Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV service

Updated: Cord Cutting 101 – A Beginners Guide to Cord Cutting


Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV serviceCord cutting can sound scary at first, with a ton of options and decisions to be made, but you will find it is surprisingly easy and you may already have everything you need. We want to be here to help you cancel cable TV and legally stream your content online so you pay less and still get all your shows.

Here are our four steps to becoming a cord cutter with our Cord Cutting 101 guide!

Step 1. Streaming Services

There are a lot of live streaming services available, and it may seem overwhelming at first but it is easier than you think.

You will likely need more than one streaming service, but the good news is almost all of them offer a free trial. We suggest you take advantage of the free trials to see what fits your needs.

Here is a quick overview of the most popular streaming services.

Netflix—With new content added weekly Netflix has thousands of hours of movies and TV shows available, making them the largest streaming service in the world. You will find a ton of content from major networks and movie studios including Disney movies and shows. Netflix is also the leader in original content you cannot find on cable.

Hulu—Do you want your content the day after it originally airs? Hulu is a great option for anyone who wants to watch recent shows from networks such as Fox, NBC, ABC, FX, and Spike.

Amazon Prime Video—Amazon Prime not only gets you free two-day shipping and free music, it also gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows. Amazon’s partnership with HBO brings you a vast selection of HBO shows as part of your Prime membership.

Although Amazon Prime does not give you access to everything available on its Amazon Instant service, it does have TV shows from many cable channels available the next day—starting at $1.99—and also offers recently released movies for rent. So not only do you get an immense amount of free content, but Amazon Prime is also a great way to rent and buy recent movies and TV shows.

Sling TV, DIRECTV NOW, and PlayStation Vue—If you really want live TV, check out Sling TV or PlayStation Vue. Starting at $20 a month for Sling or $30 for PS Vue you get access to many popular cable channels streamed live to your TV.

Not sure if Sling or PlayStation Vue is right for you? Check out our head-to-head comparison of these two services.

If you are looking for 100% free options, see our post about free streaming apps by clicking HERE.

Step 2. Pick Your Device

The next thing you need is a device that will stream to your TV what you want to watch. Currently, the top four selling devices are Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Apple TV. All are great options for different reasons, so make sure you choose the one that is best for you.

Here are links to our full reviews for each device.

Roku: http://cordcuttersnews.com/review-roku-4-our-first-look/

Chromecast: http://cordcuttersnews.com/review-the-new-chromecast-2/

Fire TV: http://cordcuttersnews.com/review-the-new-fire-tv/

Apple TV: http://cordcuttersnews.com/review-the-new-apple-tv-a-disappointment-or-success/

Channel Master: http://cordcuttersnews.com/4153-2/

Antenna CoupleStep 3. Antennas

An antenna is a huge part of being a cord cutter, and most Americans can easily pick up 30+ channels with one. With many of the most popular TV shows being 100% free and in HD over the air, an antenna is a great way to watch sports and your favorite show without paying high cable bills.

The number of channels you receive will vary depending on where you live. We recommend going to AntennaRecomendations.com and typing your address into their channel finder to see which channels are available in your area. This will also help you figure out if an indoor or a roof-mounted antenna is needed to get the channels you want.

We recommend buying a mid-priced antenna—not the cheapest but also not the most expensive. Buying an antenna is a one-time expense so get a good one that will last for many years.

Step 4. Try it Out

OK, you are all set up and ready to go, but before you cancel cable TV, unplug your cable box and try being a cord cutter for a month. When my family canceled cable it took us about two weeks to find all the shows we wanted. Once we found the content we wanted, we never looked back. However, it was nice to know that if we couldn’t initially find a program we could still watch it on cable until we found it on our streaming service.

Congratulations! You are now a cord cutter!

That’s it—you have successfully set yourself up as a cord cutter. All you need to do now is call your cable TV provider and tell them you want to cancel your cable TV! Make sure to tell them to put you on their do not call list so they don’t call you every day for years to come. You can find out how to be put on a do not call list at your old cable company by clicking HERE.

Also don’t forget to take a look at our guide on how to avoid the 3 most common mistakes people make when they cut the cord.

Do you have a suggestion for our Cord Cutting 101 guide? Post it in the comments.

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Need cord cutting tech support? Join our new Cord Cutting Tech Support Facebook Group for help.

  • Rich R

    I’m thinking of cutting the cable cord. It seems the above article left out one important thing – you must have internet. And for me that means WIFI. I currently access Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube via my Sony BlueRay player. I haven’t found a local high speed internet provider other than my current Comcast in my area – DuPage County Illinois. I’m paying nearly #130 a month for cable TV and wireless internet. The TV package lacks a number of channels I would like to get even at that cost. So I won’t really miss the cable. Does anyone know of any high speed internet providers in my area? More specifically, Wheaton?

    • KaysGramma

      I’m in Cook County and have Comcast. Depending on what speed you want/need, you can get internet only for less than half that (with no taxes or additional fees). The only other internet provider in our area is AT&T but they don’t have the speeds we need and costs more than Comcast

      • Rich R

        Thanks for the info.