Last year I got fed up with my cable TV bill. I was paying about $120/month for cable TV alone! I don’t watch that much TV, yet somehow I had put up with paying for two premium channels and a package that included at least a hundred channels that I would never watch.
Just about nine months ago, I decided to cut that cable. I called Cox and asked them to discontinue both my land line phone service (which I never used) and my cable TV. It was weird, but I don’t think they really believed that I was truly canceling my regular television programming. They asked if I was switching to satellite (I wasn’t). They enticed me to stay with lower monthly rates (I didn’t). The only service I kept was their broadband Internet.
It was a calculated decision. I already had Netflix, with streaming movie capabilities. I had Xbox Live and iTunes, allowing access to still more movies and shows. I have a cable from my Mac Mini to my 47″ Visio so I can play movies or shows I’ve downloaded. Most of the programming that I cared about was available at a much lower cost.
How has it worked out?
The biggest gaps in my programming are live coverage such as news and sports. Of course, the Internet is also a great source for updates on both, but certain sporting events are just more enjoyable to watch as their played. For this, I met up with friends at a local sports pub to catch a game, and relied on Internet news sites rather than cable news for the latest happenings around the globe.
I’ve also found new sources of programming. Last fall I added a wifi-enabled Samsung Bluray player that I’ve ended up using more as a streaming device than for playing discs. I use it regularly with Hulu Plus, Vudu, Netflix, Vimeo and Pandora.
Xbox Live added ESPN3 back in November 2010. So far, this hasn’t been much use to me. They don’t include any NFL games; my primary sport. But I have used it to watch tennis.
Still, there are times when I miss turning on the TV to catch the local news as I get ready to start my day. Not a big deal, but missed. For a while, ivi TV looked promising. They offered streaming of broadcast TV channels from major cities including New York and Los Angeles. Unfortunately the networks have tied them up in the courts and shut down most of the programming they once had.
For now, my experiment in cutting the cable has been a huge success. I’ve saved about $1,000 over the past nine months, even after you add in my Hulu Plus subscription. If you’re comfortable with streaming and downloading programming, you may want to consider joining the ranks of cable cutters, too.
Have you cut the cord? If so, what has your experience been? If not, what’s holding you back?