Want to cut the cord? Want to stop paying for cable TV? Here are 10 tips to help you avoid mistakes people make when they are looking into getting TV outside of the traditional pay-TV model.

Take a look at what your TV already offers and explore streaming boxes

Over the past few years, it has been difficult to buy a high-quality TV that did not feature built-in apps.

A number of them have full-on streaming platforms built-in. You may find that your TV has a bunch of great apps that allow you to build your own lineup of your favorite things to watch. If you are not familiar with streaming boxes this may be an eye-opener.

Companies like Roku, Amazon, Apple and Google have been making small boxes that allow users to access Internet-delivered content on their TVs for years. They have thousands of streaming apps from well-known networks, the major names in streaming like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, as well as access to many other content sources. They are built to help users find content to watch and enjoy.

Figure out what you watch

What is it that you watch on TV? Are there particular shows or networks that are very important to you?

If you know you can not live without access to Fox News or MSNBC, you better understand that before you cut off a traditional pay-TV.

There are a number of services that provide cable channels over the Internet, but you better make sure your can’t-miss programming can be accessed.

Hook up an antenna and see what you get

For a number of potential cord cutters, losing out on things like local and national nightly news is a reason for keeping a traditional pay-TV setup.

For some, a big issue is access to sports.

Pick up a digital antenna and hook it up to your TV. The NFL, NBA, and many regional and national college football and basketball games are actually available for free via broadcast networks.

Once you have things set up, see how reliable your over-the-air signal is in your area. Just because it says you can receive ABC or CBS in your area does not mean it won’t pixelate and ruin the experience.

On the other hand, you may find OTA channels come in beautifully and wonder why you ever had cable for your sports and news fix in the first place.

When looking into an antenna try one with a long-range and an amplifier to get a good performance.

You don’t have to lose DVR

If a DVR is important to you, then you have multiple options to watch and save new content.

First of all, there are separate DVR units that will record the shows airing live via broadcast. A number of cable replacement streaming services also offer cloud DVR capabilities.

In many cases, cord-cutters often realize the multiple on-demand options available can negate DVR use entirely.

OTA DVRs include models from Tivo and Tablo as well as others.

Try free trials of streaming services prior to cutting cable

If you are looking to drop cable and replace it with one of the many services built around Internet-delivered versions of cable from companies like Sling TV, DirecTV Now or YouTube TV, it is important to try them out in real-time.

Just because someone you know or a person in a Facebook group says they use a service and that it has everything you would want, doesn’t mean you should not try it out yourself. All of these services have free trials.

This way you do not cancel a pay-TV service only to find the stuff you thought you would get is not there. It will also help you get used to new control and channel setups. This way you can easily transition from one thing to another.

Figure out whether TV is a necessity or background noise

When you have the TV on, is it because you are engaged in a program or is it because you want something on in the background so it’s not so quiet? You might be surprised at how little you actually watch while you are scanning Facebook, working from home or playing a game on your phone.

Have you been paying for company? If you have, there are plenty of free options that will work very well as background noise including free news, music, TV shows and movies.

Make sure to check out network apps

Major broadcast networks have apps on streaming platforms that allow users to keep up with shows during the season. They include NBC, ABC, Fox and the CW.

PBS also has apps that let users watch programming.

They all work differently as far as how much programming is free and whether you must sign in to access it. CBS for instance only puts free programming on its website.

Don’t be afraid to try new things

When you think about it, most people just watch whatever is on and have very little say in what it is, unless you are a Nielsen family. This means your favorite show has been canceled dozens of times over the course of your life whether it was Cheers, Mash or Splitting Up Together. What replaced them? Something else.

There are tons of “something else” options out there, as well as libraries of old favorites to watch.

Besides gigantic libraries of hit network shows, Netflix has more than 600 original programs and series. In fact, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have been producing Emmy-winning content for years.

You may find that between all of the free stuff out there, you have more to see than you will ever catch up with.

Take a look at what kinds of services there are?

There are a lot of streaming services. There are services built to replace or mimic pay-TV services, there are services with gigantic libraries of past content and new content alike (think Netflix), free 24/7 news, and services from popular brands like The History Channel and Fox News.

No cable does not mean no HBO

Pay-TV used to be the gatekeeper of premium content.

HBO, Showtime and other premium channels were only accessible if you were also paying for a big bundle of other TV channels before the extra cost of the big movie options.

This is no longer the case.

You can get access to HBO, Showtime, STARZ and other premium channels without paying for USA Network, TNT or Comedy Central. They can also be picked up and dropped without being locked into a subscription.

So if you want HBO so you can watch whatever catches on after Game of Thrones, you can sign up, watch it and drop it as soon as a series is done for the year.

Ryan Downey is the executive director and editor of The Streaming Advisor.