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Cutting the Cable

Remember waaay back in 2010 (you know, all of two months ago), when we promised to re-evaluate our financial obligations in the early months of this current year? Well, the $140 Comcast cable and internet bills finally got to us, and we’re sticking to our guns on this one.

In all honesty, there are a few shows we that we couldn’t imagine living without. I even convinced Kim that we’d get the hockey playoffs this Spring for a month-to-month streaming subscription to NHL GameCenter Live on the PS3. Seriously, that coulda been a deal breaker. From April to June, Sid takes over as man of the house.

Overall, though, a lot of what we watch is pretty expendable. I will freely admit that my lady is having a hard time imagining life without The Real Housewifes of So and So (and according to her, specifically New York – um, of course), Project Runway (me too kinda), and dare I confess her love of all things Kardashian (eek), but all of those shows seem to pop up on DVD or streaming a few months after they air on cable, and in some cases, a handful of days on Hulu. Even then, we found ourselves relying more and more on Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus on the PS3 – and using our expensive HD DVR less and less.

Our financial frustrations had finally boiled over, so I called AT&T, ordered up the fastest internet speed they could offer us at their crazy discounted rate and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, they came and flipped the switch and it just wasn’t fast enough for the streaming services we had taken such a liking to. Luckily there was a 30 day money back guarantee, so I mailed back the modem and never got a bill. Nice. (They even let me keep the $75 router that was included in the package. Score!)

So stuck with Comcast we were, but I called them up, canceled the cable service and even negotiated a $10 monthly discount on maintaining our current internet speed. We’ve also gone so far as to purchase our own cable modem ($20 on ebay!) to eliminate the $5 monthly rental fee through the cable company. In addition, we ended up buying a $3 cable splitter and plugging the TV right into the cable outlet that feeds our internet. We now get about 20 local, cable-quality HD channels without paying an extra subscription fee. And Modern Family, Wednesday nights at 7.

All said and done, we’ve lowered our Comcast bill by over $85 per month, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think we’ll (read: maybe Kim) miss cable much at all. This switch will require a bit of clock watching for those few random network shows that we prefer to catch live (no more Nate Berkus marathons on the weekends), but I’ll certainly learn to watch the clock in exchange for about $1000 a year.

So, has anybody else embraced the future of streaming television and cut the cord? If so, let us know how you’re using up all of the extra money in your pockets. An extra night on the town, perhaps?

Images via here, here, and here.

  • Brittney - February 24, 2011 - 7:56 AM

    We cut the cable cord about 3 years ago and haven’t looked back. I would say our biggest adjustment was the lack of ESPN and AMC (I miss Mad Men!). But we use Hulu, have all of the HD channels from our HD antennae and watch Mad Men via DVD. I love having a $50 bill instead of the almost $200 cable bill we used to have!ReplyCancel

  • Loren - February 24, 2011 - 8:16 AM

    We do the streaming video thing in our house. Pure Netflix and Hulu for us (we have a small computer with HD output attached to our TV for watching Hulu). I tried Hulu Plus on the PS3 for a couple months but the extra content wasn’t worth it for us (they didn’t even include our #1 show ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ AND we still had to watch ads what’s that about?)

    We had some bandwidth issues for a while but upgraded our router and modem and they’ve been squashed for the most part. (I bought the modem from the cable company. They offered to ‘rent’ it to me for 7$ a month, but it only cost 45$ to buy AND when we upgraded they gave us the new one for free.)

    We certainly don’t miss commercials, and neither of us has really had a cable subscription before so we don’t think of it as ‘extra money’. But I don’t think there’s much we are really missing, we still get our ‘Office’ and ‘Dr. Who’ fixes & we still seem to manage to watch more TV than 95% of our friends. But maybe we just get more in per hour because there aren’t many commercials.ReplyCancel

  • jodi - February 24, 2011 - 8:37 AM

    my husband & i cut back on cable. we were going to cancel cable altogether, but the cable company cut us a deal to keep the basic channels and our DVR, along with high-speed internet. it’s been over a year, and i have to say, i really don’t miss it. i’m reading a ton more and we’re still able to watch our favorite shows.ReplyCancel

