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Ditch Your Cable – Part 1

Raise your hand if you are happy paying high prices for your cable or satellite contract, when you only watch a handful of channels.  C’mon, someone raise their hand!

I, for one, am tired of paying for my satellite service, when I rarely use it.  And when I do, I roam between maybe a dozen channels at the most.  Yet, to get the channels I want, I have to pay for 200 of them.  I have slimmed down my bill as much as I can.  I have only one TV, and that is downstairs.  The upstairs rooms no longer have TV’s in them.

The Big Experiment

So I decided to embark on an experiment.  How can I get the content I want to watch, without being a slave to my satellite service?  The first step is to make a list of the channels you watch.  This list really has to include everyone in the house.  Just because you are not fond of the channels they watch, those channels need to be included.  (I know, this can be painful).

In my house, the channels include:  ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, HGTV, QVC, ESPN, GOLF, Fox News (This was the painful one for me), Hallmark, & TLC.  In addition to that, I should throw in my streaming services, which are Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime.

Before I cut the cord on satellite, I decided to put a TV in my office and experiment with the ways I can get the channels I want.  So, I started by purchasing a TV.  When looking for a TV, make sure you get a Smart TV.  What is a Smart TV?  It is the concept of integrating internet content into your TV.  A Smart TV will have a network port on it, or WiFi, which is used to stream content from the internet.  The above mentioned Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, are examples of streaming services.

With that said, I purchased a 24″ Vizio TV.  For my office, a large TV is not necessary, as it is a small room and  I don’t intend on spending a lot of time watching it.

Don’t Do What I Did

As I did not want to spend a lot of money, I was pleased at the $199 price point.  Then I purchased a wall mount for it.  When you hang your wall mount, don’t do what I did.  I randomly picked a spot about 10″ down from the ceiling and hung the mount.  After attaching the TV, I realized it was way too high.  So I had to take everything down, drill new holes, yada yada yada.  The holes have been patched, and the wall has been painted.  I also took the opportunity to so some spot painting on the other walls in the room that needed a bit of touch-up.  Here is the finished product on the right.

Because this is a Smart TV, I was able to also connect it to the internet.  The TV has WiFi technology built in, as well as an ethernet port, if you prefer to use a wired connection.  As my cable box is about 5 feet from the TV, I simply used an ethernet cable to connect the TV to the cable box.  This gives me faster internet speeds when using the streaming service.  However, the WiFi connection would have worked just as well.  If using WiFi, you need to make sure you are using a Wireless-N router.  Wireless G, which is older technology will not cut it.

The Initial Results

With the TV connected to the internet, I am able to receive the following content:  Netflix, Yahoo Weather, Yahoo News, Amazon Prime, Rhapsody, Yahoo Finance, Hulu Plus, Web Videos, MGO Movies & TV, Vudu, Yahoo Sports, You Tube, Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo Connected TV Store.  You get the impression that Vizio likes Yahoo?

A lot of that I will not use, but it gave me the 3 streaming services I was looking for.  I am well on my way towards achieving cable independence!

In Part 2 of Ditch Your Cable, I will tell you how I purchased a low cost box that gives me all my local stations, plus a lot of extras.

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