Amy Iverson: How to ditch your cable bill for good

Bernard Bodo

With cable TV charges going up and up, is it time to go all digital? There are definitely pros and cons to cutting the cord.

Did you hear the Mousketeers are back? You won’t find them on any TV channel, though. M-I-C-K-E-Y. Why? Because the new Club Mickey Mouse will feature its content only on social media, specifically Instagram and Facebook. This is just the latest example of the trend taking much of entertainment away from traditional TV channels to digital-only content.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube and others feature exclusive content that viewers can only get online. This trend, along with expensive cable bundles, has a small group of people (so far, about 15 percent of American adults) turning away from cable and cutting the cord.

The average American household spends more than $100 per month for cable TV, so if you decide you want to throw that bill in the trash for good, there are several alternate ways to enjoy all your favorite shows. But it’s debatable as to which path is more convenient, and which one gives you the best value. It all depends on which stations you want, which stations are must-haves, and how much money you want to spend on individual subscription services.

The first step is to get an HD antenna for local stations. You’ll want this for local news, at least, and a good one will generally cost less than $50. These are not the bunny-eared contraptions of the past. Antennae in today’s world are small devices that will pick up dozens of signals at distances up to about 50 miles.

Decide on a streaming device. Your first option here is simply to plug your computer into your television with an HDMI cord and use your big TV as a second screen. But many people (including me) find this bothersome and want another way.

Roku comes as a set-top box (from $25), as a standalone TV (from $140), or as a stick ($40) and has the biggest variety of apps. You’ll get tons of free content, live TV, sports, original content, movies and shows.

Google Chromecast ($35-$70) plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. Use apps to stream shows, movies, sports and games.

Smart TVs eliminate the need for an extra device, as they have the…

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