pay a lot and don’t care about sports (they don’t carry sports networks, making it cheaper). They are only $20/month for their basic package, with 58 channels from Discovery, TLC and History to HGTV. Read the full Philo review here.
- Sling TV – $25/month: Sling TV is an online streaming TV offering from Dish Network that costs only $25/month and gives you premium live TV channels from the likes of ESPN, AMC (The Walking Dead anyone?), HGTV, CNN, Cartoon Network, Disney and more. For a limited time you can also get $50 off of a Roku Ultra or AirTV Player, or receive a free Roku Stick with 2 months prepaid! This is one of the few ways you’re going to get ESPN or some of these other channels without paying for cable! They also now have a cloud DVR! Ready my full Sling TV Review here.
- AT&T TV Now – $65/month: Launched at the end of 2016, this service is similar to Sling and Vue, and gives you 100+ channels for $65/mo. It was lower cost ($35/month) initially, but they have raised prices a couple of times. Includes HBO in package price if you’re looking for that.
- fubo TV – $54.99/month: fubo TV is a relatively new streaming service that has a ton of live TV stations, and specializes in sports content – including a lot of soccer. They currently advertise 73 channels of content, starting with a free trial, then back to the regular $54.99 price. Read a full FuboTV review here.
- YouTube TV – $49.99/month: YouTube launched their own live TV service that starts at $49.99/month and includes sports channels, and live local channels in many markets. 5 day free trial is available.
- HBO Max – $14.99/month: HBO programming has only been available via a cable TV package for the longest time. Since 2015 HBO Now has provided HBO programming outside of a cable package. If you’re a fan of certain HBO shows this makes cutting the cord much more possible. In May 2020 HBO Max launched at the same price, and has much more programming available.
- Netflix – $8.99/month: Netflix has a wide variety of movies, TV shows and now original programming as well.
- Disney + – $7.99/month: Disney’s new streaming service will have a wide variety of Disney programming, available for an extremely affordable price. We found a pre-launch deal that gives it to us for 3 years at $3/month! Launches November, 2019.
- Apple TV+ – $4.99/month: Apple’s new streaming service is only $4.99/month, and will have mainly original programming from some pretty big directors, actors and other influencers.
- Amazon Prime Video – $119/year: We pay for Amazon Prime anyway for the free 2 day shipping, and in the deal we get Amazon Prime Video as well. You can also buy or rent new release movies that aren’t included for free, and you can now even download shows to watch on the go!
- Hulu – $5.99/month or $44.99/month for Hulu + Live TV: If you want to get TV shows and movies that you may not have been taped over-the-air, you can usually find them here the day after they air on TV. They also have a free version, although that version only allows viewing on a computer web browser, usually for a limited number of episodes per series. They also recently launched a full cable and live TV replacement service, however, and I’ve been impressed with it.
- Google Play Store: My wife and I tend to rent first run movies here and there from the Google Play store because it’s easy and convenient to stream the movies from our tablets to the Google Chromecast. If we’re getting a first run movie, however, we usually go to the Redbox for their $1 rentals.
- Paramount + – $4.99/month: CBS doesn’t allow streaming of their shows through some of the other streaming services because they have their own over-the-top streaming service. They do have some good shows, however, and are worth checking out.
- Pluto TV – FREE: Pluto TV has an app for most streaming devices that allow you to watch a 100+ channels of free video entertainment from movies and music to TV shows. Pluto is the free TV streaming service.
If you’re looking for something even more affordable, check out our list of free TV apps and streaming services.
Best Over-The-Air DVRs
If you’re going to be cutting the cord, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of all the free over-the-air HD programming that is available to us these days. 94 of the top 100 shows are available over the air on broadcast network TV. If you’re going to be watching broadcast TV it will be in your best interest to buy a DVR of some sort so you can record your favorite shows.
In my research, there are several over-the-air DVRs that have caught my attention, and that seem to get the best reviews.
- Tablo DVR: The Tablo DVR allows you to watch live TV, record shows or record series, much like a cable company DVR. It also allows you to watch recorded shows or live TV on all your devices like set top boxes, phones, tablets, etc. The only cost is for the DVR itself ($149.99-$239.99), and a subscription cost for TV guide information and other premium features. Lifetime subscription costs $179.99, yearly costs $49.99 and $4.99 monthly. Read a full Tablo Network Connected DVR review here and a Tablo Dual HDMI Connected DVR review here.
