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How to Cut the Cable Cord: A Primer

Looking to cut the cable cord? It could save you money and provide more freedom. Learn whether the switch to streaming is right for you. 

cut the cable cord

Is it time to cut the cable cord? When you consider the choice of streaming services available on the market, cost savings and access to acclaimed streaming-only TV shows and movies, the switch is tempting.

Platforms like Disney+ and Apple TV+ are giving cable companies a run for their money

“This really is the golden age of content,” said Seana Norvell, director of consumer public relations for Roku. “There’s an incredible amount of great content out there available to watch for free or on paid channels…you have the ability to customize your experience based on what matters to you.”

On the other hand, the bundles provided by cable companies, which consolidate TV, phone and internet to one bill, may be worth the added price for convenience.

Before you start shopping, consider the options.

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Why to Cut the Cable Cord

If you’re thinking about cutting the cable cord this year, you’re not alone. 40 million people dropped their cable and satellite services in 2019, according to eMarketer, and the number of cord-cutting households in America is expected to reach 56.1 million in 2020.

For many cable converts, the most common reason is to save money. Streaming services are available with one-time payments rather than expensive fixed-rate contracts. And as cable TV subscriptions fall, monthly costs are increasing.

Statistica reported that as of July 2019, around 34 percent of adults living in the U.S. indicated that they pay between $51 and $100 for cable television each month. Furthermore, “only around half of the 2,200 people interviewed in the survey were able to provide an answer to this question at all, indicating that a significant portion of respondents was not currently paying for a cable TV service.”

How to Cut the Cord

For those who are new to streaming, many of the services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube Premium offer free 30-day trials.

If you are looking to make the switch but don’t want to lose live TV channels, some devices have free TV streaming options, such as The Roku Channel. Many streaming services also offer skinny bundles, a customized cable TV package that usually includes major broadcast networks like ABC, NBC, Fox and more. Skinny bundles like Philo, Sling TV and YouTube TV provide a variety of channels for home use and on the go.

Live TV Streaming Plans 

Streaming TV service Starting price 
AT&T WatchTV $15/month
AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) $65/month
Sling TV $30/month
YouTube TV $49.99/month
Hulu + Live TV $54.99/month
Philo $20/month

Fast and reliable internet is key to taking your cord-cutting experience to the next level. Ask yourself if your internet connection is fast enough to stream content. If it seems slow, reevaluating your internet power and Wi-Fi set up can help you get a better sense of how much broadband you need.

Once you’ve assessed your internet speed and have picked picked the streaming services that you want, you can use devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku or Google Chromecast to access them all from one place; simply plug the device into the HDMI port of your TV. Consumers with smart TVs may be surprised to learn that their device already supports all streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube.


cut the cable cord

Popular Streaming Services

Roku TV

Roku has a channel for practically everything all from the power of a remote. Since announcing a Netflix streaming box in 2008, Roku has made it faster and easier than ever to watch movies and TV shows from services like Netflix and Sling TV. From their basic model, the Roku Express, to their best high-end streaming system yet, the Roku Ultra, Roku offers an award-winning selection of products while remaining an affordable alternative to cable TV. With a huge selection of free content, live TV and more on The Roku Channel, giving up cable doesn’t have to mean giving up your favorite shows.

Amazon TV

From the Fire TV Stick to the Fire Cube, Amazon’s streaming devices are the most versatile on the market, offering a range of features at an affordable price. Amazon’s streaming devices have some of the top apps for gamers and moviegoers alike, with Alexa integration using the remote  – that means you can check the news, weather, sports scores using your voice. The Fire TV Stick has been one of Amazon’s bestselling products for years, and Amazon TV has remained a top choice with 40 million active users.

Apple TV

Looking to bring cinematic value to everything you watch? Look no further. The recent Apple TV 4K delivers the best picture and sound quality today for those willing to spend a bit more. Now you can watch TV shows and movies in a clean and crisp 4K format, plus the Siri voice option and sleek design of the Apple TV remote offer an attractive interface. Don’t have a 4K TV? Don’t worry. It’s also compatible with HDR and Dolby Vision TVs. Available in two storage sizes.

Have you cut the cable cord? Are you still undecided? Tell us in the comments. 

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    Newer Tv’s have built in free option for some basic Tv.
    Small Air Antenna ($19-30 one time) gets air local channels.
    Amazon Prime ($12/mos and shipping deals from Amazon) and can download many Tv stations, streaming like Twitch, games.
    Amazon fire stick ($30 one time to use on Amazon prime)
    Newer Tv has internet for YouTube.

    My many tv stations of more than I can watch, is cost of high speed internet (alone no tv added) plus $12/mos Amazon.

    One time costs; antenna $19-30, amazon fire stick $30. (Cost of home internet router)

    Would have internet anyway so basically a LOT of Tv for $12/mos and internet provider monthly cost!!!

  • Funny that this and similar articles gloss over the fact that most internet comes from the cable company. It costs 50 to 60 dollars for the broadband connection and if you add a few premium streaming services you gained nothing.
    On the other hand going to basic cable and internet and taking advantage of the tons of free streaming available is a good option.

    • Maggie M.

      Hi Joes,
      Great point, it all depends on your internet service provider. Cutting the cable cord in not a viable option for all. I do agree that cutting down to the basic cable combined with internet is better option when packaging affects the bottom line. Thank you for your feedback! MM


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