What Exactly Is Cord Cutting – Cable TV Alternatives

A normal American family pays more than $100/month for cable TV. For hundreds of channels you never need, a lot of ads, and horrible customer service.

Many frustrated cable and satellite customers are making one huge step. They cut the cord.

What Is Cord Cutting

Cord-cutting is a term that means canceling traditional pay-TV services, like cable or satellite and receive TV programs via a different option.

According to Leichtman Research Group, the pay-TV providers lost more than 700,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2017. Experts even predict that by 2021, the number of cable subscribers will fall to 181 million. That is a 10% decrease in a few next years. And since cable prices have risen by an average of 5% per year, it is logical that the situation is only getting worse.

Cutting the cord empowers you to choose the content you want to see, saves you a lot of money, and won’t cut off your access to most programs.

What You Need to Cut the Cord

There are three main cord-cutting options available:

TV Antenna

Did you know most of the major TV networks continue to send out TV signals for anyone, and for FREE? Even with a cheap TV antenna, you can receive programs from over-the-air local and network affiliate TV channels. Before you cut the cord, you have to decide which kind of antenna you need. Indoor or outdoor antenna, with amplified and nonamplified options. What you choose depends on the place you live, the proximity of the local transmitting tower, and the place you want to set up your TV antenna. If you live within a few miles of the TV transmitters, a small indoor antenna is just good for you. If not, you will need an outdoor TV antenna.


If you own a media streamer box, smart television or stick (Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire…) or smart Blu-ray player, and a subscription to an online service, you are able to access movie content and TV programs without a cable, satellite or an antenna. Most popular streaming services include Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Vudu, and Crackle.

Mix Of Antenna and Streaming

This is perhaps the best cord-cutting option. You can access local TV channels and free OTA (over-the-air) major channels, and also get additional content through the internet.

Basic Steps to Getting Rid of Cable

Here are the steps to cutting the cord and finally getting rid of the cable.

  • Make sure you can leave without a penalty.
  • Closeout your cable account.
  • Get an HDTV antenna.
  • Decide what you actually want to watch.
  • Buy streaming devices.
  • Consider a skinny bundle.
  • Adjust and adapt as you go along.

The Pros and Cons of Cord Cutting

We need to make one thing clear. Cord-cutting is not for everyone! There are lots of questions you need to ask yourself, and some hazards you need to think about.

cutting the cable cord


Save money

It is almost impossible not to save money by cutting the cord. Yes, you need to make an investment, but a TV antenna helps you save money for numerous service agreements you have with satellite providers and cable. If you combine the HDTV antenna with third-party streaming services, you will probably get all the channels you want. It´s simple math. A high-quality long-range outdoor HDTV antenna costs around $100, but by cutting the cord you might save hundreds of dollars a year. A strong argument, what do you think?

No or Fewer Ads

Most popular streaming services don’t have ads. You can watch your favorite shows without interruption.


You can choose what channels and services you want. You don’t have to pay for channels and programs you don’t want. Play and pause whenever you feel like it – Hulu, Netflix, Hulu, other providers accommodate your schedule.


Internet Speed

Although you will pick up a huge number of channels using an over-the-air antenna, streaming services will generate most of your content. Therefore, you need a reliable and fast internet connection.

Streaming limits

Watching your TV through streaming, you should be aware of any limits on the amount of video you can stream each month. If you go over your limit, your internet bill will rapidly increase.

Bottom Line

Before canceling your cable or satellite service, make sure that cutting the cable is right for you. We have a series of articles on this topic:

Whether it is cost-effective or a good idea to cut cable really depends on your watching habits. This useful calculator may help you identify just what you will pay and what you will save by switching to streaming.