- HDHomeRun Extend Tuner & DVR: The HDHomeRun Extend is a network over-the-air tuner that will sync up with their HDHomeRun DVR software, or with a third party software like Plex to watch Live TV and record your favorite shows. I use it in conjunction with Plex Media Server and it works great! Read a full HDHomeRun Extend review here.
- Tivo Edge Antenna DVR: The DVR from Tivo is another great option to check out, especially if you’re familiar with the Tivo interface. For as little as $349 you can get all-in service including guide data and a 500GB hard drive.
So the Tablo and HDHomeRun units allow you to watch live TV and record your favorite over-the-air shows after you hook an antenna of some sort. All three units will require an external hard drive as well unless you buy one of the versions with a hard drive included.
Best HDTV Antennas
My favorite antennas to hook up your over-the-air DVRs, or your regular TV, are the ones from Mohu. There are other decent ones available as well.
- Mohu Leaf 50 Digital Antenna: The Mohu Leaf antennas are super slim and you can easily mount them under cabinets, on the back of a bookcase, or wherever. We have our Mohu Leaf 50 mounted on the back of the bookcase and you can’t even see it’s there. In total we have 3 Mohu antennas, one for each TV. Read full reviews of Mohu Leaf 50, Mohu Curve 50 and Mohu ReLeaf.
- Channel Master SMARTenna: Small indoor/outdoor and 35-50 mile antenna.
- Amazon Basics Ultra Thin Antenna: Another ultra-thin antenna that others have mentioned using with success.
Best Online DVR Software
Another option for watching and recording all of your favorite shows is to view and record them online. There is software that will allow you to watch and record on-demand shows, as well as live broadcasts, and stream them on your computer or to a connected device like a Chromecast or Apple TV. Here’s the best one I’ve found:
- PlayOn: PlayOn is a streaming software that will allow you to aggregate video from a wide variety of online sources, and then have the video content available for viewing in one place. By upgrading to the PlayOn Plus software you can also record on demand and live video streaming sources as well, for later viewing. Have a show on Netflix you want to bring on your flight? Just set it to record the show to .mp4 and you’re good to go! It even has a feature to skip ads from online content (like Hulu) called AdSkipper. Hook it up with your streaming device like a tablet, phone or TV with Chromecast or Fire TV Stick, and you’re all set to go! I go more in depth about implementing Playon here.
Best Streaming Video Devices
If you truly want to cut the cord, you’ll probably want to buy a video streaming device of some sort. There are quite a few of them available out there, but you can find one as cheap as the Google Chromecast for around $30-35 or Fire TV Stick for $39.99.
- Fire TV & Fire TV Cube: As an Amazon Prime member I was able to buy one of the Fire TV Stick devices for only $19 when it was released and I love it. Even at it’s the current price of $39.99 for the current gen device, it’s a good deal. Works great for streaming Amazon shows, Netflix, Playstation Vue, and Sling TV and select other services. I liked the Fire TV stick so much I ended up buying a Fire TV and Fire TV Cube box as well. They are top-notch devices and are a bit more expensive, but they run silky smooth. Read a full Fire TV Stick review here and a Fire TV review here.
- Roku Ultra & Roku Stick: Probably one of the most popular video streaming devices is the Roku3, and a lot of people swear by it. The Roku4 was just released and is even better.
- Chromecast: The Google Chromecast plugs into the back of your TV, and plugs into the wall. From there you can stream TV, movies and music from a variety of apps on our phones and tablets directly to the TV. We love the Chromecast, and Google has now released a second gen device! Read a full Chromecast review here.
- Apple TV:If you’re heavily invested the Apple sphere, this is likely the video streaming device you’ll want to get. It will also work natively for the HBO streaming service, so if you want to get that you’ll need this device (or an iPad or iPhone).
- Nvidia Shield: This 4k device will allow you to run just about any streaming app you can think of, and it can even be setup to be a Plex Media Server. It is a bit pricier than some other streaming devices, but it can also do more, including gaming.
