post written by my husband chris for #manmonday. the OTHER techy/nerdy/foodie in the house.

I remember the day my parents finally got a cable subscription. As a kid, I felt like our family had finally caught up with the times. No more playing wallflower while my friends discussed the latest episode of Mr. Bean. 
Fast forward a couple decades –  my wife and I now celebrate the day we
“cut the cord”
No more outlandish cable bill. 
No more paying for 150 channels we never watch, 
and no more 3 year old DVRs that rarely work.

What a change. Now, please don’t confuse this post as some sort of testimonial for how “we are better people because we watch less TV.” What I’m sharing today is how we still watch most, if not all of our favorite shows without the cable box and bill. We’re about saving money, no judgement here.
Do a search for cable-cutting online and you’ll find hundreds of articles on all the various ways to cut the cord. Instead of trying to cover them all, let me share with you the cable cutting technique that we have been using for the last 4 years.
Some things to note up front. We own iProducts. If you’re a regular follower of the blog, you probably already know that. This particular setup works fantastic for us “i” freaks. However, you don’t need to be an apple fanboy to reap the benefits of the setup we use.  In fact all the movies we own happen to reside on a windows PC, not a Mac. That being said, if you own iDevices, you’ll love the integration.
So, without further ado:
What you’ll need for cutting the cable:
Apple TV – $100 {or $89 on Amazon!}
Hulu Plus Subscription – $7.99/mo.
Internet Service (Most of us already have this these days but I recommend a plan that has download speeds of at least 5mbs for optimal quality, the higher the better)
Optional devices for adding a streaming movie library:
Computer, either a Mac or PC running iTunes
Netflix Account – Streaming services start at $7.99/mo.
So, lets start with the Apple TV. This is the hub of the whole setup. It’s not an actual TV, just a device that hooks up to your existing TV. It provides you the interface for selecting and viewing TV shows and movies on your big screen, and in my opinion, it’s the simplest and most solid “streaming” device on the market (that may be my fanboy talking). At 100 bucks, I think it’s a pretty good deal.

The Apple TV has “channels” for viewing different types of media. For cable cutting, the two channels we use are Hulu Plus and Netflix. For a total of $16/mo., you can access all the latest TV shows from most of the major networks from Hulu Plus and a giant library of previous seasons from Netflix.

With Hulu Plus, and depending on the network, each of the shows is typically available the day after it airs on TV. But lets be real here for a second, how many of us actually watch our TV shows live? None of us. We record it on the DVR so we can watch it at our convenience. Hulu plus is similar except you don’t have to setup a DVR to record your shows, they just show up the next day in your queue, ready to view on demand. Cool. Navigate to the show on your Apple TV within the Hulu Plus channel and presto, you’re watching your favs in HD on your big screen without a cable subscription. $8/mo. vs $120/mo.
For us, this choice was easy.

Netflix is the other must-have service. Along with thousands of movies available for streaming, Netflix also has catalogs of old and fairly recent seasons of TV shows. Did you ever see ‘Prison Break’ or ’24’? If not, you should. All season are available for steaming whenever. Did you miss an episode of ‘Lost’ back in the day? Watch every “were the writers high?” episode you want. Oh, and our personal favorite, ‘Alias’. We’ve marathoned through this series twice now. (Like I said, this post isn’t about watching less TV).
Let’s recap:
1. All our shows are viewable for $8/mo on demand with Hulu Plus.
2. Past seasons of our favs are available on Netflix for $8/mo, on demand. Cable aint got nothing on that.
3. No more messing with DVRs and equipment rental costs.
4. Oh and did I forget to mention that with Hulu Plus and Netflix, you can view all this content on your mobile device as well. Can’t do that with cable can ya!
So what are the downsides you ask? Well there are  few things you should know: 
1. Shows on Hulu Plus are typically available 1 day after they air. No big deal, it’s like having a DVR. We’ve covered this already.
2. Commercials. Although you pay $8/mo. for a Hulu Plus subscription, there are still short commercials interspersed throughout the shows. WHAT!? How dare they force commercials on a paid subscription! Well, the commercials are typically no longer than 90 seconds and in a lot of cases only 30 seconds. And from what I’ve heard, it keeps the monthly cost at only $8/month. Whatever, I can deal with that. Again, $8 vs $120.
3. Sports. There are no live sports available. At least not through Hulu Plus or Netflix. For some this is a deal breaker. For me, and hopefully I won’t have to give up my man card when I say this, I don’t really care. I’ve never been much of a sports viewer so this doesn’t matter to me. If sports are your thing, the Apple TV does have an ESPN channel, NBA Channel, NHL Channel, MLS Channel, and MLB.TV Channel. Each of these channels requires a separate subscription. Not sure of the cost on these or what content they offer, but at least with the Apple TV you have that choice.
4. Only 5 of the latest episodes are available for most of the shows on Hulu Plus. In other words, they will eventually expire if you don’t watch them. But in our experience, this usually takes at least 5 to 6 weeks. NBD. Not sure this counts as a real downside but worth noting.
5. And lastly, no USA network shows. Yep, no ‘Psych’. But rumor has it there’s only one more season left and all the previous seasons are still available on Netflix whenever you want. 
So we’ve covered Hulu Plus and Netflix; there are other devices on the market that let you access your Hulu Plus  and Netflix content on your TV. Why choose the Apple TV as your streaming device? Because it’s awesome. Seriously, outside of Hulu Plus and Netflix, you can watch YouTube videos, listen to iTunes Radio, purchase and watch Movies and TV shows from iTunes, Airplay media (more on that later), rent the latest movie releases, and access your entire digital music and movie library. The interface is sleek and easy to use and setup is a breeze.

Let’s talk real quick about watching movies through your Apple TV. This has less to do with cord cutting but is still worth noting as an advantage in purchasing an Apple TV.

If you have a PC or Mac running iTunes, everything in your iTunes library such as movies, music, and TV shows is accessible through your Apple TV. Welcome to digital entertainment baby.
In fact, our entire movie library is in digital format on our PC in iTunes. (That’s over 200 movies). No storing or fuddling with DVD cases and discs. No worrying about our two year old scratching the last known copy of ‘The Land Before Time’. All our movies can be viewed with the touch of the remote. It’s a beautiful thing folks.

For those of you who own an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is a must. Along with all the previously mentioned benefits, Apple TV let’s you Airplay media to your Big Screen TV from your handheld iDevice. This includes your music, movies, photos and videos. Considering that everyone in our immediate family owns an iPhone, this makes for a fun evening sharing memories and Youtube videos from everyone’s phones.
AND, if you purchase movies from iTunes, you can go to your friends/cousins/neighbors/whoever’s house and watch your purchased movies on their Apple TV through Airplay. 
I realize this post is fairly techy; but don’t be nervous about cutting the cord.  We had cable, Netflix, and Hulu Plus subscriptions for about 2 months before deciding to relieve ourselves of the cable subscription. Even more to the point, if both my less technologically inclined parents and in-laws are able to use this setup, then so can you. (Love you parents!)

I love this stuff, I could go on for hours but I’ve decided to spare you too much detail and technological regurgitation. The point is that although there are many different ways to step into the digital media world, this one seems to be the simplest and most user friendly.

And, for the last 4 years, it’s worked for us.

Here’s some additional resources if your interested in taking this on.
How to setup an Apple TV
Hulu Plus
What is Apple TV?
How to add music to iTunes for Dummies
Enabling Home Sharing on Apple TV and iTunes