Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tips for Living: How we Cut the {Cable} Cord and Survived - Part 2 - The Device

Happy Tuesday! I'm so glad you're here! I hope you are staying cool wherever you are! We are having a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. 
Welcome to Part 2 of my Cutting the Cable Cord  Series. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. Today I will be talking about how to stream tv and content to your tv. 

Part 2: How to Stream to your TV

I will preface this post by saying that I am not a tech wizard. I do not know every single option for streaming to your tv, I'm sure there are gazillions of ways. So keep that in mind if you are reading and you know something I didn't mention. I also only researched a handful of devices to keep our costs down, and I hope they will help you keep  yours down too. That said, there are many, many more devices that you can purchase to stream tv. We only looked into the most popular ones on the market.

  I will also say that these opinions and everything within this post are mine alone. I was not compensated in any way. I'm just trying to help other people who like me are tired of paying cable companies and looking for better options.

Ok - let's go!

To get cable and satellite content onto your tv, you must have a receiver. The same is true to receive streaming content. You will need a Streaming Player. What are the benefits of investing in a  Streaming Player? 
  •  They give you access to a HUGE content library.  
  •  They help you save a lot of money: A one time cost, rather than paying monthly costs to your cable/satellite provider to "rent" the device.
  • They are easy to use: All you do is connect to a WIFI network, and you are ready to go. Seriously. That's it!
  • They are affordable!
1. Roku LT - 

This is probably the lowest priced streaming device in the market. For a one time investment, you can get over 500 channels of free content. It works perfectly with any tv and is HD (High Definition). 

We ran out and bought this the day I discontinued our satellite. It is simple, easy to use, and worth every. single. penny. You can download an app for your phone to search content or to use it as a remote. There are probably thousands of channels including Spotify, Pandora, CNBC Real Time, PBS Kids, and SO MUCH MORE! There are private channels you can add that allow you to watch tv from Australia. There are thousands of free tv shows and movies. You can also add VUDU, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Redbox streaming and more. I will go more into depth about these in Part 3 of the series.

There are other ROKU devices if you prefer something a little fancier like USB ports, enhanced remotes that play games and headphones built into the remote. We read the reviews and options and chose the best one for our family.

These devices are small, fitting into the palm of your hand. It needs to be plugged into a power outlet, and your tv. That's it. You will connect it to a wifi signal in your home using the simple on screen instructions. I think it took 5 minutes tops!

2. Apple TV


If you are loyal to Apple products, you will probably like this device. We chose not to purchase this device because Roku has so much more free content available. But there are pros that may appeal to you. The power supply is built in, and it interfaces with Airplay. I've also read there are less buffering issues, but we haven't had any issues yet with our Roku.

 2. Wii

 That's right! Did you know the Wii you may already have is an option to stream tv? We use this option for our media room tv. We use it because we already have it, so we just needed to set it up. But I would say it's not as user friendly as Roku, and Roku has an entire content library that Wii doesn't have. But if you only intend on streaming paid services like Netflix and Amazon, then that wouldn't be a concern. This didn't have a learning curve for our boys since they are already familiar with the Wii. It's easy to set up and add your channels too.
If you don't have a Wii, but have considered one for playing games, then this is a great additional service you get, just for owning the Wii.

2. XBox


We have an XBox - but decided against using it after realizing to access streaming media, we would have to purchase an XBox gold membership every year for around $60. The other devices only require the device itself, but no additional yearly membership to access streaming channels. 

The XBox is easy to use, and has options that the others don't have, like being able to speak to the device instead of using a remote. 

I suggest you review each media player and determine what is best for your family. Obviously these are my opinions and what works for one person doesn't work for another.

 We are so happy with our choice of a Roku and the Wii. 

Let's get to the cost breakdown so far!

Since we already owned the Wii, we had a one time investment of $50 for the basic Roku we chose. Add in the 2 antenna's I had to buy to receive over the air HD channels, our investment is now up to approximately $75. But, remember these are one time costs. I do not have to pay a monthly or rental fee to access this streaming content! I was paying approximately $100 a month for our satellite, which breaks down to about $1200 a year (plus I can't keep the devices). So far, I will have saved $1125.00 for one year!

Tomorrow I will present the third and last step to make your device stream the programs and movies you want to watch.
 I will dive into options for paid services to make your tv experience more like what you have been used to. If you live off of DVR like we did, then this is a great option for  you! 

Stay tuned tomorrow! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, I would love to hear what you think!




  1. This is great! I'm still looking to stream CNBC for hubby or the deal is off LOL! Have a happy 4th!


    1. Oh No- the pressure is ON! I am hoping to get the last part of the series out today...:)

  2. Thanks for sharing. I currently have Comcast Cable in Baltimore, MD and have been looking to cut costs but I am just curious if you really do when you switch to any of the above options? Between buying the said product then paying the monthly (or yearly) fee, it adds up!

    1. It really is cheaper. Although you do purchase your ROKU device, it's so much better than renting a device from Comcast or any other provider, which you will fork out $$$$ over time. We are paying about $25 a month right now for our total tv bill. Down from $100 a month, and that included renting those devices. Now I own mine outright.
      I need to do an update for sports fans soon! Mr Freckle Face has perfected streaming sports, so we get all of the football he wants. I say go for it! It takes a couple weeks to get a new normal, but what's the worst that happens? You save a bunch of money?
      Good luck!!