Don't cut everything off without a plan
The worst thing someone can do if they have always had a pay-TV service is just say “OK I’m canceling everything” without any prior research or plan for moving forward. Why? Because if you watch TV a lot you will automatically realize what you miss or take for granted about your TV service and scramble to replace it. I see people on Facebook groups, Reddit Forums, and other avenues desperate to find some show, local news a game or something else trying to learn about 10 things at once and getting advice from too many people at once. We have done the research and gathered the resources you need. Use them to tailor your needs.
Consider your household's TV needs
Things can get complicated and feel overwhelming when deciding to walk away from an old standby. So you need to zero in on what it is that you like about your pay TV service. Are there channels you feel like you can not do without? Do you need a streaming device? How will you find your favorite shows? Are you just trying to save money at all costs or just breaking up with a bad provider? Do you need the Internet as part of your solution? Is your cable company the only Internet provider in town? Thinking about these types of things will prevent a scramble when the new season of something starts or when its 10 minutes from the kickoff of the big game.
Find out how well an antenna will work at your home
As stated in the Cord Cutting Guide section about antennas, you may be very surprised to see just how much programming you can receive for free with an antenna. But you may also live somewhere that prevents you from getting what you want out of it. Check out the antenna section for more information about the capabilities of modern antennas.
If you are going to integrate streaming consider your Internet needs
The amount of bandwidth a household will need if a decision is made to go all in on streaming content is all up to how the Internet is used in the home. The starting level of bandwidth offered by most cable providers and especially fiber Internet providers can handle 4k streaming without any hitches. On the other hand if there are people in the home who play a lot of Internet taxing video games that soak up your internet’s energy like a sponge maybe you should go with a higher level service. It all has to do with how many connections will be used at exactly the same time. Most of the time for instance you will not be uploading a video, while also playing the latest PS5 shooter and watching a 4k movie with Dolby Atmos surround sound and streaming video or audio on phones or smart speakers. But if that is exactly how your home works maybe you do need more power.
Don't rely on outdated equipment
Here is something I hear a lot. I am paying for the fastest Internet but my Netflix keeps buffering! Just because the Internet provider is sending a signal to your home doesn’t mean you will receive it. Your modem and router must have the capability to distribute the signal effectively. Think about it like a water pipe. If your pipes are clogged water it is going to dribble out no matter what kind of water pressure you should get. An old modem and router will deliver to the standard they were built for. And if it is 10 years old it will not give you what you are paying for. * Unless you love playing with internal settings it just might be worth it to pay the monthly fee from your Internet provider to use their equipment. The replacement costs nothing, the maintinance is on them and they will never be able to say “well everything on our end says its fine, it must be YOUR equipment.
Find out where your shows live ahead of time
TV is not really about channels. It is about the shows you like to watch. Often when people talk about cutting off a service they worry that they will not get all of the channels they received before. But the truth is that they may not need the channel to watch their shows. Services like Hulu or Peacock, Paramount+ or Discovery+ may well meet their needs for a fraction of the cost of cable. The shows may even be available free over the air.
Make sure to turn in all equipment and get a receipt
Look I wish that people and companies were honest, efficient and organized. But you can not count on that. So if you are cutting off your TV service make sure that you carefully gather all of the hardware involved with your TV service. Get the big set top boxes, the remote controllers etc. But be careful not to return your modem and router if you will continue to receive Internet from the TV provider. Identify what each piece of equipment is before unhooking it and throwing it in a box. But most importantly once you turn in the equipment you will receive a receipt that says you turned in the equipment as well as what time and day you did so. Keep that receipt so that if you get garbage penalty later for failure to turn in your equipment you have black and white proof that you did. This kind of thing happens way more often than you might expect.
Give your wifi Router an easy to identify name and simple password
If you can plug a streaming device in to a wired Internet connection I highly recommend that you do so. It will provide the best performance. But you will likely have streaming devices or smart TVs throughout your home. This is why you want your wireless connection to one, have a name that you can identify “the Jonson fam”, “Archie’s Place”, what ever suits you. This way it is easy to choose the right connection and not try to sign into a neighbor’s Wi-Fi. Equally important If you do not already have your Wi-Fi password set to something easy for you to remember do so. Make it a pet’s name, your nickname, an old familiar phone number. What ever works for you. Just don’t keep it some 50 character default monstrosity that you can never type in correctly. Think about how it works when you are at a business that provides Wi-Fi to its customers. The dentist might use a network called “Clean Teeth” and the password “Floss!2day”