What Exactly Is Cord Cutting – Cable TV Alternatives

I don’t know about you, but I was fed up with cable.

The constant price hikes, the expensive equipment rentals, being forced into long contracts…it was time for a change.

That’s when I discovered cord-cutting – and it revolutionized how I watch TV.

If you’re wondering what exactly cord-cutting is, let me explain.

Cord-cutting is canceling your traditional cable or satellite TV subscription in favor of streaming services and free over-the-air channels. It provides an affordable way to still watch all your favorite programs and movies without being tethered to a cable box.

In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about cutting the cord. We’ll cover:

  • The benefits of switching to cord-cutting
  • Your cord-cutting options – streaming devices, streaming services, antennas
  • Tips for making a smooth transition
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

My goal is to educate and empower you to break free of expensive cable bills for good.

The money I’ve saved since going cordless has been amazing. Read on to see how cord-cutting can work for you too!

Why Cord-Cutting Is Worth It

I don’t know about you, but I was so frustrated with cable TV. The channel packages forced me to pay for stations I never watched. The HD fees, and the cable box rentals – it was nickel and diming me to death! Not to mention my bill crept up year after year.

I longed to take back control of my TV viewing – and stop lining the pockets of cable companies. Cord-cutting gave me the freedom I craved.

Here are the main benefits I’ve experienced:

Save Big Money

This is the #1 reason to cut the cord. Without overpriced cable packages and equipment fees, you’ll save serious cash every month. Streamers and antennas are one-time purchases, so your ongoing costs are much lower.

No More Contracts

No more being locked into 2-year contracts with early termination fees. Stream all you want without commitments! Switch services anytime without penalties.

Pick Your Own Channels

Tired of paying for channels you never watch? With cord-cutting, you can handpick just the channels and shows you actually want. Unlike cable, streaming services let you customize your line-up. I only pay for what I’ll use.

Access on Any Device

Cable ties you to the TV. With streaming, I can watch my shows on smartphones, laptops, tablets – you name it. The flexibility is invaluable when I’m traveling or just lounging around the house.

Better Picture Quality

Believe it or not, streaming often offers better video quality than cable. While cable maxes out at 1080p, streamers like Roku deliver crisp 4K Ultra HD. Talk about a picture upgrade!

Clearly, cutting the cord provides some serious perks over traditional TV. If you’re looking to take control of your programming while keeping more money in your wallet, it’s an excellent option to consider.

Choosing Your Cord-Cutting Options

Once you decide to cut the cord, you need to choose how to access content without cable. You have 3 main options: streaming devices, streaming services, and antennas. Let’s look at each one so you can build the perfect cord-cutting setup.

Streaming Devices

Also called streaming media players, these handy devices connect to your TV to stream content from the internet. They give you access to on-demand shows, live TV, and movies. Here are some top choices:

  • Roku: My favorite! Roku offers 4K streaming and tons of apps (channels), including free ones like Pluto TV. Models start around $25.
  • Amazon Fire TV: Great for watching Prime Video and accessing thousands of channels. Prices from $40 and up.
  • Apple TV: The premium 4K streamer for Apple fans – stream Apple TV+, access apps, and use AirPlay. Starts at $149.
  • Google Chromecast: An affordable pick starting at just $29. Streams content from your mobile device.

I use Roku devices on all my TVs. I find they provide the best app selection and easy 4K streaming. But any streamer lets you cut the cord in style!

Streaming Services

Once you have a streaming device, you need something to watch. That’s where streaming services come in. Here are some of the most popular options:

  • Netflix: The king of streaming offers hit originals, movies, and TV shows for $9-$20 per month depending on your plan. Their catalog is hard to beat.
  • Hulu: Access a huge on-demand library, originals, and live TV for $7-$70 monthly. One of my faves!
  • Disney+: Get Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and more for just $8/month. Essential for families!
  • Amazon Prime Video: Comes free with an Amazon Prime membership. Huge selection of Amazon Originals and licensed content.
  • HBO Max: Features HBO series, DC movies, TCM classics, new Max Originals, and more for $10 monthly.

Mix and match services to build your ideal entertainment package. Just be sure to factor in the total cost when creating your lineup.

HDTV Antennas

Here’s a cord-cutting secret – you can get many network and public TV channels over the air for free! All you need is an antenna. Indoor models start around $10. Outdoor/attic antennas offering more range run $40 and up.

Hook an antenna to your TV and scan for channels. You’ll be amazed what’s available without paying a cent. I get over 50 free channels this way, including ABC, NBC, PBS, FOX, and more in crystal clear high def. It’s an easy way to supplement your streaming selections.

Making the Switch to Cord-Cutting

Once you pick your cord-cutting gear, it’s time to kick cable to the curb! Here are my tips for making a smooth transition:

  • Get Internet without cable. You’ll need high-speed home internet for streaming, which cable companies conveniently bundle with TV. But you can get affordable internet-only service from providers like DSL or fiber optics. Shop around for the best standalone deal.
  • Try free trials first. Most streaming services offer free 7-day trials. Take them for a spin to ensure they offer the content you want before committing. You want the ideal mix of services before canceling cable.
  • Install devices and antennas. Get your Roku, Fire TV, antenna etc. set up before your cable ends. Test that you receive your desired channels and troubleshoot any issues while you still have cable as a backup.
  • Cancel cable. Finally, call up your provider and cut that cord! Be firm that you want to cancel – they will try to talk you out of it with ‘limited time’ deals. But stand your ground for the savings.

With the right gear and setup, shifting to streaming and over-the-air TV is easy. And you’ll feel so satisfied finally breaking cable’s pricey stranglehold.

Cord-Cutting: Frequently Asked Questions

Still, have some questions before taking the cord-cutting plunge?

Here are answers to some FAQs:

How much does cord-cutting save?

By ditching cable TV packages, equipment rentals, and more, the average cord-cutter saves $85/month. For my family, it’s over $100 in monthly savings. The money you’ll keep in your pocket adds up fast.

Can I still get local channels?

Get live local news, sports, and more with a good HD antenna. Most cord-cutters are surprised by how many free over-the-air channels they receive. Local is 100% free.

Do I need internet?

High-speed home internet is required for streaming. The good news is internet alone is way cheaper than an internet + cable bundle. Shop providers for the best standalone deal.

What about sports?

You have options! Stream live sports through services like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV. Or get sports channels like ESPN via streaming add-ons from Sling TV and others. Some team/league apps and websites also stream games.

Can I watch it anywhere?

A huge perk of streaming is watching anywhere, anytime. Phones, laptops, tablets – download the apps and take your shows on the go. It’s TV freedom at last! Ditch cable and join the millions of cord-cutters streaming happily ever after.

And there you have my definitive guide to understanding cord-cutting! I hope this gave you all the details needed to decide if cutting the cord is right for you. Feel free to reach out with any other questions.