Things People Still Don’t Understand About Cord Cutting

Cord cutting

Major network TV does not require cable or paid apps.

Paramount+ and Peacock both offer portals to CBS and NBC respectively. Hulu with live TV, YouTube TV, Fubo TV and DirecTV Stream also push the idea that you can get your major networks without cable. But for some reason, there are still a lot of people who don’t understand that they can get NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, CW, and PBS without cable, expensive streaming services or dedicated apps. Part of the reason may be the advertising that makes it sound like that is the case. Another reason may be that people run to social media and ask other people who are not very well-informed for advice. Either way, the result is that a lot of cord-cutters do not ever consider buying an antenna.

Do antennas work for every single person in the country in exactly the same way? NO. In fact, some people will be hard-pressed to get much more from an antenna than they would if they taped a paint can to the top of their television. Those people include those who live in mountain valleys, people who live really far away from broadcast towers way out in the middle of nowhere. In fact the birth of cable TV came about because of people who lived in the mountains getting TV from a large antenna on top of a mountain with a cable used to distribute its signal.

Keep in mind, many of those towers are out in the middle of nowhere so, in order to be too far from them you have to go the middle of nowhere and then live somewhere so sparsely populated that driving 70 miles from there is still desolate as opposed to being close to another major city. Do some people live in a place like that? Yes. And they will tell you that antennas are terrible and a waste of money. For certain folks having your closest neighbor live 45 minutes away has its benefits, but it comes with the downside problems like that.

For everybody else, people who live within 50 miles of broadcast towers in a place not isolated in a valley an antenna will deliver the major networks in all their glory plus a bunch of other TV channels that people would otherwise pay for with services like FRNDLY. So before you sign up for YouTube TV just because you don’t want to miss the Masked Singer live try out on of the many antennas on the market now. Our best results have been from a professionally mounted on on our house. We live in a small community about 30 minutes outside of Raleigh NC. So not exactly LA. My antenna picks up 60 channels but most importantly the Big 4 broadcast networks so I saw every minute of NFL action that was not exclusive to streaming like the Peacock game or Amazon’s Thursday offering with no extra cash spent.

It can be as cheap or as expensive as you choose to make it.

Now and then people say things like well with this and that and price increases and whatnot cord cutting is as expensive or more than cable. And If people are finding a way to spend as much as what cable TV costs without cable TV then I hope they are getting an amazing time out for thousands of hours worth of content they must be paying for. I recently saw someone say for instance that when Netflix starts streaming WWE Raw they can cancel YouTube TV. That implies someone was paying $72.99 per month to watch Raw, when they could have just gotten Sling TV for $40.00 and gotten USA along with other channels that they apparently care less about. It also means they didn’t bother to watch Raw on demand the next day on Hulu for $7.99.  This is how the costs add up. $72.00 for one channel to watch one show. $22.00 for a Netflix package that provides more access than a user actually needs, $14.99 for the Disney bundle “For the kids” who watch their friends do dances other people made famous all day on Tik Tok, FRNDLY to get one random channel that it offers that others do not, Max commercial free for $15.99 because you might want to watch that one thing that you have not watched yet. I bet if you add all that stuff up it still doesn’t cost as much as your TV service from cable does, but you have definately taken a chunk of the savings away in the process. On the other hand just having an antenna and a low-cost streaming service or two costs 15 -20 bucks a month. It’s really about what your household wants and needs. And remember.

You do not need all those services!

