How We Cut The Cord and Got Rid of Cable TV

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How We Cut The Cord and Got Rid of Cable TV

We have been going through the process of 'cutting the cord' for the last few months. Our goal was to be able to reduce our cable bill, which has been $180 per month for the last few years, without losing access to any TV shows we love, local news, etc. It took a while, but I think we've finally settled on a solution that gives us all the TV channels we need or want (including local channels), the ability to DVR/record shows and most importantly, is easy to use.

We eased into everything slowly by turning off/not using the cable boxes/DVRs while still paying for our cable TV service - that way if an "emergency" came up - like if a new show that we HAD to watch but did not have access to without "the cord" came up, we could just turn the cable box back on and watch it. But slowly, over the course of a few months we returned each cable box to the Cable company, then finally cancelled the TV service.

Here is what we learned about "cutting the cord", and how we did it.

First - you need high-speed internet. Since our cable TV company also provides our internet service we still have to pay them, but only for the internet service which is $49/month. We shopped around for other internet providers in our area, but there aren't any - the cable TV company has a monopoly on the internet so they are our only choice, but $49/mo for 100mb/10mb (100mb download speed, 10mp upload speed) isnt too bad.

Second: No matter what, you are going to have to pay for most cable only channels. If you want to be able to watch networks like AMC (Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, Lodge 49, etc) Comedy Central, FX, etc, you either need to subscribe to each channel or specific show via their app, iTunes, etc or use your TV service subscription (which we cancelled) or pay for another "internet cable service" (more on that below).

Third: Local channels aren't easy! To get live local TV, you will either need to string up a TV antenna and wire it to all of your TV's, or, pay for a "internet cable service" .. Since there is no TV antenna reception in the mountains where we live, we had no choice but to pay someone..

Fourth: If you want to watch your shows on your TV you will need either a smart-TV that supports whatever services you end up getting and/or streaming from a computer/tablet/smart phone. You can use devices like a Roku or Apple TV..

Fifth: "ease of use" is important.. You dont realize how nice it was to turn on the old cable box and just start switching channels.. Now, using a bunch of apps to find what you're looking for, or needing a tablet or phone to start watching TV gets complicated.

This is our solution for cutting the cord which gives us all the channels we want, DVR functionality, is easy to use, and saves us about $80 month.

We went with Apple TV boxes. We have some friends that use a Roku or Amazon Fire TV box and they are happy with it, and we know others than can do everything with their "Smart TV" - but since our TV's arent that smart and because we already live in the Apple universe and had an Apple TV, we went that route. We did have to buy a 2nd Apple TV for the other TV in the house.

The "TV App" that comes with the (new) Apple TV's does a great job of bringing together your favorite shows from MOST of the services (but not all - keep reading). But it simplifies everything greatly.

We use Amazon Prime Video. We already had a Prime account, so this was a no brainer. Prime Video is similar to Netflix. It has a lot of good original programming, old movies, etc. We also used Netflix, but it wasnt worth the extra $15/mo so we dropped it and kept Amazon Prime. The Apple TV app was great and recommending new shows on Prime and Netflix all in one place.

We went with YouTube TV for all our cable channels and DVR service. All the reviews comparing Youtube to the other Internet Cable TV services said the new "Youtube TV" was the best, and so far, this seems to be the case. Youtube TV IS GREAT! It gives us all the cable networks, local TV (except for PBS), virtually unlimited DVR functionality, and a GREAT user-interface, all for $40/month.
Youtube TV also does a great job at pulling together all of my favorite shows, recently watched shows and recommended shows in one place so everything is easy to find. The channel viewer is also very good for channel-surfing just like in the old-days (a few months ago) when we still had a cable box.

When we signed up we got a free 7-day trial, but after using it for just 2 or 3 days, we were sold - Youtube TV is BY FAR the best option for cable channels/DVR and local channels.

For PBS (can't live without NOVA and Frontline!) we just installed the PBS app on the Apple TV and created a free PBS account.

So our final setup is Apple TV with only the Youtube TV, Prime Video, and PBS apps installed. This gives us a super-easy to use user-interface, all the channels we want, virtually unlimited DVRing, AND we still save over $80 month..

The only hiccup is that the Apple TV app doesnt pull-in or see channels that we've watched in Youtube TV the same way that it does with other apps - so this means we have to look at the Apple TV app to easily find shows from Amazon Prime, Netflix and PBS, then go to the Youtube TV app to easily find all other shows. This is a minor thing, but the entire experience would be better if Youtube TV integrated better with the Apple TV app the same way all other Apps like Prime, Netflix, AMC, PBS, etc, do ..

Questions? Post them below..
What's your setup?! Post it below!


Robert M
Re: How We Cut The Cord and Got Rid of Cable TV

We've been using nothing but Amazon Prime Video on our Roku box for the last year and we're happy with it. We get local channels over the air with an antenna and Prime lets us buy seasons of any shows on Showtime or HBO so we have plenty of entertainment for usually less than $20 per month

Re: How We Cut The Cord and Got Rid of Cable TV

Yes! I didnt even mention HBO and Showtime via Prime Video for only like, what $10/month?
Even better is old HBO and Showtime shows FOR FREE! I've been binging on Veep and East Bound & Down for free!

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