Having recently completed cutting the cord, we're now saving $63 a month / $756 a year! Now I'm going to tell you exactly how we did it! I really hope this helps someone else save some money and not be intimidated by the process. It was much easier than I thought and wish we'd done it at least a year ago.
Modem : Netgear CM700 1.4Gbps
We started out by hunting for a new modem to remove the $10 monthly fee. The first modem was a Linksys CM3008 for $47.27 + tax on Amazon, but it was immediately painfully obvious that it wasn't going to work. The modem could not hold a consistent signal and would drop several times an hour. It also really struggled if we were using multiple devices, sometimes up to five at one time: 2 phones, 2 laptops, and 1 TV.
So the search for a new modem was immediate and we ended up buying the Netgear CM700 32x8 (up to 1.4 Gbps model) for $99.95 on Amazon and you can buy it here. We have Comcast/Xfinity Blast for internet (75 Mbps), mostly for business working from home, but I think we'd have it even if that wasn't the case. The Netgear modem has been lightning fast since installation without a single drop or restart... hopefully a good sign of signals to come!
Router : Apple AirPort Extreme
We already had a router from when I bought an Apple AirPort Extreme ($200) several years ago and it's still going strong. This device paid for itself long ago. If you're in the Apple universe, this is a must, but it works with any setup, even if you don't use Apple. You can buy the Apple AirPort Extreme here.
Cable : DIRECTV NOW
Now that the modem was figured out, we had to figure out what to do to replace cable television. We ended up signing up for AT&T DIRECTV NOW (DTVN). There's currently a promo where if you pre-pay for 3 months of DTVN ($35/month, $105 total), you receive a FREE 32 GB Apple TV ($150 value)! We were going to buy an Apple TV anyway to get the Sling TV app, so figured we'd get the free Apple TV and give the DTVN a try for 3-months. The beauty of this is it's just like Sling where there's no contract and no obligation. Or think of it as paying $105 for an Apple TV instead of $150.
If you'd rather try out Sling TV instead of DIRECTV NOW, you can get a 32 GB Apple TV for only $89 (normally $150) if you pre-pay for 3-months with Sling TV. So the Apple TV is not completely free like with the DTVN current offer, but it's still a good deal and a savings of $60!
On DIRECTV NOW, we have the basic "Live A Little" plan that's $35 a month for 60+ channels, but there are 3 other packages to choose from for 80, 100, and 120 channels for $50, $60, and $70. You can view the other packages here. Since our goal was to cut costs and not pay for things we don't need or watch, none of the other packages made sense.
I think we will eventually end up with the Sling TV Orange Package ($20) + Comedy Plus Extra ($5) + Sports Extra ($5) for a total of $30, or $5 less than we're at now, plus I'd be able to watch cycling on beIN. Hmmm, maybe should've just opted for the Sling TV promo instead? In any case, the great thing about both Sling TV and DTVN is that you can cancel at any time and with Sling you can add and cancel extra packages whenever you want.
Note: This might not work for anyone that needs to have ABC, CBS, or NBC live. The only major network we get live streaming with our DTVN plan is FOX2, but that's perfect because we still get the morning news/traffic/weather. We may switch to SlingTV after our 3 months of DTVN pre-pay is up, and one of the Sling add-ons has ABC live if we really wanted another live network, but there isn't anything on ABC we watch, so that would be a waste of $5/month. We might also try Sling at the same time to compare to DTVN because yesterday the DTVN Guide went out for half of our channels, so we couldn't see what was on from 8pm—10pm. Apparently AT&T is still working out some kinks with this new app, so it's to be expected. All that said, the only show we really watch from the major networks is This Is Us on NBC, so now we'll have to wait 24-hours to watch it. No big deal. HBO is only an extra $5 with DTVN, instead of an extra $15 as a stand alone app or added to Xfinity, but we're going to wait to add it until Game of Thrones of Silicon Valley start up again.
Streaming Media Player : Apple TV 32 GB 4th Gen
The Apple TV (the most current 4th generation) is pretty nice. As with all Apple products, love how easy it was to set up. Favorite feature is how well iTunes syncs up. I've made use of playing iTunes music and podcasts through the TV while I work instead of also running from my laptop. The Siri remote leaves a lot to be desired though. It's touchy, but you can adjust sensitivity settings, though that doesn't correct everything. Another flaw is the design of the remote and that it's impossible to tell which end is facing you or pointing the TV because the 4 buttons are centered. I've had to look at the remote to turn it around several times a day and am thinking to sync up the main Samsung remote instead. Siri voice recognition doesn't seem to work nearly as well as the Xfinity X1 remote. The features I miss the most though are the Last button from the X1 remote and how every TV Show and Movie had IMDB listings built right in so you could see ratings and look up actors and actresses. I get what apple is trying to do, but the remote and interface really aren't robust enough when compared to Xfinity X1, but no doubt Apple could well surpass them. It would not be a crime for Apple to add a few more buttons and some features like Last and IMDB — it is replacing a TV after all!
How much did we really save? We're paying $80/month (NO TAX!) for Xfinity Blast (75 Mbps) Internet and $35/month for DTVN. Total: $115.
Whereas our current Comcast/Xfinity bill is $189.17, though $12 of that is for 2 movie rentals. Without movie rentals, we were always at $178 a month.
Our main Comcast/Xfinity service bundle was $140/month plus a ton of fees:
$10 HD Technology Fee
$5 Broadcast TV: Yep, you're paying for basic 2-4-7 and Fox.
$5 Regional Sports: Again, paying for channels you may never watch.
$7.29 Taxes, Surcharges & Fees... I think there's some Pay-Per-View fees in there, too!
That alone is $37.29 a month saved instantly!
So, as you can see, we're now at $115 from a $178 mostly bill, a savings of $63 a month or $756 a year! The close to $40 in taxes and fees for Xfinity was ridiculous and that alone pays for a DIRECTV NOW or Sling TV basic package. Even if we went with a more channels on DTVN or added extra packages with Sling TV, we'd still easily save $50/month.
For us, these were the best two options and I think they'll work for most people out there in the same boat.
Happy Cord Cutting!