In this step, you are going to create some lists. Lists of what you want and enjoy need in your media. These lists are the foundation that will lead us to make cost-effective decisions on our cord-cutting options.

This step is not as easy as it sounds. Everything costs money, there is no free media. Right now, you may have 200 cable TV channels and you are only watching (using) 7 or 8 of them. You are still paying for all 200 channels.

You may want to consider

  1. I canโ€™t live without it.
  2. I like it but I can live without it.
  3. I have an unlimited budget, want everything!

Need vs. Want

What you need is different from what you want. You may need to watch your favorite TV shows, but you also want to be able to watch any of the newly released TV shows that catch your interest.

For Example: One of your favorite TV shows is "Blue Bloods" and this show is on CBS. So whatever media source you choose for your home media must include CBS.

When you identify your favorite TV shows you will also determine what networks you need. If you list 25 favorite TV shows you may only need 6 or 7 networks to get all your favorites. This is our starting point.

TV Shows

Make a list of your favorite TV shows and each show's network(s). You can use this list of the "Top 100 TV Shows" as a starting point. List all the networks for your shows. This list of favorite shows and networks will become one of the foundation stones of your home media TV needs.

๐Ÿ˜Ž WordCutter: Tip - Check your TV remote for favorite channels to help determine the networks you want. Also, there are apps for your mobile phone that list all the TV shows and related info. On Android phone check out "Next Episode" from the Google Play Store.

Local Broadcast TV

These are the local TV channels that come from broadcast transmitters in your geographic area. They provide local news, local sports and all kinds of local programming.

Some of us live in good reception areas and some of us are in poor reception areas. Roof TV antennas in good reception areas provide 20 or 30 or more different TV channels. Poor reception areas will get you a few poor-quality channels or not any channels at all.

๐Ÿ˜Ž WordCutter: Tip - There are some web sites that will tell you what off-air reception is available for your specific street address. These are engineering guesses and only an actual TV antenna will tell you the real story, but you can check them out. FCC Digital Reception Maps which will tell what's being transmitted over your house. Also "Antennas Direct" will tell you the same thing (hopefully).


You probably have ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox on your list already. So, you can get most if not all the regional football, baseball, and hockey on these networks.

Take the time to actually write down the sports you want. For example, I want to see all the NFL games even when they are blacked out locally.

Movies and Music

This is a yes or no question. If you have already listed content that requires the internet, the next step of this process will be the place to select a movie provider. Music is in the same boat if you have the internet you are good to go on music.


ACTION ITEM: Start "Shopping" around and see what's out there

Remember, the digital media world is a changing landscape. Services and prices change all the time. The good news is that you are rarely "locked" into a contract.

Your action item is to visit at least one of these three websites and start getting a feel for what is out there. (No, don't sign up for anything just yet. Just check things out and have some fun.)

The best streaming services in 2020

Best streamer of 2020

6 Best Internet Service Providers 2021