Cutting The Cord

If you’ve landed here on this page then we’re pretty sure you’re looking for a thorough guide on cutting cable. We’ll break down cord cutting products and services with in-depth reviews and tutorials.

So that you’ll feel more confident in breaking the cord!

free your mind; cut the cord; matrix

We all know cable cost is rising steadily just by looking at our past and current bills. It’s almost outrageous, especially when we are playing for an extra 200+ of bloated TV channels.

Who has time to watch that many channels anyways?!

We’re busy working, going to school, living our lives, being addicted to social media, adulting. We only have enough time in a day to watch maybe a few select channels, movies or TV shows.

Hopefully, we can help guide you toward the right equipment and services that will ultimately be cheaper than cable TV. No need to waste money anymore, start saving!

STEPS TO CUT THE CORD

Part 1: Cord Cutting Mindset

Cutting cable, in a way, is like a leap of faith. You have to do your due diligence and make sure it’s the right move before you jump. Learn why cord cutting has become so popular, the reason to cut cable and to really figure out if it will save you money!

✅Part 2: Get an OTA (Over The Air) Antenna

Getting an HDTV Over the Air Antenna is a very important piece of hardware for any Cordcutter, especially beginners. It gives you the ability to receive local free channels that are broadcasted over the air.

We’ll break down what an HDTV Antenna is, different types, and a few recommended choices.

  • What is an HDTV Antenna? 
  • Indoor Vs Outdoor
  • Directional or Multi-directional
  • Top 3 Recommended HDTV Antennas

✅Part 3: Choose a Streaming Media Player

This is the next important step, choosing a streaming media player.  It’s pretty much a required product since this is what will give you access to the streaming services, free channels, apps that will ultimately release you from cable TV.

Check out our list of streaming players, our guides, and top recommended choices.

  • Amazon Fire Stick 4K
  • Amazon Fire TV Cube
  • Roku Streaming Stick+
  • Roku Ultra
  • Google Chromecast
  • Nvidia Shield
  • Apple TV
  • AirTV Player
  • PlayStation Vue

See Top 3 Recommended Streaming Players

✅Part 4: Choose a Streaming Service

There are a lot of different streaming services and we have reviewed all of them, so just click on the link for more in-depth information. To keep it simple, we’ll list the top 3 services to choose from.

  • Hulu TV Review
  • fuboTV Review
  • Philo Review
  • DIRECTV NOW Review
  • PlayStation VUE Review
  • Sling TV Review
  • YouTube Review
  • HBO
  • Showtime
  • Starz

See Top 3 Recommended Streaming Services

✅Part 5: Getting Internet Only Without Cable

It is important to know your Internet speeds if you are going to be streaming high-resolution video content. If necessary, upgrade your service by shopping around to find the best deals. We will have more of the 411 in our Internet connectivity section.

  • What Speed Will I Need?
  • List of Service Providers

Cutting The Cord Mindset

What is “Cord Cutting”

Plain and simple, cord cutting is just a term used as way to say that you are on your way to cancelling your cable TV service or satellite subscription!

It’s gained a lot of popularity probably due the times we live in now. The way we live our lives, technology, constant flow of media right at fingertips though various platforms.

We want a lifestyle more geared toward efficiency and saving money. Let’s face it, a lot of things are getting more expensive nowadays and it isn’t slowing down.

It’s definitely not like how it was a decade or two ago.

So, cord cutting is a method of stepping back and taking a looking at what you really need.

Why “Cut the Cord”

There are several reasons to cut the cord and we’ll list it down below. I’m sure, a few of them might hit home with you.

  • Reduce bills, save money, use it on other useful things in life
  • Rise of cable/satellite cost
  • Cable TV offers tons of bloated channels we don’t even watch or have time for
  • Technology giving easier access to media through streaming media players and other electronic devices
  • Cheaper cable alternatives like SlingTV, Philo, Hulu TV, etc are surfacing
  • Mobility, accessing streaming services anyway

There you go! There are a few more to list but you get the idea. The world as it seems to be steering us toward streaming online media.

You could ALMOST compare this scenario to Blockbuster and Netflix.

Will it Really Save Me Money?!

This really depends on your needs. Some of you might want a full entertainment package with 200+ channels including all the extra fancy bits.

A lot of us don’t have time to scour through all that. At most, we’ll probably watch about 10-15% of the services offered.

Which is why, a lot of people are resorting to cutting cable. Most only need a few select channels like our local channels, news, small amount of entertainment.

Movies and TV shows can be easily streamed online, but you only really can watch a handful of those a time.

If so, then all you need to do is pay once for all your equipment, get reasonably price internet service, 1 to 2 streaming services that meet your expected needs.

Look at your current cable bills, extract all that information. Take the cost of cord cutting equipment and services and do a side by side comparison.

Get an OTA (Over the Air) Antenna

What is an HD TV Antenna?

When I used to hear the words TV antenna, the very first thing that came to mind was some giant piece of metal hanging on the corner rooftop of my house.

Surprisingly, there still are big giant antennas out there but have improved over the years with the ability to pick up signal at a longer range (70+ miles), have better reception and sexier design.

 

clearstream hdtv antenna - smashcablenow.com
Clearstream Indoor/Outdoor HDTV Antenna

 

Even the smaller antennas look super sleek with their ultra thin design but you’ll only get up to a maximum range of 40 miles, which is still good if you live in a city.

 

MOHU ULTRASLIM HDTV ANTENNA
Mohu – Arc Indoor Curved HDTV Antenna

 

An HDTV (Digital) Antenna hardware is what we recommend getting for any cord cutter as the foundation because a few major networks (ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, PBS) still broadcast their signal over the air (OTA) for free. So why not pay once for an antenna and watch these channels for free without a monthly cost, maybe even forever!

