Sunday, September 29, 2013

Cutting the Cord, Day 1

At our last house, I literally cut the cord. The cable TV to the house was strung from a high pole near the back of our house into a tree, and then at an angle down to the corner of the house. It was unsightly. The power line was also unsightly, but it was more to the side over the garage so it was less obvious. I cut the cord at the house, wound it back to the property line, cut it again and threw it in the trash. We'd never have cable. Satellite TV was good enough for us. When we moved here, we assumed being on the north face of a hill covered with trees that satellite coverage was impossible, not to mention the frequent overcast skies, so we went with cable. Later a salesman convinced us that satellite TV was in fact possible.  So I've had cable or satellite for the past 21 years. I shudder to think how much money that's cost.

We are going to attempt to "cut the cord" and give up cable/satellite. We've had enough of the high prices and paying for stuff we don't want. Did you know, whether you watch it or not, over $5 of your bill each month goes to ESPN?

We've inadvertently been preparing ourselves for this for some time now - a few summers ago when nothing was on, our friends loaned us DVDs of Vampire Diaries and Bones. We binged on those and then Firefly and really enjoyed the ability to watch a single show night after night - it was continuity in our crazy lives. And then when the new season started, we ended up doing that with most shows - letting a lot of episodes build up before we'd watch that show. It also made the experience even easier - instead of remembering the storylines and plot points of a lot of shows at once and having to wait a week to see stuff progress.


So as we looked to save money, we started researching, looking at what we actually watch, where else it's available, what we have to give up, etc.

We'll officially cut the cord in a week or five weeks or never, depending on how things go.

We started with two of these little devices: Monoprice VGA to RCA - 8.  They allow us to connect our laptop to our TVs and throw whatever's on the screen up onto the TVs. We only have to do this because our TVs are old and don't have HDMI inputs. (Issue #1: I need to get another adapter to plug in my laptop as it doesn't have a VGA cable.)

Next, we installed the Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus apps on the Wii Plus.  (Issue #2: The Samsung Blu-Ray player's Netflix app isn't compatible with our old TVs. We'll probably need to get a Roku box for the other TV, but even one of those are about the cost of a single month of DirecTV.)  We started a Netflix trial subscription and installed the apps on our phones and the iPad.  We'll do a trial with Hulu Plus later. Even if we do both, that's still far cheaper than the cost for a DirecTV.  We already have an Amazon Prime account because of all the stuff we buy online.

So now we're burning off what's on the DVR and looking at what's on demand so we can delete more stuff off the DVR. (Issue #3: Lori has a list of shows we watch and where we can find them online, but the list has gone missing.)

The only thing we won't still have is the music channels, but even if we also add a Pandora One membership, we're still saving so much money per month.

I'm excited to make the leap.  (Disclaimer: As I type this, we're watching Amazing Race on our DirecTV DVR.)

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