Our Guide to Cutting the Cord, Part 2

by Geek Squad Agent on ‎09-02-2016 04:25 PM - last edited on ‎09-02-2016 04:46 PM by Geek Squad Agent (6,119 Views)

So you’ve figured out how you want to get video content in to your place. The next step is deciding how you are going to watch that video content.

 

If you have decided on getting content over the air, you have already taken care of this step – you have decided to watch content only on your TV. Once you get the right antenna and find the best place for it in your house, you are good to go.

 

If you have decided to go exclusively with getting your content from the Internet, you still have a couple things to figure out:

  • Is your connection fast enough for streaming video, and
  • Do you have the right kind of equipment

 

Speed

The Federal Communications Commission maintains anywhere between 10Mbps and 25Mbps is sufficient for household streaming. The orientation of your network, the proximity of your neighbors’ networks and the number of devices connected to your network will affect its performance. And according to our Home Theater Installation Agents, having 25Mbps coming in to your house may not be enough to provide a consistent video streaming experience. For reliable, steady streaming, you may need 25Mbps at the device on which you will be viewing the video. You will want to keep this in mind as you check your Internet service speed.

 

If you already have trouble smoothly streaming to your computer, you will definitely want to consider upgrading your service. Check with your provider to see what choices you have in your area. A 50Mbps broadband network should handle normal household activity while you stream to your TV.

 

To check the actual speed of your network, use the Speed Test here on the site.

 

Streaming Devices

Although you can connect most TVs to your wireless network without them, dedicated streaming devices have brought a great setup and selection experience to getting your video online. All the devices come set up with a monthly subscription service, but some offer free streaming content, so if you are cutting the cable to reduce expenses, you will want to make sure the device you choose does not require a monthly subscription.

 

Our friends over at the Best Buy “Latest and Greatest” blog recently published a piece on the new Roku Streaming Stick, the latest device from one of the pioneering companies in video streaming technology. It might be worth a look if you are thinking of going that route.

 

More information on streaming video players is available on this page on the Best Buy website.

 

Finding Things to Watch

Once you get your streaming video reliably running to a display, you are going to have to find something to watch. Aside from randomly bouncing around YouTube – which can get boring – finding video online can be a challenge. Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on solely on Google. This has been going on long enough that content curators are getting pretty good at what they do. Here is what we’ve seen.

 

Online streaming services have made cutting the cable possible. Chances are it was the existence of these services that got you thinking about going without cable in the first place. Some shows (new shows from the networks, live sports) can be difficult and/or expensive to get while others (national and local news, cat videos) are everywhere online. You will want to do some research before you choose a subscription service. Many of the paid services have free introductory periods.

 

These lists are far from complete. There are A LOT of video streaming services out there.

 

Free

 

Paid

 

A common misconception about streaming services is that they don’t offer live sports. This is simply not true. Most professional sports leagues -certainly all the major leagues – offer some form of paid streaming service. Unfortunately, at this point ESPN’s streaming services requires a cable subscription for access. Live sports can be a patchwork, but, with a little research, you should be able to watch your team live without cable.

 

Good luck setting up your cable-free entertainment center. The exact combination of hardware and services will vary according to your viewing habits and pocketbook, but it is possible to have a great video diet without feeding your local cable provider.

 

If you have any questions about the hardware you are going to need to make the transition, there are home theater experts on duty at your local Best Buy store.

 

Agent Gavin C. has been fighting the proverbial good fight and bringing technological enlightenment to clients since 2006. When not squashing bugs and bots on BestBuy.com, he enjoys the simple things in life: rock music, football, and freedom. From his perch at the Magic Castle, he ensures that Geek Squad remains a shining light for truth and justice.

 

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