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Monday, July 8, 2024

How to Break With Cable

Know you’re paying way too much for cable TV but not sure what to do about it? Read on.

Cable TV is an option, not a necessity, nowadays. Yes, it’s easy to have everything in one service, but there are plenty of ways to put together a system that offers the same programs. With streaming so popular, it may be more cost effective to cut cable and stream only what you want to watch, saving money in the process. How much money? It depends on what you watch.


You’ll still need a good home internet connection and the apps that are either already built into your smart TV or that come with a streamer like Roku or Amazon Fire stick. They’ll allow you to access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney, HBO Max, Hulu and others, plus free TV streaming options. Your TV is likely already equipped if you bought it in the last couple of years. To verify what your smart TV already has installed, go to the brand and model on the internet to check.

New Internet Product and Prices Mandatory Label

A new Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rule requires internet providers to label products with “Broadband Facts”. Similar to nutrition labeling on packaged foods, the new labels will list price and service information. They are required to be displayed both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Look for these Broadband Facts labels on every internet service offered to compare prices, length of contract (if any), speed, and data.

“Transparency is important because if you and I are putting out our hard-earned money, we deserve to know what we’re buying, what we’re paying for, and it’s not OK for companies to lure you in with one price and then change it on you halfway through the transaction—or worse, after the transaction,” says  Teresa Murray, director of the consumer watchdog office at U.S. PIRG, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Live Streaming

What about sports and local news stations? Check out Sling TV, Philo and YouTube TV live streaming services. For about $25 a month, you can stream most of the live channels available on your cable box, but without signing any contracts. That includes every live NFL game with no cable box and no contract. You can start, cancel and restart any time you want. 

Do you record a lot with the DVR on your cable box? Live TV streaming services offer their own cloud DVR, but you may not need to use it. Netflix, Hulu and so many other services offer streaming on demand. 

Install an Antenna

If you want an easy way to cut costs and still have access to local networks, use an HD antenna. You can watch networks like ABC, NBC and Fox as long as the reception is good where you live. You should be able to get a decent antenna for around $40. Here are some of the best-rated TV antennas along with a guide for getting the best reception

Use your Laptop

The ultimate in simplicity? Just plug your laptop (or nearby desktop) computer into your TV via HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA or DVI cable depending on the port. That will get you hooked into nearly every streaming music and video service available.


You’re still going to need a robust internet connection for streaming. It’s best to get one with unlimited data and don’t skimp on speed. If you’re currently under contract, you’ll have to wait until the contract ends, get hit with the early-termination fee, or negotiate a new contract with your provider. 

Do a Dry Run

Before you cut cable for good, you can try out your substitutions. Hook up whatever hardware and software you’ve decided to use. It’s going to take a little getting used to, but practice makes perfect. Use it for a week or so, enough time to feel assured that you’ve made the right choice. Contact your cable company and tell them you’re ready to unbundle. Enjoy your savings!


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors