After years of hearing my parents complain about their high cable bills, I’d finally had enough — they were going to cut the cord, whether they felt ready to or not. Of course, they’d have my help throughout the entire transition from cable, and my colleagues here at Tom's Guide have even given me all the info about the best cable TV alternatives, would my parents need one.
As you’d imagine, abandoning more than 20 years of cable service came with apprehension. Not only did their main TV lack a built-in smart TV platform, but the cable service also provided their home’s Wi-Fi. And Optimum, like some other major providers, makes it complicated to pay for a home internet connection independently of a cable package.
It required a lot of persuasion and a bit of metaphorical hand-holding, but my parents finally called it quits on Optimum. From there, the first order of business was getting their house back online. As a fan of Verizon’s internet service in my own apartment, I looked up the Verizon Internet Gateway, which is essentially a giant hot spot for your home. With Auto-Pay enabled, Verizon’s home LTE service came out to $25 per month.
My parents had been paying $195 per month for cable and internet, so they saw significant savings instantly. When the Internet Gateway device arrived in the mail a few days later, I set it up through the Verizon mobile app within an hour — no home service appointment needed.
Cord cutting with the help of a Fire TV Cube
Once the Verizon Internet Gateway was set up, it was time to turn their ancient Sharp TV into a smart TV. I enlisted the Amazon Fire TV Cube, one of the best streaming devices. It also doubles as an Alexa smart speaker.
If you followed my DIY smart home series, you might know my parent’s home is outfitted with more than a dozen smart home devices. I’ll save the story about pairing them all to the new Wi-Fi for another time.
Setting up the Fire TV Cube was almost as simple as plugging its power and HDMI cords in. I entered our WI-Fi powered, logged in with our family’s joint Amazon Prime credentials and started installing streaming apps for them to use.
Of course, Amazon Prime Video comes built-in, but we also subscribe to Netflix and Hulu, so I download those apps onto the Cube as well. I also installed some of the best streaming services that don’t treat account sharing like a criminal offense, which I won’t name since my parents very much enjoy not paying for as many services as they can now access, and I don’t want those services catching on. Don’t act like you don’t do it, too.
Skipping a cable replacement (for now)
For a full week now, my parents have had a dozen or so streaming apps for watching shows, movies and other content on-demand. I gave them my apartment’s Verizon cable log-in to watch the Grammys on CBS, but that’s the only request for a cable experience they wanted. They’re satisfied with all the things they can stream without a cable alternative service. If we're somehow forced to abandon that account login-sharing, well, Paramount Plus offers live CBS networks in its higher-tier.
That said, I don’t think they want to go without live TV forever. Luckily, the best cable TV alternatives, such as like Sling TV can be managed month-to-month. Sling offers the cheapest base package price ($40 per month) of any service that has any network channels, and that would still keep their monthly savings at over $100 compared to before they cut the cord.
Despite their initial hesitations, my parents are thrilled with their new setup. They’re even trying to convince our neighbors to take the same plunge. We’ll see how long they’re happy without a live TV service, but for now, cable is kicked to the curb with no sign of being welcomed back into my parent’s home.
Read next: Check out our Super Bowl commercials live blog for all the top spots.
wow, it is a lot!