My Cord Cutting Setup

This story needs context, so I will describe what I have, and why I need what I have.

My setup:

  1. [$75/mn] 200Mb/s cable internet access
  2. [$-10/mn] My own cable modem
  3. [$210] 3 channel router
  4. [$40] 1 HD (1080P Roku)
  5. [$90] 1 UHD HDR (4k Roku)
  6. [$12/mn] Hulu
  7. [$11/mn] Netflix
  8. [$25/mn] Sling Tv (blue option)
  9. [$12/mn] Amazon Prime Video
  10. [Free] Youtube

First question I think you might ask is why 200Mb/s on that internet connection. The reason is that we a 4K tv, 4 computers (1 is in effect a tv in our kitchen and 2 are for work), and a 2K tv. The work computers when on vpn which is often for my wire and I eat a lot of bandwidth. 100Mb/s is my cable providers basic rate, so we are only paying $10/mn extra for this. I feel this is balanced by us having our own cable modem which was easy to install. Using our own modem was a one time cost of $60, but it saves us $10 a month.

The next thing on my list is the router. This was not cheap, but I needed something that could handle the load of all of those devices. It has 3 channels, 2 at 5Ghz and one at 2Ghz. The high frequency channel has the faster data rate and supports the latest wifi protocols; the ones the Roku prefer and the computers prefer. Again, you do not need this beast of a router, or a mesh one, if you do not have a large number of TVs and computers that you expect to be in use at the same time.

There is more to consider when you buy a router. The size of your house and its layout matter as the further you are from the router the lower your data rate. So you want one with a lot of power, or a set of routers called a mesh network. My sub 2000 square foot home is fairly compact, and I put my router near the center of my house. My parents home is one level and more spread out. They use a mesh network. Since this is a significant cost,and you likely already have a router, I would suggest you test your wifi data rates that you currently have.

To test your current wifi data rates, you can wither use a laptop and check the speed of your connection. Another way is to do the same with your smart phone. The app I use with my Android phone is Wifi Analyzer.   Anyway, place the laptop or phone near where your tvs are and see if the speed is good enough for the 4k or 2k/1080p tv. Bit rates of 25Mb/s and 5Mb/s are what most sites I have searched say you need for those two types of tvs. You may not need a new router, and or you will be able to tell if one router is good enough in the center, or a mesh network.  Tom’s Hardware does a great job of helping you figure out which one you need.

For your TVs, if your TV is not a smart TV where it offers applications for you to run, then you will need a Roku or some other streaming device.  I recommend Roku simply because I used them before I bought them at a friend’s house, and I did find their interface to be the best for me.  I suggest you try before you buy, but I can’t recommend another option since I don’t own one.

The next step is actually what I think you should do first, figure out what channels you want, need, and can live without. Then you need to look at the various streaming services.  Hulu, Youtube, SlingTv, and many others are available for various prices with various channel lineup.  They change over time.  I suggest you Search “streaming tv lineup comparison”, and find a recent comparison.  That will be where you can figure out what option is best for you for live TV, if you need it at all.  I like the New York Yankees, and Sling Blue has the Yes Network.  They also have access to other regional networks, and the other streaming networks have access to various ones.  I suggest you find the best one for you.

After that, then it’s all about the streaming networks which includes Hulu again, as well as Netflix, and many others.  The content on each changes over time, but so can you add or remove them at any time.  Many people buy one for the duration of a season or long enough to watch shows you like.