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Cutting the Cord

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At the end of January 2011, my family and I cut the cord. What this means, specifically, is that we are no longer be cable television subscribers. (I wish it meant I was cutting that cable from my house, as the term suggests, but since that’s how I get to the Internet, it will stay put.)

I’ve had many people ask me the obvious questions:

You can’t afford cable? That sucks.

How can you not watch television? [Their favorite show] is hilarious!

How will you get all 200+ channels that they offer without paying for cable?

I’ll answer all of those questions in this post, but I want to set a few ground rules for why we’re doing this, what we’re trying to accomplish, and how we measure success.

First, we can absolutely afford cable. We’ve been cable subscribers for 10 years. In fact, our most recent bill from WOW Internet/Cable/Phone was just north of $160. Mind you, that includes $80 for an upgraded Internet connection (15MB down, 2MB up) and a home phone line. (I work from home, and they’re necessities.) So we’re looking at a bill of $80 that makes up JUST our cable television subscription. We ARE doing this to save money, but it’s certainly not because we HAVE to. It’s because $80 seems way too high for what we’re getting (when most of it is available for free.)

Our goal in this experiment was to be able to watch all of the shows we were currently watching, while eliminating the cost of our cable subscription. We watch a TON of television, and if we weren’t able to continue watching the shows we love, then cutting the cable isn’t worth it.

In order to be successful, certain criteria HAD to be met. They are:

  1. We must spend less money each month on television entertainment than we currently are. In our case, this means spending less than $80/month.
  2. If we need to purchase additional equipment or services, they cannot exceed the amount of money we would have spent just keeping cable for the year. Since we will be cutting $80 a month, this means that we CANNOT spend more than $960 this year on new hardware or services to accommodate or supplement our new situation.
  3. We must be able to watch all of the shows we are currently watching, including being able to record those shows digitally. While we were willing to concede a minor show here or there, anything we were hooked on HAD to be available.

The Shows We Currently Watch

I mentioned earlier that we watch a ton of television. I’m really not kidding. My wife certainly watches more than I do, but between us, there’s plenty of television watching in our house. Add two children to this mix, and there’s even more. Below is the list of shows we watch currently:

Show Channel Time
The Event NBC 9:00 pm
Castle CBS 10:00 pm
House FOX 8:00 pm
Chuck NBC 8:00 pm
Greek ABC Family 9:00 pm
Being Human SyFy 9:00 pm
Mike and Molly CBS 9:30 pm
Glee FOX 8:00 pm
Raising Hope FOX 9:00 pm
White Collar USA 10:00 pm
V ABC 9:00 pm
Cougar Town ABC 9:30 pm
Modern Family ABC 9:00 pm
Psych USA ???
Off the Map ABC 10:00 pm
Better With You ABC 8:30 pm
Outsourced NBC 10:30 pm
The Office NBC 9:00 pm
Grey’s Anatomy ABC 9:00 pm
Private Practice ABC 10:00 pm
Bones FOX 8:00 pm
Perfect Couples NBC 8:30 pm
Community NBC 8:00 pm
Royal Pains USA 9:00 pm
Vampire Diaries CW 8:00 pm
Big Bang Theory CBS 8:00 pm
Sh*t My Dad Says CBS 8:30 pm
Fringe FOX 9:00 pm

If you take the time to add that all up, it’s 23.5 hours of television a week (when all of the shows are airing new episodes.) In order to pull this off, we were going to need to find ways to continue watching ALL of these shows. This doesn’t even count the times that we’ll just flip on a re-run of Mythbusters, or Spongebob. These are just newly-aired shows we’re counting.

The Technology We Already Had

First, let me give you an inventory of what we already owned. This will vary for each person considering this option, and could potentially be “make or break” for some based on costs. I have not factored these into our cost analysis, because they were hardware and services we were already using. This may not be true for you.

