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Exploit The Cord!

{Notice: This page began in 2016; it's updated somewhat but there's likely extinct information here; tech changes rapidly as you know!}

Celebrating a 6.5 decade journey thus far, I've been eyewitness to many things, with tech being a small but still important part of that enculturation. All my life I watched TV for free (still am) by antenna. Even when cable TV first came out, few thought it logical to pay for what was already free; and early on, all cable only content was low level crap. But with so many, living too far from broadcast towers, CATV was born & boomed.
Early on, the cable companies had to adapt to slow metro area sales, by creating content that was not broadcast already. But when 24 hour news (which birthed cult news), and then later, HBO and other original content networks, came into being, they blossomed alongside cable related tech advances. Cable TV expanded, but the next generation (or 2) simply forgot about free terrestrial (antenna) TV. With the emergence of DTV the days of poor recording quality via analog to VCR tape vanished: Mahalo!
But lately the question is: Is Big Cable Dead? Cord-Cutting Has Tripled in a Year! As the cable services are fading, the once prosperous cable only mediums are scrambling for new customers. This is why cable "news" has become so drama centric; sensationalizing everything under the guise of News keeps the simpleton customers addicted. Watch the heart wrenching Documentary: The Brain Washing of My Dad (YouTube).
Many still assume that what they watch, is all there is to watch, but that is not so. People in (say) London watch a different program lineup than those in Houston; they (each) would feel deprived if they could not watch some show, exclusive to them as that viewer audience, and so it goes for every other Metro globally. We only know what is on, based upon the service funnel which feeds it to us.
The Web is a global network indeed, but one you'll miss out on entirely with just a phone, or with just a Smart TV, or any other content funnel. Most phone-only users never access more than a dozen of the quarter–billion websites on the global Web; all phones nowadays are content mills; tabloid farms; link bate apps; content funnels!
With a little research (read content in links throughout this page) and with some playing around, anyone within a US DTV zone can get more media and services than most people use anyway, with just home Internet service alone. Now, if you cut the cord but then buy a bunch of other non–cable services to replace it (e.g. Netflix), you might as well just keep the cable on! Cord–cutting used to be literal, not just a euphemism for no cable box cable services.
Many actually pay for such restrictions to global media content, via a cable bill & service. But all this is partly why several cable companies invested heavily in Internet Services early on. Still, never agree to a long–term contract for any such service (any communications service), and since most of us are limited to local service providers, budget from among their no contract internet service offers only. The low–price–now–high–price–later deals, are no deal (esp. among phone contracts). Here's what Americans hate most about Cable Companies!
Exploit That Cord!
A 25 Mbps home service will do just fine for most, and will provide a host of services, without Cable TV, or a contract, meaning this will be your only bill for all home media and communications. These currently cost about $30 to $50 monthly; no hidden costs or up charges or long-term contracts (avoid those). From 2019 to 2023 (now), I'm using NexGen Com: $40 USD total, no contracts and no data caps. With Google Voice on my NUC–PC it's my "home phone" too (more on that later).
This is a great WiFi Router; no compatibility issues with an ISP; not so with Big Cable and the DOCSIS compatibility debacle. You know the difference because an ISP offers Internet service primarily, and then will offer to marry that service with some form of TV service; e.g: AT&T uses Direct TV. I'm now exclusively Internet Service Providers, not Big Cable: Why? An ISP does not use coax, they use (often fiber to) Ethernet, which is what all wired internet devices use.
Big Cable uses coax cable built for a Cable TV Receiver, wherein a cable modem router is then needed to convert the coax signal to connect an ethernet device, typically an ethernet WiFi router. Big Cable eventually made specialty devices just for this, then charged customers rent for them: That angered me and was the beginning of the end of my relationship with Big Cable (my last account was in 2013 and still Internet only).
But, If that's your only option, know that I once streamed consistently buffer free on 15 Mbps with Comcast Internet Essentials, and there's also another low income option, AT&T Access, which is an ISP (better); each are at good discounts. Streaming 2 games buffer free on a pair of 50" HDTV units (split screen), I get 20 Mbps on a 15 Mbps Service Plan; that's because I'm using CAT8 Ethernet cables, without WiFi, via a TP–Link Router; bought in 2015 I'm still using it!
ISP services will push a bit more than you're paying for, because there's always a latency, due to old equipment or wires along the way. CAT8 eliminates that, at least on your end. I'm all Ethernet wired; no hijacking my WiFi service or hacking into my home network to peek around. And it's much faster that way! I now Ethernet wire to all devices, PCs & TVs, via a splitter, and a WiFi device too, which can be turned on/off as needed, mostly to update hand held devices and laptops.
