$170 a month. It seemed like quite a chunk of change to spend on something we didn’t even use all that much. We had DirectTV for years, so we just kept the service when we moved a few years ago. As service providers (mainly streaming) increased, we spoke with more friends who were cutting the cord and breaking up with cable TV. Turns out it was quite simple, much cheaper and I actually prefer it. Here’s how to ditch cable for good and start streaming.
How it works
There are a few basic options you can start with when you decide to make the switch. You’ll want a Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire or other popular streaming device. This is what will allow you to access a variety of streaming services in lieu of regular cable or satellite television. Whichever option you choose, you need one streaming device for each television in your home. You will also need a strong internet connection, so we increased our speed and upgraded our modem to ensure we didn’t have interruptions while streaming. These all come with many free apps and you’d be surprised and how much you can watch for free.
For basic television channels, we purchased an antenna for each television.
We opted for a Roku, as it came free when you prepaid three months of Sling, a live tv streaming service. Sling starts at only $20 per month with three package options to choose from, all with no contract. We up our package during football season (to get more games other than just what’s in our region) and then adjust it back down when its over. Sling offers tons of popular channels, like ESPN, HGTV, Bravo and Comedy Central. Any tech issues we’ve had, Sling has resolved with us through their free tech support line. It’s always been a simple reset of the Roku or modem and doesn’t happen too often. DirectTV also offers a streaming service starting at $35 per month.
We already had a Netlflix account for $9.99/month, so we kept this going via the Roku. They have so many movies and exclusive shows, both for adults and kids. This is probably the service we utilize the most. You’ll see a lot of these listed in Lindsay’s post about 28 shows to watch when you have time to binge. Our favs are The Following, Jane the Virgin, House of Cards and Stranger Things.
I had gotten accustomed to using my DVR and watching shows later (I never seem to remember when something comes on nor do I have time at that moment), so we added Hulu Plus for $7.99/month. You can usually find me sniffling over an episode of This is Us, but I was surprised to see they also offer a lot of movies as well. Top Gun and Hook have been on repeat in our house lately.
Amazon Prime ($99/year) was another benefit we already had, so that app has been great for free movies, music and shows. I’ve been hooked on Downton Abbey lately (yes, I’m late to the party). If you don’t have Prime yet, it’s a great service to have. How did I manage before free two day shipping?!
The cost breakdown
Not including internet, we spend about $45 a month for all these services. Our internet is about another $50 per month. All in, we’re saving about $80 each month, and I actually like it a lot more. I’m not endlessly scrolling through a guide, trying to find something to mindlessly watch. Plus, I was able to increase my internet speed.