A person with scissors cutting the cable cord.

Cord Cutting 101

Have you decided that it is finally time to cut the cord? Great, you are making a smart decision and will soon start saving a tremendous amount of money. The transition to a cable and satellite free life sometimes has a few hiccups though. Let’s take a look at some of the things that you need to know to have a successful transition.

Ditching Cable The Smart Way

Making the decision to get rid of cable or satellite is a smart one. With the average bill being around $100, the savings can be tremendous. That is over 1200 dollars in monthly payments over the course of a year and that is just for the average consumer. Your savings could be even higher.

When you first make the switch, the transition is not always that smooth. There are a few things that you need to know about in order to adapt to your new life without cords. Take a look at our tips and have a smooth transition.

You Need Good Internet

More than likely, you are going to be going with a streaming service. This means that you will now be highly dependent on your internet service. At a minimum, you need 5MBPS for HD streaming on a single device. That is a minimum though. If you have multiple devices running or want the highest quality picture and sound, your speeds should really be no less than 25MBPS.

Once you have the speed figured out, you need to make sure that your provider does not cap your data transfer. You would hate to have your speed throttled down to a trickle in the middle of a month because you hit your limit. Call your current provider and see if they have a cap and if they do, is it is a hard or soft cap.

Some providers will have a hard cap and when you hit it, they will throttle your speed down to next to nothing. It will usually be enough to check your email and do some basic web searching, but no streaming.

Other providers will have a cap but it is a soft cap which they do not enforce. A quick chat with customer service will verify what kind of cap they have.

Ideally, you want a provider with no cap at all. This is becoming more common as streaming and cord cutting gains in popularity.

Try Every Streaming Service

Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and now Disney all have streaming services and they are all a bit different. The one thing that they share in common though is a free trial.

Sign up for a free trial of each service, it is usually for an entire month. That should give you plenty of time to see which service or services that you like.

Every service is around $10 a month with Prime giving you a discount for paying annually. Of course with prime you also get free shipping on Amazon purchases.

For most people, Hulu and/or Netflix are the best choices. Amazon is okay but not great and their interface really pushes paid rentals and purchases, it is Amazon after all. Disney, as of the writing of this article, is not out yet but it promises to be a game changer. Stay tuned.

Be sure to cancel the services that you do not like or use. Don’t get stuck paying for something that you are not using, $10 a month adds up.

An OTA Antenna Is A Good Idea

If you want to watch local sports and/or news programs, an over the air antenna is a smart idea. Don’t worry, you will not have to deal with a throwback pair of rabbit ears.

Modern HD antennas are sleek and compact. You can install an inside antenna that looks good and is quite discreet. Cost is minimal as well with the average antenna costing about $30 for an indoor model. If your reception is poor, an outdoor antenna will set you back about $100.

The thing to keep in mind with digital signals is that you have to have good reception. In the old days, you could get a partial signal and be able to watch a channel with a slightly degraded picture. These days, it is all or nothing. You either have the whole signal or you get nothing so if you want to watch local channels get a good antenna.

You Can Still Have A DVR

If you just want to stream, obviously a DVR is not needed since everything will obviously be on demand. If you like your local channels and sporting events, you might miss your cable companies DVR.

Luckily, you can still get a DVR but it will cost you a bit and they are not as easy to set up.

An entry level DVR is going to be a little over 100 dollars and a higher end model will be around 200 dollars in cost. If a DVR is a must and you are a cord cutter for the long run, invest in a higher end model. It will be easier to use and will have longer recording times.

In Conclusion

Most people do not regret cutting the cord. That hundred plus dollar cable or satellite bill is one of the hardest ones to pay every month. That and the constant disputes between satellite services and channels. Seems that there is always some channel that you are paying blacked out due to a dispute. Annoying.

If, after making the switch, you find that you miss your old cable company, you will be in the minority. That being said, you can always try a streaming television service such as sling. You will get most of the cable experience at a fraction of the cost.

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