  • 2 Xbox 360 consoles – hard drive space, in our solution, does not matter. You can get a brand new Xbox 360 with a 4GB hard drive for $199. This will allow you to watch Netflix, HuluPlus (soon), and anything you record on your Windows 7 PC.
  • A Windows 7 PC – technically any PC running Windows 7 Home Premium or higher should be sufficient. You can certainly get one from Dell or HP for less than $400 that includes a cable card.  By attaching a HD antenna to your PC, you can turn it into a free DVR.  And since your Xbox 360 devices are Media Center Extenders, you can watch this recorded content on your televisions as well.
  • A subscription to Netflix – we have had the “3 DVDs out at-a-time” subscription for years now. It has become far more important since we decided to cut the cord, however. Between on-demand streaming of our kids favorite shows, as well as previous seasons of our favorites, there’s much to like about this subscription. (This Netflix subscription is $19.99 a month, but you can get a "streaming-only" subscription for $7.99)
  • 3 high-definition televisions – we have one in our bedroom, one in the family room, and one in our finished basement. If your situation has fewer (or more) televisions than this, you might need more (or less) hardware to accomplish this task.

The Technology We Had To Get

Although some of this stuff was gifts from Christmas, I am still counting them as if we had to purchase them.

  • 2 Roku XD-S boxes – think of a Roku box as a cable box for the internet. Except there’s no monthly fees, and the user interface is better. Each of these boxes cost $99, and they allow us to watch Netflix, HuluPlus, MLB.TV, YouTube, Amazon OnDemand, and hundreds of other online channels.
  • Hulu Plus subscription – I’m glad this came out when it did, because it’s been a lifesaver. This $7.99/month subscription gets us 90% of the television shows we watch ON our television. Many of you may contend that this is a frivolous service, because all of the content is available on Hulu.com for free, but I have a couple of specific reasons why it’s TOTALLY worth it.
    • You can’t watch Hulu.com content on your television, only on a computer.  If you hook a computer up to your television (we tried it), you then lack remote control capabilities.  It’s just more of a headache than the $8 for a subscription that runs right through our Roku boxes.
    • It’s like a DVR.  I can tell it which shows I like, and it adds them to my queue when they’re published (which is almost always the next morning.)
    • Not only does Hulu Plus give me all the new shows as they’re published, but I can also stream the entire history of that show as well.  This means that if I decided that I wanted to start watching LOST from the beginning, I can do that.  It allows you to catch up on shows you may have missed some of the earlier episodes for.
    • It also includes a bunch of shows I didn’t expect to get, like Tosh.0 and the Daily Show on Comedy Central.  There’s lots of great stuff to watch anytime we want.
    • The one glaring absence from our TV lineup is the Discovery Channel.  If you absolutely HAVE to watch Deadliest Catch and Mythbusters when they air, this entire scenario might not be for you.  If you can watch them when they make it to Netflix, you’ll still get to watch them.
  • 3 High-definition Digital Antennas – this was the final piece of the puzzle for us.  We still needed access to our local channels for news and sports at a minimum, but these antennas also provide us the ability to watch our local channels LIVE rather than the next day on Hulu or HuluPlus.  I actually got two different models of antenna, and I list them both here:
    • Terk HDTVa Indoor Amplified HD Antenna – this is probably my preferred choice, but it’s got a little bit of size to it.  The picture it receives is true 1080p over the air, and is honesty better than any picture I ever got over cable.  In addition, we keep it hidden in a cabinet under our television, and it still works perfectly.  Like I said, its only real downside is its size, as it’s probably 12” tall and 14” long.  But it’s also stylish to look at, so you might be able to incorporate it into your room without hiding it.  I paid $35.97 each at Amazon for two of these.
    • RCA ANY1650 Flat Digital Amplified Indoor TV Antenna – this antenna is a completely different form factor, and if hiding it is one of your priorities, definitely look into this one.  It’s a flat panel, about the size and shape of a tablet computer (but significantly lighter, of course.)  In addition, this one also advertises that you can paint it, so you can hang it on a wall and blend it right in.   I paid $40.44 for this on Amazon.
  • ESPN3 application on my Xbox 360 – as those of you that know me will note, I’m a pretty avid sports fan.  I grew up watching the Cleveland Browns and Indians.  That’s not something I’m willing to stop doing.  While nearly every NFL game is on CBS or FOX, many college basketball games, and nearly all baseball games aren’t.  I’ll get to baseball in the next bullet, but the ESPN3 app lets me watch any of the games that ESPN is showing on their networks, live, for free.  I believe this is only because I get my internet connection through a cable provider, however.  Without that, this app might not work for you.
  • Ah, baseball, my love.  How ever will I watch you?  As it turns out, MLB.TV provides a subscription for $99 (or $119 for features that are VERY worth the extra $20) a season.  This gives you access to EVERY game, EVERY team.  They also offer a monthly subscription March – October, but you’ll pay significantly more. The baseball season only just started, and I haven’t pulled the trigger on this one yet.  My primary reason is because they have blackout restrictions, and until I am sure I’ll be able to watch my beloved (but sucky) Indians, I’m not ready to pay for it.  (Their IP address check says that the Detroit Tigers will be blacked out for me, but their zip code check says that the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, and Pittsburgh Pirates will be blocked out.  Very confusing.)  If I do pull the trigger on this, though, I can watch it on both of my Roku boxes, as well as any of my PCs.  Big win.


