BASICS Step 08: Cut The Cord
You are "locked and cocked" or a less threatening "ready for spaghetti" and the moment of truth has arrived. It's time to cut the cord. If you grew up in an internet world this may seem like no big deal. But for a lot of us, this can be kinda stressing. You have the internet in your home, your Wi-Fi is cooking, and your TVs are ready. So, what's the holdup? Let's get into it and actually cut the cord.
Let's Get Up to Date
10 years ago, there was no "cutting-the-cord" option on the table. It was Cable TV, Broadcast TV, and Satellite TV, that's it.
In 2009, the US Television broadcast standards went from analog (big fat TVs) to digital (modern slim screens). And streaming TV emerged as a reality.
Five years ago, dumping a $125 per month cable service for a $10 or $15 per month streaming service was a no-brainer.
Not so black and white today. The Cable TV costs have not only remained the same but in a lot of cases, gone up even higher. The streaming services are now offering a ton of channels and a ton of price increases to go along with the increase in channels. It's not hard to end up paying more for streaming services than for cable TV.
Today, cutting-the-cord has become a tricky path. What makes sense yesterday is obsolete today and today's offerings will change next week.
That doesn't mean cutting-the-cord is a waste of time, it just means that you will need to really get engaged (work harder) to be successful.
Now you are ready to get down to business. There are timing issues here. You can't cook dinner unless you have the ingredients and if you don't have all the ingredients you need to go to the store first. There is a sequence of events that you should follow. This step is about the sequence of events.
😎 WordCutter: If you have landed here on this page without going through the previous steps because you are eager to get started, that's OK. Here's what you missed. We inventoried what we already have. Then we made a wish list of what we want. Then we compared the two lists and created an action plan. We know what services, devices, content and other parts and pieces we will end up with. If you are unsure of any of these things you may have some hiccups going forward.
Local Broadcast TV
If you have decided to use a rooftop or indoor antenna as the signal source for your local broadcast TV (Step 3) now is the time to make sure everything is in place. Check all your TVs and take the time to click through all the channels and make sure that everything is good. Don't forget to check your PC if you want these local channels available on your computer.
If you have decided to skip using an antenna and use a streaming media service to get these local channels, move forward to the next section.
You have already chosen your internet source, your Cable TV provider, your telephone DSL internet, or a satellite internet service (Step 4). If you are making a change, like switching from your Cable TV provider to your telephone DSL line. now is the time to do so.
Call your new internet provider and schedule the installation. After the new service is activated, call your old provider (Cable TV in this example) and disconnect the service.
Verify that the new service is working with the installer who installed the service. Make sure that everything is ready for your home network.
Connect your internet service to your home network as described earlier in (Step 5.) Check your TVs and PCs to verify everything is internet-ready and operational. If you are going to be depending upon a streaming service for your movies and TV shows, you must have the internet available before you cut off your Cable TV service.
Streaming Media Device
If you have decided to make your dumb TV smart enough to stream services, you must have your streaming media device up and operating at this point. This is all outlined in (Step 6.) If you do not need a streaming media device, move on to the next section.
Streaming Media Service
Now is the time to activate or subscribe to the streaming media services which you selected earlier in (Step 7.)
There is a lot of new stuff here. You need to familiarize yourself with the streaming media device, the remote, and the features and you need to get up to speed with the streaming media services which you have selected.
Don't forget to teach everybody in the house how all this stuff works. It can be very frustrating to the others who are using your media if they don't have any idea how it all works.
If you are replacing your old Cable TV service with your new streaming media services, no is the time to call up the Cable TV company and disconnect the services you no longer need. If you are still depending upon your Cable TV provider for the internet, make sure they do not disconnect the internet along with the video service.
For myself and my wife Irina, we are just overwhelmed with the ocean of choices out there. We both have different tastes, and we like different types of movies and TV shows.
After a lot of back and forth, try this, try that, we have settled into our comfort zone of off-air broadcast TV and Amazon Prime.
