A Guide to Cutting the Cord

Nerd watching tvThis week’s “Help a Nerd Out” question generated so many great answers that we decided to create a guide to the streaming services that may help you get rid of your cable bill. Here’s a quick reference guide to some of the best gadgets and services, but it’s by no means exhaustive. What do YOU use? Leave us a comment!

Roku is a streaming player that allows you to watch free channels, subscribe to streaming services (such as Netflix and Hulu) and rent TV shows and movies. Currently, there are five Roku players to choose from, ranging from $40 to $130. (This is what I have. Works great!)

Antenna TV is a digital multicast network that airs on tv stations across the United States. Antenna TV is free and available using rabbit ears (a broadcast television antenna) or rooftop antenna. Classic TV shows air at scheduled times throughout the day – everything from Mister Ed to Bewitched.

Tablo is a DVR player that connects with a digital TV antenna over wifi to broadcast news and sports. The Tablo 2 will cost you $220, while the Tablo 4 is $300. A fair option for those who still want to watch the playoffs.

Netflix is considered one of the pioneers of the streaming world. With a subscription to Netflix ($8-$12 a month) you can watch movies, original content, and tv shows from your phone, tablet, or (with a streaming player) your TV.

Amazon Prime TV is online giant Amazon’s streaming service. As part of the Amazon Prime annual membership ($99 a year or $10.99 per month), you’ll gain access to Amazon original content, movies and TV shows.

Amazon Fire is a tablet designed for entertainment. A 7-inch display gives you access to movies, tv shows, books, apps and games. The Amazon fire is currently on sale for $50.

Amazon Fire Stick is a portable stick that connects to your TV’s HDMI port, giving you a range of television, apps, games…even news and sports networks.

Sling TV lets you stream live shows and on-demand entertainment without the lengthy contracts. You choose the channels and features that you want for one flat rate. $20 a month buys you twenty channels.

Hulu is an online service that gives you access to original series, hit shows, and movies. A commercial-free monthly subscription will run you $12 a month.

Apple TV is a streaming player that allows you to watch iTunes, streaming services, TV apps, YouTube and others from your television. Very recent updates in tvOS allows Siri to search for programming and even control your home’s lights and thermostat from the TV! Pricing starts at $149.

Chromecast is Google’s streaming player. This gadget gives you the ability to play your favorite entertainment from your phone onto your TV. The cost is $35.

Simple.TV is a private TV server that records live TV as an alternative to cable TV. The basic box is $199.99 and the premier box is $249.99

Tivo is a streaming player that works with your cable subscription to let you skip commercials and record content. Tivo also acts as a streaming player and brings your online services together into one system. Models go from $200-$300 plus a $15 a month service plan.

Mohu offers a number of antenna’s that give you access to the sports, news and TV shows that are broadcast in your area. Antenna’s range from $40 to $150.

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There's got to be a better way! Cut the Cable