Watching tv and using remote control

My Ultimate Cord Cutting Setup – Services I Personally Use

Watching tv and using remote controlI often get asked what cord cutting devices and services I use. Yesterday, I talked about the devices I use. Today, I want to go over the services I use.

Now what services I use is a tough question, because I subscribe to a ton of services for work. I currently have a subscription to every live TV service including Sling TV, Philo, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW, Hulu’s live TV beta, and Fubo TV.

I also subscribe to many video on-demand services for testing that I don’t typically use. Whether that be testing out a service such as CuriosityStream or Shudder, I often rotate through them so I can do reviews and recommend services I enjoy.

So remember this post is what I use at home, not every service I currently pay for.

Services I Used When I Became a Cord Cutter

When I cut the cord, we already had Netflix and subscribed to Amazon Prime Video. (We had Amazon Prime mostly for the free shipping.) So we added Hulu for a total new cost of about $8 a month. (That is an important thing to remember. Many cable subscribers already pay for one or more streaming services such as Netflix.)

I used the LiveStream app to stream my local news, because we lived in an area with no over-the-air reception. I also used Twonky Beam, a free app that would cast YouTube videos to your Roku before YouTube had an official app. (Anyone remember Twonky Beam?) I also used a few other free services here and there, but none really stand out in my memory.

Total new cost: $8 a month (Not counting services I paid for when I had cable.)

Services I Use Today as a Cord Cutter

I still use Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. A few years ago I moved, so I now use an antenna, the 4V from Antenna Direct, and a Tablo DVR to stream it to all the devices in my house.

As for live TV services if it was not for my work at Cord Cutters News, I would only subscribe to them twice a year. First, during the Walking Dead I would get Sling TV, because it is the least expensive option. Second, I would pay during football season.

During the college football season I typically use DIRECTV NOW. (I still have the $35 Go Big promo deal.) I am a huge Big Ten fan, and they didn’t black out the games on FS1. I love that Sling has the Pac 12 Network but, sadly, it does not have the Big Ten Network.

I also use several free services. Pluto TV has a ton of great content, and I use NewsON for local news when I want it. Crackle and Tubi TV are great ways to watch a ton of free content.

Total new cost: $43 a month (Not counting services I paid for when I had cable.) For that $43 a month I get far more content than I ever had with cable.

So what cord cutting services do you use? (Please only post legal services. Posting pirated services may result in a ban.)

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32 Responses to My Ultimate Cord Cutting Setup – Services I Personally Use

  1. Avatar
    Fred Koot February 8, 2018 at 8:40 am #

    Netflix Hulu Pluto for news and Hdhomerun Ota Dvr. Purchase Amazon HBO or others for a month only when there is something I want. Tried all OTT services, Vue was by far the best. Didn’t use enough to justify the cost.

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    Wambie February 8, 2018 at 8:48 am #

    PSV, Netflix, Hulu (I have Amazon but never use it) Then there are free apps on Roku I use a lot like Fite, Pluto, Roku Channel, Vudu, My Retro Flix, Crackle, Shout and Tubi. Plus a Mohu HD antenna I found on the clearance rack for 15 bucks. It gets all my locals. The reason I use PSV is because they have the best sports package especially MLBN, BTN, FSD and NFLN.

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    Stanley Powell February 8, 2018 at 8:56 am #

    Netflix, Amazon Prime we had before cutting the cord. Since cutting the cord a year ago: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Pureflix, and Sling TV. Our total depends on the sling package,but generally with tax and all $28 plus $9 for pureflix= $37 per month. We use Mohu Leaf antenna in living room for OTA, and cheaper 25 mile range antennas in all other rooms for OTA.

  4. Avatar
    Garry February 8, 2018 at 9:06 am #

    (We had Amazon Prime mostly for the free shipping.) Glad to hear I’m not the only one doing that. I have DNA on all my ROKU’s, DTVN, NETFLIX and Amazon (Amazon Prime mostly for the free shipping) . Might add I use these 3 services at my house, my daughters house, and my Grand daughter at college. All for one price. Can’t do that with cable or satellite.

  5. Avatar
    GMan524 February 8, 2018 at 9:17 am #

    Are you really saving money when you purchase all this equipment? An antenna,OTA dvr,roku box,amazon box,etc….. And in two years, all this stuff will have to be replaced(outdated). There are so many changes happening in tv streaming, that its hard to commit to one now. I just think it costs alot to be a full fledged cord cutter, and your never satisfied with the choices made.

