Cord Cutting - How do YOU do it?

Although it is great that we can record local digital broadcasts to watch at our convenience, most cord cutters need more. How do you also get the sports, cable programming, and recent movies that you crave? How much money are you saving compared to what you were paying for cable or satellite? What are you using to record OTA broadcasts: Tablo, TiVo, or something else?

Please feel free to compare what you like about the products and services that you use with those that you have decided to stop using. But in doing so, please avoid the unproductive and unnecessary slamming of product manufacturers and service providers. Most importantly, speak only about the products and services that you have personally used and consider that they may have improved since you used them.

Lastly, let’s focus on helping those people who are both new and old to cord cutting to learn more about what is available to them.

I’m using Tablo to record OTA TV, Roku, Netflix 1 year free from Tmobile, MLB.TV 1 year free from Tmobile. Austin, TX had MOVIES!, which are uncut. Also movies on Grit. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I work 9 hours Mon-Thur and 8 on every other Fri.

Tablo for OTA. FireTVs for streaming boxes (with a couple Roku’s on hand if necessary). Netflix and Prime for on demand streaming. HBO Now during Game of Thrones. Some streaming package during football season for ESPN (SlingTV in the past, but there are a number of new services offering ESPN now or coming soon, so we may re-evaluate next year). I watch the Cubs OTA when they are on WGN, WPWR, ABC, or FOX and use the MLB At Bat app with GameDay Audio to listen to radio broadcasts with their graphics and sports feed for those games on Comcast Sports Net or ESPN (can’t use MLB.TV because of local blackouts).

Love Tablo - I have no issues with it at all on the FireTV - it records my shows reliably, playback is smooth, FF and RW thumbnails are good. Live playback works great as long as you don’t channel surf (which I don’t do).

Netflix has replaced almost all my cable viewing. Love On Demand format over live TV format. I really like all the British/Foreign dramas on Netflix as well as a lot of their original content. Definitely worth the cost.

Prime doesn’t have as much as Netflix, but it does have some shows that are important to me, including their original series Bosch and The Man in the High Castle. It also has Orphan Black. We have always gotten Prime for the free shipping, so the video on demand is a bonus - and the streaming music is nice now that we have Echo devices in our home.

I have never been a big fan of SlingTV - mainly because I don’t like to watch anything live other than sports. SlingTV is limited in its on demand content and the interface is clumsy in my opinion. We only use it for ESPN during football season - and since ESPN is becoming available elsewhere, we may switch this year - if the price is right on one of these new services. Or, we may stay if SlingTV picks up NFL Network as rumored.

HBO Now is fine. They could improve their interface a bit (especially fast forward and rewind) and it went down for Game of Thrones on Sunday, which was frustrating, but since I am fine with time-delayed viewing, I could deal with it.

I wish MLB.TV would get rid of local team blackouts. I would pay to get all of my Cub games. But I guess they don’t want my money, so I shell out the $20 a year for the GameDay Audio feature and live with the games that are on broadcast TV.

Using a Winegard HD7697P antenna with a PCT PCT-MA2-8P amp.

Using Plex media server for all my movie / tv show watching after ripping all my DVDs and BluRay discs to my FreeNAS system where Plex is running.

Using Tablo for OTA recording with content extracted to Plex media server using the SurLaTablo python script written by @cjcox.

Using Netflix and Amazon Prime for kids shows and movies / tv shows not in my catalog.

Have my TVs connected to my antenna directly for live TV viewing things like the news and such when desired.

So far I’m enjoying the Tablo. I was a frustrated user at first but after adapting and moving on I am in a much happier place after kicking DirecTV to the curb. Was spending about $150 a month for everything (DTV sub, Netflix, Amazon, etc) but now it’s down to just about $25 a month for Netflix and Amazon (so basically the cost of my DTV sub).

Google/Android Household so Nexus Player plus Chromecasts.

TWC for Internet - Includes WatchESPN

Tablo for OTA. Plus TWC has decided to keep the locals coming through in HD via my wall (for now).

Netflix and Hulu - Split the cost with family so we’re ok with the redundancy with Hulu/Tablo. Also helps fill some of the void with SlingTV.

