Table of Contents
This page last changed 2022.02.21 10:20
Cutting The Cord - An Approach
So you're thinking of cutting the CATV cord and relying on Internet instead. How should you approach this? Here are my thoughts.
Analyze the situation
- What are you paying now for CATV?
- What would you save if you kept everything and eliminated CATV?
- Consider effects of bundling
- What channels would you want to continue watching?
- Look at content services below that are free, will these cover them?
- Which content service(s) would you need/want to cover the other channels?
- Add 'em up. See what it would cost without CATV. More? Less?
- Do you want just to supplement your CATV or completely replace it?
- Convenience of using CATV vs Internet content services
- Reliability of the replacement content services
- Cost of the content services you'd need vs your no-CATV savings
- Do you use DVR? How would you record content without it? (Alternatives?)
- How would you watch content without CATV?
- Does your TV allow browsing to services?
- Does your TV allow apps (as some content services may offer apps)?
- Alternatives (dedicate PC to feed TV, others?)
- Note that: A portion of your CATV cost goes to support community cable, LexMedia.
- If you kept CATV, you would still be able to use content services (esp. free ones!)
- Possible effects of using VPN
Lets try an example
- Determine the channels you like (e.g., CNN, HGTV, BUZZR, channel 5)
- Find services below that offer one or more of these and try them out
- Start with free services (e.g., Watch News Live (CNN, HGTV), Pluto.tv (BUZZR))
- Get antenna and try watching local TV using free air signals (e.g., channel 5)
- Could you rely on network content replays (e.g., 20/20 and Bachelor playbacks on ABC)
- Could you rely on live feeds from local channels (wbztv.com, wcvb.com, nbcboston.com; streema? others?)
- May need to select CATV provider to access
- Note that most services that cost $ offer a short free trial period
- I am on the board of LexMedia (unpaid)
- I don't own a smart TV
- I am paying for and using Verizon FiOS
- I am not paying for any premium channels
- The content services listed here is not a complete list
or Additional Watching Options
Information updated 2020, 2021, and January 18, 2022.
There is a comparison of channel coverage in this spreadsheet, it shows channel vs content service for those providing the channels (e.g., easy to see which content services show History and HGTV).
Your comments appreciated! Did I miss any services? Or should anything be corrected?
Note that prices may change from here.
|Hulu $5.99/mo; $11.99/mo no ads (on-demand library of TV episodes and movies; 1 device/time)|
Hulu + Live TV $44.99/mo (Hulu plus live and on-demand TV from 60+ channels; 2 devices/time)
|Hulu+Live TV: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, A&E, Animal Planet, CNBC, CNN, Discovery, Disney, Entertainment, ESPN, Food network, Fox News, HGTV, History, Lifetime, MSNBC, NASA, National Geographic, Oxygen, SyFy, TBS, TCM, TLC, TNT, USA|
|Amazon Prime||$8.99/mo, included w/Prime||movies on demand. Also some premium services at added cost (e.g., HBO, StarZ, Britbox, Showtime)|
|2022: several plans, $9.99/mo (one user at time, was 8.99) to $15.49/mo (two at a time, was 12.99) and up||movies and tv series on demand, pay one price get all they offer|
|$20/mo no contract live & on-demand & record live TV||A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC World News, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, Cooking, Discovery, DIY, Food Network, Game Show Network, HGTV, History, Lifetime, TLC, TV Land
Available on Roku, Apple TV, firetv, Android TV, iOS (up to 3 at a time)
(There is a device “Slingbox”–theoretically connect to your home cable and view your channels anywhere–but I'm not able to use it any longer)
|Orange ($25/mo): ESPN, Disney, A&E, TNT, AMC, HGTV, CNN, TBS, Comedy Central, History, Food network, Lifetime, Bloomberg; one device/time
Blue ($25/mo): BBC, National Geographic, USA, TNT, AMC, HGTV, CNN, TBS, Comedy Central, History, A&E, Food network, Lifetime, Bloomberg, discovery, TLC, SyFy, BET, Entertainment; 3 devices/time
Orange+Blue ($40/mo): both plan's channels, 4 devices/time.
|$54.99/mo||100+ channels; sports mostly. In our area: 4, 23, NBC, NESN, A&E, AMC, Bravo, Entertainment network, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, History, USA, TNT, TBS, SyFy, TCM, NECN, TV Land, Discovery, TLC, many more|
|Starts at $4.99/mo $49.99/yr||$4.99/mo: live events, series
12.99/mo: add Hulu and Disney+
|Apple TV||$4.99/mo ad-free; need iPhone, iPad, Apple TV HD, or Apple TV 4K, MacOS Catalina, Samsung or LG smart TV, Roku, Amazon Fire||Buy or rent movies. Watch many channels, but each has monthly costs. Most prices match provider (Native App) but providers usually offer annual price break and Apple TV is straight month-to-month; for example Britbox is $6.99/mo with Apple, but $6.99/mo or $69.99/yr with native app. HBO $14.99/mo, Showtime $10.99/mo, StarZ $8.99/mo. Opinion: best to go with native app as it often offers break for annual.|
|Orby TV http://orbytv.com||Essentials $40/mo; get local channels using outside antenna; requires satellite dish||A&E, CNN, Food Network, FYI, HGTV, History, HLN, Lifetime, TBS, TCM, TLC, TNT, TV Land, AMC, BBC America, Discovery, more|
|$49.99/mo||ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC ESPN, AMC, CNN, Disney, Food network, HGTV, TNT. Local channels 4, 5, 10, 25, 38, NECN.|
|HBO Now, HBO Go|
|HBO Go: included with paid TV subscription that has HBO|
HBO Now: $15/mo, stand-alone doesn't need cable TV package
|All HBO content.
