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!
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.
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?