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View Full Version : How do I "cut the cord"?


beowulff
09-21-2017, 11:19 PM
I just paid my Cox bill, and I'm really irked.
I'm paying nearly $100/month for TV, and we only watch a few channels. I could probably forgo it completely, but my wife likes HGTV and a few other programs.

We never, ever watch any of the sports channels, Spanish-language channels, shopping channels, etc.

What do I need to replace it? A Roku box? Sling? Can we record shows and transfer to an iPad (NOT wirelessly connected - dowloaded to it, so they can be watched off-line).

We already have Netflix, and I have Amazon Prime, although I haven't tried it for video yet.

kiz
09-22-2017, 06:50 AM
We almost did the same thing (we've got RCN). We've got the very basic, vanilla package plus Netflix and Amazon Prime.

We ultimately decided against dropping it because there are several shows my husband likes both on network and cable and not all of them are available by other means unless we got Dish or Direct TV, IIRC. My husband will go directly to either the network's website on his desktop or an app on his tablet to watch something I'm not interested in.

We have Chromecast. I've been able to watch stuff from YouTube on our TV. Haven't tried it with a network website, though, but I can imagine it could be done..,? We haven't tried Roku or anything like that because we have enough cables snaking all over the place already.

Nauplius
09-22-2017, 09:49 AM
You could probably get HGTV and the few others your wife likes as add ons to Amazon.

filmore
09-22-2017, 09:57 AM
What do I need to replace it? A Roku box? Sling? Can we record shows and transfer to an iPad (NOT wirelessly connected - dowloaded to it, so they can be watched off-line).


I would recommend a Roku. It's simple to use and it's purpose is streaming. Some TV's or such have streaming support, but it tends to be clunky. If you have a lot of Apple products, Apple TV can be nice since it integrates well with your other Apple products. Roku's can stream from Android.

One channel you might want to add is PlutoTV. It's kind of like having cable, but for streaming channels. It aggregates a lot of the free streams and gives you a cable-like guide of what is on.

Hulu is good for deep archives of many network and cable channels. They might have HGTV or something that's similar that shows a lot of home improvement shows.

What Exit?
09-22-2017, 10:21 AM
How do you get your Internet? You still need that and it is usually bundled into your Cable/Phone bill.

RealityChuck
09-22-2017, 10:33 AM
We went for basic cable + Netflix a few years ago. We haven't missed anything. There's still plenty of good TV.

As for things you miss . . . it's only a TV show. Nothing important.

MoonMoon
09-22-2017, 12:06 PM
I think the only way you're going to get HGTV is with Sling or Playstation VUE. That puts you at $20 a month out the gate. Then I'd recommend Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Now, depending on what you like to watch. I have all four, with a Roku, which makes it easy to access all of them plus YouTube and streaming music channels like Pandora.

As far as watching offline, the only way I know to do that is to purchase and download the show/movie, from iTunes or Amazon.

glee
09-22-2017, 12:14 PM
I just paid my Cox bill, and I'm really irked.
I'm paying nearly $100/month for TV, and we only watch a few channels. I could probably forgo it completely, but my wife likes HGTV and a few other programs.

Could you persuade your wife by offering to spend the money saved on her?

The wind of my soul
09-22-2017, 12:25 PM
Have you talked to Cox yet about how much it would cost to cancel? I tried to cancel my TV a while back, and discovered that paying the cancellation fee + the Internet service would actually cost me more than continuing to pay for cable. So you might want to verify before you spend too much time considering your alternatives.

Skammer
09-22-2017, 12:29 PM
HGTV is the catch.

We dumped DirecTV years ago, and went with a Roku. We've got Netlix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and HBONow subscriptions. Adding in our antenna for over-the-air broadcast we can watch about 98% of the shows we want.

