How can I avoid paying so much for cable?

As we are joining the growing number of families that have to cut costs I’m looking at my monthly cable bill…and it seems too high. I think I remember reading that I could replace a lot of it with Netflix.

What are the main things to consider? I guess I should mention that I like to watch some TV series on Showtime, AMC and HBO. And I like to watch cable news. Otherwise I could live without a lot of it.

I too have a couple of series I like to watch on Starz and HBO. When the series are in the off season, I take those channels off my cable. And of course when the season returns, I put them back on.

There’s always Roku, but that wont help you with HBO and the like. So it all depends on how committed you are to those shows.

The wife and I just use Netflix and Hulu. Most of what we want is on there. There’s only one show that I can’t find within a reasonable time frame, so I just buy the Amazon season pass. It’s ~$2 an episode, but it’s worth it for me; it’s my favorite show.

Stop watching Pay TV, worked for my family.

It took about 12 months to get used to it to be honest and we now rent shows from the video store or on line to watch. Tend to wait until a complete series is finished then have a weekend of viewing delight.

Megashare was good when it was round, not that I used it or advocate anyone else using it or any of its many cousins…

We dumped satellite about 6 months ago and just have broadcast TV now, and we haven’t missed it at all. We know we can watch just about anything we want online, but now that we’re out of the habit we almost always find we have more interesting things to do. Of course, we’re old fogeys and can remember back in the day when there was no cable TV, so you might want to take that into account.

When we wanted to cancel a few months ago, the cable company really didn’t want us to.

The guy on the phone kept trying to offer add-ons or bundling options to help us save money. I explained that we really just don’t watch much T.V. and most of what we like we can watch online.

With that, he just offered me a really big discount for six months- which I agreed to. Now, they’re definitely hoping that when my six months are up that I’ll just keep the services and start paying the regular price. I’m inclined to think I’ll call again to cancel. I’ll be surprised if they offer me another six months- I’m sure they don’t want to let themselves get played.

So, a temporary solution for you anyway: insist that you just want to cancel everything. I’m sure you’ll get some kind of decent cut rate.

We just got a discount that way. I was told that the sales dept. is allowed to give each customer two promo deals a year.

Here’s my setup:

Netflix (streaming and disc)
Amazon Prime*
Apple Store**

I can stream Netflix from my television which is web-enabled, my PS3, or my Apple TV. I prefer the Apple TV since the interface is much better than the TV’s, and I don’t have to keep my PS3 on. People complain about the offerings on Netflix Instant, but you have to see it for what it is - mostly a collection of good TV series, along with a sporadic handful of movies to tide me over between discs by mail.

*I also have a subscription to a piece of software called PlayOn, which connects both my TV and my PS3 to my home computer, which acts as a media server. The link above shows all the “channels” that PlayOn receives. Note that for channels like ABC and CBS, it picks up programs that are on those channels’ websites, not to live TV. Either way, there’s an immense amount of content available through PlayOn, including a number of cable offerings. I haven’t actually checked out the live news channels - I’ll do that tonight and report back on how well it works. ESPN3 is their online live channel. It’s usually a softball game or lacrosse game or something - but occassionally they’ll have a baseball game or an interesting college football game going on. College basketball is also pretty good during the season.

(Note: I got a lifetime subscription to PlayOn when it was $40. It’s now $90. They often provide discounts and promotions - they recently were giving out a Roku XD to everyone buying a lifetime subscription, well worth it IMO. If you don’t want to spend $90, there are other alternatives (like TVserity) that don’t offer as many channels.)

**The Apple TV is a wonderful device for cable cutters. I’m happy to spend the money on a subscription to a cable show (like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, etc.) via the Apple Store, as the comparable cost of 4-5 shows (quite a bit, if you think about it) is far less than a cable subscription over the course of a year. (I got an e-mail from AT&T begging me back, saying that for “only $70/month” I could get cable again! That’s insane - for $70, I can buy a Series Pass to Mad Men and Breaking Bad!) A quick listing of what it’d cost me to buy if I wanted to keep up with these as they air:

True Blood - $35 (SD)
Mad Men - $35 (SD)
Breaking Bad - $35 (HD)
Dexter - $35 (HD)
Walking Dead - $35 (HD)

That’s 2.5 months of a cable subscription. And of course, these are all available on Netflix Instant if you’re willing to delay your schedule and wait for them to come out on DVD.

***There may have been times I’ve acquired a show or two from the interwebs before it’s available for purchase on iTunes or Amazon Prime. For those times, PlayOn will stream any media files from my computer to my TV.

Also - great username/thread combo.

I used to pay about $250/month to Verizon for phone, internet access and cable. I trimmed it to internet access, got Vonage, Netflix and hulu prime for a savings of about $180/month.