  • Kathie - February 24, 2011 - 8:51 AM

    We cut our cable back in September. We watch and rent stuff via netflix. We also have a tivo box hooked up directly to our tv so we can still dvr things and not have to watch the clock. To me it’s worth the 12.50 a month subscription fee. Granted, I do miss watching live sports, but in all honesty, we’ve found that we can use sites such as channelsurfing.net and espn 360.com to get our sports fix. We have a mac mini hooked up to the tv and I’ve gradually been ripping all our dvd content onto the computer so that we don’t even have to mess with putting a dvd into the player (with a baby that seemed like a wise move so stuff didn’t get scratched up). With our monthly bill cut from $125 to $32 we saved and bought a new bigger tv to watch movies on.ReplyCancel

  • Kyle - February 24, 2011 - 9:21 AM

    I found a typo: You called Sid a ‘man’. Sorry, Wings fan here, I couldn’t help myself.

    My wife and I never actually had a cable subscription and we couldn’t be happier. Between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon On Demand (btw all Fox sows are .99ยข to own) the only thing we want for is live sports but ,if you’re resourceful, you can find ANY game on the internet. With the ‘extra’ money we never really spent anyway I built a PC for our new 65″ TV and we built her an awesome craft room. Win/win all around.ReplyCancel

  • Alichia - February 24, 2011 - 9:32 AM

    First, kudos on the Modern Family clip – that show always delivers.

    Second, we have not made that leap. We have the AT&T U-Verse bundle and my husband has just decided to give up the land line. I think we got it as part of our original ComCast internet package 4 years ago, but the only people who call it are: me, my mother & telemarketers. So we’re probably cutting the cord-less phone which will save us $35/month (yeah, we didn’t realize the cost either!) We’ll still hold on to the cable, internet & netflix though – we’re too hooked :)ReplyCancel

  • Andrea B - February 24, 2011 - 9:40 AM

    My husband and I have been living waaaay below our means ever since we got married, just so we can quickly pay off a large loan my dad gave me to help me (when I was single) out of a big credit-card pickle. This year is our year to be debt-free outside of student loans! It will take until October or November, but it will be worth it in the long run.

    Thus, we didn’t get cable.

    Neither of us are sports fans, so we wouldn’t watch those channels, anyway. He misses access to his shows on off-hours, and I wish I could overload on HGTV on lazy weekends, but we more than make do with Netflix, Hulu, and our internet connection. We do watch the Biggest Loser, our only “show” we keep up with, on our regular tv hi-def channel. Yes, channel; singular. Even with a beefed-up digital antenna, we get ONE channel. I admit: that’s frustrating. Every few months we’ll have the “maybe we should get AT&T U-Verse” discussion, but then we’ll pay the bills and realize, um, not so much.

    We pretty much live on Netflix streaming. Our “tv” watching is catching up 2-3 episodes at a time on new shows to us that have really been out for years.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - February 24, 2011 - 10:14 AM

    Kyle – While we can’t root for Hockeytown, we do appreciate the Amazon on Demand tip! Good to know.

    Also, happy to hear that so many others are surviving without the Housewives. This I will slowly get over. (Sad, I know.)

    And Alichia – $35 for a land line?! Aye, carumba.ReplyCancel

  • mary - February 24, 2011 - 10:31 AM

    I’ve never had cable, so there’s nothing for me to miss.
    I did want to give you a heads up, though: you can watch
    project runway right on the lifetime website the day after each episode airs. No need to wait months!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - February 24, 2011 - 10:51 AM

    I must say that Kyle is a very smart person! Go Wings!

    We still have cable. But we knocked everything down to the cheapest there is and only pay about $70 a month. It works for us.ReplyCancel

  • Megan - February 24, 2011 - 11:07 AM

    My boyfriend and I moved into a house together back in November and we’ve just had the regular 15 or whatever channels since then. We definitely don’t miss paying $100 plus towards a cable bill each month, but I do admit I miss my trashy reality tv shows every now and then..we also haven’t had cable and that’s what I miss the MOST!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - February 24, 2011 - 11:07 AM

    I meant internet :)ReplyCancel

  • RocketGirl - February 24, 2011 - 12:01 PM

    We haven’t had cable in years, and I can tell you: I don’t miss it. Well, not much. When we upgrade our computer we’ll be able to watch The Daily Show a day late, and that’s really the only thing I missed. We have Netflix, which is enormously helpful–if you don’t mind waiting 9-12 months to watch the “new” episodes of True Blood, you can watch them all at once. Sweet!

    That said, any time we go anywhere with cable, we’re both constantly gaping at the TV with our trigger fingers at the ready. But with only 20 channels at home, and upwards of 200 elsewhere, we find that ALL we do is channel-surf. “OK, so Highlander II is on Syfy, and Father of the Bride on TBS, but maybe there’s an old episode of Family Ties somewhere that I can’t miss…” So all we do is scour options and never actually WATCH anything, and whatever we do watch, tends to not be very good.

    The only time we really miss cable is on rainy Sunday and Saturday afternoons. It’s comforting to know you can find a Magnum PI marathon when you really need it.ReplyCancel

  • Scott - February 24, 2011 - 1:05 PM

    Everyone, it’s sure nice to know we’re in good company here. I wrote this post a little over a week ago, and I’ve got so say, we really haven’t missed the cable much at all.

    Loren- One of the reasons we ended up with Hulu Plus is that a good friend of ours got a subscription through his work and was kind enough to share his login with us! It’s also a lot easier to turn on the PS3 than to line our MacBook Pro into the TV via HDMI.

    Maybe that Mac Mini is something to think about, eh, Kim?ReplyCancel

  • Andrea B - February 24, 2011 - 3:23 PM

    About Hulu Plus. Daniel and I call it Hulu Minus. We tried it and hated it. It was WORSE than waiting for YouTube videos to load! We were waiting for a few minutes for every 15 minute segment to download properly.

    Maybe it was our area or internet speed. But with a techy husband like mine, I’m pretty certain he got us the best available.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - February 24, 2011 - 4:27 PM

    Comcast is a rip off. They wanted to charge me $200 to install cable in my ready to-go condo … all they had to do was turn it on. So I ditched them and jumped on board with DISH Network and couldn’t be happier. I pay $42.17 a month and have all the cable shows I could ask for, plus a DVR that records on 2 stations. I got my internet thru AT&T and can only get the slowest U-Verse they have which sucks but is decent and that’s $19.99 a month. Plus, my netflix for my Gray’s marathons…which is $7.99 a month. For $70 I figure that I can still live my life and not have to rush home to watch shows, but am still not breaking the bank so I’m keeping cable for now!ReplyCancel

  • Scott - February 24, 2011 - 4:28 PM

    Andrea- Wow, we’ve never had a problem with Hulu Plus on the PS3. With all of our recent tech changes, I ended up moving our router and connecting the Playstation with an ethernet cable rather than Wifi. Everything has been lightning fast ever since. I wasn’t willing to take a chance with content quality by utilizing a wireless router 3 rooms away!ReplyCancel

  • Cait @ Hernando House - February 24, 2011 - 10:34 PM

    We haven’t had cable in ages, but we have an AppleTv (the old one, not the streaming/renting only mess) that we get a few season passes on and we’re building a media tower for the living room.ReplyCancel

  • Sara @ House Bella - February 25, 2011 - 7:10 PM

    We haven’t had cable (or a TV) in the last seven years, and don’t miss it a bit. I watch a few things on Hulu – Top Chef, Glee, Project Runway – but we mostly do Netflix around here. It’s a good money saver to try to go without!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - February 25, 2011 - 11:02 PM

    I’m another of the cable-free crowd. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, everything I needed before is now available to me. My internet (for school most importantly) is a necessity here.ReplyCancel

  • Miranad - March 1, 2011 - 3:06 PM

    Cutting the cord huh… I am a firm believer that with more and more companies (DISH being the only one thus far) to offer a TRUE TV Everywhere option or being able to utilize the Google TV, the free content online that so many people are using is no longer going to be free. I can say that being a DISH customer service representative, that majority of my customers that I talk to have something similar to one of these products. It’s the best route to take. If you are looking to save money and still get quality television at the price you want, check out DISH.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda- Hip House Girl - March 7, 2011 - 1:09 PM

    I guess I’m lucky to have never been “on the cord”. My family grew up with about two channels when the weather was good, heh heh (plus a few videotaped cartoons- thanks Grandma) so I’ve never really missed it. And by the time I did discover the wonder of shows like 30 Rock I was friends with Netflix and Hulu. I somehow dodged the cable bullet and have been a “free woman” all these years!

    However, if it’s something you’re used to I can see how it would be hard to give it up. Congrats for finding cheaper ways to get your fix!ReplyCancel

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