The Tablo was what finally allowed me to cut the cord, and I couldn't be more pleased.
My DirecTV bill had ballooned to over $100/month, and I wasn't watching the vast majority of the channels. Worse, as a loyal customer of 19 years, they wanted to charge me extra for HDTV, something offered to new subscribers for free.
Initially, I put up an antenna to see what was available in my area. I was literally blown away... all the major networks were there in stunning HD quality, far outshining what was coming in on satellite. What's more, there are a lot of channels beyond the major networks (ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/TheCW) that offer a wide variety of vintage movies and TV shows. Since most of what I watch on Satellite was broadcast over the air for free by the major networks, I decided that I could afford to miss the few shows available only on satellite (or cable).
The missing piece to the puzzle was the ability to record over the air broadcast television. I looked at Tivo, which had been around a long time. Their Roamio was a nice, inexpensive solution, but the $15/month fee for the program guide was a non starter. Channel Master has a nice product in their DVR+ which includes the program guide for free, but it only has 2 tuners, and only works for 1 TV.
Enter the Tablo... it doesn't connect directly to your TV, but streams programming over your home network from the Tablo itself to your laptops, tablets, phones, and to your big screen TV via Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku or Apple, and you can even watch live TV or recorded content when away from home. Video quality is stunning, with the major networks broadcasting in crystal clear HD.
Available in either the 2 or 4 tuner model (both require an external USB hard drive) I opted for the 4 tuner, TV junkie that I am. With the 4 tuner model, you could be recording 4 shows at one time, while watching a 5th show live via the TV's antenna input. There is a nominal charge for the program guide, but it's well worth it, and significantly less than what Tivo charges.
Recognizing that broadcast TV doesn't necessarily fill all your TV viewing needs, many people use OTT (Over the Top) streaming services as a supplement, subscribing to inexpensive streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime... the relatively new Sling TV offers a handful of cable channels for $20/month if you just can't do without AMC, ESPN, Food Network, IFC and many others. You can even get inexpensive streaming subscriptions to HBO or Showtime, without having to be a cable or satellite subscriber. With these and more streaming services available, you're never at a loss for something to watch.
The cost savings achieved by dropping satellite or cable can be huge, even if you subscribe to a few OTT streaming services, you're still saving a lot of money. There is an up front cost for the equipment, but with typical cable or satellite bills, you'll typically recover the cost in about 6 months.