What is emotional cable cutting

What is cable cutting? Your guide to cable or satellite elimination

Are you ready to end your cable or satellite subscription and get your content online? Here is an overview of the devices and services you might want to consider before you cut the cable.

As a cable cutter, you can use evolving technologies for live TV, as well as on-demand movies and TV shows. You cancel your conventional cable or satellite subscription - remove the cable box - and use online sources for your entertainment needs. If you'd like to cut the cable, here is an overview of the many services and devices available to allow you to enjoy your entertainment without a cable or satellite contract.

Cable cutting devices

When it comes to viewing streaming content, providers now offer options for almost every platform, including steaming through a web browser or a custom streaming app for your tablet or mobile device. You can also use your game console like PS4 or Xbox One to view streaming content.

There are dedicated streaming devices for that, so consider whether you want to watch it on the big screen. Some, like the Roku Express Stick, are affordable options for getting your feet wet. For those who want better performance and picture quality, a more expensive device like Apple TV, Roku Ultra, Nvidia Shield, or even browser-based services like MyIPTV might be recommended. Here is an overview of the different methods that were available at the time of this writing.


Roku has a variety of device formats including streaming sticks, set-top boxes like the Roku Ultra, and Roku-powered televisions. Most Roku devices have a voice-operated remote control that makes it easy to find content. In fact, at the time of writing, Roku appears to be the number one choice for smart TVs. That means you don't have to buy a separate device and the Roku feature is built into the TV.

Fire TV

Just like Roku, Amazon also offers a variety of Fire TVs, including set-top boxes, sticks, and Fire TV-branded televisions. The Alexa remote lets you search for content and even plug in an Echo to control hands-free calling. However, like Amazon, there is a ton of advertising that gets stuck throughout the experience.

Apple TV

Apple used to call the Apple TV a "hobby," but it has come a long way since it was originally introduced. It's always gaining new and exciting features like live TV content. It's a more expensive streaming box. You can currently choose between Apple TV (4th generation) and Apple TV 4K. It also works great with other Apple devices such as an iPhone or iPad. You can even control it from an Apple Watch. For more tips and tricks on using Apple TV, check out our archive of Apple TV articles.

Google Chromecast

The Chromecast is not a conventional set-top box or streaming stick and does not have a dedicated remote control. It's a dongle that you plug into your TV and watch content using apps on your phone. With it you can stream or "throw" media from your phone or tablet onto the big screen. It can be useful, but you probably don't want to use it as your primary streaming device.

Nvidia shield

The Nvidia Shield is a more expensive box, but a more geeky choice. It is based on Google's open Android software and offers many do-it-yourself DVR options and other ways to hack its system. It works with IoT devices like smart lights and thermostats. Also, you can play more challenging games than the others. Users swear by it, and it's hugely popular with its community. But even this I would recommend more to experienced tech geeks than to someone who just wants a simple streaming stick for Netflix.

If you think about your streaming device, do so tooYou want to make sure that the streaming services you subscribe to are supported. You also want to make sure that it supports the image quality you want. The new devices should currently support 4K. Even if you don't already have a 4K HDR TV, you can continue to upgrade to one.

Buying a cheap stick is also a great way to test out which user experience you prefer. However, keep in mind that Roku has the widest range of channels and supports most of the services. However, if you're an Amazon Prime member and you've invested in the Amazon ecosystem, you may want to stick with a Fire TV. If you've invested in the Apple ecosystem and bought a lot of content through iTunes, then Apple TV is probably your best bet.

Many TVs these days are smart so you can use the Roku or Amazon Fire TV version (Google's Android TV made it to some devices too) and don't require a separate device. However, with a cheap Roku or Fire TV stick, you can always dress up an older TV in your bedroom or guest room.

Live TV streaming services

After you've removed your traditional cable contract, you can still get the live streaming channels for the shows you want - just like if you still had your cable box. These over-the-top (OTT) services are less expensive and offer a la carte subscription. Some offer different layers with more channels and all offer add-on packages for additional content, such as: B. for sports, comedy or international. Premium providers can be added, but are usually available for the standalone app like Showtime or HBO.

AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now)

AT&T TV NOW is AT & T's live TV streaming service, and it has come a long way since it was first launched. It took a while to work consistently and the cloud DVR took some time to complete. However, it is similar to the others on this list and comes with different packages with a variety of channels. The first time I looked through it, it took some work and I was told it made drastic improvements. Nevertheless, take a look at our AT&T TV NOW test to get an idea of ​​the offers.

