Cord Cut- One Year On (Cable)

OK, so this is my first go at an MPSIMS thread, but with all the talk about cable companies due to the proposed takeover of Time-Warner by Comcast, I thought I would share.

A little more than a year ago, I realized that my Comcast bill (phone, internet, tv) had slowly crept up to over $200/month. This really made me angry, given how little I felt I got from the services. At around that time, I also noted how much the family had switched over to Roku-delivered content. The last straw came when I realized that one of the two cable boxes had been broken for some time, and nobody cared enough to tell me.

So here’s what I did:

I called the other provider (Verizon) and found that I could get just internet for $45/mo, and faster than what I was getting through Comcast.

The family was skeptical, but I told them we could sign up for one additional premium streaming service, and they chose Hulu+.

I actually put an antenna on my tv! And, despite being 40 miles outside Boston, picked up all the Boston stations, all of which seem to have multiple signals (i.e., 2-1, 2-2, etc). All told I have about 30 channels

I signed up for VOIP (I went with Ooma) at a cost of about $5/mo. We’d have gon strictly cell phone, but the reception at the house is terrible.

SO, From $207/mo to $45(internet)+$5(phone)+$8?(Netflix)+$10?(Hulu)=$73

So here we are, one year on, and everyone in the house (teenager, toddler, two adults) is thrilled with the current arrangement.

Interesting aside: Before I executed the plan, I called Comcast and told them exactly what I was thinking, and offered them the chance to keep me. All they would do is to cut some offerings on the cable and bring the price to ~$167. After I actually cancelled the service, they called and offered me the same deal for $145. I told them they were so far off that we didn’t have anything to discuss.

We aren’t big sports fans in this house, and that’s probably the only thing that would make this tough. Football is still plenty accessible, but if we wanted any of the others we would have to see what the streaming options are, but even if a sports nut had to pay for each of the other big sports (NHL, MLB, NBA) it still wouldn’t come close to the cable bill, assuming $10/mo each.

I have been cell phone only since August of 2010 and cable free since September 2011. My parents were initially concerned about me not having a home phone, but now find that they can get a hold me much easier (especially now that my Dad and his wife have discovered texting).

Most of my shows are available the next day on the network’s website, so that was easy. I was a little worried about the shows I watch on HBO and the like, but found friends inviting me over on Sunday nights, or whenever, to watch with them. TV has become a social occasion. Kind of fun. I also find that I only watch what I seek out. I don’t get sucked into something “because it was on”. No more reruns of shows I have seen a thousand times.

As far as sports go, the only one I watch is the Tour de France and since OLN doesn’t do the replay at night anymore, that’s a moot point anyway. I don’t miss my cable.

Being in Boston give you access to Aereo. (Streaming local television, plus with the benefit of a DVR service)

We did the same thing almost a year ago as well, dropping DirecTV, although we have a Netflix subscription as well as Hulu+ and Amazon Prime. Still we are saving over $80/month compared to what we had before. Even a mid-sized city like Nashville has a lot of broadcast channels we weren’t aware of; although to be honest we pretty much just watch the network channels.

I’m a casual sports fan, so this is what I’ve missed:

  • Being able to watch MLB. I might splurge and pay for MLB.TV this year, so at least that’s an option.

  • Losing the Big Ten Network. You can’t stream BTN from the internet unless you have a cable/satellite provider, which blows. I hope this will change as more and more people go streaming. I’d be glad to pay a couple bucks a month, especially during football season. This hardship was mitigated by my wife letting me go to sports bars to watch the games, and by Northwestern having a terrible season which made me afraid to watch.

  • Not being able to see all the Olympic events on the NBC satellite networks. Not a huge deal I guess and it’s just once every two years.

We were just discussing this idea over the weekend. The deal-killer for us was sports. We’re both big SF Giants and SJ Sharks fans, but we live only 90 miles from the Bay Area so we would be subject to blackouts on both MLB Live and NHL GameCenter. Basically, we would be unable to watch any regular season games live on the Internet; we’d need to wait until after they were complete and watch them on ‘replay’.

I realize I could probably get around the restrictions by using a proxy, but I don’t want to have to jump through hoops…I just want to watch the game.

Interesting, but i get all of those with the antenna, and they are clear as a bell. I had heard that the digital signals travelled better and were really clear, but i am blown away by how well they come in.