How to cut cable and not miss anything

How to Cut Cable and Not Miss Anything

So you’ve decided to cut cable? Good for you! But you have some hesitations. I understand that. But let me tell you how we do it here in the Banks household and see if you are convinced.

  1. Get a Computer Without a Monitor – We have a small Dell that has no monitor. Instead, we hook it up to our TV as a monitor. Under our TV is our DVD player, the computer, and the computer keyboard.
  2. Get a Wireless Mouse – This will now be your remote. And just like all technology, these just keep dropping in price. And you can even buy one that looks like it emerged from a futuristic planet (easily amused).
  3. Set up a mini Antenna or Bunny Ears – I have no idea how to point you toward which one, but we got a midrange antenna at Radio Shack way back when we first set up ours (it was about $30). Which one you need will depend a lot on the geography of your area and your proximity to the broadcasting towers. This also gives you sub-channels that aren’t available through cable or satellite. We have France 24 news in our area!
  4. Stream, baby, Stream! – When you’re watching Hulu on a computer, the service is free (though there are limits to when shows are available and for how long). Netflix has raised its prices to $9.99 a month, but you can always buy discounted Target gift cards on and then use those to purchase Netflix gift cards at Target! Also, sharing Netflix accounts is totally okay. Also, remember that you have a full computer with full internet access, so anything on network websites or YouTube is also fair game.
  5. Set up a DVR – For events like the Olympics, this is totally awesome. You can purchase a USB TV tuner with video capture. Your recording limit is based entirely on your computer’s hard drive! Mr. T and I have been recording all 8-10 hours of daily Olympic coverage on basic NBC (which is free through the antenna) and then watching it all in about 4 hours in the evening! This set-up is also great for awards shows (so many commercials!) or anything you think to record ahead of time so you can watch it commercial-free!
  6. Worried about Sports Events? – I admit, Mr. T and I only care about the Olympics when it comes to sports, but if you don’t want to miss a game, check out these resources on how to cut the cord and not miss a game here and here.
  7. Want to Watch Foreign TV? (I’m obsessed with British TV and need Doctor Who as soon as it airs) – Use a VPN! This reroutes your internet traffic through another country so it thinks you are watching locally. I’ve found that free VPNs are available, but they are entirely hit and miss. But there are several options of paid ones and they aren’t that expensive either.

Now that I’ve told you our system, I’ve got all of yesterday’s Olympic coverage to catch up on…


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  1. Matt @ Optimize Your Life

    Thanks! I’m definitely going to check out the DVR.

    I watch baseball and football. For baseball I pay for MLB TV. It’s a bit pricey, but I get to watch every game, all season, with whichever team’s announcers I prefer. Plus I can watch on my phone if I am not at home.

    Football I use as an excuse to get together with friends. I’ll either meet up with some friends at a bar or bring a 6-pack to someone else’s place. It’s only a 16 game season, so it is definitely manageable to find other places to watch.

    • MaggieBanks

      It forces you to be social during games as well. I love that idea. And I LOVE my poor-man’s DVR. Especially during the Olypmics!

  2. I am emailing this link to my husband. Thank you, Maggie! I have such hopes for this. We’re down to only a few channels. Stupid Shark Week.

    • MaggieBanks

      Ha ha ha. Shark Week seems to be on Hulu plus… every time it’s Shark Week, sign up for a free trial at Hulu and watch them all!

  3. Emily Jividen

    We cut cable this year (at least back to $10 a month, 15 channel cable because Jon insists for some reason.) For the most part, I’ve been pretty happy to stick with Netflix and Amazon Prime for all of our TV watching. Jon’s a little concerned about missing football and college basketball, but I’m trying to convince him he can go watch any game he wants with his dad. And we definitely appreciate fewer news channels right now.

    • MaggieBanks

      I’ve looked into borrowing my parents’ Amazon Prime account, but never found anything I wanted to watch for free that wasn’t on Hulu or Netflix.

  4. Too funny that you used the term “Bunny ears” too – I think Ms. ONL was writing about that the other day (or tweeting about it!) We’ve cut the cable cord and hardly turn the TV on in the summer – (except for the Olympics of course!)

  5. That’s it! This weekend it all happens in our house! The cable will be cut and a new area of streaming and bunny ears will be ushered in!
    We decided to cut our cable, oh, nearly a year ago. did we do it yet? nope. We did have a horribly unhelpful conversation with our cable supplier at that time which made us scurry away to re-evaluate. We are now full of knowledge and decision and are ready to go for it!
    Thanks for this post – lots of good info. I also went back to read one by the Green Swan and between you two, you have provided all the knowledge we need to sever our ties!
    Wish us luck – calling the cable company has to be at the very bottom of my list of enjoyable pastimes.

  6. a woman

    I have no tv, no cable, about several years. To compensate we go more often outside to walk/jogging, evenings with family and friends, evenings with board games or yoga/reading books.
    In winter in some evenings we are looking to a movie online. Youtube has a lot of free movies, documentaries, etc

    • MaggieBanks

      Very well done! We don’t watch a ton of TV, but I have to say that some nights, it helps me shut my brain off so I can be more productive the next day.

  7. What a resourceful TV system you have! I would not have thought to buy a cheap PC without a screen purely to make the TV a “smart tv” (and for way cheaper).

    I think we are a bit behind with the times in our house.. we’ve never looked into VPNs even though it is immensely annoying the lack of international TV shows we get here, we also can’t get Hulu without a VPN! Though I think we will probably stick with our old-fashioned ways for a while, we shouldn’t make the TV even more tempting to watch when we have so much else we should be doing, maybe in a couple of years I’ll come back and follow these awesome steps you’ve laid out so well.


    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks, Jasmin. It’s worked out great for us and I have educational shows for the kids whenever they’re needed as well. 🙂

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