Cut the Cord

Protect Yourself

One possible setup. Strongly recommended if you plan on visiting some questionable sites.

Protect Yourself



Content is the video, music, movie, book, or anything else you want to hear or watch. This content has many characteristics (copyright, size, frames per second, accesible, file type). This content may not be in a format you can play, that is where delivery comes into play.


Delivery is the method to get it from content to the hardware that is going to play the content. The delivery may be hardware, software, or sneakerware. Sneakerware is you taking the medium like a DVD to the player. The software may be an application, like those listed below, which convert it into another medium your hardware is capable of playing. Hardware could be the HDMI canble or cable box.


Hardware is the device(s) responsible for playback of the content. As mentioned above, the hardware may be part of the delivery solution too.

Things for consideration


  • Price
    • Buyer beware. Many companies are charging for content that is free elsewhere.
    • There are tools to find content, e.g. Just Watch. Some people are content with paying the price. To which I say, Rich people are not rich because they spend money. I have added up how much I save and it is in the thousands.
    • Some companies offer free access to their service, when you buy something else. If you are going to buy something else anyway, it is worth it.
  • Quality
    • For each of these, higher the number, better. You may pay more for higher quality. However unless the delivery method and hardware is capable, you would be wasting your money.
    • Image Resolution - The number of pixels of the image, width * height.
    • Video Frame Rate - The number of video frames displayed within 1 sec. 29.97 fps is the normal.
    • Audio Bit rate - The amount of data within 1 sec. I try to avoid anything under 192kbs, if it is audio only.
  • Availability
    • When you see something you want get it. It may not be available tomorrow. You can watch it later in some cases.
    • If you watch a lot of sports, determine if you will be able to continue to watch if you cut the cord or what services you will need.


  • Price
    • Free to however much you want to spend.
    • The deciding factor may be based on content availability or features. Free does not supply a single source for content.
  • Quality
    • Most solutions are shared. Too much sharing impacts quality. Have a backup if it is an important event.
    • Wired is always better than wireless.
    • HDMI and CAT6, where applicable.
  • Availability
    • The more solutions you know, the more likely you will get a better price.
    • You may have to get the content as one type and then use hardware or software to convert to the device you plan on playing it back on.
    • Due to binging, almost eveything is available at a later time. Watching later may be a better price.


  • Price
    • You usually get what you pay for. The higher the price, usually additional features, inputs, or better quality.
    • The sky is the limit, so sometimes it is about budget and desire.
  • Quality
  • Availability
    • Before buying, go to the manufacturer's website. You may find out how old the equipment your local retailer is selling.
    • If you are not planning on moving anytime soon, stop renting equipment from providers unless it is free.



  • Content
  • Delivery
    • Connect the HDMI cable between the TV and computer. You may need adapters or a different cable depending on your hardware.
    • You may have to tell you computer to use the TV as a monitor. If using Windows, it should recognize it automatically.
  • Hardware
    • TV with a HDMI input
    • Computer, laptop with a HDMI output
    • HDMI cable connecting the TV to the computer


AV Receiver Setup with ARC

Applications (video)

Burner / Ripper

  • DVD Shrink - A Windows Donationware DVD ripper. Can backup all your favorite DVDs directly on your hard drive easily and quickly. DVDShrink is a powerful software that works in conjunction with other DVD software to make backups and burn any DVD. DVDShrink enables you to compress DVDs while preserving existing DVD contents including menus, trailers, and subtitles, or choose to edit or remove those features completely. This software also supports multi-session DVD/CDs. With its great compression capabilities, it is enhanced with more shrinking capacity and additional features that makes DVDShrink easy to use and saves you time and money. Re-authoring helps you save so you do not have to repurchase scratched or damaged DVDs that you enjoy watching.
  • ImgBurn (windows only) is a lightweight CD/DVD/HD-DVD/Blu-ray burning application that has several modes, each for performing a different task: Read - read a disc to an image file; Build - creates an image file from files on your computer or network (you also can write the files directly to a disc); Write - write an image file to a disc; Verify - ensure that a disc is 100% readable (you can also have ImgBurn compare it against a given image file to ensure the actual data is correct); and Discovery - used in combination with DVDInfoPro, you can check the quality of the burns your drive is producing.
  • MakeMKV is your one-click solution to convert video that you own into free and patents-unencumbered format that can be played everywhere. MakeMKV is a format converter, otherwise called "transcoder". It converts the video clips from proprietary (and usually encrypted) disc into a set of MKV files, preserving most information but not changing it in any way. The MKV format can store multiple video/audio tracks with all meta-information and preserve chapters. There are many players that can play MKV files nearly on all platforms, and there are tools to convert MKV files to many formats, including DVD and Blu-ray discs.


  • GSpot - A Windows freeware codec detector. A codec information appliance establishes what video codecs (audio and video) are required to play an AVI file. Determines whether these codecs are installed on your system. Isolates problems associated with these codecs. Simple operation - Basic use: "File > Open", then read results. Identifies download induced problems (truncated files, "cooked" files, etc.) Shows framerate, duration, aspect ratio, bitrates, AVI structure info, and more. Displays and allows editing of RIFF info (title, etc); displays "hidden" ASCII info. Drag and Drop and "Send To" support, multi-file (batch) processing support Copy/Paste or text export GSpot information - format is user configurable. Built-in database of 350 video and 150 audio codec types Advanced UI including "dual-mode" and hyperlinked "persistent" tool tips Full support for OGG media files as well as AVI stream formats Identification (only) of non-AVI files (.mpg, .mov, .qt, .rm, .swf, .wmv, .asf, etc.) Supports VFW, ACM, DirectShow and DMO codec types (audio and video).


  • CinDe - Freeware Windows Cinavia detector
  • Clipchamp - A free online video editor, video compressor, video converter, webcam recorder and video collection API.
  • DivFix++ - A Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux freeware AVI repair tool. Repairs broken AVI file streams by rebuilding index part of file. This is very useful when trying to preview movies which has no index.
  • MKVToolNix is a set of tools to create, alter and inspect Matroska files under Linux, other Unices and Windows

Library Manager

  • Master list
  • MediaElch - Freeware Linux, macOS and Windows open source. Creates nfo file. Comes with many scrapers.

Media Player

  • Kodi - A Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Raspberry Pi freeware media player. Kodi is available for multiple operating-systems and hardware platforms, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.
  • Windows Media Center - Windows 7 and 8.1 freeware.
  • VLC Media Player A Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux freeware Video playback tool and streamer. Portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats, including MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, and OGG, as well as for DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It also can be used as a server for unicast or multicast streams in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.


Video Capture

OBS Studio
  • 4K Video Downloader is a freeium Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu allows downloading videos, playlists, channels and subtitles from YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and other video sites in high quality.
  • OBS Studio is a free and open source software for video recording and live streaming.
  • Online Video Converter is a free online media conversion web application that allows you to convert any video link or file to various formats without the need to install any software on your computer.
  • Converto allows you to download Video and Audio from YouTube.
  • VirtualDub (windows only) is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms (98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7), licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It lacks the editing power of a general-purpose editor such as Adobe Premiere, but is streamlined for fast linear operations over video. It has batch-processing capabilities for processing large numbers of files and can be extended with third-party video filters. VirtualDub is mainly geared toward processing AVI files, although it can read (not write) MPEG-1 and also handle sets of BMP images.
  • VirtualDub Filters (windows only)

Closed Captioning

How To ...
Donate Donate An illustration of a heart shape                            1999 - 2021