Available on Fire TV, Android, iOS, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung smart TVs, more
|CBS All Access|
|Limited commercials plan: $5.99/mo|
Commercial-free plan: $9.99/mo
|CBS TV shows. Also available on Amazon Prime as add-on, same price|
|MLB.tv http://www.mlb.com||now $24.99 offseason||“Relive the 2019 season” – watch full games in HD quality; available till March 25, 2020|
|Acorn TV https://acorn.tv/||$5.99/mo $59.99/yr||“World-class TV from Britain and beyond|
|Britbox https://www.britbox.com/us/||$6.99/mo, $69.99/yr||Dr. Who, Shetland, Father Brown, Midsomer Murders, Mr. Bean, Prime Suspect, Vera, Fry and Laurie, lots more|
Updated 1/18/2022 using info from MUO, Make Use Of
Note that some sites may not work for you given where you are; in this case you may need to use a VPN. Presented in no specific order.
See also this Make-use-of article on 15 free channels
|Free.||Many movie channels. BUZZR, British TV, James Bond movies, Baywatch, Crime Network, NBC News, CBS News, CNN, Bloomberg. Addams Family, Dragnet, Dick Van Dyke Show, Unsolved Mysteries, Forensic Files, Hell's Kitchen uncensored, This Old House, Doctor Who, Midsomer Murders, Comedy Central, many sports channels. Scifi, Science, Tech, C-Net, NASA. Cats channel, Dogs channel Pets channel.|
|Watch News Live|
|free||A&E, Bravo, CNN, Comedy Central, ESPN, Food Network, Fox News, HBO, HGTV, History, NFL Network, StarZ, SyFy, USA|
|Live News Mag|
|free||ABC, MSNBC, National Geographic, more|
|ABC||Watch Live https://abc.com/watch-live|
Watch shows https://abc.com/shows
|NBC||Watch Live https://www.nbc.com/apps|
Watch Shows on demand https://www.nbc.com/shows/all/popular Bravo, Entertainment, MSNBC, Oxygen, SyFy, USA
|Offers free app (for iOS, Android, ROku, Fire, Apple TV, Samsung Smart TV, more) to watch live feed|
|Free||Movies on demand. Minority Report, Jeff Dunham, Catch Me If You Can, more. Many more you've probably never heard of.|
|Streema https://streema.com/tv/Boston_MA||free?||Channels 5, 2, 4, 25, 38; more, choose by region, country, city, genre
I just found this, needs more analysis, points out that there is MUCH MORE STUFF AVAILABLE!
|Free, owned by Sony||TV and movie content. Also has latest film info. Get notified of new or upcoming flicks.|
|Free, and not||There are free titles (movies, sitcoms, more) that have ads; and some you pay for renting.|
|Free, thru your library||Movies, documentaries, business, health, science, and more. The Perfect Host. Some Cary Grant movies (Charade, To Catch a Thief The Bishop's Wife, and more).|
|Free, some have adverts||Many legal movies and shows; works on many devices|
|Free, some with adverts||No sign up requirement. Includes some of Netflix's top-rated features|
|Free, TV shows only||If ShareTV has a show with episodes it doesn't have, it links you to where you can get the missing episodes. Good online community, viewing guide, video clips, detailed episode info.|
|Free||Live and on-demand TV. Over 190 channels, divided into categories. No adverts.|
|Free with adverts||Anime focus|
|Free, was known as Viewster||Anime focus. Also has Hollywood and Bollywood flicks. There are in-video interruptions.|
|Free with adverts||Anime focus|
[David Kluchman 04feb2020] You named the big 3 streaming services except it is “Youtube TV” (which is different than Youtube.com). Direct TV may have a internet streaming offering. As far as I know, YouTube TV is the only one that gives you local sports teams (Bruins, Sox, Celtics) local cable channels (NESN and NBCSN Boston). Here is a review of that service. https://www.cnet.com/news/youtube-tv-review-the-best-premium-live-tv-streaming-service/
[JJ Krawczyk 04feb2020] ATT had rebranded DirecTV Now: https://www.atttvnow.com/
Our very own library offers free content including Acorn TV (see above), Hoopla (streaming and downloadable media), and Kanopy (streaming video including classic and independent films). You need a library card to check out these materials.
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