Free TV Starter Guide

Starter guideReady to Cut The Cord? Know What to Do Next!

Cable TV is an Unnecessary Expense

There was a time when cable TV made sense. You’d pay the cable company one flat rate and you’d get hundreds of channels and could watch all the shows you wanted.

Those days are gone.

Today, most of the binge-worthy TV is on streaming platforms or the internet. The few TV channels that are still essential for local news, sports and entertainment are broadcast over the air in 1080p HD and can be picked up for free with an antenna (HighLine TV offers multiple state-of-the-art antenna options). Cutting the cord on cable has never been easier, and Highline TV has a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

  1. Make a Content Plan

The first step towards simplifying your screen providers is to do some simple planning. When do you normally watch TV? What shows are important to you? Are these shows available over the air (OTA) or online streaming?

Devote some time to preparing a list of:

  • The shows and channels that are most important to you
  • What content is free and what is paid
  • How you would get information in an emergency, or if your internet lost signal
  • How many simultaneous streams or broadcasts you want
  • The types of devices you have or want to purchase (TV, mobile, tablet, etc)
  • Budget

Also think about:

  • Whether it is more important for you to have virtual DVRs, DVRs or live television?
  • Do you want to fast forward or rewind commercials?
  • Do you need child-friendly shows at home?
  • Which teams and sports events are important for your home? Don’t forget to factor in big sports events, live events, holiday viewing and other family traditions.

Keep in mind that most streaming services are monthly and may be cancelled at any time. Do not hesitate to subscribe to these services for only specific times of the year, if you want. Be sure to investigate free streaming and on-demand services along with the streaming services and Blu-ray / DVD collections that your public library offers. The plan of your choice should be customized for you, your family and the budget that you have.

If you are stuck with low internet speeds, you can benefit from these links:

  • Internet Speed Recommendations (Netflix)
  • Regulating the amount of data used by (Netflix)
  • On-demand services along with options for offline viewing

Don’t forget that even in areas with poor wireless data or spotty connections, there are antenna options that provide OTA signal for just the cost of the hardware – no monthly fees or charges.

  1. Conducting a Test Run

Not quite ready to take the plunge and cut the cord completely? Start by doing a test run. Highline TV antennas can be integrated into most TVs without disrupting content from streaming services or cable providers. Streaming providers often offer free trials for a week, a month, or even 60 days in some cases. Certain devices also come with free trial offers. Be sure to use these resources – you might be surprised by how little content you actually need from your cable provider.

Skinny / Basic Package

In some cases, it might not be possible to give up cable entirely. In some cases, geographic features result in poor OTA reception when natural topography results in poor access to poor TV tower signal acquisition. Certain channels are only broadcast locally and aren’t found on streaming services. Work may require you to view certain channels or watch certain shows.

In these cases, talk to your cable provider about a “basic” package. In most regions, Basic Broadcast cable should be under $10/mo. Before DTA rental/broadcast fees, local sales taxes and equipment rental. Sometimes these plans are in SD and not HD and might not even be advertised on the website of the cable provider.

Finding a combination of basic cable along with free TV signals and streaming platforms might result in substantial cost savings rather than just staying with cable alone. Make sure that you consider all the taxes and fees, given that details about these might not be disclosed by customer service representatives.

  1. Cable TV Service Cancellation

REVIEW YOUR PLAN BEFORE YOU CANCEL YOUR CABLE TV SERVICE! Certain cable TV services offer big discounts to internet users who also purchase cable plans. In these cases, canceling the cable portion of the plan could cause the internet portion to increase. Weigh the cost of that potential increase versus the savings from not paying:

  • Sports channel fees
  • HD content fees
  • Rental fees

Research the taxes associated with the cable plan. Also, when reviewing your internet plan, consider the number of simultaneous streams you plan on using and whether you wish to stream in HD or 4k.

  1. Changing Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

As part of your research, you may discover that your current ISP is charging you too much, is not providing solid speeds, or just isn’t the best fit for your needs. Here are a few web sites to assist in researching potential alternatives to your current ISP:


Try to avoid renting equipment from your ISP, unless it’s included in the price of your coverage. Purchasing routers and modems pays for itself over time, many times within the first year of use. The support websites of most internet providers contain a list of retail modems that are approved. You should choose one from the list.

Returning Equipment

Once you’ve made the decision to cut the cord on cable TV, make sure that you promptly return all your equipment, such as DVRs, remotes and other boxes. It is suggested that you give the equipment back to the service center or retail store of the provider, either personally or with the USPS or UPS boxes that the provider gave you. In some cases, cable companies will mail you boxes upon request to mail the gear back to them.

In all cases, ensure that the provider gives you a detailed receipt for the equipment that you returned. Store the receipt safely somewhere, to be able to produce as proof if you get a huge bill some months or years later for failing to return the equipment after cancellation of service.

Other than doing away with your cable TV service, decide on whether you still like to have your internet service provider give you phone service. Determine whether your existing cell phone service or VOIP is enough. Also take special situations in consideration, such as alarm systems, fax machines, business equipment or medical equipment that might need a landline.

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