Past seasons of popular HGTV for Food Network or other cable shows are usually available through purchase on Amazon or sometimes included on other streaming services like Hulu. You'll be able to watch past seasons of Property Brothers, but not the current season, I think. We like to watch Chopped, but we're always a season behind. Other shows, like Better Caul Saul, are available for purchase right after they are broadcast.

The main thing I miss is live sporting events that are on ESPN or the Big 10 Network. But as more people cut the cord, pressure builds on these networks to make their streaming content available to non-cable customers much like HBO did - so it's just a matter of time.

beowulff
09-22-2017, 01:01 PM
Have you talked to Cox yet about how much it would cost to cancel? I tried to cancel my TV a while back, and discovered that paying the cancellation fee + the Internet service would actually cost me more than continuing to pay for cable. So you might want to verify before you spend too much time considering your alternatives.

As far as I know, I donít have any cancellation fee. But if I do - screw them. They can send me to collections.

I would continue Internet service with them (and might even bump it to 300Mbps, if the price was right), since there isnít any other competitive service available.

It looks like the way I might proceed is:

Get a new TV (the one in the kitchen is not an HDTV), That would allow watching Shark Tank and Big Bang Over-the-Air.
Get a Roku or AppleTV.
Subscribe to Sling Blue.

Forget about recording for now.

That should cover most of the bases, I think.

That Don Guy
09-22-2017, 01:57 PM
You may not want to cut the cord entirely. Most cable companies have a "local channels only" tier, and since you are using the company's internet, you may still qualify for a bundle rate of some sort.

I don't think you can get local stations without an antenna once you drop cable TV entirely, and in some cases, that may not be an option. For example, I live about 50 miles from both San Francisco and Sacramento, and the only network station I can get on an antenna (in part because I live in a townhouse and can't use an outdoor one, much less put it on the roof) is one that is broadcast from a nearby repeater because it is based in San Jose.

beowulff
09-22-2017, 02:18 PM
You may not want to cut the cord entirely. Most cable companies have a "local channels only" tier, and since you are using the company's internet, you may still qualify for a bundle rate of some sort.

I don't think you can get local stations without an antenna once you drop cable TV entirely, and in some cases, that may not be an option. For example, I live about 50 miles from both San Francisco and Sacramento, and the only network station I can get on an antenna (in part because I live in a townhouse and can't use an outdoor one, much less put it on the roof) is one that is broadcast from a nearby repeater because it is based in San Jose.

We are going to go out this weekend and look at more modern TVs, and probably buy one. Then, I will see what channels are available OTA. We are in a particularly bad spot - pretty much all of the transmitters in the Phoenix metro area are on top of South Mountain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Mountains_(Arizona)), which is the highest spot in the local area. The second highest peak is Camelback Mountain, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelback_Mountain) which happens to be directly between our house and the TV towers.

cochrane
09-22-2017, 03:11 PM
You should check antennaweb.org. There may be fill-in translators, or retransmitters, that rebroadcast a signal to your area. I live in a part of Tucson shielded from the transmitters on Mt. Bigelow and get much of my OTA TV from translators.

filmore
09-22-2017, 03:31 PM
If you can get OTA signals, it's nice to have a DVR to record network shows that my not be conveniently available through streaming. There are a wide variety out there from $35 basic ones to $300 Tivo (Tivo has an OTA-only Roamio which comes with lifetime guide data). It's nice to be able to have full FF-REW-Skip control of a DVR.

This leads me to a gripe about streaming shows--FF/REW is very inconsistent. It's implemented by the specific app rather than the streaming device. Depending on which app you're watching, it can be very frustrating to try to skip around a show. It's often a hassle to try to rewind just a few seconds when you miss something.

SmellMyWort
09-22-2017, 04:13 PM
Roku has an HGTV channel but like most cable channel apps you need a cable subscription to view (most?) content. Roku does have a lot of other home and garden type channels. Here is their channel list (https://channelstore.roku.com/browse/lifestyle). A Roku is pretty cheap and would allow you to stream the subscription services you already have (Prime and Netflix) on an HDTV. You could get one and see how it goes for a few months to see if your viewing habits start steering more and more away from cable.

drad dog
09-22-2017, 05:54 PM
I was all set to cut the string but then a lot of stuff happened and I got HD instead.