I use a Linux based media NUC PC (here's why). This is safer and faster than MS products, so you will have better results. Even if you are not familiar with Linux OS, it is mostly the browser you will be interacting with anyway, and the recommended Chromium or Firefox browsers function the same on all OS platforms. If you learn how to milk the Internet ― and what this page is all about ― you can get virtually everything else you'd need in the digital communications world, for free online. You really do not even need a landline or cell phone.
Terrestrial TV has been broadcast for free over the US airwaves for near a century now. Anyone who pays a satellite or cable TV company ― who uses digital compression tech to shrink the size of what's being broadcast in 1080P for free by ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, CW ― are paying for free services; they are either too far from the broadcast towers, or too far from wise. Let's change the latter: Here's a list of US over–the–air television networks.
Sure, there's other stuff on cable; there's even more not on cable! This is about saving monies, so if you can easily afford a cable bill then this is irrelevant to you. If you're still playing the horrifying game, keep–up–w/the–Joneses, all this will not matter to you, because, well, you've been culturally assimilated; you must comply! All this will take a bit of time, effort, and patience, but like all knowledge, once you know it you always will. To visually learn anything, just U–tube it! In 2014 I learned how to swap an HDD–to–SSD (YouTube) to repurpose a 2009 32–bit Asus laptop, now running LMDE OS. It's still in use today as a dedicated music player.
If you're old school, an HD antenna on a Homeworx DVR, one can record in 1080P standard. An easier (and pricier but awesome) DVR to use is the Channel Master: Neither of these DVRs require monthly fees, which typically cover on–screen online TV guides. Just use Titan TV. With data caps closing in, it is wise not to get into the habit of streaming what is broadcast OTA for free. And the bundled service offers are the biggest rip–off offered by any of them. Go no–contract always and everywhere.
To find out what is broadcast on OTA TV anywhere, one can create a free TitanTV account, then just create new channel lineups using any US zip code, and select Broadcast (help). I've got eight different channel lineups (from different zip's) in the drop down menu, including the OTT called Sling. Still, I prefer zero cost options, so I stream everything, and no commercials that way.
Everyone has a (.com) website with some free content: All Broadcasters, plus, BBC, TNT/TBS, USA, A&E, and there are many more. Hence, a little research on your part, because after all, everyone has differing media tastes (and, they come & go). Using video download helper you can save video content to a portable hard drive. Tip: Always pull your hard drive from all end–of–life PC's or laptops before recycling, and repurpose them as external drives using a USB adapter cable.
Subscription free commercialized streams abound: Pluto TV and Pluto On Demand is a cable–like, all free, commercially supported service, hosting major news channels, with any channel one that can be direct linked (e.g. British TV); plus there's a Pluto App for small devices. Comet TV streams live & OTA. Then there's Tubi, IMDb, Peacock, Crackle, CBS News Live, and more, and with new offers coming out regularly.
If you like to pay, there are several pay as you go services; Hulu, Netflix, Disney, Paramount+, and here's a list of Internet TV providers, and even more from Android Authority: 10 best legal free movie apps & free TV show apps.
Get free VPN (TechRadar's list & Chrome Store VPN's & others here), and stream Geo–blocked sites; no US Cable company offers this option. E.g. I watch Canada's Space from the US. Furthermore, consider putting all devices on remote controlled plugs so you can turn things off, grouped by usage on plug bars, when not in use. Use wired CAT7 ethernet connections to maximize data transfer; more CAT7 ethernet, less coax cable, equals better speeds.
Having a full browser, such as you'd have on a PC or laptop, connects you to the Wild–Wild–Web, with more media streaming options than you'll find within any App Trap: Media devices, though safer than smart TV's, will still restrict and funnel you; they're useful, but ultimately, they are too site specific. Apps (on any device) are mostly bookmark shortcuts (URL's), but a full (Chrome or FF) browser can access over a billion sites globally.
What you can watch for free via a browser is often far more than availed on an App. If you are patient, everything ever made is rebroadcast somewhere, for free, even without Netflix. I'll 3–episode binge watch missed (new released) shows during MLB season and NFL season: For example, back when The CW broadcast The 100 during live games, I watched all episodes 3 at a time, online; no commercials that way too! Why?
uBlock Origin Extension = No Ads!
With a Chromebook (or Box), a Mint Box, or a NUC-PC, and using uBlock Origin on your browser, you can see it all; tether to any HDTV with an HDMI Cable, plug-in a living-room keyboard with touchpad, and enjoy without concern for viruses or adware on Chrome and Linux boxes. For rare Linux issues, just wipe the SSD and (from an ISO) reinstall Linux like new. Here's a new inexpensive laptop for a Linux, and a how-to for Adblock Plus on Android.
The Mac Mini is pricey but still another option for a home media PC. But Apple has always been more of a trendsetter than a pure tech company; they sell their brand, which is why they're way overpriced for what you get. But the sheeple masses are sold whatever they're told; keeping up appearances and impressing others with the most seemingly hip brand purchases is what drives the sales of most things. But some think that Apple's OS IS Malware! I use Linux & Android OS's and don't recommend any hardware from CrApple or Microsucks.