Plex - For all DVDs and Backlog of Tablo recordings via Tablo Ripper. Works really well now that everything is automated.

SlingTV Beta - Considering switching to Vue if/when Android support comes. Overall has been pretty solid, mostly for HGTV & Food Network, (and Conan). Sling gets most of what we want, but biggest issue is lack of logins to on-demand apps.

MLB.TV - Out of market for the Red Sox, single team stream.

Biggest missing gap is NBC Sports and their Android support sucks.

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I also use Playon TV which gives you access to almost any web site that contains video content (all major networks, Amazon, Netflix, etc.) It also has a recording function… so like a DVR for the internet content. It records to your hard drive in MP$ so you can eithe watch it with their Roku app or use Plex through a NP, or Kodi, etc. In other words it becomes local content on your hard drive and however you watch local content is available. If a subscription is required for the web content, it is required through Playon.

One unique thing about Plauyon is that you can use it to watch regular Hulu (not HuLu Plus on your TV… Regular Hulu is free and essentially same content as Hulu Plus but only viewable (usually) with computer.

There is some cost for the recording function but it is not much.

2-tuner Tablo for OTA.
two Roku 3 (older) and a FireTv (older) to stream on TVs

Main apps on these device: Tablo, Netflix, Amazon (though I use Netflix a whole lot more), WatchESPN (using a family member’s account), SlingTV (Beta with Fox Sports instead of ESPN), Crunchyroll and Funimation (anime channels).

With this setup the only weakness I have is not being able to DVR non-OTA sports and cable channels. I now get practically all my Titans, Braves, Predators, and Vandy games.

4 Tuner Tablo for DVR/ Remote TV only. (Watch then delete)
(2x) HDHomeRun Connect for live at home.
Plex Server (Running on Zotac IQ-01)
Synology DS-412+ (5.2 TB used)
Sometimes Netflix
Sometimes Hulu

All serving (2x) NVidia Shield, a Nexus Player, a Win10 PC, and various miscellaneous Tablets/ Phones

Tablo for OTA, Sling TV for Sports (ESPN), Netflix, HBO NOW, Showtime and Amazon Prime (No Amazon Video, only shopping so far), Plex for local media on a custom built home server 12TB Raid 5.

Using Apple TV 4 on 1 TV, considering getting another one - currently using Chromecast, previously used iPad or iPhone for AirPlay to Apple TV. I’ll switch the services on/off as needed depending on which series/sports I watch.

Sling TV is the only streaming service where the quality for me is questionable. If there was something better for Apple TV, I’d be using that instead but nothing else exist yet.

FYI: Finally cut the cord next day Tablo for Apple TV became public beta.

OK, I’ll start this. Try to stick with this format for uniformity.

The products and services that I use for my viewing entertainment has changed greatly since I began cord cutting over a year ago but I think that I have finally settled on what I am going to keep for a while.


My prices include all taxes & fees and are rounded to the nearest $

$322 … * TiVo Premiere (2 tuner) with lifetime subscription & 1TB ext drive.

  • Using to record OTA broadcasts.
    $50 … ** Clearstream 2V HD antenna connected to TiVo box.
    $141 … TiVo Stream - to get TiVo on Amazon Fire, iPad & iPhone.
    $185 … ** TwoAmazon Fire TV boxes (latest 2015 4K version)
  • Main apps: TiVo (beta), ***PlayStation Vue, Premium, YouTube.
  • I was offerred and purchased a lifetime TiVo subscription for only $106 because I had been a monthly paying customer for 2 years, already having paid a total of $368 over that period. So you could say my lifetime subscription cost me $474, still less than the $600 they were asking for when I first got the TiVo box to use with Time Warner Cable.
    ** (I saved money by buying these on sale at Best Buy and on eBay.)
    *** I also own a PS3 game system that I can also use to watch PlayStation Vue, although you don’t need a PS3 or PS4 to sign up for PlayStation Vue. If you want to, you can use Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or an Apple iOS device (not on Apple TV) to watch PS Vue.

