With the number of streaming apps available, there’s no longer a good reason to spend a lot of money on cable TV. News channels, weekly TV programs, and old and new movies have their own streaming platforms, making cutting the cable cord is easier than ever. If you’d like to cut your cable cord, here’s how you can cut your cable TV subscription right now.
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Why should you cut your cable?
When you look at how cable TV works now and how it worked in the past, the technology can seem a little outdated. Before the first streaming services, cable TV used to be one of the only ways you’d see your favourite weekly TV shows, but if you wanted to watch a specific movie, you would need to rent it from a local video shop or buy the disc and watch it over and over. If you wanted to record TV or movies to watch at another time, you needed a cable TV subscription and a DVR.
The biggest problem with cable TV isn’t the content, it’s that the same content is available in easier to access and less expensive ways. Cable TV can also be a costly addition to your monthly budget. In some areas, a premium channel cable TV package can cost $100 to $200 per month. You’ll also have to pay rental fees for DVRs or cable boxes, and it can all add up to take a big hit out of your bank balance.
Cable packages are often bundled with your Internet service to keep you subscribed and save you a bit of money, but it’s still worth it to unsubscribe from your cable service. Cutting cable and keeping the Internet will still eliminate one monthly bill you don’t need to pay.
How to cut the cable cord
Once you see how easy it is to cut the cable cord, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Here are a few ways to cut the cable cord right now.
1. Cut the cable with a smart TV
A smart TV is a TV with Wi-Fi built-in. It has an operating system that runs all of the content on the TV. The first time you turn on a smart TV you’ll see the main hub with a variety of pre-loaded streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, Disney+, or Prime. There will also be spots where you can access devices you’ve plugged into your HDMI ports or USB port.
Once your smart TV is connected to your home network, you can choose which streaming services to subscribe to. Some streaming apps are subscription-based so you’ll pay a monthly fee to watch their content. Other apps are free, but to watch them you’ll need to watch commercials just like you would on cable TV. There are also other apps that will offer a hybrid mix of paid and free content, with a lower subscription fee being charged if you’d like to see the odd commercial or two.
Why smart TVs make it easy to cut the cable cord
Streaming from a smart TV couldn’t be easier, and with so many great app choices you’ll be glad you cut the cable cord. Even if you subscribed to Netflix, Crave, and Disney+, three of the more expensive streaming services, you’d still be paying half of what you paid per month with cable. Not only that, but you’ll get more content than cable TV provides. You’ll also be able to watch it whenever you’d like to without having to worry about whether you set the DVR schedule or if you would be home when the TV show or movie was on.
Some smart TVs have other perks including voice control. Instead of using your remote control to search for content, all you have to do is ask your voice assistant. You can ask “Hey Google, stream The Avengers on Disney+” and your TV will open the app and start streaming. Smart TVs will also suggest more content for you to watch, so instead of endless scrolling through channels for something new, you can look at your streaming apps and see what’s new.
2. Using a media streamer to cut your cable
Media streaming devices are a very popular way to cut cable, and they can be an inexpensive way to add content to a non-smart TV or add streaming to a second TV. There are quite a few different media streaming devices you can choose from, and for more information on them you can check out the media streamer buying guide.
1. Google Chromecast
Chromecast is a small, inexpensive media streaming device that plugs into a port in the back of your TV. Once it’s plugged in you can use your computer or phone to ‘throw’ or stream content at your TV. As an example, if you have a Netflix subscription you currently watch on your phone, you can share your movie from your phone to the bigger screen of your TV using Chromecast.
Why choose a Google Chromecast
Chromecast is a popular choice because it’s so small, making it an easy media streaming device to take with you when you travel. It’s also so inexpensive that you can buy several and leave them plugged into TVs in your living room, basement, cabin, or have one packed and ready when you travel.
2. Apple TV
Apple TV is now in its 4th generation and it’s still one of the most popular media streaming devices available. The entire platform is very user-friendly, and Apple TV is a great media streamer because it turns any TV into a smart TV. To use it you just plug it into power and into an HDMI port on your TV.
Why choose an Apple TV
With Apple TV you get a full home screen hub with all of your favourite apps pre-loaded. There are thousands of other apps you can download, and you can subscribe to other Apple channels like Apple Fitness and Apple Arcade. If there are movies or TV shows you’d like to rent or own, you can rent them through your Apple TV using your Apple ID.