So that’s it.  There’s certainly some technology you’re going to need to investigate, but here’s the specific financial breakdown:

I was paying $80 a month for a cable subscription.  This included three HD DVR boxes, but HD content was otherwise unavailable on any other televisions we have.

I now subscribe to Hulu Plus and potentially MLB.TV (seems likely I’ll get it).  Hulu Plus is $7.99 a month, and the $119/year subscription for MLB will cost around $9.99/month.  This means that I now have a $17.98/month commitment vs. $80, for a difference of $62/month.

I now own two Roku boxes, and three HD digital antennas.  These cost me $310.38, and have no future costs.  This basically is the equivalent of 5 months of the savings we’ll encounter from cancelling cable.

So, for us, will break even on our purchases on June 30th, 5 months after we started.

If you were considering cutting the cord, I’d be happy to show you my setup, or answer any questions you may have.  If you’ve already done it, I’d love to hear your story/solution.  I’m always looking for better ways to do things.


49 responses to “Cutting the Cord”

  1. Patrick Steele Avatar

    We recently dropped one of our “movie” packages and have gone with basic cable + netflix. If things continue, we may drop cable altogether. Thanks for the write-up!

    One question — what’s your home network like? Are you running all of this via wireless G? Or perhaps N? Or is everything using Cat 5 (or 6?) cables?

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      Patrick, our Roku boxes are using wireless-g, but everything else is cat5 through gigabit switches. thanks to @athlonduke for my current network setup.

  2. Dave Avatar

    Nice write up. My issue with eliminating our basic cable package ($15/month) has always been that Comcast will then raise my internet bill by about $15/month. In other words, I get a discount by bundling TV and Internet. Was this different for you and your cable provider?

  3. Andy Avatar

    I’d love to give this a try some time, but I think my problem is NHL games. I’m a big CBJ fan and the GameCenter Live (the NHL streaming package similar to MLB.TV) has local blackouts that obviously covers central Ohio.

    Short of breaking their TOS and setting up an elaborate proxy system to make them think my connection is coming from another state/country, I don’t know of a good solution to this.

    ESPN3 (which I suspect would still have local blackouts) is out because I went with the PS3 rather than XBox 360 and I just don’t play console games enough to justify another console.

    If not for that, I’d be cutting the cord in a heartbeat. Grats on the accomplishment, though. It’s a non-trivial undertaking to wrestle yourself from the cable company deathgrip.

  4. Steve Avatar

    Nice – I got link from twitter, had a few questions:

    1. you don’t happen to be an Ohio State buckeye fan (let’s say any college football) ? Some air over local channels, any ideas on if you can get subscribe to like the Big Ten network ? And I assume games airing on ESPN your hoping to catch on ESPN3 ? Watching OSU football and basketball is about as much a priority for me as the MLB is for you 🙂

    2. Does the Hulu Plus have shows from TNT ? My wife loves the Closer as well as Project Runway, so trying to figure those out – I do like that the Roku let’s you watch via the TV vs. computer. No subscribtion fees for the Roku right ?