$30/mo … PlayStation Vue - 55 cable channels (27 that I like and watch).
$8/mo … Amazon Prime - TV, movies, music, free 2-day shipping.
$10/mo … Premium ($119/yr with tax)
$63/mo … Time Warner Internet 200Mbps service.
(Google Fiber to be installed tomorrow: 1,000Mbps for $73/mo.)
$48/mo … TOTAL Monthly - streaming TV only (I’d have internet anyway.)

Whether I had Cable TV or Satellite TV, to get what I wanted on my three TVs had cost between $90 and $120 per month. I now get everything I need on every TV for only $48/mo.


I prefer TiVo over Tablo. I prefer TiVo’s snappy interface, fast channel changing, precise channel tuning and signal strength meter, program search capabilities, and the ability to keep a specific number of episodes (from 1-25) so you don’t have to manually delete recordings you’ll never watch. My TiVo Premiere has only 500GB of storage so I added a 1TB external drive for a total of 1.5TB which is plenty for me (holds 237 hours of HD content).

TABLO (device)
Tablo was easy to set up, had a fun way of finding new shows and a simple & attractive interface but I just prefer the additional features of TiVo. You must add a hard drive which can be good because you can go as small or big as you need, up to 5GB, last time I checked. You must be careful to get a compatible drive though. Unfortunately channel tuning is slow (3-5 seconds). Also, a feature I need is missing - being able to limit how many episode recordings are kept on the DVR. I was using a Roku 3 to watch my Tablo content on my TV but the Tablo Roku app would occassionally freeze when trying to fast forward, then crash causing a 5 minute wait for the Roku box to reset. To be fair, this could have been Roku’s fault. Tablo is a recent start up company, only a couple of years old now but they are occassionally rolling out new apps (Apple TV) and I’m sure will eventually have more of the popular DVR features.

HULU (service)
A great service for popular TV episodes but I can get almost everything on Hulu from OTA broadcasts and PlayStation Vue. For a few dollars more, Hulu has a worthwhile commercial free service. It also has some movies but not as many as Amazon Prime or Netflix. Hulu has an eye pleasing, easy to use interface.

NETFLIX (service)
Lots of movies but I can find plenty that I like with Amazon Prime. Amazon seems to have more recent movies but Netflix is trying to get more of those. Flawless, easy to use interface.

SLING TV (service)
Dish Network created this to try to get some of the customers they were losing from their satellite service. I tried it using their trial period. It is about $10 less than PlayStation Vue. It doesn’t have as many channels as PS Vue but it does have many of the popular ones. The big difference is that not much of Sling TV could be watched on demand (this may have improved, it’s been a while). It had a nice, easy to use interface and is available on many devices.

Lets you select your favorite cable shows and it will save every episode for 28 days in what I will call their “cloud DVR”. It has binge-watching where it will play the next episode after the previous one ends. There could be a show that you can’t “record”, but I haven’t yet found it yet. You can watch any channel live and also pause and rewind live TV just as you can on any cable TV DVR. In my opinion this is the best (and at this time) the only way to get 55 on demand cable channels for only $30. I use 27 of the 55. I also get the local Fox TV station which is cool because I don’t have to use space on my TiVo to record the local news and other Fox Network shows I like. I have the basic plan, there are two higher price plans with more channels but I am good with the basic. In my opinion, PS Vue is what the future of streaming video services will mostly be like when they replace cable TV and satellite services.

AMAZON FIRE TV 2015 4K (device)
Very nice, snappy interface. Menus are straightforward and easy to use. I don’t recommend the older 2014 model as the processor is slower and it won’t be as snappy. The Amazon Fire TV Stick is even slower than that. They all work fine but if you want the cable TV box experience, the 2015 model is the one. The 2015 model also can use the hyper fast 102.11ac WiFi if your router/modem supports that. The 2015 model has Alexis, 2014 doesn’t. You can use Alexis like if you had the Amazon Echo and ask what the weather will be like, etc. I like the way it has recents apps and shows placed so you can quickly get what you use most. Although not required, you really should consider getting an Amazon Prime subscription if you get this device because they work nicely together. I like this device much better than Roku or Apple TV (new). Roku has the most apps but Amazon Fire TV has all the popular ones, and then some. The Amazon Fire TV remote fits nicely in the hand and has a mic for Alexis and searches. The Apple TV Remote is too skimpy and slippery. I drop it all the time. The Amazon Fire TV is the only device I have found that has a TiVo app. It is a Beta release but it works flawlessly. I can watch and delete recordings but I must use the TiVo Premiere box to set up new recordings and perform other functions/settings. This has allowed me to sell my other TiVo Premiere (I had bought 2 of them when I had Time Warner Cable). It also eliminates the need to buy a TiVo Mini. With my 2 Amazon Fire TVs, I have TiVo on all 3 of my TVs (TiVo Premiere box on one TV). Also Amazon Fire TV has the PlayStation Vue app so I also have PS Vue on all 3 TVs (PS3 gaming system on one TV)

