Cutting the Cord

A few months ago our DirecTV bill went up, which we expected, but kind of forgot about. As it went up to $168 per month, I remembered that it was not done, it would probably hit close to $200 by the end of the year, which brings us back to the level of our Comcast bill back in the day (well technically we are paying more because we still pay Comcast for internet).

So this led me to a tough decision: should we cut the cord? I decided to look into it and see how feasible it would be for us. The first thing I did was make a list of television shows that are set up on my DVR. These are all the shows that we have set to record:

  • Justified
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Always Sunny
  • The League
  • The Strain
  • Louie
  • Archer
  • The Americans
  • Fargo
  • Game of Thrones
  • Boardwalk Empire
  • Last Week Tonight
  • Real Time With Bill Maher
  • The Newsroom
  • True Detective
  • Silicon Valley
  • Flash
  • Arrow
  • Supernatural
  • Grays Anatomy
  • Army Wives
  • Modern Family
  • Under the Dome
  • Scorpion
  • Constantine
  • Gotham
  • Agents of SHIELD
  • Royal Pains
  • Suits
  • Mad Men
  • The Walking Dead

I know this seems like a ton of shows, but it is really not that much. The ones crossed out have already ended, so I do not have to worry about them. Almost all of the shows we watch are on Netflix or Hulu Plus. Obviously this excludes the HBO shows, but as HBO recently announced, they will have a standalone HBO Go service when Game of Thrones premiers. The only shows that left me was FX, which is a large majority of the shows I watch. They generally do not come to Netflix until after awhile, but you can buy a season pass of a show for about what it costs to buy the box set when it comes out. I would not need to do this for all the shows, just Justified and maybe Louie.

The big problem is not the television shows. There are advantages to having Netflix/Hulu such as finally being able to watch House of Cards and when the new Daredevil comes out, I get to watch it! All very exciting. No, the big problem is going to be sporting events.

What sports do I really watch? I watch baseball, hockey, and football. I could get MLB.TV and the NHL Gamecenter. Unfortunately, the NFL does not have something like that. I discovered something interesting though, you can hook up an antenna to your HDTV and local stations still broadcast over the air this way. You can check to see what stations you can get in your area. I can watch the Steelers over those channels, as well as some college games.

So this helps solve the question as to whether or not it can be done, but is it really worth it? Well I did all the math on it and this is what I discovered.

First we would need to buy some equipment.
-Roku 3: $99.99
-Roku Streaming Stick: $49.99
-HD Antenna: $79.99

So those one time equipment fees come out to $229.97. That is really not that bad, I feel like Comcast or DirecTV charge comparable installation fees.

Then you have the monthly subscriptions with the yearly total in parenthesis:
-Hulu Plus:  $7.99 ($95.88)
-Netflix:  $8.99 (107.88)
-HBO Go:  estimating $24.99 (299.88)
-MLB.TV:  $120 per year
-NHL Gamecast:  $169 per year

Those bring us to $792.64 for a year, plus add in say $100 for any television shows we want to buy season passes for that will not be on the other two services. Or any other apps we may want to purchase. And you add in the equipment purchases and our first year would be $1122.61. That seems like such a ridiculous amount. Until you look at DirecTV. For one year we pay $2016 (that is at $168, but if you go by the new $188 it is $2256). That is cutting our bill in half! Yes, that is absolutely worth it.

I started the process yesterday. I bought an antenna, which was actually a cheaper one and it does not work well. It could be because of our apartment though, which the living room and kitchen are mostly underground, so that may be why I cannot get a good signal. I might buy a stronger one and try it. I may actually keep the cheap one to see if it will work on the upstairs television.

I also saved some money on the Roku 3 since I got it at Kohl’s. We had the Kohl’s Cash, so it knocked it down to $69.99, plus the Stick was only $39.99. I set up Netflix and Hulu Plus, which takes like a whole five minutes. The entire thing was pretty simple. I spent a few hours exploring both services and setting up some of the other free things. Plus, I was nice and downloaded all the apps to Lindsey’s iPad because I am a good fiance.

This does mean that we will have to change the way we watch television a bit. Well for me it will be different. Lindsey is actually excited about the change. She likes to watch older TV shows, like 90210 and when she does watch a show like that, she just wants to watch a bunch of episodes.

I will be the one who has to change his viewing habits. I have a feeling that I may binge watch shows more often and that can be bad for my productivity in life. Plus, I have so many options of shows that I may go a little crazy at first. Oh well, at least now I should never have an excuse of “ugh, there is nothing on TV.”

For those of you that have already done this, what other services do you use? Is there anything I am missing?

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2 thoughts on “Cutting the Cord

  1. I have done this. We use netflix almost exclusively. I plug my laptop into my TV and stream most of the major NFL games. I have not kept up with the NHL since cutting the cord, but I spend less than $10 a month on TV on average. We used to use Hulu, but we cancelled it when we renewed a credit card and did not restart it.

    1. The roku works great. When we move to the new house though, we will probably get the basic digital cable package with our internet. It would bring the internet bill up like $10 and it gives us espn, fx, and local channels. Netflix and Hulu though still be for actually watching shows since we would not get the DVR…

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