If you’re like a lot of people, then you may be less-than-happy with your cable TV provider. The good news is that you can now watch a lot of your favorite televisions shows without subscribing to a monthly pay TV package. Yes, we’re talking about cord cutting, the small but growing trend of ditching pay television services in favor of watching as much TV as possible over the Internet. Forbes contributor Amadou Diallo has put together a guide to help all first-time cord-cutters get through life without cable TV and it’s a terrific resource for any frustrated Comcast or Time Warner Cable customer looking to make the switch.
The first thing you’ll need, says Diallo, is a digital antenna that you can use to pick up over-the-air HD channels. This is particularly important since cable companies have decided to start gouging their users with monthly HD fees even if they only subscribe to the most basic television service packages. Using an antenna bypasses this particularly cumbersome middleman, however, and gives you access to all the major networks for free.
The next step is to buy a set-top box of some sort that has access to popular video streaming applications. Gaming consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation are two popular examples of set-top boxes, although they’re probably too expensive for non-gamers. Apple TV and Roku are less expensive alternatives, as is Chromecast to a more limited extent. The bottom line, though, is that you’ll need some sort of box to replace your cable box if you want access to more than over-the-air TV.
And finally, sign up for video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu that will let you watch many — although certainly not all — of your favorite television shows through your set-top box. There are certainly some limitations here since Netflix and Hulu don’t give you access to popular channels such as HBO and they won’t let you watch live sports on your local sports cable station or on ESPN. But if you’re not a sports fan and you can wait for DVDs to come out for your favorite HBO shows, then Netflix and Hulu are enticing cheaper options.
Taken all together, Diallo estimates that cutting the cord and replacing his pay TV services with a mix of Netflix, Hulu and over-the-air television is saving him around $1350 per year compared to what he was paying for both Internet and pay TV services. Although such savings will certainly differ depending on service providers, it’s clear that cutting the cord can help you also cut down on your monthly expenses.