    • Avatar
      Roy Aguilera February 8, 2018 at 9:21 am #

      Well if you purchase your streaming equipment 50-150 per box and are paying your cable provider taxes, rental fees and streaming fees. It’s really just a wash.

      Plus you can sell your purchased equipment vs simply returning your loaned units. Like comparing a leased vehicle to a purchased one.

      • Avatar
        GMan524 February 8, 2018 at 10:16 am #

        That’s what I’m saying, as far as paying for the eqmt. No streaming service has exactly what I want,but my cable service does. Much easier to stay with cable than not being satisfied with the other services, for now.

        • Avatar
          Malignar February 8, 2018 at 10:19 am #

          When DTVN works out their issues and comes out with the DVR, their channel lineup would have almost everything you could possibly want. You may keep an eye on their progress with those two items, as it could potentially save you some money.

          • Avatar
            GMan524 February 8, 2018 at 10:44 am #

            I sure hope so. Who doesn’t want to save money for the same services. I just want to make sure that what I want to watch is available .

          • Avatar
            Fred Koot February 8, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

            If they work out their issues.

      • Avatar
        grinlap February 8, 2018 at 11:46 am #

        Those “extra fees and taxes” on cable can be a real drag but I’m wondering when the states will start charging some of those taxes on streaming services. Most states have some kind of special tax on cable/satellite services. Here in Florida it’s 11.4% on Directv. If that kind of extra cost gets added to your streaming service bill the cost differential with cable will narrow. I think it’s only a matter of time until state and local governments see this as a source of new revenue.

    • Avatar
      Lyntill February 8, 2018 at 10:00 am #

      I’m saving money after buying my equipment. It took about 4 months to reach the break even point but now I’m watching what I want, when I want, and putting money in the bank. If I have to replace my equipment in 2 years, I can pay for it from my savings and have a lot left over.

      It’s true that some people will never be satisfied and should stick with cable. For some, cord cutting is just too inconvenient. That’s not me. I’ve had a lot of fun doing this and I’m happy with my savings.

    • Avatar
      Carl Brenda February 8, 2018 at 10:04 am #

      If you are able to sign up for a service to get a free Roku, Apple Tv, Fire Stick then you are only paying for an antenna and a DVR. Depending on your needs, both can be had for about $225 roughly. Unless you are under a new subscription rate for a low cost, you are generally paying about $80 for tv a month . So in 3-4 months you begin to recoup your cost.

    • Avatar
      filmex February 8, 2018 at 10:06 am #

      We’ve had our Tivo Roamio OTA DVR for 3 years, and it is constantly updating itself so I don’t know what you are talking about. And Roku continues to update themselves, as evidenced by the new Vue rollout last year.

    • Avatar
      Joellyn Carpenter February 9, 2018 at 2:25 pm #

      I already had a Roku box, Fire TV, and 2 Firesticks so the only equipment I bought was a 50.00 OTA antenna and the TIVO Roamio OTA DVR.

      As for being satisfied, it depends on what content you like to watch. It is cheaper for folks who don’t watch sports all the time but even with the sports I am saving money vs Spectrum and their fees for everything with no whole-home capability.

      Figure out what channels are really important to you and then use to see what services you would need and the cost.

  6. Avatar
    Roy Aguilera February 8, 2018 at 9:18 am #

    Amazon Video, Hulu no commercials, Netflix 4 streams, VRV and Tablo DVR. More than enough content to watch when we have free time.

  7. Avatar
    DON February 8, 2018 at 9:32 am #

    I have sling blue, netflix, and amazon ( for free shipping mostly). I like pluto and stadium tv app. I also use the tablo dvr.

  8. Avatar
    Malignar February 8, 2018 at 10:16 am #

    Youtube TV for live sports mostly, as they don’t have much other than sports with their channel lineup. Every other month I sub to Philo to catch up on A&E, HGTV shows and Viacom shows for the little one. I use a Roku on both TV’s. I also enjoy Tubi for free movies. I have an indoor antenna for the rare occasion that I want to watch NBC as Youtube TV doesn’t have it in my market. I may drop Youtube Tv and Philo for DTVN when they work their issues out. We also always subbed to Netflix and we have Amazon prime, so that isn’t really in my cord cutting calculation. I will likely dump prime when the year is up, Amazon is a pretty horrible company to it’s employees, with sub par products overall.

