Mr. Martini and I cut our cable in January. I should say, we cut our cable television – we still get our internet through the cable company, so we didn’t lose the cable bill entirely. So far, we haven’t missed cable TV at all.
This was a HUGE step for me, because I’m a TV-watcher. I love the TV. Some of my earliest memories are watching Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood and Sesame Street. I’ve grown up with TV, and I love, love, love it.
Since a few people have asked, here’s how we stopped getting cable TV, but still manage to watch a lot of TV.
1. We got a Roku Streaming Device.
(Image via Amazon.com)
Connect this tiny device to your TV (via HDMI cable) and your home’s high-speed internet (either with an ethernet cable or wirelessly) and you can access all sorts of “channels.” I put that in quotes on purpose, because they’re Roku-specific channels, and not your standard cable TV channels. The Roku is the main way we watch Netflix, Hulu+ and Amazon Instant Videos. But really, if you have an XBox 360 or a Sony PS3, you don’t even need the Roku, as I believe those systems already access those apps/channels/whatever.
2. We got a Paper Thin Leaf Indoor HDTV Antenna.
(Image via Amazon.com)
This thing is magical. It looks like a laminated piece of paper, but actually it’s an antenna. I lamented not getting local TV channels, and this solved that very easily. Not only is it super thin, in our town it brings HD quality channels to our TV. We even get those second tier stations that I never knew existed. It hooks up to the TV via the coaxial cable, and then attaches to the wall. I believe we could even cover it with a picture or artwork if we were so inclined (we are not so inclined). Also, it’s white on one side and back on the other, and works just fine either way.
Once we got the gadgets, here’s how we use them:
1. Netflix – I won’t go into too much detail, because I think most folks know how Netflix Streaming works.
2. Hulu+ – I was a little hesitant to subscribe to Hulu+, because it frustrated me that I was giving them money and they were still forcing me to watch commercials. I was also frustrated that many of my fave shows were “web only” and not available on the TV. But, they had enough of my shows available the day after airing (Parks & Recreation, most importantly) that I decided it was worth the minimal fee.
3. Amazon Prime Instant – We’re prime members, so we have instant access to a large catalogue of movies and TV shows available for “free” on Amazon (after the yearly fee). But more importantly, sometimes there is a show that you just can’t find to watch anywhere online as it airs “live” on TV (or the next day). Those TV shows I subscribe to via Amazon Instant. Many folks subscribe this way through iTunes as well, but that isn’t compatible with the Roku. For example, I love Mad Men and Justified. I can’t watch them over the air on the antenna, so I subscribed to those shows for the season. This means that the day after the show airs on TV, it’s uploaded to my account for a small fee ($2 for standard definition, $3 for HD, with a slight discount for subscribing to the whole season). If I find that I just can’t stand to watch Jon Hamm on my TV anymore (never!), I could cancel at any time – but I’m still out the $$ I already spent on the episodes I already downloaded. It seems expensive ($3 for a single TV show!) but only if you buy a LOT of season passes. (And just think of how many cable TV stations you never, ever watch that you’re paying for each month.) Considering how much we’re saving on the cable bill, we still come out ahead this way.
4. Over the air antenna – we don’t use this as often as you’d think, since we’re mostly watching the other devices. But it’s nice to have it to watch live sporting events (if you’re sportsy) or the Tony Awards (more our speed). I’m excited that I’ll be able to watch a good part of the Olympics, and I have a date to watch So You Think You Can Dance live every week. I miss being able to rewind and pause, but I figure it’s worth it in the end.
You’d think that with the cost of buying the Roku and the antenna, and subscribing to these services that it wouldn’t save us much money. But we figured that after 3 months, we’ll start saving $100 a month on the cable bill. That still amazes me. Your mileage may vary, of course, but this is how it worked out for us.
Phew! This was a long post! But I figured it might be helpful to anyone out there thinking of cutting the (cable TV) cord.
Have you pulled the plug on cable TV? Any tips/tricks you’d like to share?
Filed in: Introspective