No more cable….no more satellite!

I just got off the phone with DirecTV cancelling my satellite service. So – no more cable and no more satellite. Many people I know have told me that they just could never do it, exclaiming….”I just couldn’t live without all those channels!” Well – I can. I have been spending around $100 a month for over 2 years now totaling in excess of $2400. I can afford it but I just don’t want to.

A few weeks ago I realized that the vast majority of my time in front of the TV was spent watching movies  – not the news and not even using satellite. I have some serious expenses coming up in 2014 and looking at my budget it just made sense to get rid of it. Now – I have a wife and two boys, 10 and 14. They are not the happiest about this but I have been able to put some things in place to satisfy them.

Here is what I have done:

1. Internet – Due to most of my “entertainment solutions” involving the Internet I have made sure that I have the fastest Internet service that my provider offers. I have already been paying for that service so there is no cost increase involved. My current service provides up to 50 mbps.

2. Roku boxes – If you are not familiar with what a “Roku” is – it is basically a small computer that connects to your Internet and can provide access to thousands of TV shows, movies, and documentaries via streaming right on your TV. It works incredibly well and the Roku starts at around $50. The Roku has hundreds of channels with many of them free. Within each channel tons and tons of TV shows and movies can be watched on your command. Premium channels such as Netflix, Hulu plus, and Amazon Prime provide access to more content than you could watch in a lifetime for as little as $8.00 per month.

3. HD antenna – In many areas local TV stations broadcast their lineup into the airwaves and can be picked up – 100% free – using a simple antenna. These antenna’s can cost as little as $7.50. The model that I have is the RCA Basic Indoor Antenna and I can pick up 15 local channels in high definition – free!

 roku

Living without cable or satellite is not as simple as having it. I cannot just turn on the TV, pick up the remote and watch The Walking Dead when it airs. Most shows are available on services like Hulu plus the day after they air on satellite and cable. Not bad. I have found a few shows that I have yet to find a way to watch for free – including my favorite The Walking Dead.   In these rare circumstances I can access the latest episodes via premium services such as Amazon Prime and Vudu at a cost of around $2.00 per episode.

how to bug in

Although there are some costs involved in my system – they are nothing compared to the $100 a month I was paying. My 10 year old watches Netflix most of the time, while my 14 year old does the same as well as YouTube on his laptop. Most all the bases are covered.

A few notes:

  • Probably my biggest concern and it shouldn’t be is trying to watch Fox News. I can stream many of the shows such as The Five, O’Reilly, and Hannity however just turning it on and watching what is happening now I have not found a method for yet. It may be there but I haven’t discovered it. 
  • Netflix is awesome. Tons and tons of TV shows and movies. I have really enjoyed watch some older series at y leisure and discovering many movies and documentaries that I had never seen. Netflix lacks most of the newest releases however every couple weeks a gem will show up. 
  • Amazon Prime is also awesome. Besides the fact that being an Amazon Prime member gets you free 2-day shipping on most Amazon orders – it also gives you access to a huge library of movies and TV shows similar to Netflix – for $79.00 a year. You can also rent and buy movies – including new releases.
  • There are other methods to streaming content to your TV besides the Roku. These include built-in options to newer televisions and also game consoles such as the Playstation and Xbox. Google recently came out with the Chromecast which I own – and think is terrible. Roku boxes are tiny, simple to set up and use – and inexpensive.  They can stream content to your TV is the highest of definitions – so choose the right Roku based on your TV. 

 

Looking to fine tune your budget and get some extra money for preps? Cutting the cord to cable or satellite miht be part of the answer.

Anyone else joining the club?

Rourke

 

 


 


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27 Comments

  1. this has been an area of conflicted feelings for me…i have to admit, my #NASCAR addiction is the prime reason we haven’t cut the cord…I can listen to the races, but DH doesn’t get it…yet…we already subscribe to NetFlix, but the kids use it more than I do…I won’t give up my internet access, but the TV is one area I am willing to look at giving up. I’ll have to look into the Roku a little more…

  2. Cable for ONLY a hundred bucks a month? My bill is over $150.00! Truthfully, I only watch a few channels: The FOX News, The Weather Channel, National Geographic, Discovery and The History Channel. CBS and NBC get my attention during football season. I will view ESPN and TNT if they’re covering the NASCAR race that weekend. I did enjoy a few mini-series on HBO: The Wire, The Sopranos and Rome. That’s pretty much it! I am not touching the 100+ channels that the cable company brags about. I dropped Showtime years ago because they were way too liberal for me. That only saved a few dollars a month, though. I have considered disconnecting the cable, but they are our internet provider, so we won’t really be “free” from them anyway. I wish you luck with your new media configuration!

