Ready to Cut the Cord on Cable? Here’s How – I got a Nexus 10 for Christmas, and using the SwiftKey tablet app I typed out this whole article on it. But this isn’t about tablets, it’s about cutting that annoying cord and being smarter about how you consume.

People ask me, as a veteran cord cutter, how I consume movies, and more importantly, how do you watch television shows from the Internet? Since the advent of tablets like the my Nexus 10, getting this content onto a beautiful screen to sit back and watch comfortably is easier than ever. It all depends on how patient you are, what you actually expect to watch and when.

The news happens first on social networks, and for the most part, you can get everything you would ever want to watch. This is all well and good, but it comes with a few caveats. The people who are most successful at cord cutting are those who tend to not really care about sports. Watching live sports is one of the downfalls of cord cutting, even more so if you want to watch anything collegiate. I mean, I’m sure there is always a or stickam live stream you can watch, but the quality is never anything you would put up on the big screen.

I use a one terabyte hard drive, a video card with DVI out, and a sound card that supports a decent surround sound speaker setup. The video goes out to an Acer widescreen monitor and the audio goes out to a Logitech 5.1 surround system. Of course you can substitute an Android tablet with HDMI out to play the media but you will sacrifice support for certain file types. Although this is getting better with each update for apps like Moboplayer and MX player.

Netflix is a fairly decent substitute TV and movies in the living room, but it doesn’t have the best selection of content, especially when looking to watch shows that are currently airing on television. Until content deals are cheaper and more readily available, I suppliment Netflix with  torrents, apps, iTunes, and Google Play. Hopefully the major media companies will see that we the people want an easy, fairly priced way to consume  content across all our devices, and we’ll live in a much less fragmented, more enlightened living room. But until then, what are our options?

We have Amazon,  Google, Netflix, Roku, Slingbox, and many clones, but what do they really do? Most of them provide a way to get Netflix or other media content from your computer, onto your TV. Most of this is redundant, and if you’re trying to save a few bucks, the way I describe is going to be your best bet.

Based in Kalispell, Montana, Mat Lee is a Senior Editor and Podcaster at Email Mat at [email protected] and follow him on Google+, where he is +Mat Lee

Mat Lee

Mat Lee

Contributor at Tech Page One
Based in Kalispell, Montana, Mat Lee is a Senior Editor and Podcaster at Email Mat at [email protected]
Mat Lee
Tags: Downtime,Tech Culture
  • Amoiey

    Thanks Judy. I looked at your blog and I like your work. I’m in a group with athnoe fiber artist Laurie Wright and there is a nice fiber show up at Defoors Center too. I am seeing alot of fiber now, and i saw it integrated into mixed media in NY, so it is coming along. I’ll leave a comment on your post too

  • Matthew Mikell

    I don’t know if we are ready just yet..but getting closer. My cable bill went up $5 again and I was done. I went out and got Apple TV but quickly found out I have no local news/TV channels (ABC, CBS, NBC) so I had to run out again and get a digital antenna. This requires two products, purchases, installs. It was cumbersome getting the two product settings solved for the TV. I think when providers get local TV solved, you’ll see far more cut the cable cord.

    • paulrharvey3

      Depending on your city, Aereo can cover your local news & TV channels.

  • Phillipa Charlotte

    The problem for many people is the cost of all that equipment can be as bad as just paying for the cable service. I would have to buy an HDTV, spend, what at least $1,000 for your type of equipment? That equipment will last for how long? Hardware vs. utilities, it’s all a game of making us pay, pay, pay.

    • deanmike

      Why would you need a new TV? Equipment is $300 tops. That is about 3 months of cable for me

    • James Van Damme

      We’re still using our analog CRT TV, with a converter box and an outside antenna. Never had cable (since 1974). How much do you spend PER MONTH on cable?? I keep that in my pocket.

  • mrmsjb12

    cut the cable, simple its called directv

    • Charlie

      You don’t have a clue.

  • jay

    hdhomerun and a digital antenna. watch local tv with an app. add xmbc to it and get dvr+eps

  • Radman

    We cut the cable last year and haven’t looked back. Outside digital antenna for the local stations (less than $100 total), a few Roku boxes for the TV’s, and an incredible add-on called PlayOn. Between all of those, we have way more choices than we ever had before — and no recurring costs (all of these items are a one-time-only expense). Saving a ton of money…..

  • JimStars

    Yes that is all well and good for streaming movies and TV shows — and local affliates over the air.
    But it does not give you a good solution for watching your local sports channels (except NFL Football maybe which is still mostly ABC/NBC/FOX).
    You cannot get NBA Basketball, you cannot get MLB Baseball or NHL Hockey or Soccer without a CABLE subscription — and not just a cheap basic basic one — you need a higher level package AND of course you need them in HD so that means another 10 bucks and a HD set top box. And if you think you can use and such for getting pirated streams — forget it — they stink for that or you end up with a paid subscription that costs more than cable.
    Maybe someday (when Google outbids for Sports contracts and puts them on Youtube) you can cut the cord…

    But not today …


    • Michael Milligan

      “you cannot get MLB Baseball or NHL Hockey” – Not so. I’m watching MLB on my ROKU right now. I pay for a season of MLB now and I did the same when I had DirecTV. In fact, I pay less for MLB.TV now than I did for MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV, and can watch on ROKU, iPad, iPhone, Android and my laptop. The same with NHL Hockey.

