Cable and satellite bills keep going up while your service keeps getting worse. Cable companies are constantly feuding over money with network providers and dropping channels. And who is the one that gets screwed by this? YOU! The good news is, you don’t need them anymore! Here are the steps to rid yourself of those cable/satellite providers and join the streaming revolution! I have highlighted several links throughout the article to items, apps and software that I have used and highly recommend.
Before you get started you need to have access to high speed internet. Netflix recommends 5mbps for streaming HD quality. I recommend at least 10mbps. Personally, I have 20mbps. If you are going to stream HD quality to more than one TV and also want to browse the internet without having buffering issues, faster is better. If you aren’t sure what speed you have, check your bill and then go to speedtest.net to verify you are getting what you are paying for. It should at least be close to what you see on your bill. If not, contact your service provider and tell them to get it fixed!
The first thing you need to do is get some sort of device to get online content to your television. If you have a smart TV, you are all set. If not, there are lots of options. None of my televisions are smart so I added Roku. I have 3 of them and highly recommend them. Remember to get the smart phone app for the Roku. It makes searching MUCH easier as it will give you a full keyboard and adds voice control.
The next thing to do is set up a Hulu+ account. The typical account is $7.99/month. Hulu+, for the most part, keeps up with shows that are on television currently. Once a show airs, it will be on Hulu+ for about 6 weeks. Log on to hulu.com with your computer and find all of the shows you like to watch and add them to your watch list. When you open the Hulu+ app on your TV, those shows will show up in your watch list and it will be much easier to find the content YOU want. Also, it will highlight and move any new episodes of the shows to the front of your watch list.
I also like to have a Netflix account. It is also about $7.99/month. There is quite a lot of content on there. Netflix typically does not have shows that are currently on television, but if there was a show that you missed out on, Netflix may be your best bet. They have several TV shows in their entirety as well as quite a few very good Netflix original series for your binging pleasure. They also have a fairly impressive catalog of movies.
There are more options for streaming TV, such as Sling TV, HBO NOW, Amazon Prime among others. Most of them have a monthly subscription fee. Do the math and decide what is best for your family. The bet part of streaming is that YOU decide what channels you want instead of paying for 400 channels that you don’t want just to get the ones you do want.
If you are confused about how to choose the correct Roku device and set it up, see my page: Roku: The basics.
The next step is an antenna. There are several indoor antennas that may or may not work for you. If you are able, an outdoor antenna will outperform any indoor antenna. If you have a smart phone, get two apps to aid in antenna selection: Digital TV Antenna and TV Antenna Helper. Both are free apps in the Google Play store. (I’m an android guy, sorry iPhone fans). TV Antenna Helper will help you select the best antenna for your location. Antenna Pointer will help you aim the antenna to achieve the best signal from your antenna. If you have a Home Owners Association and they tell you that you can’t put an antenna on the outside of your home, direct them here. The FCC has banned any “restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. This is the antenna I use. With this booster. With these two items I get 42 channels for FREE! If you aren’t sure how to connect an antenna to your television , click HERE.
At this point, you could stop and be quite comfortable with cancelling your cable/satellite subscription. if you want to add a PC as a DVR, please see my blog How to use a Personal Computer as a DVR. And DO NOT miss my post about Plex. As a coworker of mine says, “It will change your life.”
Of course, there are many other ways to accomplish the goal of streaming TV. This is just what has worked for me and several people that I work with. You don’t need to do everything all at once. Start small and build your system to suit your own needs. More and more people are starting to get away from cable/satellite TV and the more they do, the more the networks are taking notice.