Face it:  all of us are tired of our cable or satellite bill going up every month.   If you’re like most American households, you spend over a thousand dollars a year for cable or satellite TV service.  And if you’re like most Americans, you find yourself surfing 300+ channels for an hour only to find that nothing is on.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably like a growing segment of people who are tired of it, and want watch only what they want, when they want, and don’t want to spend a ton of money to do it.  This growing segment of the population are called “Cord Cutters”.   Cord Cutters are ditching their traditional cable or satellite TV service in favor of much less costly streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Sling TV, just to name a few.   Streaming services provide high quality video content on-demand through the internet for a fraction of the cost of traditional TV services, and allow you in many cases a much broader selection of viewing content.

Interested?  Want to try this cord cutting experience yourself?  We thought so.  Below you will find the 4 and a half easy steps to cutting the cord.

1) Research, research and when you’re done, do some more research

You will want to thoroughly research the types programming that you and your family watch to determine what alternatives to cable and satellite exist to feature this content.   Most content will be available on some combination of the common streaming services.

The Achilles heel to cord cutters everywhere is live sports.  As of this writing, there are not very many viable solutions to streaming live sporting events, but I suspect that will change in the next few years.  Also consider that a number of sporting events are available on broadcast TV which can be received with an inexpensive antenna.

2) Get an antenna

Yes, an antenna.  Just the thought of that word makes you reminisce about your parent’s or grandparent’s old console TV’s with the rabbit-ear antenna adorned with wadded up aluminum foil that required you to stand with your arms facing east to get the best reception.   Gone are those days, and here are the days of digital HD broadcast TV.  You can get live high definition TV content from the local broadcast networks such as CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC, The CW, and PBS in the Billings area.  There’s even a classic movie channel as of this writing.  All of this is available with a modern, stylish and inexpensive antenna, and it’s completely free.

2.5) (Optional) Get an OTA DVR PC

Get a what?  OTA DVR PC – aka “Over The Air Digital Video Recorder Personal Computer”.   A long acronym for a computer that records TV with an antenna.   So if you want to schedule and record programming on free broadcast TV channels, you need to have a device like this to do that.   Redline can outfit you with a Windows-based computer and necessary software and hardware to record and/or watch up to 4 local broadcast channels with up to 200 hours of HD storage, as well as allows you to pause and rewind live TV, for far less than the cost of a year of cable or satellite TV service.

Other beneifts of having a computer as your primary entertainment device are access to the same internet content available on your laptop or desktop computer, such as YouTube, Vimeo, and other specialty streaming content.  This makes any TV way more useful than a Smart TV could ever dream of being.

3) Subscribe to your streaming services and devices

Once you’ve got your local channels situated and your programming researched, it’s time to choose which of the numerous streaming services to you wish to subscribe.   A good starting point is Netflix and Hulu, both of which run approximately $8 per month each.   This will give you the best bang-for-the-buck content selection to cost ratio.

Now you may be wondering:  How do I actually watch this streaming Internet content on my living room TV without a computer?

First you need to have a solid, reliable, and most importantly, unmetered (meaning you don’t have a monthly limit on data transfer like you will find with cellular and satellite Internet carriers) Internet connection.

If you have a Smart TV, you most likely have the apps necessary to watch the most common streaming TV services once you successfully connect the TV to your internet connection.  If you do not have a Smart TV, or your auxiliary TV’s around the house aren’t Smart TV’s, you can purchase streaming devices such as Amazon Fire Stick, Google ChromeCast, or Roku for between $30 and $100 online and are very simple to use and setup.  They basically turn any TV into a feature-rich, application-based streaming device.

4) Cancel your expensive subscription TV service

At last, you’ve got your local channels tuned in, your streaming services activated and streaming in.  You’re happy as a clam with more viewing choices than ever before.  Now’s the time to perform the actual action of cutting the cord:  It’s time to call your cable and satellite TV provider and tell them you’re leaving them.  CAUTION: if your Internet connection is provided by your cable company, Don’t forget to keep the Internet portion of your cable service active and only disconnect the TV portion!

Embrace The Paradigm Shift

Keep in mind, that switching from a channel-based TV experience to an on-demand TV experience requires a shift in your way of thinking.  When watching streaming television, you don’t tune into a particular channel and watch what’s being broadcast.   Likewise, you no longer “surf” through channels searching for things you want to watch.   Instead, you choose your programming and watch seasons and episodes in order, when you want at the pace you wish.  Instead of surfing, you browse through program titles and watch programs instead of channels.  You can even watch an entire season of your favorite show on a lazy Sunday if you want.

If you’re used to channel surfing, or tuning into a specific channel and just watching what’s aired, cutting the cord may not be the best TV entertainment solution for you.   However, if you’re fine with watching TV “on demand”, or are interested in giving it a try, there’s nothing holding you back.

Redline Computers is your cord cutting and DVR PC headquarters

At Redline Computers, we are Billings Montana computer shop that is passionate about helping people with their technology.   One way we help people, is to teach them how to ditch their expensive TV service for lower cost  alternatives.  If you need any assistance with cutting the cord, or any other computer or technology-related issue from virus removal to network issues, call the pros at Redline Computers today at 406-839-2216.

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