I got several questions a week about cutting the cable cord. Some are just looking for encouragement (“Really? We’ll be okay with the children’s channels? Without the news channels? Without the sports channels?” Yes, really! I promise! 🙂 ). Others are looking for more technical information – with the most oft asked question being, ‘What equipment do I need to cut the cord?’
No guarantees that I have the latest and greatest tech information to share with you (that’s not my forte – I have a lot of other strengths ;-), but here are the two pieces of equipment we have, and you’re probably going to want to have, too.
#1. A good antenna – Really, an antenna is the only thing you absolutely must have, unless you’re planning on using your TV as wall decoration and nothing else. Without cable, you won’t be able to get stations — any stations, forget about high def stations, or stations whose towers are 20 miles away from your house. You can get a cheap set of rabbit ears, but you won’t get much reception that way – and you’ll constantly be futzing with the “ears”. We have the Mohu Leaf antena ($40 or $60, depending on the power you choose) and have been extremely pleased. You can read more about the Mohu HERE.
#2. A streaming device — An antenna gets you access to network programming (for us, that means Sunday sports!), but there’s a whole lot more content out there that you can watch via your television. And that’s Internet-available programming, which includes services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.
If you bought a Smart TV in the last two years, you probably already have all or most of this content on your television via the built-in apps. If you own an enabled Blu-Ray/DVD or game system (XBox or Play Station), you may also already have access to this programming. If you still find that you need to purchase something, your top choices on today’s market are:
Box Devices (these are small boxes, that you can place near your TV)
Stick Devices (these are small thumb-drive-like devices, that plug directly into the TV)
For your streaming device to work, you need to connect it to your home’s WiFi network. Note that you need to have an Internet connection of at least 1.5 megabits per second — and faster if you will be watching HD programming (probably closer to 8 Mbps).
So if you’re ready to try cutting the cord, that’s all you need equipment-wise: A good antenna and a streaming device. Pretty simple, huh?