I often get asked how I cut the cord, if I miss cable, what steps I took before taking the leap, what costs were involved etc. The questions are usually asked by people trying to trim off a bit from the never ending monthly bills. Before I answer any of these questions, I usually ask them some of my own questions. These questions prompt a discussion about their current viewing habits and wether or not this is the right move for them.
My family and I made a well researched and calculated decision to cut the cord one year ago. We have never looked back and are thrilled with our decision. We save a lot of money every month, have plenty of content to watch and our kids are making better tv programming choices.
Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself before proceeding with cutting the cord and some comments from my own personal experience. If you’re comfortable with most of these changes, then it’s likely a good move for you.
Do you need to watch the latest shows and movie releases?
Our philosophy is that if we’ve never watched it, it’s new to us. This was a no brainer for us. Also, if you get a decent antenna and live in an area where you can tap into free over-the-air channels, you can watch the latest TV episodes live. We currently have a subscription to Netflix for $8/month. Between this subscription, streaming content from websites and apps, our Apple TV and our HD antenna we have more quality tv than we’ll ever be able to watch.
Are you a sports fanatic?
We’re not, so this wasn’t an issue at all for us. If you enjoy watching some live sports than an antenna may be the solution for you. We had a pro install ours (thanks to Mark at http://www.Ditchit.ca) so we get most of the local stations plus a few from the US. These channels provide access to some NHL, NFL and other sports. If you’re a hardcore sports fan and currently subscribe to premium sports channels, cutting the cord is probably not the right move for you. You can in some cases stream premium games from websites, but these are often not reliable or legal. These sites are also a breeding ground for computer viruses.
Do you PVR/DVR everything?
Your current unit probably won’t be able to record from an over-the-air (OTA) feed. There are only a few limited options for recording content from your antenna. The cheapest option uses a tv tuner and your computer. This is a great solution for tech savvy folks who don’t mind always having a computer on. This wasn’t a good option for us. We like things as simple as possible. A more expensive but also more polished option is to purchase a PVR/DVR that works with OTA broadcasts. I plan on testing and posting a review on two of these units in January. The first is the TabloTV. This unit connects to your OTA antenna feed and provides programming via wifi to your mobile phones and tablets. You access your guide and watch shows using your tablet. With an optional unit such as the Apple TV, Chromecast or Roku, you can airplay your live or recorded content to your TV. A subsription is required to access the slick full feature guide. The second unit, the DVR+ was launched this week by Channel Master. This unit is a lot more like a traditional PVR that most people are used to. You access an onscreen guide using a remote (no subscription required for the guide) to change or record channels. Both units provide the ability to pause, rewind, fast forward and connect to an external hard drive for extra storage.
Do you watch premium channels most of the time i.e. Food Network, HBO etc.?
If this is the case, you probably shouldn’t cut the cord. There are ways to watch these channels by streaming them from websites, but much like what I mentioned earlier about sports, these websites are not usually reliable or legal.
In our case, cutting the cord was a great move but this isn’t for everyone. If you really enjoy premium tv, sports and high tech DVR boxes, you should probably consider sticking with your cable or satellite subscription. This is the price of entertainment and if it keeps you and your family happy then it’s money well spent.
Please take a moment to read some of my other posts to get more indepth information on content you can access for free. Feel free to comment with questions, feedback or additional information.
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