    Good post, would like to see more of how this goes, my family has been considering the same – let’s face it – we’re paying for a bazillion channels, and I could probably say I only need less than 10 🙂

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      I am a Buckeye fan, definitely. ESPN games I can watch on my Xbox 360. Local channels I can watch with the digital antennas. Big Ten Network actually shows very few Ohio State games (because they’re usually a bigger ratings draw to the networks and ESPN), but I can go to a bar to watch them rough up Colorado or Akron this fall. If you read my previous post, you’ll see that I want to get out there anyways. 🙂

      1. James Becker Avatar
        James Becker

        I am a Cornhusker fan probably the same size fan base but spread around the country. I am guessing that we are a huge draw on BTN. A lot of our bigger games end up on ESPN. I have already watched some sports on ESPN3 via my roku so I am familiar with that operation. I am eager to cut the cord as my DTV bill is around 120 a month, but at this point short of getting BTN somehow I cant see myself doing it. But as things stand this seems to be my last obstacle. I don’t view the sports bar as an option since I am a single father with custody of a 7 yr old. Some help here would be greatly appreciated.

      2. jeffblankenburg Avatar

        I struggled with this option as well, and decided it wasn’t worth watching the 4 throwaway wins the Buckeyes got on BTN. Think about it. You’re spending $120 a MONTH for that privilege. Another option is to find a cable company that doesn’t require a contract, and just get their service for the times the Cornhuskers have a game on BTN. I got cable for the game the Cleveland Indians had last fall on TBS. Had it for 2 days total, paid $8.

      3. James Becker Avatar
        James Becker

        I think due to Nebraksas fans being so spread out across the country a lot of our games are still on BTN. Last years nail bitter with a hail merry win against Northwestern was on BTN. Three of the first four games every year are likely to be those throw away wins IL and IN could be thrown into that category as well. However easy wins or not. These games are typically the first football of the year, pro or college so just dismissing them isn’t really all that easy to me. Not sure where Rutgers and Maryland will fit in there. I am also not sure about the new schedule to early to think that hard. I guess i should look into the BTN to go. I take it that there is no BTN on the roku or other devices.

  5. David Lindsley Avatar
    David Lindsley

    We cut the cord about 5 years ago. We don’t watch as much current TV; I would say the only things we watch regularly are South Park, Fringe, and Hawaii 5-0. (Plus a couple of others that are no longer on the air.)

    Our setup isn’t nearly as sophisticated as yours though. I’ll have to look into some of those gadgets.

    I will point out the following from my experience in the hope that it’s helpful:
    I too have found that an amplified HD antenna is a necessity.
    Netflix streaming over XBox works fine on a standard TV (we didn’t upgrade until last summer).
    I really like having a PC input on my TV, as it allows us to (re)play classic games like Myst as a family.

  6. david yardy Avatar

    I have been contemplating this exact thing. For the last 4 years I have suspended DirectV for the months of June through October. I was prompted to do this because summer tv is ‘repeats’. Why pay $90/month for repeats…crazy. So I have been doing something similar in the summer months and am thinking of doing the next step (all year).
    1. Is the reception the same between the rca hd antenna and the terk? (the rca certainly seems much more do-able in terms of space)

    2. Do these antenna’s work with regular (no lcd/hd tv’s) you know the old fashion crt tv’s? (I still have one of these) I have been told the reception is quite good

    3. With regards to hulu (say law & order..are they available the next day?) and the quality is good? (are they downloaded to the roku box or streamed like netflix?)

    I really like that you have documented your actions. I wasn’t sure how hulu and roku fit into the scenario

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      I’ve only put the RCA Antenna on a lesser television, so I can’t really compare quality, but the picture is very good even on the lesser television.

      They absolutely work with regular televisions. The output cable from the antenna is actually just coaxial cable.

      HuluPlus offers a 7 day trial. I’d check it out. They’re almost all available the next day (but it’s ultimately up to the content owner. For example, Tosh.0 is probably 3 weeks delayed, but I still get one every week, so it’s fine.) The quality is phenomenal, and they’re all streamed to the box. No downloads. What’s also nice is that because all of the content is streamed from a service, I can watch the first half of a show on one television, and it knows to pick up where I left off on the next television (or PC.) It’s really awesome.

  7. Arnulfo Avatar

    Nice blog.! I’ve been trying to cut the cord for the past 1.5yrs. I have purchased 2-xboxes for that. My TV viewing is a little different: kids: Nick, Cartoon Network, History Channel, Discovery). Wife: Food Network, local channels. Me: GolTV. Right now I am using PlayOn, and it seems to cover most of the requirements (except GolTV ;( The only downside of that is that I have to have a computer streaming to the xBoxes. I will take a 2nd look at Roku.

