Are you fed up with your cable TV bills? We were! And with technology it seemed like disconnecting your pay cable service and using just internet options seemed viable. After all, we have not had a land line in our house since 2002. We gave up the house phone with merely a blip on our radar. After doing the math, it seemed logical that we could save $100 or so per month if we disconnected our cable TV service. Why not?
Well, we’re about six weeks into this, and honestly, I’m the one going into it kicking and screaming some days. My husband doesn’t seem to care and he gets annoyed that I’m annoyed. But I’m only annoyed some days, I swear! With the new year upon us and lots of families looking for ways to cut household spending, you might be considering this option. Before you do, here’s what we’ve experienced. I don’t mean to sound like a prima donna, honestly, if you knew me, you know I’m not one. But I am resistant to change at times, this is one of those times.
First, we had been using Fios on a 2-year contract that was ending. We had been unhappy with Fios pretty much all along, due to slow internet speeds. Yeah, all those “half-fast” commercials, I call BS. They were much slower than Comcast. With our contract ending, our monthly bill would be increasing about $100 a month. Not to mention, every few months or so, our bill would creep up $5-$10 with mysterious fees. Around here, our only options are Comcast and Fios. So we looked at Comcast and honestly, just weren’t thrilled with any of the packages they had to offer. We really don’t watch that much TV. During our research, I read a statistic that said that up to 75% of all cable subscribers do so because of ESPN and HBO. I’ve never watched either of those networks in my life!
So we decided that since we both work from home and rely on internet, our money would be better spent on the highest quality, fastest internet that we could get. This is just internet, no TV channels. We also have an HDTV antenna ($40 or so) that allows us to get the local free networks. Right now, we can only get NBC, Fox and PHL17 with it. No ABC or CBS for some reason. And, it’s glitchy. Sometimes the picture flashes in and out and gets all pixelated. But, at least I can get the Today show and local news if I need it. We also have Netflix which would be $9 a month and Hulu for $4. Hulu allows me to get the ABC shows I like (Shark Tank, The Middle, Modern Family) as well as most of the Comedy Central shows. For December we did the free month of Amazon Prime which also has some shows and streaming video. Here’s my feedback so far:
Netflix: I love, but we had this when we had cable. Netflix is the saving grace in this big move. Now they have Friends, they have Pawn Stars, they recently added Octonauts…so now both me and the kids have shows that we like to watch. I highly recommend getting Netflix if you are going to try giving up cable, it will be too hard without all the options that Netflix offers.
Hulu: I like their offering, but honestly, getting the shows a day late stinks sometimes. Sometimes, on a Friday night after dinner, I think “Ok, cool, will sit down to watch Shark Tank” and then I remember than I can’t. I have to wait until the next day. I know, I know, first world problem. But I am a creature of habit!
Amazon: Their offering is terrible and you pay as much as $1.99 per show and more. A terrible deal! Glad we got the free shipping for the holidays though.
So what is so different? And here’s the part where I really don’t mean to sound like a spoiled brat…but all of your TV watching has to be intentional. I noticed this most about mid-December, because me and my little guy got pretty sick. All I wanted to do was lay in my bed and flip through my channels, and that is gone. When you are using services like Netflix and Hulu, you pretty much have to know what you want to watch and pick a show. And then you have to pick an episode. Random, mindless, flipping through the channels is gone. And honestly, that’s how we’ve been watching TV for at least 20 years, right? Mindlessly scrolling through the channels until you find something you want.
Now I can scroll or browse through all the offerings….but you have to pick a show and if it’s boring, it’s a pain to click out and start over. I love watching OITNB, I love catching up on episodes of The Daily Show when I’ve had a busy week….but if I don’t feel like picking a show, I can’t just get sucked into a Pawn Stars marathon. Those don’t exist for me anymore.
My one son only really watches PBS and Sesame Street, so with PBS on the Roku, he’s good. My other one, though, he is a huge fan of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. Very few of those shows are available to him on this new setup and I kinda feel bad. He doesn’t watch much TV, but I was ok with the shows he likes-Peppa, Bubble Guppies and so on. Those are now $1.99 on Amazon which is too high. He has adjusted well and with Netflix offering TMNT and other things he likes, he can watch tv but he is spending less time doing so. He loves watching Clone Wars, Ninjago and a bunch of other shows.
Yes, I am ok with this household decision and we’re sticking with it. I’ll adjust. It was just very different for me initially, because right after we let it go is when we got sick. Now I have adjusted and I don’t think we’ll go back.
If you’re a person who really enjoys scrolling through and channel surfing…this is definitely something to consider. Is the ability to channel surf worth $50 or $100 a month? We don’t think so. I’m happy with our decision.