You see what I mean?

Then all you need to do is add a streaming media player to round up your entertainment needs. The only requirement to make this work is to have an HDTV with a digital tuner, then of course the antenna.

Some key takeaways

  • HDTV Antenna can provide you with free uncompressed channels such as ABC, FOX, NBC & PBS. It can pick up local channels broadcast by local television networks.
  • Large antennas can provide signals 70+ miles away and smaller antennas within 40 miles.
  • Pay once only for the equipment with no monthly payments required.

Which HD TV Antenna is right for you?

Indoor VS Outdoor Antennas

All TV antennas are essentially the same even with all the new lingo being thrown around. You’ll see it being called HDTV, digital and over the air antennas which is still the same thing just with different names.

All over the air (HDTV or digital) signals are still being broadcast on the same frequencies used by the old analogy broadcasting system.

The bigger the better still holds true in this antenna products, which are generally outdoor TV antennas mounted on the roof or attic. They will give you a longer range and better reception than the smaller indoor antennas.

So if you live in a city that is largely spaced out, then you may want to look at the outdoor antennas as the closest broadcast may still be very far away.

Indoor antennas have an ultra thin design, making them blend in relatively well or even hidden away at the right spot or angle. Though the maximum reception range is usually 40 miles or less, which is best suited for people living in the city with towers nearby.

Directional or Multi-Directional

After you figure out whether you need an indoor or outdoor antenna, you may need to see if you may want a directional or multi-directional unit.

Directional is best suited for areas that have big trees, hills and tall buildings because it can focus receiving signal on a single direction it’s facing.

Multi-directional will obviously pull signal from all different directions (transmitters).

Another option is that you can get an amplified antenna that is designed to increase the strength of weaker signal

Our Best Recommended HDTV Antennas

Choosing a Media Streaming Device

Now that you’re a bit more knowledgeable on HDTV antennas, your next move is getting a TV media streamer best suited for your needs.

We’ll quickly list all streaming device options you can choose from and with just a simple click on the link for a more in-depth review.

In this section, we are going to briefly go over what a streaming player is and provide a quick breakdown of each device.

What is TV Media Streamer?

TV-MEDIA-STREAMERS SMASHCABLEA TV media streamer basically a device that allows you to access online or local media streaming services through apps.

You can also think of the streaming device as a phone with apps. Instead you would plug the device into your TV and you can access these apps on your television. Essentially making our non-smart TV into a smart TV!

The streaming service (Netflix, Hulu, SlingTV, Fubo) you wish to use can be found in form of an app.

So if you don’t have a smart TV with applications, blu-ray player, or gaming console then resorting to a media device would be the best idea, especially for a cord cutter!

Which TV Media Streamer to get?

There are actually many media streamers on the market. However, there are only a few products that really stand out when deciding to choose a device.

These devices are the Amazon Fire TV products, Roku, Google Chromecast, Apple & Android TV.  All of these devices have a fantastic, eye-pleasing multi-menu, large variety of different apps and a dedicated remote control tailored for their own unique functions.

The only device that differs from the rest is the Google Chromecast which requires a PC, smartphone or tablet with a cast-compatible apps to stream the content to the device.

No matter what device you choose, you will still be able to stream what you need to stream in terms of streaming services. It’s just like little minor details such as voice control, amount of apps selection, speed, extra gimmicks that may sway you a certain direction.

List of Media Streamers (Click for review)

  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Amazon Fire TV Cube
  • Roku
  • Chromecast
  • Nvidia Shield
  • Apple TV
  • AirTV Player
  • Playstation Vue

 

Top 3 Picks: Media Streamers for Cord Cutters

As you can see from the list right above, there are more than 5 different streaming media players to choose from.

So then you might be wondering why we gave you so many options if you only really need 1?

You’re right, you really only need one device to stream but we listed the different options anyways because the popular statement “different strokes for different people” still applies.

PEOPLE LOVE OPTIONS! It would be boring if everyone drove the same car & color.

Each device has their own type of customers they attract, but we’ll list the top 3 choices that we recommend for cord cutters down below to help narrow down the decision making.

1. Roku

First pick is the ROKU! This is highest recommended streaming player from us since it gives you everything you need as a cord cutter.

top steaming player for cord cutters
Roku: Best Overall Streamer for Cord Cutters

Here are some quick reasons why we recommend this as our top option.

Advantages

  • Large numbers of channels & applications to choose from out of all the streaming box players
  • Easy as heck to use (relatively, lol)
  • Voice search functionality & headphone output on the remote
  • Sexy sleek design

Disadvantages

  • No Mirroring with Apple devices
  • No iTunes access
  • Setup does take a bit longer than other boxes

2. Amazon Firestick 4K

These things sell like hotcakes on Amazon and for many good reasons. It’s backed up from a reputable, customer-oriented company that is vastly expanding their hardware and services all the time.

top picks: amazon firestick for media streamerThey’ve gone through almost 3 generations of firestick devices with each generation, much better than the last adding additional functionality and cool features.

We’ll quickly go over the advantages and disadvantages but if you wanted to know more indepth about the firestick, then read our review here

Advantages

  • Perfect for Amazon based users
  • Great integration with Amazon Prime
  • Alexa remote with powerful voice search features
  • Lots of streaming content
  • Lightweight & cheap
  • Available in 4K

Disadvantages

  • Small storage space
  • Not as powerful as other streaming players, but still great for any beginner to intermediate cord cutter