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

My Ultimate Cord Cutting Setup – Devices I Personally Use

Cutting the cable connection to coax connector illustrating retired people cancelling cable TV serviceI am often asked what my personal at home cord cutting setup is, so I decided to break down what I use.

Keep in mind that I own more than 80 cord cutting devices: every Roku sold since 2011, every Fire TV/Fire Stick ever made, both first and second generation Nvidia Shields, Apple TV 4th Gen, and probably 50 android-based streaming players. Add in over a dozen antennas and other peripherals and more. You get the picture.

So this is not a post listing what I own, but a break down of the devices I use to be a cord cutter. Look for an article coming in the future about the streaming services I use.

Disclaimer. This setup worked for my family. There is no one perfect device or setup for everyone. Get the devices you like.


I moved a little over a year ago to a place where an indoor antenna is not a bad option. Although an indoor antenna is not a bad idea, I still like the performance an outdoor antenna offers. Right now I am using an Antenna Direct 4v antenna.

Remember: Antennas are not one-size-fits-all, so buy the antenna that is right for where you live.


A DVR for over-the-air TV is an awesome cord cutting tool that too many overlook. I ended up going with the Tablo DVR for two reasons. First, I love the ability to have one DVR that all my TVs can access in my house without the need to buy a second device. Second, I love the ability to access my DVR when I travel.

I almost went with the Channel Master DVR, but the two reasons listed above pushed me to the Tablo. Both DVRs are great, and the Channel Master has its benefits.

Streaming Players

In my house every day I use two types of streaming players: the Fire TV and Roku players. The device I use first most often is the Roku. Why Roku first? Several reasons. First, it is so simple to use, my 5-year-old daughter can watch what she wants when she wants it.

Second, I like my TCL Roku TVs so much that I have two of them—one in the living room and one in my bedroom. Late last year as a Christmas present I picked up a Roku 4K HDR TV P-series from TCL on sale for the bedroom.

I also have a Roku Premiere in the kid’s room and a Roku Stick+ for travel. (I travel a lot for work.) The Fire TV has been used in the past for the few apps Roku didn’t have, but with YouTube TV being removed I find that Roku is the device I use most of the time.

I really like the huge library of Roku channels and, more importantly, streaming stores to pick from, but in the end I love how easy the Roku is to use. My parents can use it, and my 5-year-old daughter can use it.

I do have to tip my hat to the Nvidia Shield. If I still had time to game it would be my #1 streaming player, because it is by far the fastest streaming player I have ever tested.

Other Cord Cutting Tools

The Sideclick is a universal remote that I have loved from the first day I got it. It is a universal remote that clips onto your streaming player’s remote. I love the fact that I can use the default Roku remote but also control my TV from one remote.

I also appreciate being able to mount my Roku behind the TV to hide the Roku. This Roku mount makes it easy to hide the Roku, making the living room look clean.

Finally, with all these devices I need more HDMI ports. I use the Kinivo K500 5 port high speed 4K switcher. It works well and makes it easy to have all my devices connected to one TV.

That is my setup, but you need to do what is right for you. All of the devices out there offer something for someone. Check back in the days to come for a post about what services I use.

What do you use? Leave us a comment and let us know what devices you love.

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28 Responses to My Ultimate Cord Cutting Setup – Devices I Personally Use

  1. Fred Koot February 7, 2018 at 9:30 am #

    My CordCutting set up. Hdhomerun, Tried Tablo but they heavily compress the stream and strip out Dolby Digital .WD NAS that sends Ota recordings to all my devices. Fire tv’s on all my tv’s. Cheap wireless ac router. Cheap $20 antenna

    • RT Barshaw February 7, 2018 at 9:46 am #

      Thank you for this post. I was thinking about getting a Tablo but with compression and no Dolby Digital it’s a hard pass for me.

    • Scott Blanchard February 7, 2018 at 2:00 pm #

      Hi Fred, as an HDHR user myself, highly recommend you check out the Simplebits “Channels” app. I’ve been using it on Apple TV for over a year. They just rolled out support for Fire TV. Its the most useful (and polished) app I’ve ever installed on my ATV.

      • Fred Koot February 7, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

        Can’t find it for Fire tv. Do you have a link?

  2. Deon Hamner February 7, 2018 at 9:41 am #

    Luke thank you and the other staffers for helping us cut the cord. One of the best decisions I ever made.

  3. Karl Childers February 7, 2018 at 9:42 am #

    3 Apple TVs + HDHomeRun with an old rabbit-ear style antenna for locals.

  4. itsonlymoi February 7, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    ANTOP 65 Miles Omni-directional Antenna used indoors (top of a bookshelf near a window), with amplifier/splitter feeding 3 TVs by coax. FireTV (replaced a Fire Stick), Roku Stick and AirTV Player & tuner in the living room. Roku 3 with Sideclick in bedroom.

