How to Ditch Your Expensive Cable Bill

Many of you probably have heard of “cord cutting,” the practice of cancelling your cable subscription and viewing all your content online, whenever you want.   The reason for doing so is clear: the average cable bill is about $100 a month according to BGR.  Many people simply do not need thousands of TV channels and only watch a handful of preferred channels.   The prospect of saving $100 a month is appealing to anyone, but only recently have the services and hardware emerged to enable you to cord cut without sacrificing your access to content.  As the upcoming release of SPUD will add a new portability dimension to cord cutting, now is the time to brush up on the latest available services!

The most prominent popular services to replace your favorite TV channels and watch your content whenever you want include:

Netflix

  • $9.99 a month
  • Includes thousands of movies and TV shows in addition to high quality original    shows such as Daredevil, Narcos, and House of Cards

Amazon Prime

  • $8.25 a month or included in Amazon Prime Free 2 Day shipping service
  • Includes thousands of movies and TV shows and original programming

Hulu

  • $7.99 a month
  • Includes current TV shows, movies, and original programming

HBO Now

  • $14.99 a month
  • Includes access to virtually all of HBO’s TV shows and movies

Sling TV

  • $20 a month
  • Includes access to ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, Food Network, A&E, History, TNT, El Rey, HGTV, IFC, Disney, Polaris, Maker, TBS, Travel Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, CNN, H2, ABC Family, Lifetime, Galavision, Bloomberg

Youtube

  • Free

If you purchased all of these services you would pay $61.22 a month, but carefully review the offerings and you’ll probably see you don’t need all of the services (I personally only use Netflix and Youtube regularly).  

A common content problem for cord cutters is accessing live sports content.  However, many networks now stream sports content including last week’s Super Bowl and the NCAA Tournament.  Additionally, if you have a friend or family member who still hasn’t cut their cord you can use their cable login information to access ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports (often does not require login including the Super Bowl and NCAA Tournament), NBC Sports (also often free during Sunday Night Football), and ABC Sports.  You can also use that same cable service login to access non-sports content on demand, if you prefer to not purchase Hulu.  

The hardware for replacing your cable box includes various dongles and boxes that connect to a TV via HDMI (since many of us prefer not watch to watch content on a small phone, tablet, or laptop screen):

Google Chromecast

  • $35
  • Use your Apple phone or tablet, Android phone or tablet, or Chrome (on laptop or desktop) to send content to your TV
  • Pros: Easy to use, low price
  • Cons: No Amazon Prime Video support (due to controversial reasons) unless you cast directly from the Chrome Browser

Roku

  • $49.99-$129.99 depending on option (comparable option to Chromecast is $49.99)
  • Use Roku Remote to control choose what to watch
  • Pros: Support a huge variety of content
  • Cons: Some may find interface difficult to use

Amazon Fire TV

  • $34.99-$99.99
  • Use Amazon provided remote to choose what to watch
  • Pros: Best vehicle to watch Amazon content
  • Cons: Tends to favor Amazon content

Apple TV

  • $149 to $199
  • Use Remote or Apple device to choose what to watch
  • Pros: Support ITunes content (if you’re already heavily invested)
  • Cons: High price relative to other options

I personally use Chromecast and mostly watch Netflix and Youtube.  I recently started using my SPUD prototype (connected directly to my phone via HDMI) as my go-to streaming setup, meaning I can stream content to a big screen virtually anywhere I can get a cell signal.  Two days ago I was able to stream the big game (and Eli’s excited reaction to his brother’s big win) to my SPUD, which I easily set up right next to the grill.  Now that’s what I call cord cutting!

What’s your favorite cord cutting setup?