    • Irish-7,

      Yeah – $100 a month. My Internet comes from someone else at the tune of $75 per month.HBO has a channel on Roku ou can subscribe to and watch your favorite HBO shows. I am going to look into that as well as I like Homeland.

      Rourke

  3. Way to go! I also cut my cable. My main savings though were in dropping the cable box rentals. I got my Cable and Internet service as a package and dropping the TV portion of it caused my internet fees to increase leading to less savings than I would have liked. 🙁 The main times I miss it are during Football season but I have managed to spend less time watching TV (and of course commercials) in addition to saving some money. was a GOOD Move!

  4. i’m not understanding how you’re actually saving money here. the high speed internet plus the cost of Hulu, Amazon Prime and the other bits seems to put your bill right back up to where it was. is the purpose to get rid of the cable company the primary driver or is there something i’m missing. no disrespect meant in this question, its just that i’m not understanding.

    • Solomon,

      I will be saving about $85 per month. I already have Internet access(like most people) – so that is not factored into the equation. I am getting rid of $100 DirecTV bill and adding $8.00 for Hulu plus and then purchasing a few shows at around $2.00 each.

      Hope this helps.

      Rourke

  5. ok. i see what you did there. nicely done. i’ve been looking to take the plunge and everytime i look at well over 100 channels and hear myself say nothings on it makes me wonder exactly how big a fool i’m being.

  6. We dropped cable months ago (actually went without cable AND Internet for 3 months.) Between HD digital cable service, 2 DVRs, and Internet access, along with a couple premium channels which were originally “freebies,” our bill was around $300 or more per month. Currently I pay around $100/month for a very fast Wideband connection (officially 105 Mbps, but I pull in up to 120 Mbps or more most of the time.) While it was nice to have instant access to shows, especially with On-Demand, I definitely haven’t missed it. I stream anything I need, or rent it from RedBox. It’s been really nice not to have all the mind numbing/brain washing crap they show on TV not playing all the time.

  7. Good on you, Rourke! $85 a month is a huge savings.

    DH is now officially unemployed (forced retirement). Our income just dropped by 55%. We’re good. DS just started a new job that means our cable and internet costs just dropped to zero. Woo-hooo! But, if the DS (who lives with us) had not just given us a zero cost cable and internet, we’d be disconnecting the cable and looking for cheap internet service.

    As a nation, we spend way too much time on our gluteus maximus with glazed eyes and frozen brain in front of the idiot box. Let’s get up, get out, and breathe!!!

  8. Dropped cable and landline service two tears ago and saved $111 a month. Best thing I did for myself and family! More quality time together…

  9. I also ditched my Cable and Phone. Dropped my bill by $80/mo because I increased my internet speed and added 2 movie services. I have the same/similar setup as you, broadcast ($20 for the outside/adjustable antenna), Roku ($49 for box), Internet Phone ($29/year, + $20 for the box), Netflix ($7.99/mo), and Amazon Prime ($6.25/mo).

    I still stay informated, get NFL football (DW’s requirement) twice a week, and am getting more done.

    Redbox movies are $1.20, if I want something more current.

  10. I sped up my internet last year.

    I, too, am about to cut out the cable company, at the start of the new year. I get news on the web already. This will save us about $650 per year. I have more use for the money than cable TV is worth.

    As a side note, if the gov’t decided to shut down internet, using the ‘kill-switch’ function for some ’emergency’ for ‘security’ reason, we would not be getting ‘accurate’ news from the cable news network anyway.

    We were about to cut our phone bill by cutting out the service for smart phones and moving back to basic phones. But, through my wife’s work we get a big discount, plus we are grandfathered-in to unlimited data at the level of the bill. It turned out that we would have saved only $12/mo. Then, my wife’s company recently decided that they would pay part of the bill each month since she is required to be on-call for at least part of the month, every month – so technically we cut OUR bill more than cutting the service would have.

    That being said, I was looking at Trac-phones / prepaid phones as the only way to significantly cut costs.

    We are looking into other ways to save by not buying other services, such as changing from electric heat by installing a wood-burning fireplace insert with a small cooktop. We had a mult-hour power outage two weeks ago – house temp dropped 15 degrees over 6 hours when the outside temp was -7 degrees. A basic fireplace is nice to look at, but really doesn’t heat much of the house. I was about to break out the emergency / backup heat when the power came back on.

    We are looking for other ideas to keep more of what we earn every year. It seems that even though we make quite a bit, that somehow we don’t keep as much as we would like because the ‘conveniences’ we pay for add up to a large pile of money by the end of the year.

