Entertainment Untethered: What it’s like to ditch TV

flat screen TV

Before we begin, let me backpedal for a second and set the stage for “ditching TV”.

Here’s how I’d word it:

• Watching TV is the actual act of sitting down in front of one to consume entertainment
• Ditching TV is removing all those setbacks that come from viewing

What I’m trying to convey is the difference between being a zombie in front of a TV set versus having an a la carte choice in what shows and movies you watch. Instead of getting stuck with commercials and waiting for shows during primetime – you’re cutting those setbacks so you can binge.

A Quick Story

A couple of years ago, I remember getting wind of Tivo. At the time it was big because it let you record TV shows, watch them at your own pace, and skip through commercials. I wanted one, bad. I didn’t get it, though, and it wasn’t until years later that I finally got a taste of this cord-cutting via set top streaming boxes and services like Netflix and Hulu.

Nowadays, I think I may watch just an hour or two of normal TV throughout the month – and when I do it’s usually the news. Everything else is streaming. The combination of streaming plus high speed broadband takes care of all my entertainment … and it’s awesome.

A Quick Primer on Cord Cutting

Here’s why you should get excited:

• You can skip all those commercials and avoid stupid shows
• You can always watch sports at friends’ or when going out (which is way better, anyway)
• You’ll drastically cut the cost of your monthly bill
• You’ll have an extremely fast connection to the web
• You can download entire seasons of a show in one go (as long as you’re patient)

A lot of these delays in programming or streaming live sports may not be around much longer due to a new bill introduced to provide access to these programs.

Let’s get on to the cord cutting, shall we?

There are just three main elements:

• Access to broadband
• Subscribing to a service
• Purchasing a set top box

You won’t have access to much of the streaming services if you’re stuck on DSL or dial up, which is why a broadband connection is required. Cable bundles, these days, are generally fairly affordable so the important thing is to look at the speed the company offers. If you’re currently shopping, you could read through the page of AT&T coupons and decide for yourself whether you need particular subscription options and also get an idea of what’s available.

The second element is the service you choose to provide the majority of your entertainment.

The three big ones include:

• Netflix
• Amazon Instant Video
• Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus is a decent choice if you’re playing with the idea, but the other options provide the greatest bang for their buck. Netflix obviously is the dominant one here, and has a ton of great programming for a great price. Amazon, on the other hand, bundles their Instant Video service with Amazon Prime, for about the same price. With Prime, you’d also get free two-day delivery and access to free books on the Kindle marketplace, which is something to consider if you’re ordering stuff off Amazon a lot.

The third item to keep in mind (though it is optional depending on how you watch) is streaming boxes & devices – which there are a lot of options:

• Roku
• Apple TV
• Boxee

At about $100 (on average) for these devices, you’ll have the ability to get Netflix (Amazon Instant, Hulu, and others) setup on your TV in about a few minutes. Plunk in your account information and you’re good to go – you may not ever flip back to normal TV once you start to binge on the shows.


I’m very happy how I get my entertainment these days and it’s why I try to hook so many others up with the alternatives. Once you start doing streaming services, it changes the game. You save money, you don’t get annoyed by commercials, and you’ve got plenty of options. Give it a try.


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