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Reimagine Everything: Tech Dialogues: How to Cut the Cable Cord?

By March 22, 2024July 8th, 2024No Comments

Ryan Kawamoto

Are you ready to ditch the cable and join the ever-growing cord-cutter team? Here, Senior Planet answers the essential questions you must consider before returning that cable box to your current TV provider company.

Why Cut the Cord?

The most common reason that pushes people to cut the traditional cable cord is how expensive cable bills have become. Cable TV prices now average more than $200 monthly, including all the fees for DVR, an extra cable box and taxes. Moreover, though they offer hundreds of channels, people typically only watch a handful of them.

In contrast, when it comes to streaming services, you only pay for the services you use. Plus, you can easily cancel or resume a service subscription anytime.

Other reasons to cut the cord include the convenience and availability of streaming services, fewer ads, access to original content unavailable on cable and a vast library of on-demand content.

What Equipment Do I Need to Cut the Cord?

Most households already have everything necessary to cut the cord. To ditch the cable, you only need two things:

A reliable internet service — a mere internet speed of 25Mbps is enough to stream 4K quality content.

A smart TV or streaming device — If your TV can connect to the internet, it is a Smart TV and can stream. For TVs that cannot connect to the internet, you can use a streaming device. These devices connect to the internet and are plugged into your TV via an HDMI port, allowing you to stream.

An optional piece of equipment worth listing here is an indoor HD antenna, which allows you to watch local channels for free in high definition.

Which Streaming Services Should I Get?

Before answering the question of which streaming service you should get, you should examine your viewing habits and preferences. Write down a list of all the channels, TV programs or shows you cannot live without. And be sure to include all the members of your household in the activity for a smooth transition!

If you’re a fan of shows, movies and channels in other languages, certain streaming platforms offer international packages that you can add on to your base subscription. Most streaming services also have the option to turn on subtitles, or even dialogue audio tracks, in your preferred language.

Once you have a clear idea of your must-have programs and channels, you can compare and decide which streaming services work best for your household.

Types of Streaming Services

Streaming services can be grouped into four categories depending on the type of content they provide:

Free — You can cut the cord and not pay for any streaming service. Free streaming services are ad-supported and often offer a mix of unpopular live channels, on-demand classic TV shows and movies and a few original contents.

On-demand — In this category, each streaming service costs $5.99-$22.99 per month and offers a vast library of ad-free and high-quality content, including numerous blockbusters, mainstream movies, TV shows, documentaries and original content exclusive to the service.

Live — Services in this category are more expensive but still less than regular cable. They can range from $20-$76.99, depending on the service and the number of live channels.

Sports — If you only care about live sports, certain streaming services provide a wide range of live sports events to fill the needs of any sports buff.

Is Cutting the Cord Worth It?

For most people, yes! However, only you can answer this question, given everybody’s unique situation. Many on-demand streaming options offer free trials, so you can test out if it’s right for you (just be sure you know when the trial ends).

A common mistake most people make once they cut the cord is signing up for multiple streaming services for specific shows and then forgetting to cancel the service once the TV show they are interested in is over or on a break.

For more information, we invite you to access our free weekly virtual programming online at or call our toll-free national hotline at (888) 713-3495, open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. ET.

Ryan Kawamoto is a regional program manager for Older Adults Technology Services from AARP, a national nonprofit behind the award-winning Senior Planet program that brings together older adults to find ways to learn, work, create, exercise and thrive in today’s digital age. A longer version of this article was originally published on by Senior Planet’s resident “Techspert” Jonathan Ushindi Zaluke.