Cutting the Cord

“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” -Howard Beale, the 1976 movie Network

I’m no Howard Beale, but my cable/internet/phone bill was irritating. I was spending over $220.00 per month on a phone I never used, and about 500 channels I never watched; although I did enjoy the speed and dependability of the internet service. So, I decided to explore the world of cord cutters. As it turns out, I didn’t completely cut the cord, and that was one of the more surprising things about the whole experience.

So, how does this work? Well, it’s working great so far. We’re a couple months into the experiment, and no complaints from me. My wife is a huge movie buff and HGTV fan; she seems pleased with it . I’ve linked the different devices below to Amazon to give you an idea of pricing and a place to start your shopping.

So, here’s what I’ve  done:

  1. I purchased a Roku 3 device (There are other devices available -Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and others, but my research seemed to point to the Roku 3 as being the best overall choice, as of a couple months ago.)
  2. I purchased an indoor antenna for local programming.-A TV antenna? Who knew there was such a thing anymore???
  3. I purchased a cable modem (which saves about $7.00 per month from my cable bill) and a WiFi router. These are both highly rated, high output devices to ensure the best HD quality streaming -and viewing on our TV.
  4. I subscribed to Sling TV which allows us to get a variety of channels, including HGTV, ESPN 1 & 2, TBS, AMC, and about a dozen others. This service comes through the Roku/internet and costs $21.94 per month. There’s no long term contract –you can cancel anytime.
  5. We already had an Amazon Prime membership and a Netflix subscription.

A couple things you might want to consider before joining the Cord Cutters: Do you live in an area where you can pick up the major broadcasters, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, via local programming? I do. I can get over a dozen local channels through the antenna. With the digital, high range antenna the picture is crystal clear –as good as before with the cable connection. If getting local news, weather, sports, or even live broadcast programming is important, you’ll need to consider this.

You also have to have a Roku-type device and an antenna for each TV in the house. So far I’ve only got one TV configured. I’ve been waiting to make sure it’s going to work out  before I invest further in additional TVs  If you’re someone who has a TV in every room, including the bathrooms, you will have to consider the expense of buying multiple devices and antennas. Also, Sling TV only allows you to watch a program on their service one TV, (or computer, smart phone) at a time. So you can’t watch a Sling program on one device while someone is watching it on another device.

My initial goal was to be a cord cutter; to just have an internet connection. Unfortunately, my options were extremely limited:just AT&T and my current provider Comcast/Xfinity. So, with a quote in hand from AT&T, I called Comcast/Xfinity and after about ten minutes of friendly negotiating, I was able to get my service down to about $75.00 per month. The funny thing is, I still have a basic cable connection, very basic… There are only a few channels, and no HD channels. But that’s okay. I’m not connecting my TV to it anyway. So, it was cheaper to have the “double play” -internet and cable, rather than just the internet.

The bottom line: we are saving over $100.00 per month, -in less than two months we’ll make back the investment in the Roku player and the antenna. The picture is clean and clear. We still have more movie/program choices than we know what to do with. I think of Bruce Springsteen’s song “57 Channels and nothings on…” We have many more than 57 channels, but we also have more channels that we actually watch compared with the hundreds and hundreds of channels on cable that we never watched.  And one thing I never considered initially, I’m reading more and watching TV less.  I can’t imagine ever going back to the bloated cable TV packages again.

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