How to Cut Cable Guide
We started our cord cutting adventure in February of 2016 and we often get asked for a How to Cut Cable guide. This site is a continual how to cut cable guide but this page is to keep friends, family, and our subscribers up to date on what services we’re using with associated costs to replace our large cable subscription after we canceled. This list will change and be updated as new services pop up or better deals and promotions become available from the world of cord cutting. Check back often!
How to Cut Cable Guide
We didn’t just call up Comcast and cancel one day out of the blue. Like a lot of people we had a bundle of services from them that needed to be replaced. For us it was home phone, security, and cable. We had planned to stick with them for Internet access. We’ll get into details on what we’re using to replace those services below but here is a quick guide to the steps we took throughout the process. Hoping this how to cut cable guide helps some of you at ground zero right now.
- Replacing the security system took some work so we started there. We figured this would be the longest timeline. We’re interested in more home automation so we bought a couple systems in that area and started testing.
- While security systems were being researched and tested we started trials of all the major streaming services for replacement of cable television. I would definitely recommend this step. Everyone has preferences in functionality, programming, user interfaces so it’s important to try them. Free trials are pretty standard among streaming services.
- Hardware was next after we decided what streaming services we wanted. Not all streaming services are on every device so make sure to research Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, etc. to see which services are on what devices. There are usually deals for devices out there so have patience and do some research.
- With a security system in place, new devices wired up, and free trials started, we immersed ourselves into a cable free life before actually calling Comcast and canceling. We pulled out all the cable equipment and wiring and just used our streaming devices. Key step here to determine if this will actually work for you.
- Home phone was next. We technically don’t need it as we don’t use it often but we have one child without a cell phone and if he’s home alone we wanted a way for him to reach us. There are a ton of options and this was one of the easiest steps.
- Canceling cable was next after everything was in place.
- One last step is the negotiation with the cable company on your Internet-only service. We learned you don’t have to settle for what is advertised. They have promotions they can offer. More about that on the blog
How We Replaced TV
We first started with a look at what we watch routinely that we couldn’t live without. The list was actually pretty small. It included a few shows we DVR’d, the news, Minnesota sports, and a handful of programming our kids enjoyed. There were also big live events like the Super Bowl, Grammy’s, etc.
So, here’s a glimpse of how to cut cable and what we’re using. Again, take advantage of the free trials to make sure the service is right for you.
PlayStation Vue ($34.99/month)
A big breakthrough for us was when PlayStation Vue announced a package that included Fox Sports North. This wasn’t a big deal for everyone in the family but it gave us live access to Minnesota sports teams. I had looked into MLB.TV and NBA League Pass but didn’t like the idea of paying for a service that wouldn’t let me watch my local market teams live. There was a delay after the live broadcast you’d need to wait to watch the game. What’s the point? You’d easily have heard the outcome somewhere by that point.
We also have a PlayStation 4 which helped seal the deal. We did a trial and used it for a week on PlayStation, an Amazon Fire, and iOS apps for iPad and iPhone. We were impressed with it’s ease of use as well as DVR functionality (more on that coming in the blog).
We had used Netflix years ago before they started their original programming. Back then streaming option weren’t great and we mainly used it for DVD mailings a few times a month, but not enough to justify keeping it. Obviously, streaming options have dramatically improved. With shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, etc. on our “want to watch list” this was a no-brainer to start again. We jumped back in with the Streaming Only plan that includes watching on 2 screens at a time and in HD only. So far so good! Loving House of Cards.
Amazon Prime Video
You might call this cheating in a how to cut cable guide, but I’m not including a monthly cost for this. We’ve been using Prime Video for a few years as an add-on by Amazon to their Prime 2-Day Shipping service. We’re big Amazon customers and the video component has become a really nice service for us. I’ve watched the Americans on this as well as found new programming like The Man in the High Castle (love this one). It’s also been a good source for movies for the kids while Mom and Dan head out for a rare date night. We’re currently watching Prime on the PlayStation 4 or Amazon Fire.
You might also call this cheating, but I’m not adding cost for HBO GO either right now because I’m not sure we’d pay for it out of pocket. While negotiating our Internet package with Comcast they floated a promotion by us that gave us twice as much speed for less money than the package we had chosen. The catch was the package also included their basic cable package with an HBO add-on for one year. We said, “Sure”. They sent us a cable box that now sits nicely in our storage room (unboxed) and I’m enjoying Game of Thrones via the HBO Go app on my iPad, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire. Win-Win.
OTA Digital Antenna
We purchased a couple Winegard Flatwave digital antennas to get standard network channels like NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX over-the-air in HD. For those of you new to cutting cable – this is free. But, we’re not completely happy with this solution yet. I haven’t found a great, consistent place for the antennas. Sometimes, it works great and other times we can’t get the channels in. I’d have a hard time relying on it for a major event right now. Needs work!
So, $45 dollars and we’ve easily replaced TV entertainment and even added programming we didn’t have before.
How We Replaced Security
I should add “sort of” on the end of that security heading. This is for a longer blog post but as I mentioned, we’re excited about home automation (i.e. driving up to the house and having lights go on, doors unlock, and security turn off). So, our aim in replacing our Comcast security system was to also find a system that enabled more home automation. We arrived at SmartThings from Samsung. Or, I should say I invested so much time into it that we arrived on it by default. I read a quote somewhere that said, “SmartThings became more of a hobby than a reliable security system”. I have to agree with that. I’m not ready to recommend it for someone that is not technical, doesn’t want to tinker around to make it work, or lives in an unsafe area where security is an absolute must.
How We Replaced Home Phone
Vonage ($18/month including taxes and fees)
Technically, we don’t need a home phone. My wife, daughter, and I have cell phones but our 10 year old son does not have one yet. He’s about a year away. We wanted him to have a way to call out of the home so we found a 1 year deal for Vonage that was very affordable and also had a $100 Amazon Gift Card as part of the offer. Rates go up after a year so we’ll cancel at that point and get him a cell phone. So far, we’re thrilled with Vonage. Truly easy and a great user experience. Would highly recommend – just make sure to do a search for coupons/deals as there seem to be plenty out there.
I hope you found this How to Cut Cable Guide useful in your journey to cutting the cable cord. There are more and more options each day to explore and trial so have fun and do your research. If you head over to our blog you can see more updates and reviews on devices and services we’re using.