    How does HuluPlus work with the xBox? I’m looking for a content provider right now that can offer me GolTV or something similar. Then it will be Bye-Bye directTV… 🙂

  8. Greg Finzer Avatar

    I have been wanting to do this. The problem is that most of what my wife watches is Spanish TV or reality shows such as Biggest Loser, America’s Next Great Restaurant, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, etc. The kids watch a plethora of kids shows. Anyone know if there is a way to stream Spanish channels?


    1. David Lindsley Avatar
      David Lindsley

      I can tell you that there’s a ton of kids’ shows available for streaming on Netflix. You may also want to check at your local library for kids’ shows on DVD.

    2. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      Greg, I know nothing about Spanish programming, but here’s a look at the channel that is available on Roku:


      Also, there seems to be tons of Spanish shows and movies on Netflix. There are also tons of shows on Hulu Plus, but without knowing what I’m looking for, I don’t know what quantity of it is Spanish.

      Hope this helps…and like David Lidsley said, there’s tons of kids shows on Netflix and Hulu. Between those and PBS (over antenna), our kids watch some great shows.

    3. jasonkarns Avatar

      Check out the online streaming directories at moki.tv and clicker.tv/clicker.com. They are great resources for finding tv/movies online.

  9. Steve Avatar

    Greg, most those reality shows are over the air – ie. you would have no trouble getting American Idol

  10. Steve Avatar

    Something to share – back when cable first came out, the idea was that you’d pay a subscription fee and have less commercials.

    Funny to think about that now 🙂

  11. jasonkarns Avatar

    I have a similar setup, with some different hardware. I have a Mac Mini in the living room running Plex (and OSX port of XBMC) which has plugins for Hulu, Netflix, and hundreds of others. The benefit to running the mac mini as my HTPC instead of a Roku box is that I have access to all manner of standard desktop-only web video. I use the Apple Remote as well as a Logitech DiNovo Edge bluetooth keyboard (with trackpad). I then installed Kylo, which is a Mozilla-based browser tailored to couch-surfing. From Kylo, I can check out Clicker.tv (clicker.com) and Moki.tv which are great resources for discovering online sources of television shows and movies.

    In addition to web streaming, I have a Windows Home Server box that streams all my movies, music and pictures to the Mac Mini (and other networked machines). This works seamlessly and the Plex interface to all this media still gets my wife’s stamp of approval. (which was bought in part by streaming daytime soap operas as well)

    The last piece of the network is my modded, classic Xbox running XBMC in the bedroom. It has access to the same wide range of online streaming via plugins and also streams from the Windows Home Server. On top of all this, I have a Playon.tv subscription which acts as a streaming proxy for anything that the xbox can’t handle directly.

    We are currently still paying for basic cable, but once I get the HDTV antennas connected, we’ll be able to cut the cord for good!

  12. Maggie Longshore Avatar

    We do not subscribe to cable-tv either. We have an internet only cable plan.

    We have a large regular TV antenna in our attic and have it wired through the cable-jacks so it is available throughout the house. We have cat-5 & coax in just about every room. We bought a roku XD to watch netflix.

    When the kids are home they will often hook their laptops (1 mac, 1 pc) up to the tv to watch any anime that is not readily available on netflix.

  13. Johnny C Avatar
    Johnny C

    Keep in mind that the Roku is not without issues. I have one and the mlb.tv streaming is horrendous. It was awful last year and like a fool I resubscribed again and shame on me for being fooled again. It is very rare that a game will stream without some sort of rebuffering, skipping ahead or flat out just doesn’t load. Read the Roku forums and you’ll see numerous complaints.

    Hulu Plus I tried for a week and had similar problems so I cancelled.

    I’ve had a lot of success with Netflix, Amazon, Youtube and Crackle. The Roku is a great add on for me but too many problems to think of it as a replacement and I have to have my ESPN, MLB and NFL Network.

    I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Playon where you can get Hulu, ESPN 3 and others. It works with the PS3, WII (not sure about X box) and there is a Roku private channel for Playon (though I’ve heard the latest update caused audio sync issues. Playon gives you a 2 week free trial. Not sure if you allow links in these posts so just google playon.

