Beware that Internet TV, aka Broadband TV, is not for everyone even though you may be fed up with those cable and satellite costs, two year contracts, and renting DVRs. Without doing some research, you may end up buying devices you don't need, subscribing to networks that don't have the shows you want, or worse, end up paying more than your current cable bill. You may have heard about Roku devices or Netflix subscriptions, but those items alone are not going to lead to your cutting cable in order to reduce your monthly bill. The following are things I found in this process that you need to consider. I am not a journalist nor someone with a website devoted to TV. This is just plainly how to possibly achieve what the title of this article states.
Step 1: Is it worth it to cut the cable?
To Cut or Not to Cut, that is the Question -- William Snakesnear
If you watch episode reruns and movies for the 7th time; it can be said TV is your hobby. Packaging saves, so keep the all-you-can-eat buffet of cable or satellite with 100s of networks.
If you are a sports fan, know that sports are dispersed widely on the Internet TV networks. NFL Redzone only gets you the highlights from Sunday football games. NFL Game Pass offers all football games after they have been played live. MLB.TV, NHL.TV, NBA League Pass cover live one particular sport. (MLB doesn't do the World Series.) Then there's getting all the others sports. Broadbanding sports events will not save you money. Again, keep your cable. (Will an antenna do? If so, read on.)
If you are not one of the aforementioned, you are set to begin investigating cable cutting. Your next step is to do some math with a simple cost benefit analysis, in order to figure out if this anti-cable approach is going to save you money on your shows. You may need more than a few content providers in order to view all of them, such that it may not be cost saving to switch.
Former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, R. James Woolsey, remark about the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"Yes, we have slain a large dragon. But we live now in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of poisonous snakes..."
This quote can be applied to the independent of cable networks. Each new network snake has smaller fees than the total fee of cable and satellite, but when combining the snakes, cost can add up to more than you were paying to the cable or satellite dragon, you slew in the first place due to their high cost.
So, figure out you cost. Here's how I charted costs to see if my independence of the cable or satellite monopoly was going to be worth the switch.
|Internet Service||$30 x 12 months = $360|
|Router and Wi-Fi||$12 x 12 months = $144|
|Total Internet (annual)||$360 + $144 = $504|
â¦ of $504 from my annual cable bill of $1704. This left $1200 I was paying for TV shows annually. Yikes! What the *#@!.
|1 show||2 season subscription with Amazon||$54|
|9 shows||Annual subscription with HBO Now||$180|
|1 show||History channel||$0|
|Pro football, local weather, etc||NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox if able to use an antenna||$0|
|Total Broadband & Broadcast||$234|
So with cable I was paying $1200 per year for shows I watched, and with the Internet I was going to pay $234 per year for the shows I watch. That's a difference of $966 annually I could save by cutting back on unneeded TV shows. An antenna and selecting shows with Internet delivery definitely reduced cost. If your cost is a significant less than you're currently paying to the cable or satellite company, congratulations, you're about ready to make the switch from cable TV to Internet/broadband TV + antenna/broadcast TV. However, there are still a few more things to know.
Step 2: Do you need live showings or not need live showings?
For live TV ( morning shows, sports, etc.) from the major, traditional networks such as ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox; you will need an over-the-air antenna. The antenna will help reduce your show cost to $0.
However an antenna is no good unless it gets good signal reception. The following are things you need to know about antennas, but signal strength is going to be the first thing to check on. If you don't have it, your only options are back to cable or using apps as in the next section.
Find the needed preceding information by Googling âtv broadcast tower locatorâ. Here are a useful few links I used.
If you go with an antenna, obtqin one appropriate for the range from the transmitter towers to your house. In some cases, if you live in a well receiving area, getting major networks and other broadcasters is just $12 dollars away with one of those square foot antennas. If you live 40 or so miles from the broadcast towers, you may need to spend $40 bucks like I had to do. I bought one that has almost a 5 star user rating with an online superstore. GE antennas seem to get this.
Also, buy enough coax cable to reach from the antenna to TV.
You'll, too, need a compass app on your phone to be able to point your antenna in correct direction. From an app store, search for âcompass appâ. They're usually free. Chose one that has degrees on it and not just the north, south, etc.
Do Not Need
If live TV isn't needed, the traditional networks do have apps for your use with Internet TV. Be aware of 3 things, though.