One of the devices above should work if you want to stream video to your main TV at home. Of course, if you’ve already got a Playstation 4, Xbox One, or another console, those may work for streaming video as well.
Figuring Out Your Ideal Setup
Getting your cord-cutting system all set up can be a bit confusing, but you don’t have to do it all at once, and you don’t likely need to have every component that I do, or that others do. These days the key is to figure out what shows, movies, and other video content you like to watch and find out where that content is available. Then figure out which devices that content is usually available on.
For example, if you like watching a lot of HBO content, you may want to sign up for the new HBO Max service and get an Apple TV since those will work best for you in your situation. If you like watching House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, having a Chromecast and Netflix may work best for you.
For us, since we like watching current TV shows – most of which are on broadcast TV – the best setup for our scenario included having an over-the-air DVR like the Tablo. We have an 11-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter, and the plethora of children’s content on Netflix also works well for us.
What You’ll Need
No matter what your ideal setup is, in most cases, you’ll need the following things to take advantage of all possibilities.
- High speed internet
- Streaming device
- Streaming video services
Figure out which ones are the best for you, and get it set up according to the manufacturer’s directions. You’ll be watching TV and movies in no time!
Is It Cheaper Than Traditional Cable TV?
After going through all of these details, the question is this: Is it truly cheaper to dump your cable TV bill and get your TV entertainment via other sources? The short answer – it depends.
If you pay for all the streaming services, buy a bunch of devices and pay for a variety of shows on their own, it can get pretty expensive.
If, on the other hand, you pick and choose which services you subscribe to, which devices you buy, and what shows you pay for, you’ll almost surely come out ahead.
For our situation, we were previously paying $154/month for TV and internet, $80 of that for the TV portion. With our cord-cutting setup we’re paying $64.13 less per month than we were previously:
- $29.92/month total for subscription fees to Philo and Amazon Prime.
- $54 one time cost for Chromecast and Fire TV stick.
- $154.98 for 2 Fire TV devices.
- $240 for Tablo DVR and Mohu antenna. Disclosure: I received the Tablo DVR and Mohu antenna for free in return for reviewing them, so we didn’t have to pay the cost for those.
So for an upfront cost of about $448.98 for the streaming devices and DVR, and a monthly cost of about $29.92, it is decidedly cheaper than paying for cable TV for us. It would take you about 7 months to recoup the startup costs (if you didn’t already have some of the devices you’d need – or get a free device through a streaming service) and then you’d be saving money every month.
In our situation, after repaying your startup costs in those first 7 months, we’d be about $320 ahead in that first year alone. $769.56 or so in the second year.
What Are You Missing?
There is one caveat to cutting the cord in that there is some content that still may not be available to you (at least legally) if you’re not paying for cable TV.
- Sports: In many markets sports are not available online or on broadcast TV. The only way to get it may be to sign up for cable TV. For me that meant signing up for cable to get Fox Sports North through my cable provider. With the release of a variety of providers like Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV, Sling TV, fuboTV and others, that is no longer as much of a problem.
- Some pay channels: There are still some pay channels that are not available outside of a cable TV package. The only way around that in many instances is to purchase the shows individually from a service like Amazon Prime Video, or Google Play.
Cut The Cord And Start Saving Money!
If you’re willing to forgo sports content, or to pay for a show now and then, cutting the cord can mean hundreds of dollars in savings every year. The new streaming services, streaming devices, and other new technologies are helping more and more people to cut the cord and save hundreds of dollars every year.
So what would you do with the hundreds of dollars you could save? Could you find a use for that money?
Have you cut the cord at your house? Tell us what your setup is, and how you’re saving by cutting the cord? What technologies, services, and devices have we missed that you think should be mentioned?
Dave Digam says
Can you get Fox on this set up?
Can you access local TV channels?
Great article — with good info and straight forward.
Peter Anderson says
Dave, yes, we get Fox on our setup, we have the Tablo TV DVR which has over-the-air broadcast channels, like Fox. We get all of our local channels using the Mohu antenna that we own and the digital tuner on the Tablo. You could likely do the same as well, depending on how far from the transmitters you are in your area. Most newer TVs these days will also have a built in digital tuner so all you’ll need to add to get your local channels, including a Fox affiliate, would be to connect the antenna and scan for channels. If you want to record shows as well, you’ll likely need to buy a DVR (like our Tablo), or setup your own home theater PC with Windows Media Center or the like. Good luck!
