“You want to do WHAT?!?! “
“Is that your way of saying you want a divorce?”
That was my reaction when it was first suggested to me that we cut the cord and get rid of cable. I was unemployed for 7 months and bills were starting to strangle us. We had to find some way to free up money and in my mind getting rid of TV wasn’t even a possibility. Funny how the world works as now I’m an advocate for “cutting the cord”.
This could be a lengthy post so I’m breaking it up into two. First the why you should cut the cord and then the tools that can help you decide if this is right for you.
Cutting out cable is NOT for everyone. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’ve been addicted to cable since our first box in the early 80s and thought it HAD to be in my life. What I learned when I stepped away from traditional cable was that I didn’t need it and fighting over the remote became a thing of the past. There are plenty of alternatives out there; this is based on my experience.
Are you ready to take the red pill, stay in Wonderland and see how deep the rabbit-hole goes?
Good. Let’s continue.
What are the main reasons you want to get rid of cable?
- Save money
- You hate The Man and want to stick it to him
- 400 channels and nothing to watch
- You have hope that there is a better experience out there.
That last one is what many of us want. We want a better experience. We want to have a say in what we pay for. When you think about it, we’re part to blame in this. No one has stood up to the big companies and said “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”.
There has only been one option for current TV and you just shut up and pay the money. You’re unhappy but too bad because that’s just the way things are. I’m here to tell you, not anymore.
How the cost breaks down
My average cable bundled bill was around $160/including equipment and whatever misc. fees they tacked on. Over the course of a year that is $1920. After the initial cost of equipment ($30 antenna, $35 streaming stick) cutting the cord costs me $90/mo. for Netflix/internet access/SlingTV. That’s $70/mo. in savings or $840/yr. I bumped up my Internet speed because I use it for live streaming of the podcast but you can expect similar savings.
What’s on the boob tube yo
There isn’t anything on TV you can’t watch online somewhere. Most major networks either have their shows streaming on their website the following day or have their shows on Hulu Plus. As an added bonus, there are award-winning shows being produced strictly for Amazon and Netflix. Your DVR is about to become obsolete.
If you’re a sports junkie this really isn’t a good decision… for now. The NBA has started to stream games (TNT is available on SlingTV) and I would expect the NHL, which embraces technology more than most leagues, to be next. I hope the MLB sees the potential here but local TV deals are too lucrative. Could you get their online service and connect to a VPN out of state? Sure, but it’s the MLB and they’ve done a good job of stopping it. There are ways around it so ask a networking friend on the how-to of it. If college sports are your thing, check with your favorite school to see if they have a digital package available.
ESPN and ESPN2 are streaming on a service I have called SlingTV which has eased the pain of disconnect. My current package consists of 25 channels (TNT, AMC, History Channel, TBS, Food Network, Cooking Channel, ABC Family to name a few), which covers everything we would want to watch.
What? Seriously. BINGE WATCHING! This is the practice of watching marathons of shows over the course of a short period of time and I didn’t think this was a real thing until it happened at home. Most times it’s with TV shows that have since ended and are available on Netflix. In my case, I’m catching up on a lot of TV that I missed while having little kids.
My wife started with getting sucked into the world of “Gilmore Girls” which turned into a 24/7 obsession that she could watch on TV and on her phone. I was consumed by “Arrested Development”, “Parks & Recreation”, “House of Cards” and most recently “Breaking Bad”. I would say to myself “Just one more…” and next thing I know it’s 4 hours later.
This is still a relatively new concept and there are problems. I have problems with over the air programming coming in clear in my living room but my bedroom is near flawless. You are at the mercy of your internet connection so check with your provider to see if there is a data cap.
Up next I’ll roll up the sleeves and talk about the hardware and services available.