How We Cut Cable and Save $150 per Month!
We did it. We got rid of cable and I’m here to tell you, my family survived. We chose to give this a try after flipping through channels on yet another weekend finding nothing we really wanted to watch. We thought, “why are we paying so much for something we don’t really use.” We don’t really watch much tv, but if we do, it’s mainly Netflix, Amazon (from our Amazon prime membership), or the main network channels. We did a lot of research on what we would be losing, if anything, and what options we had.
We decided on the Wineard FlatWave Air FL6550A Amplified Outdoor HDTV Antenna. It was highly rated and since we have been using it, we have not had any problems even during heavy storms. We put it in the dormer in the attic pointing towards the broadcast station. We are about 25 miles away and this antenna works well. We get the main network channels along with some others that play some classics. My kids have loved getting acquainted with Saved by the Bell! We used Monoprice medium paper thin antenna in a room that wasn’t pre-wired with a cable outlet. It works fine as well. If you go to Houston DTV, they have a list of all available channels.
We bought Amazon Fire sticks for any television that didn’t have internet. The reason I chose the fire stick is because we are Amazon prime members and the fire stick has HBO now. With HBO now, you pay $15 a month and can watch HBO on t.v.’s, computers or phones. I’m addicted to Game of Thrones.
One drawback is that there is no more recording. There isn’t anything on the main channels that I need to record, but if you have some shows that you love, you can order the following antennae recorders:
They are quite pricey, but since you could be saving $60 to $200 a month, it may be worth it to you. Some of these have the option of a monthly subscription for some extra’s like a tv guide (which I also didn’t consider when we cancelled our cable). However, we discovered with our newer tv that it can connect to the internet and pull up a tv guide. The older ones did not.
UPDATE: I was missing some shows because we didn’t have a recorder. I could pay $2 or $3 an episode for anything missed on amazon but then that defeats the purpose of cutting cable. I tried Hulu out for a free 7 days because I wanted to watch the current episodes of Flash. Turns out, Hulu carries the current season of most network shows. For example, if you are watching “How to get away with Murder” but you miss an episode, Hulu has this seasons episodes saved and you can play them back like having a dvr. Hulu is $8 per month if you let them play commercials and $12 per month without commercials. We stayed with the commercials because we found we needed the breaks. Hulu has a countdown on their commercials so you know when your show is about to start.
Sports channels are also a problem. This was the biggest issue for us since we watch a lot of sports. We have only missed a couple of games so far that we would like to have seen, but there is a service you can purchase for a monthly fee called Sling. For $20 a month, you get basically extended cable, including ESPN. You can add other sports packages, kids packages, international sports packages, and (I think) Spanish novels for an additional $5 per month.
UPDATE #2: Sling was awful. We switched to Directtv Now and it is much better. Sling would freeze all the time. It was so bad, we didn’t even use the service because it was so frustrating. Also, I use to have the HBO NOW app, which was $15 a month. With Directtv Now, you can add HBO for $5 per month more and the app is still available. Meaning, you don’t have to go through Directtv Now for HBO. Going through the HBO app is easier since HBO has so many movies. Directtv Now has a package with 60 channels for $35. The channels list in this package is extensive. This is an introductory offer and will go up.
Remember to increase your internet package if yours is not pretty high already. When you have several tv’s and computers pulling from the same source, it can slow your network down a lot.
We also ended up getting a wifi extender to put in our bedroom for the tv and iPad’s. The one we ordered was the Netgear N300. It plugs into an outlet and boosts the strength of wifi in rooms that are far from the router. It was $35 and was worth the money to increase the speed and amount of drops in the back rooms.
Just for cable, we were paying $150/month (we had a lot of boxes) x12= $1800 a year!
Once you drop cable, the upfront investment is more but still a very good cost savings.
Fire sticks – $40
We bought the Wineard, the Monoprice, and 2 firesticks – ($90 +$20 +$80+35) totaling $225. We have hbo now which is $15 per month. We haven’t purchased sling or the recorders, as we haven’t felt the need. We did get Hulu for $8 per month to bridge the gap between old seasons on netflix and current seasons we couldn’t record on tv.
For installation, find where the cable wires come into your house. Our came through our attic. (You find out by finding the cable box outside your home and find where they enter your home). There will be 2 cable wires, choose one to install into the antenna. The two wires will go to a box with a lot of other wires. This box is where all the cable wires from all the different rooms will meet.
BTW-that’s not my arm.
They will be in a splitter that looks something like this.
The black cable on the bottom is the cable coming in from the antenna. There will be 2 cables there, so you may need an ohm meter to tell which one is the one connected to the antenna.
The antenna should come with an amplifier (white square thing). The cable coming from antenna is in the bottom, on the side is the power cord for the amplifier, and the cable on top is what you plug into the splitter. Remember, there may be 2 cables going to each cable outlet, so you may need to figure out which one of these wires are the ones connected to the antenna. That was probably the most time consuming part, but this still didn’t take more than 1.5 – 2 hours for all cable work (not including antenna installation).