Kate @ Money Propeller says
Wow, you definitely save a lot! Well, I don’t really watch T.V, I usually watch the news at night so when I cut off my cable subscription was the best decision I had made.
Peter Anderson says
Not watching a lot of TV is probably the best solution of all! Read more books people!
Travis @enemyofdebt says
This is a great breakdown of what’s out there for cable alternatives.
People thinking of doing this do have to realize that if they’re looking into cable alternatives, even if they implement every one of these, they will end up with a complicated, multi-faceted solution and still have less than they did before.
But, for those that are OK with having less programming options because either a.) they don’t watch much TV or b.) saving money is more important taking this route is the right way to go.
Peter Anderson says
In many cases that might be the case that people will have less options if they cut the cord. For most people, however, I’m willing to wager that they only really watch a few channels on their cable subscription anyway, and in many cases they can likely get those same channels via an a-la-carte method that will save them money. For example, I like watching History Channel, ESPN, Disney (for my son) and Netflix programming. I can get History, Disney and ESPN via Sling for $20/month, and get Netflix for $7.99. Much cheaper than a cable subscription.
Jim Womack says
Thanks a lot for a great in-depth review/option. I know that my reply here may be long so please bear with me. My internet/cable bill is $193.00 a month and I like most people only watch a small number of channels. I do not have extras like HBO or anything for that price. Now here is what I would like to explain and get ideas on.
Looking over the options, I think that getting Sling TV, an HDTV antenna and Tablo is the way to go. I have 4 televisions. 2 on the main floor and 2 in the basement. (1) Master bedroom
(2) Living Room (3) Basement (4) Daughters room basement. There is a cable box downstairs where the cable comes into the basement that is easy access. Also the entire house is wired for Ethernet. On the roof is an old DirecTV antenna. Now for my plan and questions.
I plan to mount an outdoor antenna on the mounting bracket of the DirecTV dish and remove the dish. At the cable box inside I will use an amp and splitter so the antenna can be run to all 4 rooms. That’s the easy part. What I am not sure is how to do the following.
1. Be able to watch the recorded shows on the Tablo (or whatever DVR) on any of the 4 rooms.
2. Be able to watch Slingtv on any of the 4 TV’s
I have one TV that has an old Roku, one with a Chromecast and one with a Blu-ray.
We like to watch some of the recorded shows in our bedroom and currently use the Time Warner Whole House DVR system for that.
We have a couple of Ipads, IPhones and Android phones so not sure what the best route would be.
Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated.
Peter Anderson says
If you want something that will allow you to watch SlingTV and Tablo on your TVs you might want to look into either the Fire TV stick or Fire TV. The Fire TV devices just received a native Tablo app as of April 8th, 2015, so you can now watch all of your recorded shows or live TV via the Fire TV devices. If you’re signing up for Sling anyway, you may want to jump in on their deal for a free Fire TV Stick or $50 off of Fire TV with a 3 month subscription. Details here.
The Chromecast will work for the Tablo as well by casting your recorded shows from your Tablets or phones via the Tablo app – to the Chromecast. I don’t believe there is a way to watch SlingTV via the Chromecast quite yet, although I’ve heard rumblings that it will be added in the future.
As far as the Roku, I’m not sure the old Rokus will work with Tablo, my understanding is they recommend at least a Roku3 for Tablo, as well as for SlingTV. If you prefer Roku over Fire TV, you can find a deal on them via Sling as well. Details here.
If you don’t need to watch the shows on your TV any of your Android or iOS tablets or phones should work for Sling or Tablo.
James Womack says
Peter, thanks for the reply. The main concern I have is this. My wife loves to record local channels as well as some from HGTV and the Food Network. With the current setup she will watch them either in the living room or the bedroom. Since we have the whole house DVR system through Time Warner, that is not a problem. Her concern is will she be able to have that same capability if I go with the Sling TV, the Tablo and the OTA HDTV antenna. My assumption is that as long as I have something like the Fire Stick or the Roku stick, then I should be ok. If so, then the plan would be to put the sticks on the 2 TV’s upstairs along with my daughters. The one in the basement I will just use the Sling to watch current sports and the Blu-ray for Netflix. I hope this makes sense. Thoughts?