The main thing for me was getting the news channels and some games. Everything else I can get somewhere else.

Dewey Finn
09-22-2017, 07:31 PM
A few years ago, many people complained about the forced bundling of cable subscriptions, so that if I wanted to watch BBC America, USA and HGTV, I had to pay for ESPN, Fox News and Nickelodeon. So now we’re in this supposed paradise where you can pick and choose what you want to subscribe to from many streaming options. In some ways, I miss the old system. At worst, if there was something I wanted to watch, I just needed to upgrade my cable lineup. At best, I just needed to change the channel to catch that new show on, say, FX.

Tangent
09-22-2017, 11:48 PM
I cut the cord back in January. I was paying over $230 a month for my cable/internet/phone service, and that was with an older DVR. Had I upgraded to their current DVR, it was going to cost me even more. I was already watching as much on Netflix and Amazon as I was on cable, so I figured it was time. I switched to a different provider and signed up only for internet. No cable and no more landline phone. $40 bucks a month.

I have three TVs. I've got Rokus on two of them, and the third has built-in internet apps for Netflix, Amazon, etc. Plus my Xbox is on that TV. Love the Rokus. One is the Premiere+, and the other is the Stick.

PLEX is a great app you can use on Roku and other devices. It lets you stream video and audio from your PC to your TV.

Hulu and Sling both look very tempting to me, but I've resisted both because I'm trying to keep my monthly costs down. I do subscribe to HBO NOW, but I watch a lot of the HBO original series, so it's worth it to me.

If you can get OTA signals, it's nice to have a DVR to record network shows that my not be conveniently available through streaming. There are a wide variety out there from $35 basic ones to $300 Tivo (Tivo has an OTA-only Roamio which comes with lifetime guide data). It's nice to be able to have full FF-REW-Skip control of a DVR.

When I first cut the cord, I bought one of the cheapo $30 DVRs. I didn't want to buy anything expensive until I was sure I could live without cable. The cheap device worked... but man was it a pain to use. The interface, menus, and remote control were poorly designed and clunky as hell. I stuck with that DVR for seven months but hated it. So this summer I went ahead and sprung for the TiVO Roamio OTA DVR. $400 but it is worth it. Very nice program guide and easy to navigate menu system. Very similar to using the DVR I had with my cable subscription, but it only records over-the-air channels. It also includes internet apps for Netflix, Amazon, PLEX, etc. I'm considering buying a TiVO mini for one of my other TVs. That lets you set up a 'multi-room' DVR system with the Roamio.

drad dog
09-23-2017, 12:10 AM
I cut the cord back in January. I was paying over $230 a month for my cable/internet/phone service, and that was with an older DVR. Had I upgraded to their current DVR, it was going to cost me even more. I was already watching as much on Netflix and Amazon as I was on cable, so I figured it was time. I switched to a different provider and signed up only for internet. No cable and no more landline phone. $40 bucks a month.

I have three TVs. I've got Rokus on two of them, and the third has built-in internet apps for Netflix, Amazon, etc. Plus my Xbox is on that TV. Love the Rokus. One is the Premiere+, and the other is the Stick.

PLEX is a great app you can use on Roku and other devices. It lets you stream video and audio from your PC to your TV.

Hulu and Sling both look very tempting to me, but I've resisted both because I'm trying to keep my monthly costs down. I do subscribe to HBO NOW, but I watch a lot of the HBO original series, so it's worth it to me.



