So, I’m not about to say anything ground-breaking or new, I’m afraid. It seems a lot more people out there are talking about abandoning their traditional cable or satellite providers than I might have expected. So many people, in fact, that the alternate providers that provide us the opportunity to ditch the vacant programming and 100’s of regurgitated channels, are starting to talk about building in their own restrictions and requirements around having cable or satellite providers. For now, we’re just going to put our blinders on and pretend that this new way of getting our TV fix will last forever – because it should, dammit.
Some people are YEARS ahead of us. I wish I could have been. But it didn’t start for us until last year, and it all started with the Netflix WII channel. We had enrolled at least 2 years prior solely for movie purposes. The DVD option sucked for us because we would sit on a movie FOREVER – it was not at all cost-effective. Once the streaming capabilities continued to improve and we had the option to stream directly to the TV through the WII everything started to snowball. Here’s an overview of our changes:
2011 and earlier: AT&T Uverse – multiple TV DVR viewing was a dream. Recording 4 programs at a time was a necessity. The continued DVR fiascos and crashes were awful and Uverse service was often up and down here at home. We had bundled TV 300+ channel package + the sports package, internet and a land line and were paying $180-200 a month.
Post-2011 and beyond: we canceled the TV and land line on AT&T and have reduced our monthly bill to $48 (which I still think we have to be able to do better on). We enrolled in the following services:
Netflix – $7.99
HuluPlus – $7.99
Audible.com – $14.95
Combined we’re now paying just under $79 – an annual savings of $1,200. The only other costs we have are for our AMC shows – Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. We pay for them on Amazon onDemand at a rate of around $22 a season. And we’re getting audio books on top of it! To me, it’s all totally worth it.
How do we feel about it today? Fantastic! The TV does not sit on mindlessly all day and all night in our house. Time is never really lost channel surfing. At the same time we haven’t missed out on ANY of our favorite shows. We just have to watch them one day later than everyone who’s still chained to their TV. Add to that the fact that we aren’t bombarded with mind-numbing cartoons and kids shows and the product commercials that go along with them and we’re coming out even further ahead.
(We did have a minor situation with Dylan and his history homework. He has a bi-weekly assignment to watch a world news program and write about a story that was televised. He had to tell his teacher that we don’t have cable. I can’t imagine that is a common issue around here. He has the option to pull up online videos which, while it isn’t preferred by his teacher, will have to work.)
Whenever someone mentions financial woes and struggles I immediately respond with, “cancel your cable”. There always seems to be an excuse. Granted – we have a WII, a PS3 and an XBOX with live that we use to enable all our media viewing now. If you don’t have a system already I understand that’s an additional expense. BUT – you can get a Roku media streaming box for a one-time investment of $100 (or try and find a used game system on Craigslist). That’s still a whole lot of savings.
While I hope more and more people take this route, the consequences of that worry me a little. We can hope that the shift will be so dramatic that is will cause the “networks” and cable/satellite providers to finally starting thinking about things differently. There is a risk that the shift may not be substantial enough and will cause the adverse reaction from the Hulu’s and Netflix’s of the world instead. As I mentioned, though, we’re loving it, would do it again in a heartbeat and are going to pretend like it will last forever.