  5. Patrick Little February 7, 2018 at 10:53 am #

    I have a Mohu Sky 60 external antenna that feeds a broadband amplifier in the attic which in turns feeds all the bedrooms in my house. In my media room I have a TIVO Roamio with four OTA tuners and DVR. For streaming I have a Roku, Fire TV and Chromecast. I use Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Live. I also have a PLEX sever for my personal video & music collection. This all drives my Samsung Plasma with Sony surround sound. I use a 5 port HDMI switch to accommodate all of these devices plus my Blu-Ray player and Gaming System. Finally I use an old Logitech 550 universal remote to tie it all together and control the HDMI & TV HDMI switching. Due to spotty reception of some of my local TV affiliates, I use the Hulu streaming application to supplement the OTA antenna.

  6. Mario J. Martinez February 7, 2018 at 10:59 am #

    You say you are using Tablo connect for remote viewing but what are viewing it with? Chromecast or Roku?

  7. Corinne February 7, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    People always talk about how many channels Roku has. How many do you actually use and how do those compare to other devices?

  8. SS February 7, 2018 at 11:04 am #

    I have Apple TV, NVIDIA Shield, Fire TV and Insignia Roku TV. I’m finding myself spending more time on Roku thanks to YouTube TV and Philo.

    When I’m just watching regular YouTube, I prefer SHIELD because of the Google Assistant commands which make it very convenient. For Netflix and other apps, Apple TV has an unbeatable smooth interface.

  9. SS February 7, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    If you have YouTube TV, why do you need Tablo DVR?

  10. jmgnyc February 7, 2018 at 11:14 am #

    For hardware – I have 2 Apple TVs for their ease of use, frame and dynamic range switching and a server to store local content. So simple.

    For content – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu commercial free, HBO, Showtime, Starz and CBS commercial free some of which are only payed for when there’s a show to binge watch. For the rare rental or the occasional show that is not available on other services I rent/purchase through iTunes. For local content Infuse connected to my server cannot be beat on any other box or app with frame rate switching, dynamic range matching and HD audio. For news there’s a variety of ATV apps that are free to use but hardly ever watch news on TV.

    So, I basically have commercial free TV. 🙂

    I don’t use any of the live TV cable bundles delivered over the internet unless there’s a sporting event I really want to watch in which case I use Sling TV for a month. Sports is really the problem child with cord cutting.

    • Karl Childers February 7, 2018 at 12:03 pm #

      For iTunes purchases If you haven’t yet stumbled upon the CheapCharts app I highly recommend checking it out. It allows you to put TV shows and movies that you’re interested into a wish list and then it will notify you when they go on sale. It also gives you a price trend so that you can tell whether or not the sale is a good bargain.

      • jmgnyc February 7, 2018 at 12:12 pm #

        Yes, I have CheapCharts. It’s great!

  11. Michael Allbritton February 7, 2018 at 11:15 am #

    My setup isn’t quite as elaborate as everyone else’s. I’ve got 100 Mb internet from Spectrum/Charter along with a 40″ Sony HD TV with 1 Apple TV 4 connected to it (I currently have no plans to buy a 4K TV since I just bought this TV a year ago). I tried using an antenna for a while, but unfortunately, despite being in a good area for reception it is inconsistent. Sometimes a channel will be clear, sometimes it won’t. So I subscribe to the $6 tier of CBS all access to get some local news. I also subscribe to Netflix and Hulu (commercial free) for other content). Since I watch very little live TV, except during American football season, and some years the NCAA basketball tournament, I don’t really need or want a DVR. Nor do I presently subscribe to a live TV service.

  12. BigO February 7, 2018 at 12:02 pm #

    Antenna: On a suggestion from another ready, I purchased a ViewTV 80 Miles Range Digital Passive Outdoor / Indoor Attic HDTV Antenna with Included Mounting Pole via Amazon. It was available from a deal site for $9 (lists $30), and has worked very well for us. We receive all of the networks including the sub-channels.

    DVR: Do not have one yet, but I do plan on getting one later this year. I have yet to decide which one would work best for us, but I am leaning towards either a Tablo or TiVo.

    Streaming Players: We have a Fire TV2 in our family room, an original Fire TV in our other room, a Roku 3 in our bedroom, and a Xbox 360 in our basement. We also have a couple of DVD players (family room – bedroom), and another Xbox 360 in our other room. I mention them as we do borrow quite a bit from the library.

    Other: Not really in the same category, but I have purchased a couple of Bluetooth headsets to go along with our Fire TVs. The main reason we went with the Fire TVs is the ability to pair Bluetooth headsets.

    • Todd February 7, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

      For DVR, of the two options you mentioned, I would go with Tablo. I say this from experience because I have both.

      In terms of similarities, both have up to 4 tuners for OTA, and both offer really nice options like smart recording, extend recording, etc. Both connect via ethernet or wireless to your network.

