What is Cord Cutting?

Most people have heard of cord-cutting these days. While it doesn't involve literally cutting a cable or cord, it does entail cutting off cable or satellite TV. The irony is that for many people, the choice is to go back to how it was before cable was a thing, installing an aerial TV antenna and battling with it for the best signal, watching whatever programs are aired free from their local television stations.

However, these days there are many more local stations, and far more options that fall somewhere between rabbit ears and cable. There are options to watch television live and on-demand using small deviced that connect to your TV, watching television shows on a computer or tablet, or streaming from computer or tablet to your television to watch. Prices, channels, and quality vary dramatically, and some options are downright illegal. Some, but not all.

Cord Cutting with Streaming Media Players

Among the most popular options are devices called streaming media players. They're little tiny machines that plug into your television and connect to the Internet. They stream content from the Internet to your television. Streaming just means pulling the videos from an Internet connection and feeding them to your television in a way that your TV knows how to play.

There are several popular streaming media boxes, with new versions being introduced every day. I'm just going to focus on the most popular ones, the ones you can buy from Amazon, Target, WalMart, etc. Please note that every type of player has its strengths and its weaknesses, and which one is best comes down to personal preference. I'll tell you up front that I'm prejudiced toward Roku entries (and I'll tell you why), but it may not be your preferred option. Click the "Players" button above for a quick overview of the most widely-used streaming media players.

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