Have you been thinking about saving money and move away from cable? Maybe you’re afraid of making the wrong choice, or getting pushback from your family. The good news is that summer is a low stress time to ease yourself and the rest of the household, into transitioning from pay TV to free OTA TV.
In May, most fall shows will be wrapping up. As must-see TV winds down, the time is right to come up with a money saving transition plan, purchase some equipment, start streaming service free trials and get everyone in the house onboard.
The most important thing we want to convey here is that you don’t need to go cold turkey or cancel anything right away. Instead, build your new TV setup alongside your current pay TV system.
That way both are running as long as it takes for everyone to get comfortable with a new way to enjoy TV.
By the time your favorite fall shows start up, or even before your next cable or satellite bill arrives, you and your family will be ready to make the switch with no regrets!
STEP 1 – Define the Plan:
Did you know 94 of the top 100 programs are available free with an Over-the-Air (OTA) antenna? And the rest are available via streaming services like Sling TV. So if someone in your household likes content from more obscure cable channels, some negotiations may be in order.
Start with these questions:
- Do you watch the local news or cable news networks?
- Do you like primetime network reality/comedy/drama shows?
- Do you enjoy live sports?
- Do you have any ‘can’t miss’ cable shows?
- Do you depend on your DVR to record programs for later?
- How tech-savvy are the members of your household?
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, you can put the right system in place.
STEP 2 – Pick Your Tools:
As we mentioned, an Over-the-Air antenna is an essential part of the entertainment toolbox. It provides free, live access to the most popular shows on TV, live sports, events and news in glorious HD. (Check out Tablo’s signal locator tool to see which channels are available in your town.)
If you rely heavily on a DVR for time shifting, consider pairing a Tablo OTA DVR with your OTA antenna. It lets you record antenna TV then watch everything on your favorite devices.
For cable network content like HBO, news, or sports on ESPN, you’ll want to try a streaming TV services like Sling TV. Most offer a 7-day free trial and unlike cable subscriptions, can be cancelled with no penalty at any time. Sling TV also offers a cloud-based DVR for their streaming content.
Here’s a money-saving tip: If you don’t watch a lot of specialty/cable content, purchasing individual seasons or episodes on iTunes may be a better value than a streaming TV subscription.
Lastly, you’ll need a unified way to access content from your antenna, your Tablo DVR and your streaming subscriptions on your big screen TV. Newer Smart TVs can often do this without additional hardware, but performance can be slow and they tend to offer a limited app selection. This is why most cord cutters choose a streaming media player like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Android TV devices like Nvidia SHIELD. These streaming media players let you access all of your apps on a single, user-friendly device, using the same remote.
STEP 3 – Reassure the Troops:
Once your equipment is installed, the fun begins. Enjoy exploring the streaming device interface and apps, discover new content and marvel at the quality of the full HD picture quality. You’ll notice that the digital antenna is far superior to the compressed signal you get from the cable provider.
Try to avoid using your cable or satellite subscription and rely instead on your new cord cutting tools. If the pay TV habit is proving hard to break, try hiding the cable box’s remote! It may take a day or two to get used to accessing content through apps rather than a traditional cable box. But the rewards for your persistence will be striking: the quality and breadth of content, as well as the intuitive interface of most streaming devices. You’ll be surprised by how little you miss the clunky old cable box.
And remember, you’re not alone. Here from other happy Tablo users:
Updated May 5, 2021