This week, I finally got sick of paying a premium for ALL THE CHANNELS provided by Time Warner Cable. Our primary DVR/cable box in our main room died a horrible death of infinite reboots on Sunday, and I took it in to the local Time Warner store to swap it out for a new one on Monday. The new one had a different problem that made it unusable. Tuesday I went back to exchange that box. They told me I was in luck, that their brand new amazing box that lets you record 7 channels at once was available… but, then, the support person assisting me couldn’t get the system to actually let her scan the new device out of their inventory and onto my account, so I left with a duplicate of the same box I was returning. And guess what? It also suffered from the same insufferable bug that made it unwatchable (it kept toggling between 480p and 1080i every 20-25 seconds, even though I changed its settings to only allow 1080i).
That was the final straw.
I called Time Warner up and told them I wanted to cancel everything except for my high speed internet. I no longer wanted the phone service that I never used and only got because it kept the bundle price lower than if I had done only TV & Internet. They transferred me to another agent who evidently is trained specifically to avoid letting people cancel service. I didn’t mess around, I repeated the story of my last several days and said “Please cancel my television and phone plans immediately, or I will ask to cancel the internet too and take my business entirely elsewhere.” He immediately made the change and told me that as soon as I turned in my actual equipment it would go into effect. I did this yesterday morning, and now I feel free from the shackles of cable television.
How I watch TV now
Here’s the breakdown of services I am now subscribed to, their cost, and their use cases:
- Hulu Plus ($7.99 per month / $95.88 a year)—Next day viewing of all the shows worth watching that aren’t on HBO; this is your On Demand / DVR replacement.
- HBO NOW ($14.99 per month / $179.88 a year)—HBO Now = Game of Thrones live when it airs. This was a must have. Plus tons of movies and other original series. Plus it works with HBO GO and the only requirement is that you have some sort of iOS device (an Apple TV, which I have already, is ideal).
- Netflix ($7.99 a month / $95.88 a year)—I’ve been a customer since Netflix ate Blockbuster. This is specifically for all the older TV and movies and recently some of the best original content. Daredevil, for example, is the best show currently “on TV,” in my humble opinion. Netflix is also how my wife and I already handle 90% of our children’s TV allowance.
- Amazon Prime ($8.25 a month / $99 a year)—I’ve been a customer since the only perk of Amazon Prime was Free 2-day shipping and reduced pricing on some items. Now, it includes Prime Video which, like Netflix, offers great original programming and lots of older TV shows and Movies for free viewing. It’s also how my wife and I handle the other 10% of our children’s TV allowance.
What about non-HBO live TV?
Who cares? One of the great things about cutting the cord is it frees you from having to watch your TV on a schedule dictated by the networks. Unless you like to watch sports, in which case you do have an option.
All the major networks are available to you via this contraption called an over-the-air TV antennae (and in full HD). Cheap ones cost about $35. Expensive ones are more in the $50-125 range. I just bought this one, which gets me ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, The CW, a variety of PBS networks, as well as a bunch of Spanish-speaking channels that I don’t watch.
And this is all saving me money…
My monthly cable bill via Time Warner for one of the better Internet packages, robust TV with HBO, and a phone package that I never used for anything other than to actually lower my monthly bill, totaled about $225 per month or $2700 per year. Now I’m paying $95 a month for just the high speed internet, plus the addition of $23 extra per month for Hulu Plus & HBO Now, for a total of $1416 a year, saving me close to $1300 per year.
Does this all sound good to you? Time to cut the cord.