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 library of movies and shows, untouched, on your DVR for nine months. You won't delete them, because you swear you're going to watch them, but deep down you know you won't.

-You have 300 channels, but half of them are duplicates. You're only left with 
  • a never ending cycle of government propaganda & corporate agenda, thinly disguised as news, commentary, and advertising.
  • highlights and hype-ups of sports that you don't watch.
  • international entertainment in languages you don't speak. 
  • channels that offer you the option of paying (again).
  • (poorly) scripted reality. 
  • syndicated repeats of the same dusty comedies over and over, 
  • oh... and vampires. Lots of lots of 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.

Television & Movies

We didn't have a Smart TV, so we introduced it to the internet through the Amazon TV Firestick for $40. Right away we added the apps for Hulu & Netflix. Sometimes their services seem a little redundant but they each offer their own original productions, so having both is worth it.

We also downloaded free apps for YouTube, social media sites, streaming news and weather, games, and a few other independent channels. We are at no loss for entertainment!

There is a high that comes with having so much television to choose from. We've begun watching some of our decades-old favorites from the very beginning! Our daughter is grateful to now understand many of the television references that I quote daily.

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.

Phone Service

After canceling our cable company's 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 in the call. Voices often became digitized. And if 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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