    Good luck

  11. Our town hasn’t offered cable service in over 5 years now, and we got rid of Satellite service about 3.5 years ago. We did without TV programming of any kind for over a year. And then a friend moved and gave us his outdoor TV antenna, so we are now able to watch 5 local channels. We are out of the loop, not seeing some of the things our friends watch, such as the Duck guys, but we don’t feel as if we are doing without at all. It’s a matter of priorities, and we made the choice to spend that $70+ per month elsewhere, on things that are far more important to us.

  12. i did the same about a year ago! use the roku, subscribe to hulu plus, and netflix..everyones happy, even the kids! fyi, THE WALKING DEAD is on netflix, 1 season behind

  13. Wow, in Los Angeles, we pay $66 monthly for two rooms of DirecTV and we’re pretty satisfied with that cost. We were paying more, but we called and “threatened” to go with the other guys and they knocked a good deal off the top! First they tried offering “free” or added premium channels, which we don’t care about. We just wanted the bare minimum channels of basic cable, and for living room and one bedroom it’s now $66. Once per year we get a notice that it will be going up, so once per year we “threaten” to jump ship.

    It’s worth a try?

  14. Good deal Rourke, I pay over $100.00 a month for Direct TV, but still have a year on the contract. My only problem is the area we are in has lousy cell service and Verizon wireless has a speed of dial up, I will have to check into Roku.

  15. We got rid of cable probably 5-6 years ago. I couldn’t stand the way the kids sat around watching it all day and never went outside. We have Netflix now. At first we all sat around and watched entire seasons of Lost, Torchwood, etc. but it seems like we’ve kind of watched all the good stuff up. But that’s alright because I read an article somewhere or took a class that mentioned all the wasted time sitting in front of the tv when there is so many significant things around the house for me to be doing. That includes my kids pretty much, too. Even if it’s just reading one of the many, many books I have purchased on homesteading and sustainability. I am one who likes to buy books on everything – welding, carpentry, greenhouses, survival, homesteading, etc. but I never open them up and read them! Since taking a good long look at my complacency due to sitting in front of the tube, I have become a licensed ham operator; I’ve applied for my carry permit (I kept postponing it for some reason); I’ve gone thru the 2,000+ emails I had waiting for me since March of 2012; I’ve taken the Hillsdale College Constitution courses and Economics courses and so much more. I recently purchased an herbal remedies board game from http://www.learningherbs.com that is supposed to help my children and I learn to identify and utilize medicinal and dietary herbs. I’m hoping that will be as beneficial as it sounds! Anyway, there’s my two cents! I think I might surprise my kids with Hulu plus for Christmas.

  16. We got the Roku, too, and it’s saved us a ton of money. I also pay the guy across the street a little every month to “piggyback” on his network. We only pay for Netflix, and load the Roku with free channels. You can even take free courses from MIT from home. I would love to see a well-run Prepper channel on Roku.

  17. My husband and I have been without tv, not just cable and satellite, for nearly 10 years. It was not a money saving choice, it was more thst we got tired of all the tasteless programming that is offered. Granted, there are some very 8good programs to be seen, but we catch up with them on Netflix at our leisure or do without. We love our freedom from the tube. We use our time much more wisely reading and working on hobbies, entertaining friends, and enjoying each other’s company. We have also learned to formulate our own opinions regarding political, economic, and social issues because we are not being influenced by talking heads, news bias, or commercials. No tv is liberating. Everyone should try it!

  18. Next month will be my 3rd year without cable or satellite and I have not missed it really at all. When I committed to getting rid of my $150/month Directv bill I dedicated the first 4 months savings to buying a Mac Mini which I use on my main TV as it gets all that the Roku/AppleTV/etc get but much more…you can find just about any show you want to watch saved out there. Sports are the one thing I missed most. A friend gave me his cable log in that enables me to stream any ESPN live event and another friend shares his Directv log in that gets me NFL ticket as well.

    Savings so far, even after the Mac Mini and Netflix, Hulu and Amazon plus a few extra hours at the bar to watch some games, is about $4,000.

    No reason to fear, they will still be there if you don’t like it and will welcome you back with new customer discounts if you wait 6 months.

  19. YouTube usually has the current episode of the walking dead on Saturday after the episode premieres or Sunday morning. I am doing exactly what you are and have saved a bundle!

  20. I did the same. When I got a letter from dish network that my bill was going up $5. That was my last straw. $5 doesn’t sound like much but it was already $50. Well I am able to play movies from my computer to my TV and you can do straight to your new station web site and see the news there. Also about the walking dead. I can watch the latest episodes for free with megashare.info. It take 1 or 2 days to come out after it airs but what is nice about is no commercials and you can watch on your time.

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