There have been numerous articles on why consumers dislike cable companies more than any other industry. It doesn't surprise me.

I cut the cable cord a few months ago. I'm done paying a small fortune for the few channels I watched among countless reruns of "Two and a Half Men" and bad Vince Vaughn comedies. 

An example of cable company ineptitude was when of my favorite shows, "The League" on FX, was moved to a new unnecessary channel called FXX. Now if you have the most basic of cable, more than likely you'll have FX. But when the brainstems at the network came up with FXX, I discovered I'd have to purchase an upgrade in order to receive the channel. 

Other channels would just "disappear" from my subscription. Like Fox News (although some may call that a good thing). 

After I got rid of cable, I purchased a good antenna for the basic local channels. These aren't your grandfather's antennas. They're smaller, don't need to go on a roof and many of them you can install yourself. 

The next step was to purchase a streaming device. I went with Roku (various models available from $39 to $125). Then I signed up for a free month of Sling TV, which gave me a few decent networks like AMC. I mainly got it to watch the Cubs playoff games on TBS. 

I had some playback issues with Sling, which costs $20 per month after the free trial, and there was a long delay during sporting events. I had the game on TV in one room and the radio in another. I'd hear a Kyle Schwarber home run on the radio while on TV he had yet to reach the batter's box. 

I was going to add the Showtime network to my Roku for $10.99 per month. But through Amazon Prime it will cost me $8.99. That's after paying $99 for a year to become an Amazon Prime member. But with that you get to rent a lot of movies for free and you get free shipping on Amazon orders, among other things. You also have access to episodes of shows on networks that you lost when you dumped cable. 

If you have playback trouble with a movie on Amazon, you'll get a refund. That happened to me and before I could even report it they issued me a refund. So they already knew. Pretty cool. And I've had almost zero issues regarding playback with Amazon (Note: for Roku and any streaming device, you have to have a good high-speed Internet connection. I do and it's not breaking my bank). 

The next channel I plan to add to my Roku is HBO for about $11 a month. Netflix is a possibility too, and although it may seem like a lot of these subscriptions can add up to almost what you were paying before, well in my case that couldn't be more false. 

The biggest negative right now with streaming instead of cable is the lack of local sports. But if the Cubs are in the playoffs again and on TBS, you can get a free trial of Sling TV and just cancel once the Cubs get knocked out. 


Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.