At SolidSignal.com, we’re here to serve you. It doesn’t matter if you subscribe to cable, satellite, use an antenna, or simply stream everything. We want to be your one-stop shop for every possible technical doodad and geegaw you need to make the experience you want even better. Sometimes, though, our DIRECTV and DISH customers come to us asking if they should cut the cord and go antenna-only. It’s tough for us to answer, because we’re DISH and DIRECTV dealers and we’d hate to lose a customer. But we also sell a lot of antennas and we’re happy to help people go that direction as well. So if you think you want to be a cord-cutter and shred that cable bill… let’s take a look and see if you are a good candidate.
Are you in range of local broadcast stations?
Almost all of the top rated shows are on free TV, but if you aren’t close enough to the broadcast towers, no antenna will help you. We have a free service to help people find the right antenna. Give us a try and see what the correct antenna would cost you.
If you need an outdoor antenna, can you put one up?
If you are in a suburban or rural area you may need an outdoor antenna. Almost all antennas under 3′ x 3′ in size may be used in a private area like a balcony, and your HOA can’t tell you otherwise. However, if you need an antenna larger than that and have no place to put one, you could be in trouble.
Is your internet fast enough for streaming?
If you’re planning to cut the cord you will at some point or other want to stream programming over the internet. You will need a connection that’s 15Mbps or faster even in the early evening hours when your neighbors are using their internet connections the most. Test your internet speed with a reliable web site several times at several different times of day to be sure.
Think about your cost of entry.
Usually the cost of cutting the cord is low, but if you’re looking for the same convenience you got from the cable or satellite company, complete with multiroom DVR, you need to consider that cost. A properly-equipped TiVo system can run about $500 plus the cost to wire it. Then again that’s probably only 5 months of cable bills. You also may want a streaming stick or two depending on what streaming services you want.
Think about your likely monthly costs.
Unless you’re really going hard-core and just living with that antenna you’re probably going to rely on streaming services to take up the slack. Here are some you want to consider:
- Sling TV: ESPN, CNN, HGTV and a few others: $20/month
- Netflix: $7.99/month
- Hulu Plus: Shows from most networks on demand: $7.99/month
- CBS All Access: $6/month
- HBO GO Streaming Only: no one knows, but probably about $15/month
It’s pretty easy to get up to $50/month by combining streaming services into a custom package, but of course that’s still less than you’ll pay for most cable subscriptions. It’s just not free, and that’s what cord-cutting promises you.
If you’re not convinced it’s for you, there’s a great little calculator available at Slate that does a lot of the work for you.
Cord-cutting is definitely a great choice for some and there has never been a better time to do it, with more and more content that was pay-TV only now available to stream. Just remember that it’s up to you — you can pay as much or as little as you choose, but then you get more content the more you pay.