This does not always fit the bill. Maybe we occasionally buy a TV show or movie on DVD to fill in the blanks.
The good news is that we are not locked into streaming contracts so when the weather changes and can changes with it.
Remember, these are my action items. You will have developed your own depending on your choices. I am showing you how I review my action items and determine my costs.
- Disconnect Cable TV Basic service and install a rooftop TV antenna.
- No internet change stick with my Cable TV Internet.
- Buy my own modem to replace and return the Cable TV modem.
- Must have a home network.
- Must get a streaming media device for my dumb TV.
- Must get a streaming media service to replace my Cable TV channels.
I am buying equipment to complete my home media system, $580.00.
- $200 TV Antenna: I will save $25 per month after spending $200 to install an antenna. After eight (8) months I will break even on the installation cost and from then on out it will be free.
- $60 My own Cable TV Modem: The Cable TV company charges me $10 per month to rent their modem. If I buy my own modem, I can return theirs and save this monthly fee.
- $270 Router and cables: I have decided to purchase a good router for my home network. I am budgeting $250 for this router. I am adding $25 for cables and power strips.
- $50 Amazon Fire TV Stick: I am going with the Amazon Firestick 4K for $50. You do not need to decide until the next step.
- $0 Streaming Media Service: After reviewing all of this I have decided that I do not need this right now. Everything will be set up and ready to add one of these services later if I want to do so.
Overall: I will disconnect some Cable TV services which will save me $95 per month or $1,140 per year. Woo Hoo!
- Disconnect Cable TV Basic $25 per month
- Disconnect Cable TV Premium channels $60 per month
- Stop renting Cable TV modem $10 per month
In my case, I spent some money to get my home up to speed with all my media requirements. I replaced my Cable TV video with Amazon Prime media services. I am now saving $95 per month and have everything that I want.
😎 WordCutter: Don't forget that this is a moving target. My monthly savings are based upon the cost of my media replacement costs, Amazon Prime. If that service has a price increase, my monthly savings will drop. If the price increase gets too big, I need to start shopping around for a less expensive media service.
Not only do the prices change but the content changes also. I may lose some channels or shows that I really want, and I am again shopping around for a different streaming media service.
To me, the $95 per month savings is worth the effort. And I can always make changes. I am no longer locked into video "packages" that force me to pay for a bunch of media that I do not want.
ACTION ITEM: Quick Review of What You Have Now!
- Call your Cable TV company and tell them you are thinking about cutting-the-cord, and you want to know what they can offer to make you change your mind. (You may be surprised.)
- Check with your family members and make sure you know all their favorite programs. Don't just surprise them.
- Review your internet speed and capacity for streaming compatibility.
And finally, don't overthink it. Just do it.
ITEM: Cable TV
I cut the cord a long time ago for these two reasons.
- Picture quality: As the cable TV signal was compressed and then more compressed, the picture quality went down lower and lower. At the same time, off-air picture quality improved, more and more. Unless you live in a rural area with spotty or non-existing off-air signals, there is no comparison. At the same time streaming high definition media became a reality and cable TV signals just cannot compete. I admit that I am hyper critical when it comes to picture quality.
- Set-Top Box: Too many remotes, leave your TV on channel 3, switch this and do that, its a mess. I will never own a "remote caddy" box of remotes.
As the cable TV quality went down the monthly costs went up. Maybe I am just a cheapskate, but I really need the peace of mind knowing that I am getting the best deal for the best product. In fact, I would rather pay more for a better quality product that makes me happy.
Trading in my cable TV signals for off-air and streaming media fits my agenda just right.
Cut the cord and enjoy better quality for lower costs. It's a no brainer.
However, as I write this, the streaming media service costs are inching higher and higher. No, they are not over the top yet, but they are heading that way.
ITEM: Actually, cutting the cord
I have laid out a detailed plan to cut the cord but there is a lot to be said about just doing it. As long as you have the internet speed and capacity that you need, you can just do it. Subscribe to a streaming service and say goodbye to your cable TV media.
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