Peter Anderson says
If you put the Fire TV Stick on the TVs where you want to watch the Tablo and/or Sling shows, you should be good to go. The Fire TV stick will allow you to watch the Tablo via the Tablo Fire TV app, and you can then watch Sling shows (HGTV and Food Network) via the Sling app. You’ll also be able to watch any Netflix shows, Amazon Instant Video, etc. Again, any TV you want to watch those two things you’ll need a streaming device of some sort.
James Womack says
That’s kind of what I thought….I just wanted to make sure. The latest reviews of the Tablo on Amazon have not been very favorable though.
Lena @ WhatMommyDoes says
This is great, Peter! I am going to share this with WhatMommyDoes readers on Facebook and I already pinned it! ;)
Peter Anderson says
Thanks Lena! I always appreciate it when folks share content!
one thing everyone seems to ignore the ‘cord-cutting’ side is the cost of the internet that will allow you to stream these devices at a reliable rate. For us, cutting the cord did not work as we paid cheaper rate for each when bundled tv/internet/phone.
I have a bundle with the cable company. I called to request the price of the high speed internet alone and it was around 78.00 not including tax. Of course the rep. tried to interest me in other packages that were still over $100.00. Right now my bill is close to $200.00. Can I save money using the Roku3? My TV watching is pretty bland, of course movies especially the old black and whites, very few prime time local and PBS, yes PBS.
I’m thinking about ditching the landline and using a back up mobile. I am not techie smart and appreciate your honesty before I cut the cable. Thank you.
Pat Staley says
I have a new TV with Net Flix and a lot of other app. built in and WIFI. Do I need a DVR if not going to record anything? Will just the Tablo TV work with my TV along with the sling ? What will I be able to watch just these or do I need the other stuff too?
Peter Anderson says
If you wanted to use the new TV with the Tablo DVR I believe you would need to either have the Tablo app built in (which is unlikely), or you’d need to have an external device like the Chromecast, Roku 3 or the Fire TV in order to view the Tablo on the TV. I don’t know if you’ll be able to watch Sling TV on your TV – does it have the Sling app on the TV, or does it allow you to install it?
In short, if you want to watch Sling TV and Tablo on your TV, you’ll likely need a Fire TV Stick, Roku or Chromecast, which you can buy for anywhere from $25-100.
Peter, would you please comment on the pro and con of Sling TV?
Peter Anderson says
I actually don’t currently have Sling TV, so I can’t speak to it directly. But I can try to run down some of the pros and cons off the top of my head from what I’ve read:
Thanks Peter for the particulars concerning Sling TV. Would someone care to add to Peter’s comments? Preferably someone who has, or has had, Sling TV recently?
The biggest CON with Sling TV is that you can only watch on one device at a time. Yes you can watch on many devices but only one at a time. No multiple devices at the same time, that means TV, tablets, phones, etc.
Peter Anderson says
Joanne, that’s good to know. Thanks for the information.
Bill Eastman says
I replaced my Mohu Leaf 50 with a Winegard and it gave me additional channels. I suggest you add something about display channel and broadcast channel. Also VHF and UHF. The Mohu doesn’t mention it is UHF only.
Peter Anderson says
I’ve been happy with my Leaf 50, I get all my local stations – not sure if any of them are VHF though – i haven’t even checked since I get all the stations I wanted.
My impression is that the Mohu does both UHF and VHF, doesn’t it? From their specs: Frequency Coverage: VHF-Lo, VHF-Hi, UHF TV (for North America).
From their FAQ:
I heard that the Leaf doesn’t receive VHF or Hi-V band stations. Is this true?
This is false. The Leaf® does receive VHF or Hi-V stations. The Leaf® is optimized for UHF stations, which comprises about 95% of the TV stations today. The Leaf® will still receive VHF stations but it will not be able to receive them from as far away as the UHF band stations.