  14. William C Bonner Avatar
    William C Bonner

    I cut the cord a few years ago, and have been generally happy with it. I’ve got a TiVo HD that’s connected to my primary TV, a couple of HDHomeRun units on my network that are connected to my Win7 desktop running media center, and an XBox 360 on my secondary TV.

    I’ve wired so I’ve got an external antenna Terk TV55 http://www.amazon.com/Terk-Technology-TV-55-Outdoor-Amplified/dp/B00005T3A9/ref=sr_1_19?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1302136552&sr=1-19 witht he amplifier feeding a splitter to all of my tuners. I got this antenna specifically because the Seattle area has HDTV on both the VHF and UHF bands. Do you know if the flat RCA antenna picks up channels in the VHF frequency bands, or how it’s signal strength compares to the Terk you’ve got? Does the RCA work in any orientation, without having to point it towards the transmission towers? Do you know how far away you are from your broadcasters?

    http://antennaweb.org/aw/Address.aspx is my favorite location for finding out the station information in a particular area.

  15. Kevin Kuebler Avatar
    Kevin Kuebler

    Very cool Jeff. I’ve been thinking it would be cool to do something like this. I might have a roadblock to implementing it though, and I suspect this may start affecting more people in the future. Late last year, I switched from Cox cable to AT&T Uverse. Well, UVerse just announced that they’re going to start capping their internet service on a monthly basis. If you exceed the cap, you pay more, just like with cell phone data plans.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is just the start of a trend and the other providers start doing it too. I suspect it’s mostly intended to prevent people from doing exactly what you are, since most people get their internet service from a provider which also sells TV service. It would be interesting to find out how much average bandwidth you use after a couple of months with this setup (assuming you’re able to find that out with your provider).

  16. Frank Avatar

    Great post Jeff. I am moving in about a week towards the north side of town and have been contemplating starting with a new cable provider or to “cut the cable” as well. We have NetFlix now and love the streaming and DVDs in the mail. If we do this we are going to try Hulu Plus too.

    How are the antennas? How many local channels do you pick up and the reception quality good as in clear or keeps a solid signal without stutter?

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      Frank, re: the antennas. I’m not kidding whatsoever when I say that the picture quality (and reception) is better than any cable box I’ve ever had. Seriously.

  17. Sam Nasr Avatar
    Sam Nasr

    I have to admit, when I first saw the first 2 paragraphs I thought it was a waste of time. When I read more, I changed my mind completely. Great article, I think I’m going to follow your footsteps!

  18. Jon Kruger Avatar

    What you are doing is the future of television. I cannot wait for the day when I can just subscribe to the channels I want without having to pay for some 200 channel package from a cable company. We very rarely ever watch live TV anyway, about the only time we watch anything live is if it’s a sporting event. I am going to get much pleasure out of calling the cable company and telling them I don’t need them anymore (which will also go for the internet once I get a 4G phone that I can turn into a wifi hotspot).

    As a side note, I have no idea how you guys keep up with that many shows. I don’t care if you’re watching them without commercials. We can’t keep up with the 2 or 3 shows that we watch.

  19. Brendan Enrick Avatar

    How are you getting the shows on USA? Psych, White Collar, and Royal Pains.

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      Primarily from a browser. But there’s a cool service called PlayOn that can probably help you watch it on your Xbox 360.

  20. Matt Casto Avatar

    I have the same indoor HD antenna you have. Its definitely large and a bit of an eyesore since I don’t have anywhere good to put it except next to our TV on the TV stand. Also, sometimes (like last night during the rain) I get enough signal degredation that shows can become unwatchable. This doesn’t happen a lot.

    I’m going to look into an outdoor HD antenna this summer.

    Good job cancelling cable. We did this 2 years ago and haven’t looked back!

  21. Matt Casto Avatar

    Although I can get ESPN through the same cable provider that I get my internet through, I am not able to use the ESPN XBox 360 app. It askes me for ESPN 360 login information or something like that. Bummer. Glad it works for you!

