Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV service

Cord Cutting 101: A Beginners Guide to Cord Cutting (2018 Edition)

Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV serviceCord cutting can sound scary at first, with a ton of options and decisions to make, but you will find it is surprisingly easy. In fact, you may already have everything you need. We want to be here to help you cancel cable TV and legally stream your content online so you pay less and still get all your shows.

Here are our five steps to becoming a cord cutter with our Cord Cutting 101 Guide!

Step 1. Streaming Services

There are a lot of live streaming services available, and it may seem overwhelming but it is easier than you think.

You will likely need more than one streaming service, but the good news is almost all of them offer a free trial. We suggest you take advantage of the free trials to see what fits your needs.

Picking a live TV streaming service:

The number of live TV streaming services is growing. Right now you can pick from Sling TV, HulufuboTV, PhiloPlayStation Vue, and DIRECTV NOW to name a few.

Not sure if Sling, DIRECTV NOW, PlayStation Vue, or others are right for you? Check out our head-to-head cohttp://www.dpbolvw.net/click-7945729-13255990mparison of these services HERE.

Here is a quick overview of the most popular on-demand streaming services:

Netflix—With new content added weekly Netflix has thousands of hours of movies and TV shows available, making it the largest streaming service in the world. You will find a ton of content from major networks and movie studios. Netflix is also the leader in original content you cannot find on cable.

Hulu—Do you want your content the day after it originally airs? Hulu is a great option for anyone who wants to watch recent shows from networks such as FOX, NBC, ABC, FX, and Spike.

Amazon Prime Video—Amazon Prime not only gets you free two-day shipping and free music, it also gives you access to thousands of movies and TV shows. Amazon’s partnership with HBO brings you a vast selection of HBO shows as part of your Prime membership.

Although Amazon Prime does not give you access to everything available on the Amazon Video service, it does have TV shows from many cable channels available the next day—starting at $1.99—and it also offers recently released movies for rent. So not only do you get an immense amount of free content, but Amazon Prime is also a great way to rent and buy recent movies and TV shows.

These are just a couple of the over 200 streaming services in the United States. The list goes on and on, and we suggest you take advantage of the many free trials to see what services are right for you.

If you are looking for 100% free options, see our post about free streaming apps by clicking HERE.

Step 2. Pick Your Device

The next thing you need is a device that will stream what you want to watch to your TV. The top four selling devices are Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Apple TV. All are great options for different reasons, so make sure you choose the one that is best for you.

For ease of use we recommend the Roku streaming player. It’s simple and easy to understand. It is basic and straightforward, but it has the most streaming video apps of any player with an easy-to-use remote.

For flexible open streaming players, check out the Fire TV and Android TV. Both Fire TV and Android TV players allow side loading of a wide range of apps. If you like to tinker, we recommend checking them out.

Apple owners who have a ton of movies and TV shows on iTunes will want an Apple TV because that is the only device that will play iTunes shows and movies.

Step 3. Buying Antenna

An antenna is a huge part of being a cord cutter, and most Americans can easily pick up 30+ channels. With many of the most popular TV shows being 100% free and in HD over the air, an antenna is a great way to watch sports and your favorite show without paying high cable bills.

The number of channels you receive will vary depending on where you live. We recommend going to AntennaRecomendations.com and typing your address into the channel finder to see which channels are available in your area. This will also help you figure out if an indoor or a roof-mounted antenna is needed to get the channels you want.

We recommend buying a mid-priced antenna—not the cheapest but also not the most expensive. Buying an antenna is a one-time expense so get a good one that will last for many years.

Do you need help installing an antenna? Amazon can help with that! Check out Amazon’s antenna installation page for help setting up an antenna.

Step 4. Internet

To get the most from cord cutting you will need Internet. Remember when you downgrade from a bundle to Internet only you won’t get the best deal. Internet companies save the best deals for new customers. But don’t worry, we can help.

I suggest you shop around for your Internet service provider. Many people think cable is the only way to get fast Internet, but for most Americans that is no longer true.

DSL has come a long way, and I suggest you do what I do. Switch back and forth between DSL and cable Internet. Every time a provider won’t give me a deal I switch and get the new customer pricing from the other provider. I even found that at one time my DSL company had faster Internet than my cable company.

I personally recommend Toast.net for DSL if you can get it. It is United States based with US customer service reps. It also has no data caps, so you can stream all you want. No matter who you go with, don’t be afraid to switch ISPs when your contract ends.

Also keep an eye out for fixed wireless Internet and 5G wireless Internet. These are new services rolling out across the United States that are offering new options for high speed Internet at home. Although still only in a handful of markets today they say by the end of 2020 they will be available in over half of US households.

