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Cord Cutting: Do the Prep Work!

Over the past few months, I've been embarking on my own experiment - is it possible to cut cable TV out of my household without wailing and nashing of teeth?  While this is definately still a work in progress, I can see enough of the light at the end of the tunnel to say the answer is yes, it is possible.

After our cord cutting is finally, finally complete, I plan to post diagrams and specifics on my own personal setup.  I've learned enough to know that there is not one setup to rule them all.  The setup you might choose can be as individual as you are or your family.  You'll find lots of posts telling you THE way to setup your system.  However, I would strongly caution you that you'll save a lot of time and heartache by simply starting with what your needs are.

Make a hard inventory of what your household needs to be satisfied.  If possible, get everyone in your house to write down what they expect / need from your cordless system before you design it.  What does your current household setup look like?  How many TV's do you have?  Do you have different needs for different TVs?  For example, do you want live TV in your main TV room but could settle for just the recordings / online content in your bedroom? What equipment do you have that you might be able to use now?  Do you have old laptops, computers, roku boxes, xbox 360?  All these and more might be viable end points depending on your setup.  Make no mistake, you are going to have to spend money on the setup.  Having the inventory though will help you to spend where you need it rather than just buying everything new.  You are trying to save money here afterall. 

One of the first big questions you will encounter is do you need access to live TV?  This is immediately followed by the question of if you need a DVR / time shifting capabilities? This is a huge set of issues that will determine the heart of your system.  There are lots of choices without live TV and only a few with it.  

One of the issues you are sure to run up against and one that the yet to be realized GoogleTV attempts to resolve is that it can be heard to keep track of WHERE the things you want can be found!  With choices like Hulu Plus, Netflix, and Amazon just to name a few, you virtually have to learn a whole new 'network' of where you can find TV shows.  You end up swapping ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX for the online providers where you can find your shows.  GoogleTV hopes to eventually solve this by allowing you to just search for the content you want.  Until they upgrade the units though with Honeycomb and allow custom apps to be installed, it's a very limited experience.

The basic concept here though is to take stock before you begin.  There are lots of variables here and knowing both your needs and your current resources can help save you time and money when you lay out your perfect cord cutting solution for your house.

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