What is cutting the cord?
Historically, most of us have subscribed to a package of channels through our cable company. When you “cut the cord,” that means that you still get your live TV channels, but you’ll get them over the internet instead of a cable box. Today, there are lots of different ways to do this.
You can subscribe to a live TV service, which allows you to see the cable channels you love. You can also subscribe to an on demand service, which provides a library of movies and TV shows you can watch at any time, usually without commercials.
One big benefit of cutting the cord is that you are not locked into a long contract. You can often sample new services with free trials, and you could switch services every month until you find one that works for you. We will help you get started.
Another great benefit of cutting the cord is that you can often watch these videos on any device: your computer, your tablet, or your phone. Many services allow you to download content to watch offline, so it’s a perfect solution for a long plane ride or a vacation off the grid.
Once you’ve decided what you want to watch, you’ll just need to make sure you have the right equipment. Follow this guide and we’ll make sure you have everything you need.
What do you want to watch?
The easiest way to decide which service you need is to consider what you’d like to watch. Do you want access to live TV for sports, news, or awards shows? Do you want to be able to watch your local news? Do you want premium channels like HBO, Starz, or Cinemax?
Live TV Considerations
If the ability to stream live TV is important to you, take a moment to look at The Streamable’s Service Matchmaker. Simply type in the channels you’d like to see and we’ll provide a chart showing your options.
Each streaming service has its pros and cons, but channel selection is usually the factor that helps you choose.
Note that some services do offer stand-alone subscriptions, but some do not. NFL RedZone is one channel that is currently only available to cord cutters as an add-on for select streaming services. Try to think through all your favorite shows and use our matchmaker to point you in the right direction.
On Demand Considerations
Many people choose to supplement their live TV service with an on demand service. These days, every on demand service has an impressive library that changes frequently. One way to decide is to start by selecting a film or show that is exclusive to a given service.
- Want to watch The Handmaid’s Tale? You’ll have to sign up for Hulu.
- Want to see The Irishman, Stranger Things, or Black Mirror? Netflix is your choice.
- Looking for The Sopranos, Watchmen, or The Wire? HBO Max is for you.
- Are you a Star Wars or Marvel fan? Disney+ is home to both franchises and spin-off shows like The Mandalorian.
In addition to the major services you may have heard of, there are also streaming services that cater to specific interests. There are services with a focus on documentaries or horror films or specific sports. Your options are limited only by your interests, your appetite, and your budget. We’ll explore each of these options in the final section of our guide.
What will it cost?
It is possible to cut the cord for very little money, but you will need to continue paying for an internet service. If you purchase a TV antenna, you can get free, live access to many OTA (over-the-air) channels, depending on where you live.
We will cover some free streaming options later in this guide, but if you go with those options alone, you’re missing out on most of the best video available. If you’re on a budget, you can still have access to a ton of movies and shows. As you might imagine, the more you spend, the more you can watch.
Because you are not locked into a long-term contract, you can manage your costs month-to-month. And unlike a cable TV package, you won’t have to pay a rental fee for a cable box. Cutting the cord may also exempt you from other fees or taxes that your cable company might include in your bill.
Depending on what you already own, cutting the cord may require some one-time costs for equipment. It is important to consider that before you even get to the cost of your chosen services. But if you consider your options wisely, you can create an experience that matches or beats standard cable for less money!
How to get started
Are you ready for the flexibility and variety that cord cutting offers? Let’s go to the next step: What equipment do I need?