What is Cord-Cutting?


Cutting-the-cord means dumping your costly Cable TV and replacing it with less costly Streaming TV. The best non-technical way to explain cord-cutting is to put it into perspective. Without becoming media engineers, let's look at how we got here.

Broadcast TV Started It All

Broadcast TV or over-the-air (OTA) transmitted signals brought the television to life.

One studio, a camera, and a TV broadcast tower started broadcasting their channel over the city and everyone with an antenna and a TV started getting that channel in their living room.

One broadcast tower became many and now that living room TV had all these channels.

Then the broadcast channels changed their signals from analog to digital and more and more channels became available to those homes that were in the broadcast range.

The only two things that prevent every home from enjoying all these channels is if the broadcast signal is somehow blocked from the home's TV antenna like a mountain or a high-rise building. The other reason is if the home is too far away from the broadcast tower. In both cases, these homes do not get TV.

Cable TV Built A Empire

So along comes cable TV to carry these broadcast signals, channels, to those homes who are blocked or too far away. The Cable TV companies built a network of coaxial cables that carry these signals around the mountains or high-rise buildings to deliver these channels to the home.

So these cable networks grew, the cable companies started adding more channels to the existing broadcast channels so they could sell the cable services to homes that had good reception and really did not need Cable TV.

Then satellites emerged offering more and more channels which the cable companies added to their cable networks. With all these additional channels available on cable, the cable customer base across the country grew and surpassed the broadcast TV base of viewers.

Cable added more channels, more features, more services, and more monthly charges for all this stuff. Then Cable TV added internet services and continued to grow. Cord-cutting started creeping into the picture.

Streaming TV Has Changed The Game

We know Broadcast TV (OTA) and Cable TV but now we have Streaming TV. If you have Internet service in your home, you have access to Streaming TV. Streaming TV refers to Movies and TV Shows that are available on the internet. These programs and channels are originated and placed on the internet by companies (services) like Netflix and Amazon and if you pay them for their services, you can get movies and TV shows over the internet.

This is important. Before the internet created streaming TV, your only choices were Broadcast and Cable TV but now there is a third option, Streaming TV. Now you have new choices. And these new choices are provided by a lot of Streaming TV providers besides just Netflix and Amazon. You have a variety of channels, movies, TV shows, and a variety of pay choices for this content.

What Is Cord Cutting?

Cord-Cutting means cutting-the-cord with Cable TV and freeing yourself from the monthly fees and charges that come with Cable TV service.

"I have replaced my monthly Cable TV monthly $120 per month bill with a Streaming TV service that gives me all of the channels I want for $40 per month. I am now an official cord-cutting consumer!"

Sounds simple and it really is simple but there are a few considerations.

  • You must have internet service to get the Streaming TV alternatives to Cable TV.
  • Your TV (or TV's) must be able to receive this internet Streaming TV data. You must have smart TVs or an add-on device to make your TV's smart.
  • There are a lot of choices in the Streaming TV alternatives, so you need to do your homework when selecting your desired channels and associated pay packages.

Must-Have Internet Service

If you have internet service in your home from the same Cable TV provider that sells you TV channels, it is kind of ironic that you are going to use this same internet to dump the Cable TV channels. Oh well, life goes on.

Or you are getting your internet service from your telephone company via a Digital Subscriber Line (DSL). Or possibly from a satellite internet service. Again, you need to do your homework. Different internet providers offer different internet speeds and data caps with a variety of prices for these services. (See a detailed explanation)

Your TV must be Internet Capable

When you hook up your computer to the internet you have access to all of the search engines like Google, you can get your email and texts, and you can access Streaming TV. That's because your computer is smart enough to do this stuff.

To get Streaming TV on your actual TV, it also must be smart enough to do this stuff. You must have a "Smart TV" which has a built-in computer (well, most of it anyway) and you can see the internet streaming services.

If you have an older or dumb TV, you cannot get this stuff without adding a "Streaming Media Device" to the TV to make it a smart TV. There are numerous choices but basically, they are simply small computers in a box that attach to the back of your TV and give your dumb TV the "smarts" it needs to work with Streaming TV data. (see more details)

Streaming TV Alternatives

Once you have internet alive and working on your TV, you have access to all of these alternatives to Cable TV.

Netflix, Amazon, Roku, Sling TV, Apple TV, and dozens more are all out there and they all want to be your pal. (summary) You choose the service you want and sign up to start getting the programs, channels, or content that interests you.

Here's a website that I really like which will keep you current on cord-cutting, Cord Cutters News.


Cord-cutting means dumping your costly Cable TV and replacing it with less costly Streaming TV.

  • I have Internet Service
  • I have Internet Capable TV's
  • I have a Streaming TV service
  • I have Disconnected my Cable TV (video service)

I have cut the cord. Ahhh, life is good!

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