  9. Avatar
    Carl Collie February 8, 2018 at 10:17 am #

    I have: Amazon Prime (had it before cutting the cord), Netflix (had before cutting the cord), Tablo DVR, Acorn TV (May through August), PS Vue (August through May for College Sports and Soccer). As for equipment, I have the Tablo, Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, TCL Roku TV, and an attic mounted antenna. Total cost for equipment was less than $250 (not including the TV), which was my savings after three months without a cable bill. My total monthly cost of new services with PS Vue is $40 per month (PS Vue only), and during the summer it is $5 (plus Netflix/Amazon/Acorn TV)

  10. Avatar
    Deon Hamner February 8, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    Sling, Amazon Prime, Hulu free with sprint, Netflix.

  11. Avatar
    Nathan John Ganiere February 8, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    Can’t seem to dump DTVN even though I’ve attempted to since I’ve gotten it, overall value just fits my needs the best, if I had to pick second best service for LIVE TV would have to say for my needs it would be YouTube TV, have tried almost every live tv legal streaming service on the planet and overall most are alright, it all beats paying for cable tv, I started out with PS Vue originally then moved to Sling after PS Vue lost Viacom, as for on demand content currently I use Netflix, Hulu no commercials, and Amazon Prime, even though I have used Boomerang cartoon channel app in the past too, also do got $5 HBO through DTVN so got that too, as for anything else I use Pandora, Crackle, Pluto TV, and Tubi for free content, as well as whatever network apps I have with my live tv service I have at the time, currently DTVN…………

  12. Avatar
    Karl Childers February 8, 2018 at 11:16 am #

    Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, DirectvNow w/ HBO. Also paid for a PBS Passport membership and have CBS All Access for as long as they’re willing to throw discounts at me (currently paying half price for the commercial-free plan).

  13. Avatar
    BigO February 8, 2018 at 11:24 am #

    Netflix: Had for several years before cutting the cord. For our family of 5, it is well worth the money, and I do not see us running out of content to watch anytime soon.

    Amazon: Became Prime members when we purchased the first Kindle Fire tablet – and have stayed subscribers since then. Although our primary use for Amazon is shipping, we do make use of the free music available (love it on our Echo), Prime reading, and of course the Video portion of it. Although we do not watch the same amount of content via Amazon as we do Netflix, but it has been growing over the last few years.

    Hulu: Added this in 6-8 months before cutting the cord, mostly as an extra DVR (cheaper than getting one via TWC). Hulu has become more important in the last four years with their originals, cable content, older content, and content from overseas. Even better, our son has a college Spotify account, and Hulu comes free with it. As such, we are using his login instead of him using ours.

    OTT Live: We generally only subscribe to an OTT Live service 1-2 times per year to watch playoffs. I have learned to live without sports most of the year, but I will subscribe to watch playoffs (ex: NBA / MLB).

    Other Paid: We do subscribe once per year to a few services (ex: Starz / HBO), binge what we are interested in, and then cancel. My guess is we will do the same for CBS All-Access during the summer for Star Trek, and eventually for the upcoming Disney service.

    Free Services: I have been trying Tubi & Pluto out recently, and just discovered our new TV has Xumo TV built into it as well. I am not very big into “browsing” for something to watch, but we are finding a few things here and there to watch. We also make use of Newson when we miss the newscast, and CBS News is pretty good as well. I am a big fan of Crackle and a few of my favorite shows are on there – and I am really looking forward to “The Oath”. I have also been watching a bit on Facebook Watch and go90.

    Total New Cost: Really it is zero unless you count the price increase from Netflix.

  14. Avatar
    Michael Allbritton February 8, 2018 at 11:28 am #

    I currently subscribe to Netflix (single stream), Hulu (no commercials) and CBS All Access just for the local news/weather. Total cost, just $26. I also use CBS News for live national/international news without all the drama on CNN or MSNBC. Although I do sometimes miss a couple of the regular panel discussions on MSNBC, but I can live without them.

  15. Avatar
    Craig W February 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    Sling Blue with 4 package add-on, sports add-on during NFL season, Netflix , Amazon Prime, IndieFlix for $1 a month T-Mobile deal, Pluto and Crackle and for extra sports Stadium and Red Bull TV. Tablo 2 tuner for 34 OTA channels.