Hulu Live

The original Hulu service began as a video-on-demand (VOD) option for cable television programs. It features all of the hot next day shows on cable and with limited commercial breaks. An ad-free version for VOD movies and TV was later added. You can now upgrade live TV too. With a channel selection that is comparable to other OTT services. Please see our Hulu Live overview for more information.

PlayStation Vue

This is my live TV streaming service by choice. I've been using it for several years and it works wonderfully for my needs. And I firmly believe it has the best cloud-based DVR out there. And despite the name, you don't need a PlayStation console to watch it. It's available on virtually all streaming and mobile devices and includes a web version. It offers different tiers starting at $ 45 for over 50 channels - including locals in many markets. For more information, see our PlayStation Vue overview. It's a couple of years old but gives you an idea of ​​how the service works.

PlayStation Vue is an Internet TV service that offers live and on-demand cable television.

Fubo TV

If you are a sports fan and can't get enough, FuboTV could be the service for you. It has 100+ channels including the channels that AMC, USA, and FX offer. In addition, it includes tons of sports channels like NFL Network, NBA TV, CBS Sports, FS1, FS2, Fox Sports, and a lot more. It's not enough, you can add additional packages like NBA League Pass and Sports Plus. Be sure to check out our Fubo TV review.

YouTube TV

Similar to other OTT services, YouTube TV is a live cable TV streaming service for cable cutters. It started in limited markets but was only recently launched in 98% of the US. Instead of different levels, it offers around 60 channels for $ 40 per month. It has a cloud DVR. However, often you will get the on-demand version of the program and will not be able to skip ads. For more information, see the YouTube TV review.

Other popular and more affordable options include Sling TV (with plans starting as low as $ 15), Philo TV, and AT & T's Watch TV. In fact, it seems like new live streaming TV services are popping up all the time. So keep an eye out as more will be launched soon. For example, Disney and Apple are expected to launch new services this year.

When it comes to choosing the service that best suits your needs, your mileage will vary. However, they all offer a limited trial period so you can test it out before committing. Each service works differently on different streaming devices - therefore experience and scope of functions vary. For some services, additional cloud DVR storage has to be paid for at an additional cost. They all also offer additional packages. Unless you have an OTA antenna, make sure it is available to your local stations if this is important to you.

The advantage of live TV streaming services, however, is that you can pay monthly - with no annual contracts. And that makes quitting a service and switching to another service a simple matter.

Netflix and other streaming services

If you want to binge on your favorite shows or watch movies and TV shows on demand with no ads. The service that most subscribers subscribe to is Netflix. In addition to thousands of regular films and TV programs, award-winning original programs are also offered. There is so much content on Netflix that it is actually difficult to decide what to watch. It's also available on virtually any tech device via an app or browser. If you're new to Netflix or want to learn more, be sure to check out our article on Everything You Need to Know About Netflix.

Amazon Prime Video

If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber, the following applies: Amazon Prime Video. It's similar to Netflix in that it has thousands of movies and TV shows that you can watch on any device - including Apple TV. The company also has original programs with hit shows like Man in the High Castle and others. Of course, you can also buy movies and TV series from Amazon that will be added to your library. It works on other devices like Roku and recently Prime Video came to Apple TV.


Hulu is another streaming service that offers thousands of TV shows and movies on demand. You can watch popular TV shows from various networks the day after they are broadcast. Like Amazon and Netflix, Hulu has its own award-winning original programming with hit shows like The Handmaid's Tale. The entry-level subscription only contains a limited number of ads. However, you can pay more to have your experience be ad-free. And if you enjoy video-on-demand and want to watch live television too, you can upgrade to the Hulu Live plan.

Apple TV +

Apple enters the online streaming realm with its own streaming service with original programming. At the time of this writing, the service costs $ 4.99 per month and offers all of the original shows. It works in conjunction with its new Apple TV app. It will also be available on the Internet at tv.apple.com.

Live Over-the-Air (OTA)

Another important thing every cable cutter should do is use an OTA antenna. With the live streaming services listed above, your local channels are not always available. And if they do, they don't all have one that you can pick up with an antenna. An easy solution is to buy a decent, reinforced indoor antenna like the Mohu Leaf that you stick in your window. Depending on your location, you can get several free local streaming channels in HD. This is a simple and effective way to get entertainment, as well as local sports reports and news.