Do you have 16 raincoats? Do you buy 5 brands of deli ham every time you go to the store or own a car for every type of weather? I bet you don’t. And if you do, I hope you will consider a monthly tax-free donation to the world-famous Ryan Downey fund for the advancement of grilling and chilling in my back yard. But if you are not in the money to burn camp you probably make most of your purchases based on your actual needs. But people act like TV is a totally different animal and that you must have each streaming option no matter what the cost. And that is frankly a stupid way to go about it. No that’s not a nice way to put it. Do you want nice? Find a cuddly advisor. I am sick to high hell of hearing that you have to get Disney+ and Max and subscribe to the most expensive version of Netflix and Amazon Prime and Peacock and Hulu and YouTube TV all at the same time. That’s frankly bull crap. Sure cable offered hundreds of channels but you know damn well that you didn’t watch most of them. The hard part about cord-cutting is deciding what you want to watch or better what you need to be able to watch and getting into position to do so. As in point one, maybe the vast majority of what you would like to be able to see is available via a $50.00 antenna. But you might want more. That’s all good. But if you know for instance whether you can get over-the-air (OTA) signals or not you can start narrowing down your needs quickly. If you want programming that goes beyond network TV there are a couple of big services that offer lots of content for not much money. Want warm Hallmark-style programming? FRNDLY delivers it in spades for $6.99. Do you love lifestyle programming, cooking shows, True Crime and DIY stuff then Discovery+ is your go-to. The ad-supported version is only $4.99 per month. I can just hear ole Sally Struthers “For the price of a cup of coffee”.  And if you really, really need one of each one of the major services think about what you want to be able to see on them and rotate what you have and when. New season of a show, get it. Watch it. Cancel it. They will take you back later.

You do not need to recreate having cable but it’s not hard and it can be done for less money.

If you really love what you get from having cable and don’t want the hassle of learning new things, buying new stuff, sending the cable stuff back and all that, then for God’s sake keep it. It’s not going anywhere. If you are sick of cable because of the price or service or selection but want to be able to watch all of your favorite sports, news, major networks and niche programming then you have choices. And they are usually going to be a lot less expensive than what you were paying for TV. Look at your TV bill and see what it costs for the TV part on its own, provided that you are not on new customer pricing. Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV, and DirecTV Stream will probably cover you if you want to get a service almost like cable and may even offer added perks. For instance, Hulu with Live TV also includes Disney+ and ESPN+. Cable replacement services cost around $70.00. That’s a good chunk of change but cable TV costs a lot more.

You probably don’t need a new TV.

If your TV is a flat rectangle and not a giant cube? If the answer is yes then you are probably good to go. Any HD or 4K TV is going to give you the minimal requirements to watch TV the modern way. It will have a coax for an antenna, at least one HDMI port for a streaming box, and depending on what kind of TV you own a full app store. When we cut cable we put the savings into a little fund and bought our first HD TV with it. It felt like such an adulting thing to do. But these days most people probably already have a modern TV.

RSN’s are a challenge.

RSN stands for Regional Sports Network. And if you are not a sports fan or more so a major fan of a local team, then this part will not matter to you in the least. But for those of you out there who have a channel that is like “The Home Of the ………” you are going to have to be careful as to what direction you go. In fact, you should make it a determining factor in what you choose to do. There are a couple of live channel cable replacement services that offer RNS but a number that do not. The most prominent ones that do are FUBO and DirecTV Stream. They are also priced the most like cable services. You get what you pay for though. There are also a lot of streaming options out there that will deliver RSNs as a separate service via an app. They just cost around $20.00 per month. If you want the Brewers or the Cubs and you live in the cities where they play this is the way you have to watch them.

There are actually a lot of cool sports options.

Welcome to modern sports fandom. If you don’t live in the home market for your favorite team boy I have good news for you. There are all-in-one NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB packages that give fans access to almost every single game on TV aside from games on National TV. In other words, if it’s on ESPN or TNT you won’t get it. But NHL fans can get ESPN+ for a song and access almost every NHL game all season. Again provided that they are not a Pens fan living in Pitsburg etc.

You don’t have to watch that one show.

We have to stop living in a FOMO society. It used to be keeping up with the Joneses. Now it’s keeping up with whatever is trending on X. Haven’t seen Ted Lasso? So! Did you miss out on baby Yoda? First off “HOW COULD YOU,” just kidding. It’s not that big a deal. Just because there is clickbait written about it does not mean you have to see it. You certainly don’t need a whole service just to watch it. We are talking about TV. Working adults do not have 9 hours a day just sitting around watching one service or another. We have to live life, cook, clean eat, work and sleep and on top of that find time to actually enjoy the families and friendships that make life worth living. So just don’t worry about what you are not watching and enjoy what you can when you can. In truth half of your screen time is probably on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or something like that anyway.

If you are confused about how to approach cord cutting we have a full guide of tools and services and FYI’s for you to use to get started. They include links that will show you what channels you can get with an antenna, which services are offered, which services have which channels, and so on. It’s a one-stop shop curated by The Streaming Advisor based on 14 years as a cord cutter and industry expert.