When I first cut the cord, I bought one of the cheapo $30 DVRs. I didn't want to buy anything expensive until I was sure I could live without cable. The cheap device worked... but man was it a pain to use. The interface, menus, and remote control were poorly designed and clunky as hell. I stuck with that DVR for seven months but hated it. So this summer I went ahead and sprung for the TiVO Roamio OTA DVR. $400 but it is worth it. Very nice program guide and easy to navigate menu system. Very similar to using the DVR I had with my cable subscription, but it only records over-the-air channels. It also includes internet apps for Netflix, Amazon, PLEX, etc. I'm considering buying a TiVO mini for one of my other TVs. That lets you set up a 'multi-room' DVR system with the Roamio.

Can you watch live news channels?

Michael Mercy
09-23-2017, 07:22 AM
I just paid my Cox bill, and I'm really irked.
I'm paying nearly $100/month for TV, and we only watch a few channels. I could probably forgo it completely, but my wife likes HGTV and a few other programs.

We never, ever watch any of the sports channels, Spanish-language channels, shopping channels, etc.

What do I need to replace it? A Roku box? Sling? Can we record shows and transfer to an iPad (NOT wirelessly connected - dowloaded to it, so they can be watched off-line).

We already have Netflix, and I have Amazon Prime, although I haven't tried it for video yet.

You could forgo all TV services for a while. My wife and I cancelled our TV a while ago and just pay for internet now. There's so much content on Netflix, it easily fills the void and as for shows that aren't on Netflix, they'll eventually show up there, or we can get them for free at our local library. We live in an age where impatience is taken advantage of, and those with patience get to save a lot of money. If you haven't been to your local library in a while, check it out. You may be surprised at the selection. Ours has hundreds of movies and shows on blu-ray and dvd, plus video games. Even PS4 games! And it's all free. I think we're at the point now where most of the money people are paying is for the ability to not have to wait. Those with patience get to save quite a bit of dough. :D

Tangent
09-23-2017, 11:58 AM
Can you watch live news channels?

No, and that's probably the biggest downside for me. No CNN/MSNBC/CSPAN.

But I can check online sources for current news. I watch the PBS News Hour on my local channel daily for the national news, and I listen to several podcasts that discuss current events (The Daily, Rachel Maddow, On Point, etc.).

There are some news apps on Roku (Newsy is one) but I don't think they're all that great.

beowulff
10-02-2017, 11:15 PM
I canceled Cox TV today. To throw them a bone, I upped our Internet speed from 50Mbps to 100, for an extra $5/month. The new monthly cost is $83, down from $164.
I am looking at getting Sling Blue + News Extra, for $30month. Even with that, I will still come out $600/year ahead.

I haven't installed the Yagi TV antenna up on the roof yet. Inside, I get 20 or so channels, so I think that I'll be able to get all of the Phoenix channels when the antenna is mounted outside.

The whole TV/streaming/on-demand/app-based system is a total mess. It's extremely difficult to decide what service is best, and what devices it works with. As an example, the 100Mbps Cox Internet comes with an enhanced "Contour" App, but it currently only runs on iOS and Android devices, which makes it pretty useless as a TV replacement. I realize that Cox probably considers that a feature, since they want you to buy their TV service, but it's a bug to me.

ETA: no cancellation fee, and surprisingly little hard-sell to stay, although they did try to talk me into dropping some of the crap that I never watch. That would have brought the monthly cost down to $50, which, if they had made that offer to me a year ago, I might never have decided to take this step. Oh well, too little, too late.

LVBoPeep
10-03-2017, 08:00 AM
I found Sling to be unwatchable- we have a very good internet connection but it was constantly stopping and because it doesn't really work on-demand, I had shows I had to watch 3-4 times from the beginning (Fargo was the one I remember most) just to see the end. Asked them what was the deal and they gave me an elaborate multi-step process that I spent half a day on and it still didn't help. I still have my cord cut and I got a free Roku out of it so it wasn't a huge loss. I have Hulu,Netflix & Prime with a couple of premier add ons and we are still about $80 less a month than we paid with our previous satellite service. If I really need something I would have watched on Sling, I just buy the season at Prime for $20.

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