It’s important to recognize that, even with YouTube TV, we’re not getting all of the channels or content that our old cable package offered. But the point is that we weren’t watching 95 percent of that content anyway. By cutting back and focusing on just the content we want, we can keep ourselves and our families happy while still saving a significant chunk of change each month.

Everyone’s individual experience with this type of project will differ, and those who need to have access to the premium movie and sports networks will likely see a smaller cost savings compared to cable. But given the lower costs of the currently available streaming packages, it would be difficult for anyone to end up spending more on a monthly basis than before.

Beyond just television, however, our new cord-cutting setup offers a number of additional entertainment options thanks to the SHIELD’s gaming-focused origins. As we touched on in Part II, the SHIELD lets us stream games from our PC in the office to the big screen in the living room, play new PC games without a PC with GeForce NOW (an optional $8 per month), and even enjoy retro games thanks to a number of classic console emulators and frontends available for the platform.

There’s also Google Assistant and a growing number of related functions and tasks. Using voice commands, my wife and son had no problem asking Plex to play a particular movie, checking the weather forecast, or setting the temperature on our Nest thermostat. And if we elect to add compatible light switches and appliances in the future, our SHIELD will be able to control those, too.

The result is that we ended up with a system that offers far more than just a cheaper replacement for cable or satellite TV. We still have our live and on-demand media, but we also have a competent gaming system and home automation platform all in one tiny box thanks to the SHIELD. There are plenty of devices that can handle Plex, but this is why — in Part I — we chose the SHIELD. There’s still something to be said for rolling your own HTPC, but when it comes to off-the-shelf solutions, our final setup based on the NVIDIA SHIELD is capable, easy to use, and still significantly cheaper than our old cable subscription.

Looking forward, we expect that Plex’s live TV implementation will improve and the bugs will be ironed out. This would allow us to potentially save even more per month as well as keep all of the TV-related content confined to a single app. Even absent those Plex improvements, however, our final setup is still easy to use, powerful and, as we’ve found, fully compliant with the “spousal acceptance factor.” For those who have yet to embark on a cord-cutting journey, we have no issue with recommending that 2018 be your own personal “year of cutting the cord.”

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