  16. Avatar
    Mark D February 8, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

    Might not be the best but HULU offers locals in Boise. I’m learning some apps on my fire tv have a live option. I’m able to log into those because Hulu is on the providers lists when you sign up.

    • Avatar
      Behinder February 8, 2018 at 5:09 pm #

      It’ not wise to live near Wayward Pines…;)

  17. Avatar
    filmex February 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm #

    We have Vue, Hulu no/ads, Netflix, Amazon, Tivo Roamio OTA DVR which is awesome, and we have really gotten into Pluto lately…once you customize your grid to get it down to the channels you like, there is a surprisingly impressive amount of fun content to be found there.

  18. Avatar
    Donny Rogers February 9, 2018 at 4:35 am #

    I use a Tivo Roamio that has a cable or over-the-air option and I’m using over the air option currently and get around 35 channels for free with a upgraded 3 gig hard drive and I also bought a lifetime service about 4 years ago so no extra cost at all. Now Tivo already had the commercial skip option where when a commercial starts you hit a button and it skips over them instantly and starts playing the show again. But now TiVo just introduced home automation integration so it now supports IFTTT natively so now one option I am using is that when the skip commercials pops up it automatically skips over them and continues the show without having to do anything so no more commercials and I absolutely love it! Many other options are possible now with the integration of ITTT but that’s a big one. I also like that if I have someone hits my ring doorbell it automatically pauses the TV. Anyway for cable I am using Slingtv Blue plus 4 add on pack and DVR for $40 a month. I like Slingtv TV best because it has the most channels I watch with a DVR for the cheapest price. I might switch to Directv Now when DVR option becomes available though. My total cost for 100 mbps down internet, cable, and local channels is $85 a month with my current setup. Not the cheapest but when I last was a cable TV subscriber which has been about a year now I was paying $140 a month for cable and internet so it’s still a definite savings.

  19. Avatar
    JerYnkFan February 9, 2018 at 8:39 am #

    I currently have Amazon Prime (technically free because I used CC points to pay for it), Hulu commercial free plan and CBS all access until Star Discovery ends. I can’t get OTA, but not a huge deal as most of the stuff I watch is on Hulu or CW app. I just use my family member’s login to watch the Yankees on FS1 and for football I have a friend who get the NFL Sunday ticket so I just pay them the difference between regular and Max and watch the Cowboys on my Roku if the games aren’t on CBS or Fox locally.

  20. Avatar
    craig2web February 9, 2018 at 8:53 am #

    I keep it pretty simple: entry-level 3Mbps internet from Spectrum, 32″ Vizio in the den, 29″ Insignia in the bedroom, Roku boxes on both, Amazon Prime (supplemented with digital purchases), on-demand Hulu, freebies like Comedy Central app and Pluto TV, some owned content on Fandango, and OTA. I’m steadily building a digital library of content as stuff goes on sale. So far have about 150 seasons of favorite TV shows and around 250 favorite movies. So as nice as Hulu and Prime are, they’re steadily becoming more and more redundant, so I can see a day in the not too distant future where I no longer have any pay subscriptions. Will probably upgrade my connection and hardware after I relocate (probably next year). But my current monthly connection and subscription outlay is fairly inexpensive at about $44 total.

  21. Avatar
    TexanBorn51 February 9, 2018 at 11:05 am #

    I have 2 vhf/uhf roof antennas 1 low vhf 2-5 antenna 50 miles and lo vhf combiner going 3 directions. 3 rokus and 2 channelmaster DVR+ with 1-3 Tb external hard drives. The CM DVR+ has free Rovi tv guide up to 2 weeks. I”ve had these for 2 years no problems and no fees.. I even bought 2 more as Christmas gifts. Then we have Hulu Amazon Netflix divide by 2 fees. (If it was only me I could do without those) and occasionally rent Vudu or Hoopla free library and Roku Channel.. I have used Slingtv back in the day thru free roku promo. My locals cover NFL football team although this past year of drama I stayed clear. College football no SEC channel oh well. Live USL local soccer free on YouTube and other videos. Watch ESPN and Stadium Pluto Red Bull is good. Newsmax CBSN Sky Reuters PBS Twitter and plenty of weather channels. This year I may go MLBTV for the Astros.