      There are quite a few differences though. The TiVo has a lot of functionality and is very mature in the DVR space, but you have to buy additional components to turn it into a whole house DVR. With the Tablo, all I need is an antenna, network connection and external storage. You access it through the apps on your streaming devices.

      Speaking of storage, I have a TiVo Bolt which is only a year or two old, and I’m restricted to a specific model of external hard drive if I want to expand the storage. The largest size that it would support was 1 TB. With my Tablo, I’m able to plug in any drive I want, up to 8 TB. I’m currently using a 4 TB portable USB drive that requires no additional power supply.

      Then there are the service plans. For TiVo, the plans are insanely expensive, from $14.99/month to $549 for a lifetime plan. It’s also tied to the device, so if you replace the device, you need a new plan. With Tablo, it’s $4.99/month to $149.99 for lifetime, and it’s tied to you, not the device. If you buy a lifetime plan, you can transfer that from device to device with no penalty.

      Obviously it’s your decision, but I thought I would share some info that might help you.

      • psychic99 February 7, 2018 at 10:43 pm #

        Tivo OTA doesn’t have any monthly fees. However you are correct to get access to multiple TV you need a Tivo Mini. They can be had for $100 or so, but a least they support most streaming channels. The older gen minis are slowing down now (older processors). So YMMV.

        Tablo is as buggy as heck and buffering delay I can not get over nor the ugly compression, the Tivo just works.

      • BigO February 8, 2018 at 11:33 am #

        Thank you very much for your input – it is greatly appreciated. The ability to connect to any of our other streaming boxes is a plus for Tablo.

      • Joellyn Carpenter February 9, 2018 at 1:18 pm #

        I use the TIVO OTA and there is only 1 charge for service. It functions more like the DVR’s I am used to and you can skip the commercials on the recordings. I have a TIVO Mini in the living room. I also own a Slingbox 500 that I have had for years and use to look at tv from the TIVO in the other rooms in my house as well as if I am away from home.

  13. Mike Thaler February 7, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

    We have 2 home locations. Cut cord in one, have Comcast via HOA in other – included in HOA dues.
    Have Roku, Netflix (which we acivate about 6 months a year), Amazon Prime (mainly for purchasing goods), and YTTV.
    We actually make use of the YTTV streaming in “Comcast” home. Wife plays stream on tablet set up in kitchen – or play it when out on balcony. Make use of HOA sub. in other home to watch CNNGo, ESPN, HBOGO, SHO etc.

  14. Craig W February 7, 2018 at 2:10 pm #

    Roku premier+ on 49″ Vizio in living room, 2016 Roku stick on 28″ Toshiba in bedroom and first gen Roku 2 on small crt in guest bedroom. 50/10 internet from RCN. All connected to 2 tuner Tablo DVR. Pulling signals from 4 homemade attic mounted antennas. I’m happy with this setup but I’m always looking to improve. Thanks to CCN I’m kept updated daily. Thanks Luke.

  15. Stanley Powell February 7, 2018 at 4:57 pm #

    In full disclosure my wife and I own over 14 streaming devices. We use the following:
    Living room: Nvidia Shield TV, mohu leaf 30 mile antenna with view tv converter box (PVR )

    Master bed room: fire tv stick
    Guest bedroom: roku express
    Bedroom: fire tv stick
    Man cave: Google chromecast/fire tv stick

    Note: some time use mi box and fire tv 2nd gen alot as well.

    Cable services we use this year (2018):
    Sling TV, Vader streams, and gears tv

    • Fred Koot February 7, 2018 at 5:57 pm #

      Don’t think you should be mentioning illegal sites like gears tv a d Vader streams on this site.

      • Stanley Powell February 7, 2018 at 7:26 pm #

        Fred Koot. You’re right. We use netflix, amazon prime, and pureflix.

  16. b_e_q February 7, 2018 at 9:45 pm #

    I’d gone mostly Roku for family members spanning the globe. 40-50 devices over the years — from the old Roku 3’s… to 2017 Roku sticks, boxes and TCL 4K DV TV’s (the 75″ C Series is getting a lot of love).

    A good balance of simplicity and extensibility (ie. private channels, tho they’re being locked down). But it’s been a lot of work setting them up (creating multiple Roku accounts most with 50+ channels, organizing each device’s home screen just right, logging in each channel on each device with the right accounts… then maintaining any changes), ugh.

    P.S. That said, each household still needs the Apple TV for HomeKit/AirPlay/iTunes, and still fun to play with Fire TV, branded Android TV (with Cast), and generic Android boxes (not to mention consoles)…

  17. DON February 8, 2018 at 9:40 am #

    I have Roku’s on all 4 of my tv’s ( most apps-easy to use). Have fire stick on basement tv and fire tv ( for android apps) on family room tv on different hdmi ports. Use tablo dvr – best value for ota dvr,