When JD & I decided we were plenty sick of paying a huge cable bill every month for channels we didn’t even watch, we weren’t sure if we were brave enough to actually cut the cord. For me it was a similar to the feeling I had when I decided years ago I didn’t need a land line. I was almost positive I could live without it, but I had that nagging “what if I can’t” feeling.
It’s been a year & a half since we cut the cable cord and I can tell you 100% truthfully that we are super happy we did.
This is how we life a happy life (ha ha) without cable TV, and how you can, too.
(This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.)
How Many Channels Can You Get?
The first thing I recommend you do is a quick check to see what kinds of channels you can get in your neck of the woods using an over the air antenna. What’s that? It’s a small device that you attach to your TV to pick up free TV channels (like ABC, NBC, CBS & others). More on that in a minute.
Go to TV Fool and type in your address to see what channels you can pick up for free. We get the major three I mentioned above, plus PBS, CW, Fox and several others. (A total of around 10 or so we watch and a few more we aren’t interested in.)
Before we cut the cord, I worried about was the quality of the TV stations we could pick up. I shouldn’t have. They are in crystal clear HDTV (except for stations that feature older programming, like the LAFF channel).
Buying an Indoor TV Antenna
If the results above allow you to get at least 3 major networks, you’ll need to purchase an over the air, indoor antenna. (Not in an area that allows you to pick up ANY channels? Don’t give up. There are plenty of other options you can skip to below.)
With either of the indoor antennas below, all you need to do is take it out of the package, plug it in, and scan for TV channels. (Ours is sitting in a window next to our TV.) Expect to move it around a bit to find a spot where the signal is strongest.
Where to get free TV
Before we talk about all the paid services you can use to watch the cable shows you love, let’s talk about getting TV channels and movies that are absolutely free. I suggest you visit all these sites I’ve put together for you, bookmark them so they are always at the ready, and check them out frequently because the TV and movies on each change.
If you have a Smart TV you’re good to go in terms of getting what you see on your computer, iPad or phone to stream to your TV. If not you can use a Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku Express, a PlayStation, or Xbox.
NETFLIX – JD & I are HUGE Netflix fans. Seriously. We have never regretted the (less than) $10 a month we spend, and I promise we get SO MUCH more value for that ten bucks than any other way we could spend it.
AMAZON – When you have Amazon Prime (which we do) you have access to Amazon Originals, as well as oodles of TV shows & Movies. We use the heck out of it. You pay $99 a year and you’re done – there are no monthly fees. Some of my favorites series are: One Mississippi, Sneaky Pete & Goliath. Of course you also get other Prime perks, like unlimited free 2 day shipping, and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. It’s worth every penny – especially at Christmas when I”m having stuff shipped like crazy!
HULU – My son is a Hulu addict. I’ll admit I don’t have that much experience with it, so I’ll take his word. They have two subscription options – one with ads and one without. If you try it you’ll have to let me know what you think.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share about cutting the cable TV cord?