      • CTJoe

        But can you see your home town team? if not, whats the point?

  • Jane Gilmaney

    Is it possible to modify the setup you describe but have the video out to my Vizio TV via an HDMI cable?

  • Bob Ratcliff

    Isn’t this article about how our viewing patterns are changing? Many of us will spend more hours with a tablet or notebook than we spend in front of an actual TV – unless it’s connected via something like Apple TV. This arena is still in its infancy but it’s clear we want to watch what we want, where we want it. Thanks to streaming video that finally really works, we got what we wanted:) It’s SO fun being alive..

  • Phillipa Charlotte

    I cut the cord! I git two Roku devices and can’t believe the improvement! I got laid up with a broken finger with pins in it so more TV and other content was going to be in my day. But guess what? Comcast, verizon, et al are gouging us for wi-fi service. Fine. They won;t get a dime for their lousy TV.

  • George

    Sure cut the cable but where will your internet come from? The way they have it set up where I live is that getting only internet is almost as much as getting the full package so it would not be worth the headache to get all the equipment.

    • Brian Peixinho

      Exactly. This cut the cable BS sounds good but how else u gonna get broadband? Get real… DSL? LTE Streaming? LOL!

      • alan zimmerman

        George has a good point. Our phone( worthless, only telemarketers call me on it) internet and cable TV are all bundled into one expensive $180 dollar a month package. We had satellite internet for awhile, slowest thing on the planet. We are being held hostage by the cable co.

  • goodoldboys

    just get wif- fi in your tvs and shoot netfix or hulu there off your computer that the easy way to get up date movies and tv shows,sports and what ever come over the air but you must have the apps easy to do just down load them that what I do and I have been a apple certify tech for 12 years.

  • goodoldboys

    just get wifi and your tvs then stream all for your computer over to your tvs u can get everything your
    computer get movie sports, MMA. football “etc” thats like two for one have been doing this for the last 2 or 3 years but u have to have the know how to set it up. Have been a Mac/apple tech for 12 years that help a lot.

  • Annmarie Spiciarich

    I am a non techie, so I need an explanation on this paragraph: I use a one terabyte hard drive, a video card with DVI out, and a sound card that supports a decent surround sound speaker setup. The video goes out to an Acer widescreen monitor and the audio goes out to a Logitech 5.1 surround system. Of course you can substitute an Android tablet with HDMI out to play the media but you will sacrifice support for certain file types. Although this is getting better with each update for apps like Moboplayer and MX player.

    Are you describing a separate laptop or tablet that you are hooking up to the TV (or monitor) or are these separate pieces that you somehow hook up? I have a smart TV (obviously smarter than the owner, lol)-so would I just hook up a laptop with the above equipment and stream all this through the laptop or Android? Or am I cobbling a bunch of separate components together to do this? Thanks for any info, I’d love to cut the cord from cable. It’s one of my bigger utilities for no good reason.

  • Greg Hanson

    Direct TV’s been running a “cut the cord” promotion and this article and comments merely echo that.
    Even if all you want is TV, I’m not impressed by Direct TV’s price.
    If, as most people, you want TV AND internet, Direct TV is too expensive.

    Cable TV companies seem to be the lowest cost, highest bandwidth internet provider.
    Even if all you want is internet bandwidth, Cable TV companies are price competitive.
    More and more, Cable TV companies are providing internet to BUSINESSES.

    How expensive is a competitive bandwidth DSL line from your local Baby Bell?

    PLUS, if you have any use for a landline, the value from cable rockets way ahead of DirectTV.
    (Demand for landlines is down so much that companies actually charge MORE if you don’t want the landline. Cable TV installers report household customers often get a landline (built into internet modem) and never plug in a telephone to ring!). Cell phones have almost killed off landlines.

    The downfall of these big INTERNET TV claims really comes down to the cost of getting high bandwidth internet, and alternatives to Cable TV companies for THAT.

    Small dish TV really seems to be more about SNOB APPEAL or bragging rights than about any practicality. A few years ago they would only accept customers with credit cards and good credit ratings as customers. Because of this, burglars could use active or new dishes as economic indicators, when picking targets, a bit like picking targets based on the expensive car or cars often parked in the driveway.

    Small dish is great for rural areas not served by Cable TV companies, but the way their internet
    is split, Sat TO customer and landline FROM customer to provider might not work well for some internet users. DSL and some Cable TV companies serve some rural households on the fringes but apparently can’t cheaply run wires deep into rural countryside.

    As much as I would like to cut down on the cable/internet bill, Cable TV is
    still the most economical alternative.