Review Index:

Cutting the Cord Part 1: The Assessment

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Various

The Skinny about Cutting the Cord

Missed any installments of our Cutting the Cord Series?  Catch up on them here:

There was a time in the not too long past that having a Cable or Satellite TV subscription was just a given.  Like water, phone or electricity, if you wanted to watch anything other than a few local networks or crazy UHF stations you had to pay your local cable /satellite conglomerate a tidy little sum to pump the channels into your TV.

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That’s where I was back in January of 2010.  Staring at a $150 bill for Time Warner Cable with the “Basic Package + HD” and a pair of TiVo’s I began to wonder if I was just wasting money since 80% of our regular viewing consisted of a dozen or so shows scattered across only four or five channels.  Within a month, and after some deliberation, we decided we’d try to ‘cut the cord’ and since that time I’ve happily saved nearly $5,000 that would have been lining the pockets of some Time Warner/TiVo executives.  Ponder that for a moment, $5,000 spent on television.  Even after I factor out the cost of hardware I needed to buy and setup, that’s enough money to buy a new big screen TV every year and then some.

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Regardless of what big cable and satellite companies say, between 2008 and 2011, 2.65 million households dropped cable/satellite subscriptions.  A recent survey found that 9 percent of the people surveyed had cancelled their cable subscriptions in the last year and Time Warner Cable alone has had 10 straight quarters of Pay for TV customer losses.

This multipart series on PC Perspective will walk you through the process of becoming a “Cord Cutter” yourself.  Starting with some thoughts on whether or not cutting the cable is right for you we’ll walk you through everything from start to finish.

  • Cutting the Cord Part 1: The Assessment
  • Cutting the Cord Part 2: Building your HTPC – The Hardware
  • Cutting the Cord Part 3: Building your HTPC – OS Install and Tuning
  • Cutting the Cord Part 4: Building your HTPC – Installing and Configuring Windows Media Center
  • Cutting the Cord Part 5: Wrap up - Media Center Add-ons and Options

I’ll also include a few little personal tidbits from My Experiences in my quest to cut the cord and stay that way for the last few years.  

To Cut, or Not to Cut, That is the Question…

While dropping your cable or satellite subscription can save you some serious money, it’s not for everyone.  Television is a central part of the entertainment for many households, and you need to look at it from all angles before you call your provider and tell them you want out.  Cutting the cord may require some concessions and serious changes to the way you get your television content.  While you might not mind some inconvenience, your significant other or children may have a meltdown if they can’t get their regular fix of Honey Boo Boo or Yo Gabba Gabba the moment it’s aired.

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Regardless, with some consideration and pre-work you can determine if cutting the cord is right for you and make the transition nice and smooth if you decide to kick your cable or satellite provider to the curb.

If you’re willing to take that chance, read on to see if Cord Cutting is for you!


December 4, 2012 | 07:56 PM - Posted by dkreichen1968 (not verified)

I cut the cord 3 1/2 years ago. I've use OTA TV, internet streaming, and DVDs. Let's face it, the only content you can't get (legally) either OTA, over the internet, or on packaged media (DVD or Blue Ray)is ESPN and the regional sports networks. I really can't see that being worth the money for pay-TV.

December 6, 2012 | 06:48 PM - Posted by Ian Evans (not verified)

Cord-cutter here in Toronto. About 20+ channels. Don't use Netflix and really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

Another great resource for cord-cutters looking to go the antenna route is Digitalhome. Don't be scared by the .ca, lots of Americans on there and great sub-forums for specific regions of North America:

March 21, 2013 | 08:47 AM - Posted by Sean (not verified)

After installing XBMC, I will never go back to cable, not a chance!

April 8, 2013 | 09:08 AM - Posted by Sean (not verified)

After installing XBMC, getting it setup, and configuring my remote I will never go back to cable. not only is it cheaper, but I get more content and have the ability to share it throughout my home. Plus I can stream Huli, Netflix, MLB, Pandora and other great stuff.

August 25, 2013 | 02:37 AM - Posted by Rachel Stevens (not verified)

this is really very simple i just can't wait to try it as i find it great for my pc . . . learn more

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