By The TV Answer Man team

TV Answer Man, we have had cable TV for more than 20 years but we want to cut the cord and just stream shows. Can you walk us through some of the basics from start to finish? — Dorothy, Boise, Idaho.

Dorothy, cord cutting has become a popular trend in America as consumers seek to trim costs by eliminating cable and satellite subscriptions in favor of less expensive streaming services. The term “cutting the cord” refers to the act of cancelling your cable or satellite TV subscription in favor of alternative options for entertainment. This trend has become increasingly popular over the past few years as people look for ways to save money and customize their viewing experiences. If you’re considering cutting the cord, here are some steps to take from beginning to end:

1. Evaluate your current TV habits
Before you make any changes, it’s important to assess your current TV habits. How often do you watch TV? What channels do you watch the most? What shows or types of programming are most important to you? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide which alternatives to cable will work best for you.

2. Consider your options
There are many different ways to get TV programming without a traditional cable or satellite subscription. Here are some of the most popular options:
Streaming services
Services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus. Max and Amazon Prime Video offer a wide variety of TV shows and movies for a monthly fee.
Live TV streaming services
Services like Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV offer live TV channels over the internet for a monthly fee.
An antenna can be used to pick up over-the-air TV signals for free.
Individual channel apps
Many TV networks offer their own apps that allow you to stream their programming for free or for a small fee.

3. Determine your equipment needs
Depending on which option(s) you choose, you may need to purchase some equipment. For example, if you want to use an antenna to pick up over-the-air TV signals, you’ll need an antenna and a TV with a built-in tuner or a separate tuner box. If you want to use a streaming service, you’ll need a device like a smart TV, streaming stick from companies such as Amazon and Roku, or a gaming console to access the service.

4. Choose your services and sign up.
Once you’ve determined which options and equipment you need, it’s time to choose your services and sign up. Take some time to research the different options and compare prices and features. You may find that it makes sense to sign up for more than one service to get access to all the programming you want.
5. Cancel your cable or satellite subscription.
Once you’ve signed up for alternative TV options, it’s time to cancel your cable or satellite subscription. Call your provider and let them know you want to cancel. Be prepared for them to try to persuade you to stay by offering you discounts or other incentives. Stay firm in your decision and make sure you understand any cancellation fees or other costs associated with cancelling.
6. Enjoy your new TV setup!
With your alternative TV options in place, you can enjoy your favorite programming without the high cost of cable or satellite TV. You may find that you have more control over what you watch and when you watch it, making for a more personalized viewing experience.

Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at Please include your first name and hometown in your message.