AMAZON PRIME (service)
I dropped Netflix & Hulu as I found Amazon had enough of what I needed to add to my OTA broadcasts. It has many free movies and TV shows for Prime membership customers ($99/yr + tax, comes to about $8.25/mo.) If not free, they can be rented or purchased for often less than iTunes. There are also many a la carte channels like Showtime or Starz $9, LifeTime $4, Tribeca $5, Smithsonian Earth $4, and on and on that can be watched on Amazon Fire TV, Kindle Fire TV, iOS devices, etc. for the monthly fee. PREMIUM (service)
This is how I get my baseball fix. I am a Mets fan living in Texas and this is the only way to see every game. If they are playing a local team (Rangers or Astros) it is blacked out but I can watch it 90 minutes after the end of the game. I can watch any of the current season’s games that I miss also. Almost every device has an app for this, including my Fire TV. It costs $119/year which comes to about $10/mo.

I am happy with my Amazon Fire TV + TiVo + PlayStation Vue combination. The HD picture quality is always great on my 32", 46", and 55" TVs. I like that can access everything from my Amazon Fire TV boxes. I have no complaints with any of my devices, services, or apps.

Determine your needs and wishes first. Read reviews, blogs, and forums with information on devices, streaming services and apps. YouTube has a lot of good reviews and comparisons also. Check the device manufacturers websites and learn about the requirements and features of OTA DVRs and the apps available on streaming devices. You should know that the devices you choose can do the most of what you need. I had spent hundreds on Tablo and Roku devices before I knew that TiVo and Amazon Fire TV had the performance, features and apps I really wanted and needed.

That is great you were able to get so much free with T-Mobile!

I wish I would have initially bought Fire TVs instead of Rokus. I may have never sold my 4 tuner Tablo. I went with Roku because they have zillions of apps but I found most of them are garbage, kind of like the zillions of Apple apps that are worthless. I really didn’t like the Tablo apps for Roku. Both the legacy and new apps would crash every so often and I’d have to watch those awful dancing Roku letters again. I plan to look into Tablo again in about a year to try it with my Fire TVs. By then I believe Tablo will have more of the features I want and an even cooler interface. I have a new Apple TV that I was going to sell but I may keep it to see Tablo when I try it again in about a year.

The minute I saw your id, I knew what your intent was. It was hardly to have an objective discussion of cord-cutting. You’ve been nothing but a Tivo shill since day one at this forum. That you have been able to sucker all these others into a “discussion” pretending to establish cord-cutting as a framework is humorous. Your sole intent was to push your Tivo choice as we finally saw it appear among your “conclusions.” What a scam this thread is! Your “advice” to cord-cutters - buy a Tivo - what a joke…LOL


Here’s how I did it… after 19 years, I ditched DirecTV and did the following.

First, to acclimate myself, I put up an antenna to see what was available and to judge the reliability of the OTA signals in my area. Then, after investigating DVRs, sich as the Channel Master DVR+, TiVO and the Tablo, decided that the 4 tuner Tablo was more suitable for my needs than the others. I tried it for 30 days, then cancelled DirecTV and got the annual subscription. A year later, after being more than satisfied, I got the lifetime Tablo subscription.

I supplement OTA programs with Netflix Hulu and The Blaze… through T Mobile, I got free access to MLB TV, free movies on Vudu, and a $5/month discount on Sling TV.

