There’s been a lot of news coverage in recent years about cutting the cord and getting rid of cable as people get increasingly frustrated with higher prices and poor service from cable providers. Some say that more people than ever are cutting the cord while others maintain that not that many people actually do it. Well I am an avid TV-watcher and I actually cut the cord several years ago.
Three-plus years ago now I moved into my current apartment and Comcast was the only choice I had for a cable provider. After experiencing the wonder of Fios at my old place I wasn’t thrilled about going back to Comcast, but I didn’t think I could live without cable either. Right during NFL playoffs and the beginning of college basketball season, my high-def cable box broke. I was told I could wait two to three weeks for a technician to come and replace it, or I could take it to a Comcast office for a replacement myself. I chose the latter, but the new box they gave me wasn’t so new. In fact, it was a standard-def box and it only worked in black and white. The final straw was the customer service representative’s suggestion that maybe this wasn’t so bad as it could be “fun and old-fashioned like.” Comcast might say it cares, but I don’t buy it. I cancelled my cable right then – and you know what – I haven’t missed it at all.
I have an RCA digital antenna that brings in the networks plus the CW, Ion, a variety of weather channels and a Spanish soap opera channel, all in high-def. I subscribe to Netflix’s streaming service and just recently replaced their DVD service with Hulu Plus. I stream Netflix, Hulu or Amazon videos straight to my TV through a Roku box. Instant Netflix is great for movies that have been out for awhile and watching an entire series of TV shows I missed the first time around. Hulu is like having a DVR. I subscribe to all my shows that I watch on a regular basis and they’re queued up waiting for me to watch them one day after they originally air. I also can catch shows on my laptop or iPad and can connect both to my TV via HDMI cords.
That still doesn’t cover sports and as a big sports fan that’s something I certainly couldn’t live without. I cheat a little on this one and use my sling box for live sports that aren’t on network TV. My parents got the sling box for me back in college so I wouldn’t miss Syracuse games that were only broadcast locally. I keep it at their house and can watch their cable TV anywhere I have an Internet connection. ESPN3.com is also making it a lot easier to view live sporting events over the web.
I also use the sling box for shows like AMC’s Mad Men that I can’t get online – or at least not during the season. Occasionally I’ll buy an episode of Mad Men on iTunes also as yet another option.
There is some initial investment for devices, although I was fortunate to get most of mine as gifts, so adding them to your Christmas list is always an idea! All told, I now spend between $16-25 a month on various services and TV or movie rentals, and three years after cutting the cable cord I can’t imagine going back.