Supplement your cable subscription. You can change the HDMI inputs on your TV when you want to switch between your streaming device and cable box.
Supplement the free local TV channels picked up with an antenna. Don’t bank on getting channels with an antenna, but some people have great luck with it.
Rely on streaming for all your content needs.
Smart TVs provide access to streaming apps in the same way that dedicated streaming devices do, but smart TVs are notorious for having slow and clunky interfaces. Manufacturers throw in smart features as an add-on feature and they don’t get updated often. There are solid smart TVs on the market, but the only one that I can vouch for is TCL’s Roku TV because you get a full-fledged Roku experience.
While I prefer a dedicated device, there’s no need to upgrade to a streaming device if you’re happy with your current smart TV’s streaming apps and functionality.
If you want a dedicated streaming device, you’ll need a TV with an open HDMI port and a solid internet speed.
I recommend at least 10Mbps per stream. If you have phones, laptops, tablets, and smart home devices already on your network, you’ll need even more. If you want three streams at once and have other tech devices running, 50Mbps is what I’d shoot for.
I’ve tested ten streaming devices. Apple TV 4K is still my main device because I like its smoother interface, but Fire TV and Roku are fine for most because they’re more affordable and function similarly.
Unless you plan to move your streaming device with you, you need one streaming device per TV.
A $50 streaming device alone won’t replace cable. A streaming device is the platform that provides the apps for the content.
You’ll find some ad-supported movies and shows for free, but you need to pay for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, or Showtime if you want to watch content of value. These services are between $8-15/month.
If you want to stream cable channels or have an experience that resembles cable, you need a live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, Sling, fuboTV, Hulu Live, or AT&T TV. They’re at least $30/month.
Getting rid of cable is not always cheaper. If you want to save money, you need to be flexible. If you can’t go without 10 or more channels, you’ll probably end up paying the same amount as you would for cable, once you’ve added up all of the services.
Know the type of content you want, and don’t worry about the channel your favorite shows air on. Many times the shows you want are on Netflix or Hulu for $10/month.
While cord-cutting is trending and millions of people have ditched cable, live TV streaming services are turning into the cable companies you hate. The prices have gone up and inevitably will rise more, while the channel bundles remain.
What’s the most significant difference between live TV streaming and cable? You don’t have contacts, and you use your own equipment. This could change too. The real difference is you’re paying a different billion-dollar corporation than you were previously.
The current live TV options aren’t ideal for sports fans. The only content I watch on YouTube TV is my local Boston sports games. I stay away from news and reality TV and prefer to use Netflix, HBO, and Showtime for movies and shows over traditional cable.
You can’t watch your local channels with a live streaming service if you’re not logged in from your local area.
You can get your local channels for free with a cheap indoors antenna without paying for a live TV streaming service. I can’t get a signal my tiny town, but I think you’d have better luck in a city. If you can pick up local channels for free, it opens up your possibilities for picking a streaming service.
How do you watch pay-per-view movies without cable? You rent movies from Amazon Video, iTunes or Vudu for $5 each.