Plex is a feature-rich streaming media solution that allows you to stream your locally collected movies and TV shows from a server. Plex is free, but when you have Plex Pass it offers a lot more options. Speaking of wireless television, Plex lets you record OTA programs using Plex DVR. If you are new to Plex or have never heard of it, check out our article on how to get started with Plex Media Server.

Free streaming movies and TV

If they get off the cord because of you, just don't look at it or need it. There is a lot of free content out there. You can watch high quality ad-supported movies and TV shows from a variety of sources. You won't get premium blockbuster movies and shows, but there are plenty of interesting things to keep you entertained for hours with these services.

The Roku Canal

The Roku Channel offers free ad-supported films and television shows. It also offers some live streaming news and other internet channels. This was the first time for owners of a Roku device, but it is now available on the internet and anyone with a browser can view its free content. It didn't just evolve into Roku devices. It's now available on the web and allows premium channels to be added through a single user interface.

Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers a traditional cable-like experience with a channel guide interface. It offers live streaming TV as well as on-demand movies and TV shows. It has well over 100 channels offering news, comedy, drama, sports, and reality TV shows. It also offers music streaming channels for a wide variety of genres. For more information, see our Pluto TV review.

Xumo TV

Xumo is another free online streaming service that offers a similar cable-like experience to Pluto TV. It consolidates media into a single player. It offers live and on-demand content from multiple channels. It currently spans over 150 channels, and the company says more will be added regularly. For more information, see our Xumo TV review.

IMDB FreeDive

Amazon has launched a new free, ad-supported streaming content service called IMDb Freedive. It's a free streaming service that includes TV shows like Fringe, The Bachelor, Quantum Leap, and Without a Trace. It also includes hit movies like Drive, Awakenings, The Last Samurai, and others. Television and movies are divided into different categories, including thrills, comedies, sci-fi, dramas, and movies for the whole family. Check out our first look at IMDb FreeDive.

A couple of other free streaming services that are worth mentioning are Tubi TV and Sony Crackle. If you're a Plex user, it also offers free streaming content. Another honorable mention is Vudu, which has a free movie section.

Sum up

When it comes to cord cutting, you have tons of options. Now there are so many variables when it comes to finding the perfect cable cutting solution. Pay attention to the programs you want to watch. Would you like to see programs live or on demand? What channels and content do you need for the children? What ecosystem did you purchase most of your content through - i.e. H. About Amazon, Google, Apple?

Your best bet is to cut your cord solution piece by piece. Don't cancel your cable or satellite service for now. Instead, start with a cheap Roku or Fire TV stick and an OTA antenna for live HD network programming, as well as local news and sports. Then go from there. Cord cutting can also be addicting. Seriously, I have over 10 different devices (and multiple streaming services) and each has its advantages and disadvantages. But once you get started it can be a lot of fun.

And finding what you're looking for can be a bit of a difficult hassle. You may want to watch something that's running on Netflix but not on Hulu. A specific app might be on your Roku, but not on Fire TV. However, Just Watch is a great website for finding out what programs are available on which streaming service.

Another thing to add to the mix is ​​movies somewhere. It's free and allows you to watch movies you've purchased on virtually any streaming device, regardless of service - including phone, tablet, PC, Roku, Chromecast ...everywhere (hence the name). Check out our article: Use Movies Anywhere to stream your movie collection to any streaming device. Oh, and if you've purchased movies from Microsoft, you can link your account to Movies Anywhere too.

Before that, the main reason for cutting the line was to save money. And you still can if you choose the right services. However, these days there are so many different services and subscriptions that you may not be saving much or spending more. It all depends on the type of content you want.

However, the biggest advantage of cable cutting is the ability to watch what you want, when you want. This eliminates a bloated cable package where you are ignoring 80% of the channels anyway. Individual services allow you to subscribe to and then cancel a service such as HBO Now during the Game of Thrones season. For example, you can go to YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, or any other OTT service during the football season and then cancel.

Whether you want free streaming programs or premium content, there are a multitude of options to enhance your entertainment. Really, the possibilities are endless. And all without a cable or satellite contract hanging over your head. For more tips and tricks about streaming devices and services, check out our archive of cable cutting articles.