With the announcement today of the availability of Playstation Vue on Roku, I’m going to sign up for the free trial. They carry FOX News which was was the hardest thing about cutting the cord for me in having to give it up, tho I have found ways to get it. It’s a really hard decision though, having to give up Sling TV and doubling my monthly price. Not sure if I’ll get sufficient value from that, but I will go for the free trial nonetheless.

Anyway, I find that having cut the cord, I’m more selective with what I watch, and I’m paying for exactly what I want, rather than paying over $100/month for 200 channels most of which I didn’t watch. With the setup I’ve described, I have more TV available to me than I can possibly watch, and for a fraction of the cost.


His cheque is in the mail from Rovi.

You are wrong and I am offended by your accusations. I could likewise accuse you of being a Tablo shill but I am above that. Even though I am not currently using Tablo, I created this forum mainly to hear what others are using ALONG WITH their OTA DVR (Tablo or otherwise) to fulfill their media needs. My intention as stated in my opening post is to help newbies and novices alike by sharing information (the reason we have forums). I don’t hate Tablo and plan to try it again in about a year as I feel confident that it will be greatly improved by then. True, I was frustrated at the lack of features and have posted harshly out of that frustration but I originally had found the interface to be aesthetic and easy to use. I liked it so much that I got a lifetime subscription. But then still wanting more features, one day I connected my antenna to my old TiVo equipment that I had bought for use with cable TV a couple of years before and found all of the features that I wanted. I could list them all here but I think we both can agree that as cool as Tablo is, when compared to other DVRs, it lacks features. The Tablo dev team set up the road map and has identified what it needs to do. I’m sure they are working on those features again now that they’ve released the new Apple TV app. They are a still a fairly new company and don’t have billions to invest in development. But they will make improvements using new revenue gained with the increasing popularity of cord cutting. I supported them with a 4-tuner purchase and will do so again in the future. I realize and accept that many are fine with the Tablo as it is. I am one of the few that just had to have all the bells and whistles after I got my first taste of cord cutting with the Tablo. I hope that you better understand my opinions on Tablo and other products and services but if you still feel that I am a “shill” so be it. We are all entitled to our opinion but I believe Tablo would agree that personal attacks have no place in their forums.


Tablo 2-tuner + 1TB USB HD w/lifetime sub. hardwired
Attic antenna (8 way amplified distributor)
4 x Roku 3 (all via WiFi)
Plex Media Server w/ Plex Pass hardwired


Amazon Prime

In general I’ve learned to do without sports that I can’t get OTA.

Don’t be offended.
I appreciate your input, even if I don’t follow the same path.

You just called him a shill by inference.
Anyway, I don’t think he’s going on Tivo forums touting Tablo, so he scored more points there. :wink:

Everyone take a chill (shill?) pill, and relax.
Just useful info being passed on.
Some of us actually appreciate it.

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+1 to that @Radojevic

Just good information being shared. I for one am curious how others are doing their cord cutting regardless of what system they are doing it with.

I’ve spent $1,535 on TiVo equipment and subscriptions over the last 5 years not to include what I paid for cable TV. It would be nice to get a check from TiVo and while we’re at it, from Time Warner Cable too.

I have spent $675 on Tablo & Roku equipment and subscriptions. (I include Roku because that’s how I watched Tablo content on my TVs) I don’t want a check from Tablo because in the next year or so if Tablo has added the few additional features it needs, the money will have been well spent supporting their dev team. I am OK with that.

Sometime in the future, I could buy an improved Tablo product. But as most consumers do, I will first research all of the other OTA DVRs on the market at the time. I will then buy whichever product I believe has the most bang for the buck. I did that same research before I bought my Tablo but made the mistake of assuming it had some features that I needed. Live and learn.

I’m not a TiVo shill or a Tablo shill. I am for competition in the marketplace that creates the best products for us. Most companies fail because either their products or their support does not measure up. The best product for me was an old TiVo box that I already had because I didn’t want to spend more money. When that TiVo box wears out, I may not buy another TiVo or a Tablo but I assure you that I will buy the product that I feel is the best and has the features that I want. I can’t even guess whose product that will be.

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