Eliza Burroughs Viaggio says
I just want to thank you for explaining things much clearer than other sites. You have done an awesome job and my cable is about to get hiked up because my discount ends soon. I had to find something else, and you explained it brilliantly. Thanks again.
You may want to add Playstation Vue to the list of potential streaming services to consider.
T-Mobile subscribers can get Sling TV at a discounted rate of $14 a month.
Also, I built a Single Bay Grey-Hoverman Antenna.
Keep the money saving tips coming…
Peter Anderson says
Rick, thanks for the tip. I actually am on a free trial of PlayStation Vue right now, and plan on writing up a review when my trial is complete. So far I think it’s the best of the cable TV replacement streaming services that I’ve tried. There are a few catches with the service (including not having live local channels in some markets), but the fact that it has a cloud DVR built in is awesome.
Thanks for reading!
Bridget C Yallery says
I want to cut the cord. I am a chef and want to view the food channels and view the local channels and whatever else I can get for free.
I have 4 televisions. One in basement, one in kitchen, one in living room and another in master bedroom. I like to tape shows and look at them later.
What do you suggest I get. to set up my system.
Please help me.
Peter Anderson says
If you want to record shows for later viewing one of your few options might be PlayStation Vue streaming service, which allows you to record favorite shows to the cloud and view them for up to 28 days. Other services like Sling don’t allow recording of shows, although there are some on demand shows.
Vue does include the Food Network, not sure if there were other networks you were interested in getting.
Here’s my full PlayStation Vue review.
Vue would require that you use a compatible device on each TV whether it’s a PlayStation 4, Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV stick. I’d recommend getting a faster device for your main TV, and then something like $39.99 Fire TV stick for your other TVs.
Paul Verchinski says
The one item youhave missing from this discussion is phone service. If you have ditched your land line and use a cell/smartphone – you are covered. If you wnat to maintain a land line then you need something like Magic Jack. (Inceidentsally, I cut the cord fromVerizon cable. Triple play. They had my land line connected thru the Internet which is what magic jack uses.). There is an initial outlay of money but you recover it quickly.
Peter Anderson says
I didn’t mention cutting the cord on phone service, but we have actually done that. We use Ooma VOIP phone service for home phone service, it uses our same old phones and makes calls over the internet. We only pay taxes every month for that, it costs about $4.50/month or so -down from $40 we were paying for a landline.
Here’s the full review: Ooma home phone review
Melissa Clifton says
Thank you Peter for this article! I have a few questions:
-If we are able to get local channels with our internet service, do we still need to get an antenna? Then if you still recommend an antenna, if we have 2 TVs, do we need to have 2 antennas?
-If we sometimes watch recorded shows on two different TVs, do we need 2 DVRs? Then if we have to get 2 DVRs, does that mean you can only watch the shows taped on the DVR connected to the TV on that TV, or can you go back and forth between the 2 TVs (hope that makes sense- right now with cable we can tape on either TV and watch on either TV).
-Lastly, do we need 2 streaming devices (like the Firestick) for 2 TVs?
Thank you for your advice!
Peter Anderson says
If you’re able to get local channels with your internet service (via a streaming service of some kind?), you may not need to. For me I like having the antenna hooked up to an over-the-air DVR so i can record all of my family’s favorite shows, so we can watch them later, at our leisure.
If you were using an over-the-air DVR like we do you can get away with one antenna connected to that device, however, if you want to just have an antenna hooked up to the TV without a DVR you would need one connected to each TV.
If you watch recorded shows on more than one TV, depending on what kind of DVR you get you may or may not need one attached to each TV. The one we use, the Tablo DVR, requires you to have only one DVR, and then a streaming device hooked up to each TV – like a Fire TV, Roku or similar device.
So yes, you will likely need a separate streaming device for each TV, unless one of the TVs has a built in Roku or Fire TV. In that case you can just use the built in device.
So what it comes down to is this – if you choose a similar setup to what we have with the Tablo you would need 1 antenna, 1 DVR and then a streaming device for each TV you want to watch on. Hope that makes sense.
