Cutting yourself loose from a pay-TV contract can save you big, but most cord cutters are forced to crawl back to the cable company for standalone internet service. And in many cases, it can be pretty expensive. As we’ve discussed before, there are some things you can do to bring down the cost. But the fact is that you still need internet, and it’s going to cost you.
Being confronted by this fact, many potential cord cutters email me asking if they really need broadband internet, or if they can just use their data plan from their wireless provider. After all, you can set your iPhone up as a wireless hotspot. Isn’t that enough?
It depends. Let’s take a closer look.
One segment of cord cutters is perfectly fine just to watch over-the-air (OTA) television. After all, a majority of the most-watched shows on television come on free broadcast stations. Assuming you have a good antenna and decent location, you can get all sorts of channels, including the big networks like ABC, along with a zillion smaller stations.
However, if you want to use a DVR like the Tablo to record OTA TV, the internet from your cellphone company probably isn’t going to cut it.
“While Tablo primarily relies on your internal home Wi-Fi network for streaming content, Tablo does require a consistent connection to the external internet to download guide data and periodic firmware updates. This makes an intermittent 3 or 4G connection a less than ideal situation,” said Grant Hall, CEO of Nuvyyo, the makers of Tablo. “While it may be satisfying to completely sever ties with a service provider, the majority of our customers retain high speed internet access which enables them to combine free Over-the-Air TV with streaming services to create an experience similar to cable, but without the high price tag.”