Below is a chart for an example of how long it may take for a show to debut on the Internet. A show from various networks was chosen to determine the number of days it took for the network to release it to the Internet. Be aware that other shows on the same network may take more time to be released to the Internet. The moral of this story is to investigate your shows to find wait times. If you don't want to wait, probably get you an antennae.
|Availability on Internet after Cable or Broadcast Debut|
|Network||Verified with ...||Debut - EST||# Days||Cost|
|ABC||Once Upon A Time||Friday 8:00||8||Free|
|AMC||Walking Dead||Sunday 9:00||1||F&PTSP|
|CBS||Big Bang Theory||Thursday 8:00||1||Free|
|Comedy Central||South Park||Wednesday 10:00||1||Free|
|CW||The Flash||Tuesday 8:00||1||Free|
|FOX||The Simpsons||Sunday 8:00||8||Free|
|FX||American Horror Story||Tuesday 10:00||n/a||PTSP|
|History||The Vikings||Wednesday 9:00||1||F&PTSP|
|HBO Now||West World||Sunday 9:00||Same||$|
|NBC||This is Us||Tuesday 9:00||1||Free|
*** All in all, I would do the hybrid approach of antennae and apps. You're going to have more options.
Step 3: Know your Internet casting software
You may be buying the antenna, but for the hybrid approach, you'll also need to get its tag-team partners of apps and app casting equipment.
Casting is a general term that has 2 forms - streaming and mirroring. Streaming is when only video displays on your TV. Mirroring is when video displays on your phone's or computer's screen, plus anything else that's on that screen (control buttons and forth), which then that can be put and replicated to your TV's screen.
Casting has 3 types of apps: casting with a cast enabled Network app, casting with a browser app, casting with an OS app.
Step 4: Know your Internet casting hardware
You will need a smart device to pick up the Internet from your router, in order for you to watch Broadband TV. Let's call those devices - brains. Now, if you don't want to do an Igor, you'll need to know about the brain you want. Otherwise, deranged Frankenstein brains may be what you return to your castle with.
There are smart TVs that already have brains in their housing. If you have a dumb TV like myself, you'll have to get your Scarecrow ass down to Oz to get some brains. Brand name brains for dumb TVs are Roku, Apple TV, Google Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, PlayStation, Xbox, and maybe some others. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are best known for playing video games, but they can do Internet TV too. Additionally, there are also DVR machines and Blu-Ray players that can access the Internet. The aforementioned are box brains.
However, this article doesn't review those. So while at Oz get the Wizard to hand you a stick to complete media streaming capability. I'm not talking about a broomstick either, Dorothy. You need either Google's Chromecast (A dongle really, but I'm calling it a stick from here on out for simplicity.), Roku's Streaming Stick, or Amazon TV Fire Stick. They plug into an HDMI port on the back of a TV, or into a switch device, if you have more HDMI devices than HDMI ports on your TV. The aforementioned are stick brains. Stick brains are mainly for TV entertainment, and not video gaming or other functions you can get through the boxes.
At this point you're down to choosing between the stick brains, in order to cast shows from your router to your TV. There are similarities and differences between the sticks, which may impact your decision of which device to buy.
For instance, when sitting in front of the TV with a Chromecast plugged in, you'll be using your phone as the remote (virtual remote). With Roku and Fire, you'll not only have a virtual phone remote but also have a traditional remote. Do you want to have both types of remote available?
The choice of remote then determines how you'll open a network app. With Chromecast, there is just one simple way to select a network app such as PBS. Just find that app icon on your phone and tap.
With Roku and Fire, there are 3 ways to open an app. One way is by selecting the app via your phone's screen, somewhat like the Chromecast method. However, when selecting the network app, it's not by clicking on one of the various assortments of app icons arranged on your phone's screen. You'll first open the Roku or Fire TV app on your phone's screen, then go to My Channel for Roku or Favorites for Fire. There you will find icons of your networks to select/tap from. If you don't want to select network apps this way, a second way for Roku and Fire is to use their virtual remote interface for your phone. It's similar to their traditional remote in that there are those up, down, left, right arrows to move between apps and select off the TV screen. And lastly, you'll have a traditional remote to select apps from the TV screen.
Playback is a consideration, too. You're probably familiar with a traditional remote playback, with pressing buttons to rewind and fast forward. However, with a virtual remote on your phone, there are two varieties of interfaces to do this. With Chromecast and your phone, an open app has the familiar web video interface. Playback is accomplished by dragging the cursor to the left for rewinding, and to the right for fast forwarding. With the Roku and Fire TV virtual remotes, you press virtual buttons (not drag) to rewind or fast forward.
One last thing to think about is do you want to view your show on your phone or tablet? If so, only network apps working with the Chromecast can do this. You tap the app, get the video going on your phone, and then if you want the big screen, you cast the video over to it. With Roku and Fire TV, network apps are built be viewed solely on the TV screen and not Android devices.
|Stick Device Comparison Chart|
|Able to Receive Browser Cast via lap/desktop||With Chrome||With Edge||With Edge|
|Remote Type||phone/tablet||phone/tablet or traditional remote||phone/tablet or traditional remote|
|Select Network Apps off ...||phone screen||phone screen or TV screen||phone screen or TV screen|
|Virtual remote Interface||resembles Web video||resembles traditional remote||resembles traditional remote|
|Show/Video Viewed on ...||phone or TV||TV||TV|
Which stick you want is up to you.
Wrapping up, hopefully this article provides you with enough information to make an informed choice on cutting cable. Good luck with your independence of cable or satellite.