Credit: by Sommai

Let’s face it, paying for programming to come into your home is expensive. Cable and satellite bills easily top 3 digits, and, depending on the options you select and how many televisions you serve, the bill can be over $300. So, how do you get out from under these huge bills? One solution is cutting the cord.

What Is Cutting the Cord?

Wire CutterCredit: by Gualberto 107Cutting the cord simply refers to cancelling your cable or satellite service in favor of cheaper alternatives for your home entertainment. The buzz about cord cutting has been growing for the past few years as more and more media is available online and ISPs (internet service providers) are able to provide cheaper high speed internet access.

Is Cord Cutting Right for You?

The big question is if you should cut the cord or not. This is a process my wife and I went through about 11 years ago. The conclusion we came to is that it was right for us. Here was the process we followed to make the decision.

  1. Catalog the shows you watch into categories: “Must Watch TV”, “Watch When I Have Time TV”, and “I’m Bored and This Is What’s On TV”. If these categories don’t work for you, then come up with whatever will work for you so that you have a list of shows you can’t live without.
  2. Take you list, and identify where you watch it. Is it on Network Television or Cable Television?
  3. For the purposes of my decision, we only focused on the “Must Watch TV.” Of the shows on that list, only one or two were on cable television. Almost all of the shows we listed that were broadcast on paid channels fit into the “When I Have Time” or “I’m Bored” categories.

If you have a similar result, then you ought to investigate cord cutting. However, if you find that most of your “Must Watch TV” is only available through cable or satellite, you might be out of luck. That said, before you give up on cord cutting, it is still worth looking at the online availability of those cable only “Must Watch TV” shows. You might still find that they are available if you can stand to wait a day or two to watch them.

Cord Cutting Alternatives

Remote ControlCredit: by Suat EmanSo you have decided to cut the cord and are looking for alternate media sources. I won’t go into the details of each here, but you have a lot of alternatives.


Online Media

Over the Air Broadcasts (OTA)

Old TVCredit: by Suphakit 73

  • Clear QAM: Limited and unclear how long it will last.
  • Set top antenna: Picks up free broadcasts like in the old days, but quality reception can be difficult.
  • Roof top antenna: Picks up free broadcasts like in the old days, but is best installed by a professional for safety and proper reception.
Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Price: $99.00 Buy Now
(price as of May 9, 2015)


I'll be writing more about cord cutting and my experience with it. Like I mentioned, I've now been without a cable/satellite bill for 11 years. There are a lot of alternatives out there--way too many for one article. There are even options for those that can't live without their DVR, but didn't think they could effectively do so without paying extra for it.

Next up, taking the plunge into cord cutting.