Cutting The Cable Cord

There's a sense of excitement that comes over you when you decide to kick that old cable company to the curb. You get giddy thinking of all the available alternatives, and of ridding your life of the ever changing, never clear, three tiered pyramid pricing plan that cuts into your budget, and takes the big piece of the pie.

Aside from the rising costs, you know it's time to make the break when:

  • You've kept a certain movie on your DVR for 9 months. You won't delete it, because you swear you're going to watch it, but deep down you know you won't.
  • That awesome new series that seemed entertaining... wasn't, and you now have an entire season and a half of episodes to scroll through to get to the show that you really want to watch. You don't even care enough to delete them, or to even tell the DVR to lighten up.
  • You're paying for 300 channels: the second 75 are nothing but HD duplicates of the first 75... there are five channels of 24 hours domestic and international news media that is nothing more than government and corporate propaganda... sports that you don't watch... foreign languages that you don't understand... and an assortment of channels that offer you the option of paying per view. In the end you're left with nothing but scripted reality, syndicated repeats of the same dusty comedies over and over, oh... and vampires. Lots of lots of pretty vampires.
There's also a sense of dread that sits like a rock in your stomach, when the time comes to actually disconnect the DVR. It feels like pulling the life support plug on an old friend. But we just closed our eyes and took the leap of faith. We "unbundled" our services and kept nothing but the high speed internet with wifi.

Television Services

Our television wasn't the smart kind, so we introduced it to the internet through the Amazon TV Firestick, and it was the best $40 we ever spent. We subscribed to Hulu and Netflix, although their services sometimes seem a little redundant, they each offer their own productions that are very much worth it. We also downloaded apps for all of the social media sites, streaming news and weather, games, and a few other independent channels. Believe me, we are at no loss for entertainment!

Finding new release or quality movies, I admit, is a hit or miss situation. There's no shortage of cheesy comedies and independent films, but we're still nurturing our relationship with Redbox.

There is a high that comes with having so much television to choose from. We've begun watching some of our old favorites from the very beginning! Our daughter is grateful to now understand many of the television references and quotes that are spoken daily around here. Often enough, our favorite shows are released by the season, so we can binge on one show for hours, which is a lot of fun, but does have a down side. Once you've binged every season of your favorite shows, and you have to wait six months to nine months for the next release, you fall into a showhole. Don't mock it. The showhole is real. 

Streaming your television is a lifestyle change. There is no more mindless channel surfing. When you sit down, you have to make a conscious choice about what you want to watch. When you have to actually choose, you start to get a little picky about your choices, and then you realize that America has really lowered the bar for what passes as acceptable television, and you might even find yourself watching less of it. That's one less screen to stare at in life.

Phone Service

After canceling our digital phone service, we experimented with the Ooma Internet Telephone System. There was a nearly one hundred dollar purchase price, but the only monthly charges are the required taxes and FCC charges, which was less than $5.00. The service includes local and long distance (within the U.S.), call waiting, call forwarding, and voice mail. It was a little tricky at times. There is an approximate 4 second lag between us and whoever we're talking to. Sometimes their voice will have a "digital" sound to it. Of course, whenever you lose power or internet, you lose your phone. In our area, the internet often goes out,  just for brief moments. But that led to a lot of rebooting the phone, which was a hassle.

In the end, we decided to get rid of home phone service all together and just live by the cellphone.

Before our lifestyle change, we were paying $300 a month for a bundled package of high speed internet, digital television with a DVR box, and digital telephone, including my Hubsy's independent cellphone bill. Now we pay $172 a month for internet, streaming services, and two cellphones. That's a savings of $128 a month.

Well worth it.

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