Quit cable? This is a pretty big deal! You have a million questions going through your mind, so we’ve taken the liberty to stream your conscience and provide answers to your top questions. Check back often, as we’re constantly added new questions and answers.
First off, what the heck is FreeTVReview.com?
FTR is an authority in the fast growing “cut the cord” industry. We’re here to help you through the process to quit cable or satellite TV and save on your monthly TV bill. It is true that the cable companies have stopped sending us Xmas cards, but we don’t take it personally!
How much will I save if I quit cable or satellite TV?
This is probably the question we get asked the most, and we unfortunately can’t give you a standard answer. Your monthly savings will depend on several factors.
- If you’re currently paying over $150 a month in cable/satellite subscription and willing to sacrifice access to a few specific channels, then you’ll definitely have the opportunity to substantially decrease your monthly bill.
- If your currently paying under $50 a month for bare bones basic cable, then obviously your potential savings is much smaller
- If you’re the type of person who literally needs access to all 1,000 cable channels, every premium movie network, and every sports channel under the sun, then we may not be able to find you a sufficient alternative to your current package.
In our actual experience, which we’ve documented throughout the site, we went from ~$110 per month in cable and video costs to $29 per month in cable and video costs.
How did you save this much money?
The main savings for us was from canceling our monthly cable package. We were paying ~$100 for cable. We canceled our cable and replaced most of our content needs with OTA (over the air) broadcasts, Sling TV and Amazon Prime. Check out our Guide to Quitting Cable, which highlights this in more detail.
What do I need to get started saving money?
Well, first and foremost you need to read through this website. We provide step-by-step instructions to navigate the post cable apocalypse. After reading through the site, the main things you’ll need to cut the cable cord are:
- HD antenna – to access free, local broadcast channels
- Streaming TV device – to access any other TV programs/networks
- High speed internet access – for your streaming TV
Are there any upfront costs?
Yes. If you don’t currently have the items listed above, you’ll need to purchase them prior to cutting the cable cord. The good news is, you can read through our personal cut the cord story and follow the same exact approach we used to calculate how long it will take to pay back your upfront costs.
Do I need to be technologically savvy or good with a hammer to do this?
Absolutely not. Once you identify the HD antenna you need and the best streaming device for your situation, installation is quick and easy.
Can you explain this HD antenna a bit more?
What most people don’t realize is that we all have the ability to watch local affiliates of broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CW) for free. While cable or satellite companies may charge us $10-$20 a month to watch these channels through their pipes, using a simple antenna we can access these channels for free!
And to answer a question we’ve received on more than one occasion….YES, THIS IS ALL LEGAL!
An HD antenna can be as simple as a small box on top of your television or could be as large as a several foot device attached to the outside of your house. We’ve included a detailed guide on HD antennas on our website.
And what the heck is a streaming device?
A streaming device is really any device that can access the internet and load content to be viewed on a screen. Technically, devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops could be considered a “streaming device.”
Here on FTR, when we reference a streaming device, we’re generally referring to any device that connects to the internet, downloads content and plugs into a television’s HDMI port. We’ve included a detailed guide on streaming devices that provides much more detail on many of the more popular streaming devices currently on the market.
I can’t live without HBO. If I quit cable I’ll lose access to HBO, right?
Until recently, the answer to this question would be “YES.” However, the marketplace for digital content is quickly changing to better support the “cord cutter.” For as little as $15 a month, you can now stream HBO content directly into your living room via HBO Now, which is a “ott” (over the top) video subscription service which is accessible on many different streaming devices. Showtime has followed suit with a similar app, that is also accessible via several different streaming devices.
This concept of over the top streaming video is a game changer in the industry, as HBO is no longer dependent upon the cable companies to connect with their end consumer.
What about my DVR? I currently have 97 hours of shows on my DVR. What happens to that?
While we can’t help you watch all the shows currently on your DVR, we do have a slightly different alternative.
If we think about this concept of waiting for something to air LIVE on TV, then recording it on DVR, and then watching it at some point in the future, we’ve really just provided a different definition of streaming TV/video. You watch what you want, when you want, where ever you want. Think of a future where you don’t need your DVR. If you want to watch last week’s episode of a program you just go to that content provider and stream the content over the internet. There isn’t as much of a need for a DVR, if you have instant access to any content to stream over the internet.
For those that still feel they can’t live without a DVR, have no fear, as there are several DVR alternatives that aren’t attached to a cable or satellite TV package. Check out our DVR Without Cable guide for four of the best options.
How fast does my internet have to be to stream TV online?
It depends. Yes, that is a horrible answer, but it’s also true.
- Normally you can stream HD content with minimal buffering with a 10 Mbps download speed, however, depending on if your sharing bandwidth within your household (or with your neighbors if your own a cable line), a 10 Mbps download speed might get drastically truncated
- We recommend between 15 – 20 Mbps for uninterrupted, buffer-free video streaming, which should also allow for someone else surfing the web while you’re streaming video.
- If you have a family full of internet gadgets and are frequently streaming video from two devices at the same time, you probably want to aim north of 30 Mbps download speed.