  22. […] TWO 25’ HDMI cables.  For those of you that have been reading my recent posts, you know that I’ve recently dropped my cable subscription in favor of online streaming, and these cables were directly a part of my overall […]

  23. […] may have read my earlier posts about Cutting the Cord.  In January 2011, I cancelled my cable subscription.  I was paying $80 a month to watch […]

  24. Patty Wiseman Avatar
    Patty Wiseman

    I had a converter box on my regular Sanyo which fell and broke. So I brought the DTV – Sanyo from upstairs down with my JVC vcr/dvd player and it keeps saying “no signal” a friend tried to connect an extra antennae up and now the channel won’t change. Instead of a new converter box can I use that Roku thing on both tv’s.

  25. Billy Johnson Avatar
    Billy Johnson

    Great article. . . quick question. Where were you able to find “House”? Hulu doesn’t have it, Netflix isn’t streaming. . . thanks!

  26. chad Avatar

    Hey I have a question I haven’t gone as far as you yet with the internet currently all I have is a digital flat RCA antenna I have it mounted on my roof and I get al the major local channels I wantin exceptional quality well worth 30 bucks at Wal-Mart!! I have it hooked up to currently just one led smart tv. But I cannot receive fox and I’ve tried 3diferent locations in my house and I now have it on the roof of my home I have no trouble any more with al my other channels they all come in full he but no matter what I try I cannot get fox and I was hoping you had any suggestions or ideas? Fox is still a free local channel correct? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated thank you for ur time and ur set up sounds awesome and money saving I wil be going back to cable internet only just for online gamingand netflix and July. Thank u and ur response would be greatlyappreciated

  27. Lynn Avatar

    This is fantastic. How is it going now in 2013? My husband will need Indians, Browns, Ohio State and March Madness. Other than that I think he will survive. We have one digital TV and an XBOX 360 kinect. I want to drop the cable bill to internet/phone no TV cable hook up. Do I need the Roku still? Could I get by on the antennae?

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      We’re still going strong here in May 2014. Indians are still a struggle for me, but I actually got cable to watch their playoff games last fall (just for a couple of days, and then cancelled again.) Browns are almost always on CBS or FOX every Sunday. Ohio State is on ESPN (which I can get through my Roku) or BTN, but the BTN games are garbage wins that I’m not willing to pay $120 a month to watch. I’ll head out to a sports bar if it’s really important. (It’s not.) Finally, March Madness is completely streamed online for free. We hooked a tablet up to the TV, and watched the games that way.

      You’re definitely going to need a Roku, or some similar device. If you don’t already have one, I still recommend Roku over any other, including Apple TV and ChromeCast. The antenna is really just for live TV, which we rarely watch, except for sports.

  28. Stephanie Boyd Avatar
    Stephanie Boyd

    Can my husband use Roku to DVR Browns games from a local channel in order to watch later in the day?

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      Nope. Roku isn’t a DVR. Sports need to be watched live.

  29. […] this section with a preface: my family proudly “cut the cord” just over 4 years ago.  (You can read more about that here.)  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it simply means we don’t have a cable […]

  30. ChrisO Avatar

    Jeff, great article…truly helping me prepare for cutting the cord. I’ve been on the edge for a while now, but recently I’ve been pushed over the edge with the cable company. The question I have is do I really need a roku box? I already have Chromecast and can most likely get many of the apps you’ve recommended either through my XBOX 360 or downloaded straight to my phone or computer….all of which can be linked directly to my TV. Thoughts?

  31. Random Lambert Avatar
    Random Lambert

    Do you pick up the browns with just antenna

    1. jeffblankenburg Avatar

      Yes, if it is actually broadcast in Columbus, OH, where I live. They’re on CBS or FOX.

      1. Random Lambert Avatar
        Random Lambert

        Bought rabbit ear antenna and no signal what indoor one is best?

  32. jeffblankenburg Avatar

    I recommend the two I mentioned in the post. A digital antenna should get you what you’re looking for. (You might also need your TV to “auto-program” itself to find the channels it’s receiving.)

  33. Anna Avatar

    Hello Jeff, I am currently paying about $130 for internet and cable from comcast with basic channels. I have 1 dvr, 2 digi boxes and the modem. I also have a PS3. My tvs are HD and 1 smart and multiple laptops. What kind of set up would you recommend for me? I really need as much information before I decide to get rid if comcast.

  34. […] April 2011, I wrote a post about how my family and I were going to cut the cord from cable.  Since that time, much has changed in the landscape of cord-cutting, so I thought I’d write […]

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