Apple TV can also stream content in a resolution that matches your streaming service. If you have a 4K TV and you’d like to stream 4K Netflix, you can opt for a 4K Apple TV.
3. Roku media streamer
People love Roku media streaming devices because they are so easy to use, and there is a Roku media streamer for every type of TV and every type of TV connection. You can find Roku media streamers that stream in 720p HD, 1080p Full HD, and 4K resolution. They are budget-friendly and compact so you can travel with them.
Why choose a Roku media streamer
Roku has an easy-to-use operating system. You can use the Roku channel to watch weekly TV shows, and there are thousands of apps available to download with free or paid content. You can find apps from news channels like CBC and CNN or channels like Global TV and there are sections in the Roku channel store that guide you to free content, games, music, or fitness.
Another perk of the Roku media streamer is the Roku remote. Some models of Roku have a headphone port you can plug into so you can listen to your content solo. You can also use the Roku app to control your Roku media streamer or access voice control on some models.
The Roku platform is built into some smart TVs, and they will give you all of the Roku smart TV features you love without you having to bring home an additional media streamer.
4. Amazon Fire TV media streaming
Amazon Fire TV is available as a smart TV or as a streaming device. Fire TV is a very small streaming stick. It’s easy to plug into any TV and it gives you access to your favourite streaming channels in one user-friendly hub.
Why choose Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Fire TV gives you instant access to thousands of apps and channels. You can use Alexa to ask your TV to find you new content to watch or to open an app, and you can also browse websites including Facebook and Reddit. There is a Fire TV media streaming device for every TV, and you can stream in HD, Full HD, 4K, and Dolby Vision.
5. Android media streaming devices
An Android media streamer is a box that connects to your TV and runs the Android platform. Just like an Apple TV or Roku streamer, an Android box will turn your existing TV into a smart TV. It connects to the Internet so you can access different streaming apps, has a large hard drive, and some have pre-loaded content you can watch as soon as they are set up.
Why choose an Android media streamer
Android TV boxes are similar to streaming devices but they tend to be larger and take up more space on your entertainment unit. They also run on a different platform than an Apple TV or a Roku TV, so your home screen will look different. Some models of Android media streamers will give you access to free TV channels, while others will have Chromecast built-in, offer voice control, and let you plug in a gaming controller to play games. Some models even have 4K TV upscaling so your 1080p content will be upscaled to as close to 4K as possible.
6. Over the air TV antenna
One last option for cutting the cable cord is over the air TV. If you don’t want to use a media streamer or you don’t have access to Wi-Fi at home, the simplest way to cut the cable cord is to install a TV antenna and tap it into over the air TV.
TV antennas have been on the market for decades, and it’s a completely legal way to watch TV channels without a cable subscription. The antenna connects with nearby television signals that it transfers to your TV, and if you have a strong signal you could get a very clear TV reception when you watch.
Why choose an over the air TV antenna
The biggest benefit to installing a TV antenna to tap into over the air TV is that it’s free. You can cut your cable cord and access channels without paying a monthly fee, and the initial setup costs are not that expensive. You’ll want to keep in mind the signal quality will determine your TV’s reception quality. Because of the way TV signals are dispersed, your quality will be better in a small town with a lower population than in a big city with hundreds of people living near you.
There are indoor antennas, outdoor antennas, and indoor/outdoor antennas, so you’ll want to be sure you choose the right one for your home.
Take the next step
Most media streamers or smart TVs take 10 minutes to set up. Once you’re set up and logged into your streaming apps you can watch whatever you like without having to pay for a cable connection. There’s always new content available on streaming apps, and you can watch what you want, when you want to, without channel surfing through what’s offered on cable channels. Take the next step and cut your cable cord by shopping at Best Buy today.
I like the last idea, being Over the Air Free TV, via HDTV Antennae choices, from DIY to store bought with built in signal amplification.
There are 3 benefits to antennae including the most important,1) free HDTV and analogue signals,2) An uncompressed signal, meaning you actually get more picture in your screen(yes higher definition), as opposed to a slightly cropped picture on cable, due to signal compression, 3) a signal which comes to your TV almost 3 seconds before it shows on cable TV, so when your team scores, you will see it almost 3 seconds before your friends do.., and I can have more than 1 antenna, using a Diplexer.
Keeping in mind that the only thing you can do to a good quality signal, is make it worse.
Hi Elliot, thank you for your comment and for outlining some antennae benefits. We would love for all our readers to find it as useful 🙂