Step 5. Try It Out

You are set up and ready to go, but before you cancel cable TV, unplug your cable box and try being a cord cutter for a month. When my family canceled cable it took us about two weeks to find all the shows we wanted. Once we found the content we wanted, we never looked back; however, it was nice to know that if we couldn’t initially find a program we could still watch it on cable until we found it on our streaming service.

Congratulations! You are now a cord cutter!

That’s it—you have successfully set yourself up as a cord cutter. All you need to do now is call your cable TV provider and cancel your cable TV! Make sure they put you on their do not call list so they don’t call you every day for years to come. You can find out how to be put on a do not call list at your old cable company by clicking HERE.

Remember to take a look at our guide on how to avoid the three most common mistakes people make when they cut the cord.

Do you have a suggestion for our Cord Cutting 101 Guide? Post it in the comments.

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9 Responses to Cord Cutting 101: A Beginners Guide to Cord Cutting (2018 Edition)

  1. tommyr January 3, 2018 at 10:36 am #

    DO IT! I did almost 3 weeks ago. Saving over $100 a month. I’m SO SICK of the price increases. Stop being raped by the cable company.

  2. Malignar January 3, 2018 at 10:39 am #

    You might recommend suppose.tv, that someone mentioned in comments the other day. It should help those new to cord cutting and which service has the channels they want.

  3. Fred Koot January 3, 2018 at 11:47 am #

    My biggest tool is my Hdhomerun. I can watch OTA on any device around my house. I paid $35 for the Dvr service, but you can Dvr for free on a Windows 7 com.

    • Andrew Lindeman January 3, 2018 at 3:05 pm #

      I second having a HDHomeRun device or another OTA gadget like the Tablio or I think Channel Master as something coming. It means you don’t have to switch inputs on the TV- which for me is a big “WAF” (Wife Acceptance Factor) improvement.

      I’m really hoping that ATSC 3.0 really does improve the multipath issues that ATSC 1.0 has

      Luke: can you hire a contract writer who lives in Phoenix (or wherever it is that gets to beta test ATSC 3.0) to write up their experience with it before it’s rolled out nationwide?

  4. Ron C. January 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm #

    If you’re reading this and haven’t cut the cord, then you’re ready. DO IT! I switched from Uverse over a year ago and haven’t regretted it once. Not once. I get my live tv over Vue, I have Netflix and I use these through a Roku. I know it can be a little intimidating, especially, if you’re like me and always have had cable but trust me, you’ll be so happy that you did. Hey, have I ever lied to you before?

  5. BigO January 3, 2018 at 3:15 pm #

    The one thing I always try to tell anyone looking to cut the cord is there is no such thing as a “perfect” setup. We have what I think is the perfect setup for us (Netflix / Amazon / Hulu + library + antenna), but it may not be perfect for everyone. Some may want a Live OTT service while others might be happy with nothing. Make use of the free trials to figure out what works best for you. Also, do not think you have to stay subscribed to anything. We subscribe to HBO & Starz 1-2 times per year and binge what we are interested in. Then, we cancel until there is more content we want to watch.

    LIFE IS GRAND!

  6. normgregory January 18, 2018 at 7:53 pm #

    Not one mention my choice:: YouTube TV!

  7. Angela Smith January 31, 2018 at 8:32 pm #

    I am researching my options for “cutting the cord” to lower our TV costs. My husband says that all he cares about is making sure he has local channels to watch college football, ESPN to watch NFL football, and news channels (Fox News, CNN, etc). I figure we can use our Amazon Prime or Netflix when we want to watch a show or movie. I know that I need to have at least 20-25 Mbps of internet speed but I don’t know how to get our local channels. I have entered our address on the website recommended (http://antennarecommendations.com) and it shows that an antenna would give us 0 channels in our area! Any advice on how to get our local channels if an antenna won’t work?

  8. jake bush February 8, 2018 at 9:36 am #

    I am a bit confused. Why do we call it cord cutting and then subscribe to all these different streaming services. Dtvnow, psvue, sling, etc? We are doing nothing different than using an alternative way to spend money on TV. In my opinion cord cutting is ota not ott. Let’s be honest, is there a streaming service where we can only subscribe to the channels we want? No. So it’s no different than the different cable or satellite packages we can get.
    As long as we continue to use internet to get tv, then the services can know exactly what we watch and when.
    So if espn is watched more than anything, why would the companies not raise their rates as they know people will do whatever in order to get that specific network. If we really want to make a difference, then all should go to just ota. This would cause the pay channels to take a look and change the way that their networks air. If everyone quits a&e then walking dead may go to over the air.