The Beginners Guide to Cord Cutting (Updated: September 2018)





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

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 make, but we hope this guide will help you find out that cord cutting is surprisingly easy. In fact, you may already have most, if not everything, you need. We want to be here to help you cancel cable TV and legally stream content online, so you pay less and still get all your shows.

Here are our five steps to becoming a cord cutter:

Step 1. Streaming Services

There are a lot of live streaming services available, and it may seem overwhelming, 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.

Picking a Live TV Streaming Service

The number of live TV streaming services is growing. Right now you can pick from Sling TV, Hulu, YouTube TVfuboTV, PhiloPlayStation Vue, and DIRECTV NOW to name a few.

Not sure if Sling, DIRECTV NOW, PlayStation Vue, or others are right for you? Check out our head-to-head comparison of these services HERE.

Worried you will miss your DVR? Don’t worry! All these services offer a built-in DVR option, so you will never miss your favorite show.

Finding Live Streaming Sports

Want to make sure you won’t miss the NFL, NBA, MLB, and more? Don’t worry! Sports are easier than ever to watch without cable TV! We have a full guide on how to watch your favorite sporting events HERE.

Most Popular On-Demand Streaming Services

Netflix—With new content added weekly, Netflix has thousands of hours of movies and TV shows available, making it the largest streaming service in the world. You will find a ton of content from major networks and movie studios, and Netflix is also the leader in the 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 gives you free two-day shipping and free music, but it also gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows. Amazon’s partnership with HBO brings you a selection of HBO shows as part of your Prime membership.

Although Amazon Prime does not give you access to everything available on the Amazon Video service, it does have TV shows from many cable channels available the next day starting at $1.99, and it 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.

These are just a couple of the over 200 streaming services in the United States. There are also tons of great free services like Pluto TV, Crackle, Tubi, and The Roku Channel. We suggest you take advantage of the many free trials to see what services are right for you.

Step 2. Pick Your Device

The next thing you need is a device that will stream what you want to watch to your TV. The top-selling four 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.

For ease of use, we recommend the Roku streaming player. It’s basic and straightforward, and it has the most streaming video apps of any player with an easy-to-use remote.

For flexible open streaming players, check out the Fire TV and Android TV. Both Fire TV and Android TV players allow side loading of a range of apps. If you like to tinker, we recommend checking them out.

Apple owners who have a ton of movies and TV shows on iTunes will want an Apple TV because that is the only device that will play iTunes shows and movies.

Step 3. Buying an Antenna

An antenna is a huge part of being a cord cutter, and most Americans can easily pick up 30+ channels. 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 for anything else.

The number of channels you receive will vary depending on where you live. Most Americans should find an antenna as a great way to get ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and more 100% free.

Need help getting an antenna installed? DISH will sell you an antenna and install it starting at $99 for an indoor antenna or $150 for an outdoor antenna. All you need to do is call 1-888-364-6055 and ask for an indoor or outdoor antenna installation.

Wondering about a DVR? There are several great DVR options for antennas from Tablo, Channel Master, and TiVo. You can find our full Antenna DVR Guide HERE.

Step 4. Internet

To get the most from cord cutting you will need internet. Remember when you downgrade from a bundle to internet only you won’t get the best deal. Internet companies save the best deals for new customers. But don’t worry, we can help.

We suggest you shop around for your internet service provider. Many people think cable is the only way to get fast internet, but for most Americans that is no longer true.

DSL has come a long way, and I suggest you do what I do. Switch back and forth between DSL and cable internet. Every time a provider won’t give me a deal I switch and get the new customer pricing from the other provider. I even found that at one time my DSL company had faster internet than my cable company.

I personally recommend for DSL if you can get it. It is US based with US customer service reps. It also has no data caps, so you can stream all you want. No matter who you go with, don’t be afraid to switch ISPs when your contract ends.

Also, keep an eye out for fixed wireless internet and 5G wireless internet. In October 2018, 5G will start rolling out across the country for as little as $50 a month with no data cap from Verizon.

Step 5. Try It Out

You are 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 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 cancel your cable TV! Make sure they 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.

Remember to take a look at our guide on how to avoid the three most common mistakes people make when they cut the cord.

Do you have a suggestion for our Beginner’s Guide to Cord Cutting? Post it in the comments.

Did you know we now have a FREE app for iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire? Click HERE to download our app.

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