Your articles on cutting the cord are very interesting and informative, but I’m still confused about what would work best for me. I have an iPad and an iPhone which have Internet I can also use them as a hotspot for my windows tablet. I don’t have cable and since I don’t have Wi-Fi I finding most options won’t work for me. I would like to be able to watch TV shows on my tablet. The DVR does sound interesting however I don’t have money for them now, but if I could get one what do you think might be my best option. Keep in mind I don’t have Wi-Fi or cable. Thank you for your time and God bless you.
Peter Anderson says
If you don’t have WiFi or home internet you’ll need to make sure your phones with shareable mobile internet have enough of a mobile data plan because streaming video can be pretty data intensive. If you don’t have internet, you may need to consider an over-the-air TV option. If you can’t afford a DVR right now, you could just get an antenna and hook it up to your TV. If you don’t have a TV with a built in tuner you may be out of luck for good options. You may be limited to streaming video options on your phone/tablet – while ensuring you don’t have a low data cap on your plan. Once you have enough for a DVR like the Tablo – you could then stream live TV or recorded shows to all your tablets/phones/etc.
I’m 61 and I just cut the cable cord as of 5/28/19 !!!
I bought the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4k for my Samsung smart TV.. Hooked it up with no problems, works fantastic. Within the 4k firestick device I can purchase live TV for a min price of 6.99 without a TV antenna to view basic NBC, CBS and ABC.
I too was paying $157.00 per mo. Now it’s down to $70.00 plus tax for Internet service only.
LOVE STREAMING VS CABLE !!!
I will purchase a TV antenna to add additional live TV shows and see how that works.
Any basic modern computer can be hooked up to any modern flat panel tv stereo system giving you full access to the internet. The amount of money one can save per year on cable tv can build a decent computer gaming rig every year from that point forward. Which is silly 5 years for an upgrade is reasonable. I run self built gaming rigs. So you can consolidate all your digital media into one place. Play modern games, watch anything, pay bills, shop, listen to music. I could not imagine going back to the other way we used to do things. I write this sitting in my sweet leather recliner on a backlit wireless keyboard. With large screens I suggest a track ball you will get used to it. I am really excited now as they have large format monitors once the price settles on those a bit and my current 4k 65incher dies I am in for sure. Goodbye 60hz hello 144hz.
I’d love to cut the cord. My husband tried cutting the cord before but we live in a semi rural area. He said when the spring foliage grew he lost reception. There are mountains along with some distance in the way too. He really wants local tv for when our sister in law comes to visit. Do you have any solutions for us?
I don’t know if you can help me or not but I’m going to ask anyway. Over a month ago I had purchased the tv buddy. I haven’t receive it yet. I’m getting a little worried I’m looking for someone I can contact and everything that I look up is to buy the item. Do you know anything about this item? It really sounded good. I disconnected my cable because they promised me a special price and for all TVs. They charged me a much higher bill. I would call and call and Leave messages and they would just ignore me. Finally o got fed up and gave it all back to them. Then they wanted to make a deal. I hope you know something about this company.
Robert Griffith says
I got rid of the expensive cable and satellite companies. I have Roku with a Prime subscription. I want Fox News Live but it isn’t offered. YouTube has snippets of Fox News programming, but it is not Live. I can’t get the Fox News without a cable or satellite service. Frustrating!
On my laptop, I have US24/7livetv, but it buffers constantly so that you can’t enjoy watching the programs!
Lisa WiLLson says
Help most info is over my head. I have old TV, analog box got when it started the program. Old TV antenna patched back together. A small flat tv basic. Not inner net workable.. I am disabled Brain toomer and broken pelvic bone, hip. Now can not even mow yards, or valenter help seners any more my body quit.
Water and all have been turned off. *only have electricity now. Never had cable TV. ..Only antenna.. * need something that will record a movie* like a vcr use to do
. Did spend most of time walking around with inside TV antenna to pick up a show. Now can’t walk hardly. Need a way to watch TV free. Can not afford. Never had cable TV, or inner net. Need help please still have 8 more sergerys to do. I never even seen some of the things like dvr, or how they work. Have 3 channels that work in good weather. *Most of all would like to record, tape some shows to watch* do not care if get used stuff just that I get the right things. Need help,sence brain toomer I have forgot a lot. Help please or some pictures, diagrams. The only thing I know is the cable wire is important.
Did not see what a DVD was? I gess I am a dinosaur. Thank you