Freed From Mobile Data {Drug} Dealers?
If you have home Internet service, you might already have free secured WiFi away from home. A smartphone with your service providers App (see will help you find and then auto-connect to their account-holder-only, WiFi connections nationwide: No need for a cell-tower data plan. Besides, we need to be moving away from such tech, not going 5G: But we will anyway$. See: Free Calls with Google Voice.
For us really poor folk; if you need a SIM card, cheap options abound. Republic is $15 monthly, no contract & no data, but with unlimited talk & text (Project Fi is $20mo), and even more prepaid plans are listed at Android Authority. If you're very low income there's Access & Assurance & Easy & EnTouch & SafeLink & Standup & Tag & TruConnect. Then there's Amazon Prime for $6 monthly, free-service home Obi Talk with Google Voice and a phone; no need to pay for it in a cable bundled "deal" (here's a how–to YouTube video).
The very opposite also may be coming soon: That is, the ability to use data–only, for all phone calls and texts (and so on), via Google Voice (likely renamed in the near future), as well as other talk apps. Most people only want large data plans so they can stream content such as movies, and though that's a waste, know this; the companies selling you all that pricey data love it! But several things are happening in global tech; different things at various timing, but soon it will all merge globally. Here is a summary of one major change already in-play:
5G will change data stream speeds (data quantity & quality) to all devices considerably (smartphones for now). Talk/text services have become less profitable, explaining why Data Services became the market for large US service providers. But it seems that talk-text services will eventually be replaced with data-only everything.
Soon, there will be data-only SIM cards galore (or another card type entirely), and this is perhaps why Google is altering many of its products; namely, Google Voice (e.g. the squabble with Sprint integration). I got a free Google Voice Internet phone number back in 2011, and still use it to this day. It floundered, but now it's being resurrected, and I'm guessing why.
All the conflicts that Google has faced with competing companies is because Google is looking to get deeper into the phone arena, and not just as a competitor, but as a main player. Like Microsoft in the 90's & 00's who dominated the OS market, soon Apple grew, as did Linux popularity more recently; hence, Linux Apps on Chromebooks, and somewhat vice-versa. MS dominated by contractual agreements with multiple computer builders; i.e. our OS exclusively, and you get a major kick-back! It worked; the momentum of that will remain into 2022 for sure. But beyond? Only time will tell; all this is called disruptive innovation.
If/when 5G can beat current home Cable speeds, those countless miles of cables that major communications corporations spent 3+ decades and fortunes to build, could be rendered useless (even Google Fiber) if they cannot be repurposed to spread 5G networks. All devices everywhere would be wireless 5G.
And with Android talk and/or text apps, such as Google Voice who issues phone numbers, plus Fi already well–established in the arena; and all this, apart from what messaging apps have brought to the arena thus far; well, the arena is changing! It's the beginning of the end of the traditional talk/text services that feed the US Big Com entities, who are not (yet anyway) building their own phones or apps, but we all know who is: Alphabet!
Web Media Funds Are Nourished With Click Bait!
Web browser ad blockers (like uBlock Origin Extension), serve to combat, curtail, or at least expose, both fake and sensationalized news in the form of pop–up ads that look real. I coonsider it the same as anti–virus for MS PC's. And I use it on Firefox for Android. When readership, viewership or a listener base, are dependent upon numbers ― be it monetized hits or circulation ― any original information (data) goes from knowledge/wisdom, to a mere profit product. We have morphed into an economic culture that thrives monetarily on sensationalist posting and over–the–top drama.
Hence, ultimate truth and wisdom is far less important or relevant than whatever is transmitted, told or sold as truth, which will serve to increase those numbers, whatever they are (mostly hits nowadays). This is the dark side of math, when applied as the central barometer, compass, benchmark, and core of the human condition {$}.
Obviously, it would be highly unlikely for (say) a math book publisher to embellish a math book with incorrect mathematical data, or to somehow sensationalize it, in order to sell more math books: Math is pretty much fact only! It is hardly possible to sell the idea that perhaps 2+2 is not really 4 after all; that we all may have been wrong all along! But when your goal in life is money, monetizing anything whatsoever is all that really matters. But everything in this life is a choice, and you are not obliged to play any of its monetary games.

Disclaimer: Everything I share online, is meant to educate and encourage, because I Love people and hope to be a positive force, even when it hurts. Plus, the honor is to serve: I monetize nothing online. A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't (Twain)! Those who don't share what they know, it dies with them (Me)! One axiom I've honored since 1975: Never go where you're not wanted! It's the same in the digital world: Any hint that I'm not welcome and I'm gone. My goal is not disparagement, but fun in genuine unity, whenever I'm blessed to receive that. If I offend anyone anytime it's not intentional.

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