Cord Cutting Starter Guide

Starter guideHow to substitute paid-TV content?

1. OTA or Over-the-air channels


TV signals in the United States are transmitted via the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) system over the air. Such types of signals happen to be digital TV signals in an unencrypted form. These can be picked with an antenna and then fed to an ATSC tuner – similar to one that is in-built in numerous televisions. There is a lack of tuner is some older television sets as well as in some newer sets.

Your home might be in the range of ION or some smaller networks or of many OTA broadcast channels like PBSCWFOXCBSNBC and ABC. You may find numerous famous broadcast shows, local news and local sports games, based on your market. Often, antennas are quite cost-effective and the image quality is crisp and clear as you obtain a signal that is unprocessed and not processed over any cable TV box.

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Our tool below will help you find what channels you’ll get. Just type your Zip code in set it to 50 miles and check which channels are in the range. You a Highline TV antenna indoor antenna. If you seem to have a lack of channels available in your area you may need a roof top antenna that may set you back by over $99. Our tool usually offers a great analysis of the type of OTA reception that one can get in your area. The number of channels you get can vary depending on your terrain



Cord-cutters love to record and timeshift OTA TV. Fortunately, many varied ways are available for recording and playing back timeshifted OTA TV, along with different degrees of financial investment and complexities. These can vary from solitary affordable devices with simple VCR-like recording capabilities and single tuners to network DVRs to home-brew DVR systems tailored specially. Many such systems try to imitate the regular cable television experience, along with DVR management functionality and a program guide.

In case you want further information about OTA DVRs, kindly go through a more detailed DVR Guide that we have published here.

2. Streaming Content

Audio / video content are sent to your television by streaming services. It needs some type of set-top box or streaming device, unless there is a “Smart TV” in your home with streaming applications built in. Set-top boxes and streaming devices differ when it comes to the streaming services that they offer. Make sure that you check each out prior to purchase. For instance, only Amazon Instant Video, Hulu and Netflix can be accessed by Tivo Roamio. Thus, it is unwise to buy a Tivo Roamio.

Free Streaming Services

Lots of broadcasters have a few unlocked episodes on their websites, Everywhere apps or TV. In some rare cases, a live stream is also found. In a few cases, like CBS, these are only limited to websites or mobile apps. Others such as NBC tend to offer episodes on Roku and other streaming devices. Windows 10 apps are also offered by a few providers as well. The episodes are generally available in around 1 week after the weekly shows are broadcasted, or in a few days for daily or late night shows. In some cases, just a few episodes might be available. A broadcaster might occasionally offer no-cost access to a whole season at the end of a season or prior to the commencement of a new season, in order to promote shows. Such episodes are ad-supported and may also have promos at times for other shows.

Here is a list of free streaming services:

  • Vudu Movies On Us
  • Yahoo View (known earlier as “Hulu Free”)
  • tubitv
  • YouTube
  • PBS
  • Pluto TV
  • The CW
  • Crackle
  • Roku Channel (shows movies supported by ads; only for Roku users)
  • HooplaDigital (Accessible in some CA and US libraries, this is a free streaming service)
  • Kanopy Kids (Can be accessed at Kanopy-supported libraries)
  • Kanopy (Accessible for faculty, staffs and students at chosen colleges and universities across the globe. Consists of documentaries and Criterion Collection)
  • Comet (Includes classic sci-fi movies, Mystery Science Theater 3000 and OTA/Stream; SG-1)

On-Demand Streaming Services: (These include)

  • Sundance Now
  • MHz
  • BritBox
  • Acorn TV
  • Curiosity Stream
  • Crunchyroll
  • Starz
  • Showtime
  • HBO Now
  • Amazon Prime Add-ons
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Hallmark Movies Now (Referred to earlier as Feeln)
  • VRV Select (It now broadcasts a few shows from SeeSo)

The same content is not offered by every streaming service. Thus, you should know which shows you love, make research about the streaming services that offer those content and subscribe based on that information. TV and movie titles on such services regularly come and go. Visit and get an updated title count comparison and what each service offers.

On-Demand Services along with Offline Viewing:

A few on-demand services mentioned above also contain limited offline viewing options. You can get the option of watching downloaded videos offline. Visit links for further details about title limitations and supported devices:

Live Streaming Services:

Here are some internet service provides that offer antenna-free live online TV:

  • YouTube TV
  • Sling TV
  • Playstation Vue
  • Philo
  • Hulu with Live TV
  • Fubo TV
  • DirecTV Now
  • CBS All Access

Go through our entire Live Streaming Services Guide and get all the information on the aforementioned services. Go to our Live Streaming Services Guide and check Additional Resources, Reviews and Comparisons for more details on our live streaming services.

3. Digital purchases

All your requirements might not be covered by streaming content. You might like to watch a few shows and you need to buy them independently. The vendors available include:

  • Fandango Now (referred to earlier as M-GO)
  • Google Play
  • Amazon Instant Video
  • Apple iTunes (in case there is an Apple TV in your home)
  • Vudu (It is another Ultraviolet partner. You may redeem UV redemption codes through Vudu
  • if you buy DVDs/Blu-rays)

4. Physical media

Purchase a DVD or Blu-ray player and buy hard copies of seasons once they are published, rent time to time from Redbox, make use of your local library or opt for the physical media monthly subscription service from Netflix. In case you opt for a Gamefly subscription, remember that your standard GameFly membership includes movie rentals.

  • Netflix Blu-ray / DVD Rental Subscription Pricing
  • Redbox rental kiosk locations
  • Gamefly DVD movie rentals
  • – Look for DVDs and other stuffs in your local libraries
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