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 DVRAnd 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.

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12 thoughts on “How to Get Started with Cutting the Cord

  1. I’d like to buy this whole system you are talking about but I don’t understand the technical stuff. I have a computer and TV. I use Netflix but I want streaming but I need help. I had Roku many years ago but the router was the pits and I stopped using Ruku – my wife and me couldn’t get it to work. The prices you talk about are just fine and we would like your system installed and working for us. What do I have to do? Help! Andy at valovcin24@comcast.net. I’d like some literature about this system if I can download it – would be nice start.
    You know what – there must be a lot of people like me because I live in a condo and every one complains about our TV and we all want streaming in our apartments as we have it installed in our TV room and it’s great. Just get the workings of this system explained in simple terms that we can understand. Price does not seem to be the hangup. My wife says
    hurry up! Thanks for listening. You should get a team together to talk to our group and I be you can sell them here. Our management is trying to stick us with FIFO crap. Hurry up.

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    1. I’m not selling any kind of system here. You say you are using Netflix now. How are you doing that? Just on your computer? The basics are, you need some sort of device to connect to your TV to get streaming content to it. If you have multiple TV’s you will need one device per TV. I prefer Roku, but there are others. Connect the Roku to the TV with an HDMI cable. Change the input on the TV so that you see the Roku menu. Go through the set up to connect the Roku to your wireless network and set up a Roku account. The next step is to add channels. There is a channel store on the Roku menu. Add the channels you want and create logins for the channels that require them. If you have more than one Roku, set up an account on the first one, then login to that account any others. Any channels that you add on one will automatically be added to the others. Start with just the Roku and Hulu and Netflix. Then build your system from there. Antennas are more difficult in apartments. There are indoor antennas that vary in effectiveness depending on how far you are from TV towers. The antenna will connect to the coaxial connection on your TV. After connecting that, you will need to change your input of your TV to receive antenna signals. You will need to refer to the manual for your television for how to do that. I hope I have broken this down enough. If not, please let me know.

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    1. There are a few solutions for sports. Sling.com has 3 ESPN channels and the antenna will bring you anything local. Sports are the weak point of the setup, but it is getting better as people recognize the trend of streaming television.

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    1. My antenna runs 2 televisions. I have coworkers running as many as 5. However, with that many, the booster I linked would almost certainly be necessary. If possible, use the app I linked to determine the best antenna for you before you buy anything.

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