“The Blog sounds great. You want what changes?”
Hi everyone, FB Hubby back where I know I do not usually belong. However, I do need to chime in on some recent changes in our home. So when Shannon decided to set off on her new career path and along side it start this blog, I thought it sounded like a great way for her to express her many thoughts and ideas. Of course, with this new path, Shannon had many changes planned for our household. So one day she announces that I need to figure out how to live without cable. My response was something like:
First Question: Can I live without Cable?
When this proclamation came down, I initially responded like any guy, I ignored it at first. Shannon knowing me all too well, kept bringing it up. So I took a really close look at our cable bill. Now we had Verizon FIOS Triple Play that included hundreds of channels, internet, phone, HBO, Showtime, an HD DVR and two other HD receivers (we have 3 TVs in the house). When we signed up for it, it all sounded good, all this for $99/month locked in for two years. However, that did not include a bunch of fees, rental on the receivers, and then if we wanted to watch a movie on demand, another $3-10 per movie. In the end, our cable bill ran anywhere from $155-$180 per month.
When I really thought about it, the only thing I watched was the Daily Show on a regular basis and football games in the fall. I would occasionally find a movie on HBO or Showtime, or I would find myself scrolling through hundreds of channels only to end up watching a rerun of Caddyshack or the Breakfast Club. So when I really thought about it, I decided that I was really already living without cable.
How did we go about these cable changes?
I began by figuring out what I would need to do to still ensure I could watch certain things when I needed to. As most football games are on network TV, I decided to see what I would need to still watch these. One of the great things that the government did a few years ago was to require that all broadcast TV be switched to digital broadcasting. This has been fantastic because you can now receive HD quality digital signals with a simple antenna. Interestingly, in New York, these signals are all sent from the top of the Empire State Building. This is really nice as it allows for a wide broadcast range.
I purchased two HD antennae. The first was the Mohu Leaf for the TV in the den. This is small, thin, and I attached it to the wall, ran the channel setup on the TV, and suddenly had 65 channels. Now several are in Spanish, but NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and several others came in just fine. I also got a TERK HD Antenna that I hung in my attic. The reason for this is the cable line ran up there to a splitter that ran out to two of the bedrooms. I attached the antenna to this spitter, ran the setup on the other TVs, and everything worked fine. (As a note, due to the need to still have internet, I had to have the separate antenna for the den, otherwise the one in the attic could have been setup in the garage and hooked right into the whole system). Now we were all set to continue to watch broadcast TV, which will be important for me come football season. GO STEELERS!!!
But what about everything else?
To handle other things like shows and movies, we got a Roku to test out. This thing is the best. All you do is plug it in and select the types of channels that best suit your needs. Some channels are free, especially many for kids. Our 8 year old son already figured out how to find some of his favorite shows on Roku. We started off with Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant Video. Now all of these cost a certain monthly charge, though we have Amazon Prime so Amazon Instant Video comes with it. After a few weeks we decided that we really didn’t even need Netflix, so we dropped that.
Since we really can control what we want to watch and when we watch it, it has opened a whole new world for us. I can still see all my Daily Shows, and we have been able to start watching shows we always wanted to watch, but never found the time. We are already through 3 seasons of How I Met Your Mother. Shannon loves that she can still watch The Voice and Dancing with the Stars. With Amazon Prime, we get a bunch of movies for free. (Guess who watched Caddyshack again one night!?!?!) We also stream our Pandora through Roku, and using their M-Go channel, we can get a newer pay-per-view movie if we still want. M-Go even offered two free movies to start.
The cost of cutting the cable.
Like I said, we were paying $150-$180 per month on our FIOS Triple Play. I called Verizon, and they did offer to reduce some of the cost, but it would not add up that much. So I had them stop the cable, cut the phone down to a bare minimum (we need it for our alarm system), and keep the internet. Our Verizon bill is now $70/month. The Mohu Leaf was $30 and the TERK $40. We ended up getting Rokus for the other two TVs, so a total of $150 for the three Rokus. We pay $8/month for Hulu Plus. The Amazon Prime works out to $8/month (of course that gives us free shipping on Amazon, so that really pays off). So now we pay $86/month.
The $220 we invested in equipment will pay for itself in just 2-3 months when adjusting for the fact that we are now saving $60-$90 a month over what we were paying to Verizon. That is a total savings of $548-$908 in just the first year. It will be $720 – $1,080 in the second year as we will not need new equipment. So in the end, the only real changes are financial, and all for the better. Now, is FB Hubby happy that we made the change and cut the cable?