Ditching Cable

SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!!Registered User regular
I am strongly considering ditching cable, and I want to make sure I have all my bases covered for the things I currently watch. I'm also looking for advice on additional devices/services that I may not have thought about.

I've long thought about cutting cable completely, and with my bill skyrocketing this month because my "promotion" expired, I'm super close to cutting the cord. I currently have Charter 60mbit internet, which I'm happy with, and will be keeping as there are no other providers in my area.

I have a Netflix streaming subscription and I think I will be getting either Hulu+ or the Amazon streaming service (perhaps both). I'm also looking at building my own HD antenna for picking up local channels. While I'm not a fan of Hulu+'s commercials, I guess they're a small price to pay for a greatly reduced monthly bill.

My wife and I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but my research shows most of the shows we watch (Hell's Kitchen, Last Man on Earth) are on Hulu+. We're also both big football fans (go Packers!) but I think I can get that over the air, so that's covered. I will likely miss Sportscenter, but I can watch that at the gym should I have the urge to watch it. The only thing I can't seem to get is the ability to watch Brewers' games. An MLB sub will let me watch the game after it's over, but I like to watch the games live. Unfortunately, MLB's ridiculous blackout rules prevent that.

My kids like cartoons, but again I think Netflix and Hulu+ have me covered.

Finally, apps. We have two tablets and two phones, all Android, and two Chromecasts. Netflix works with my Chromecasts and it's probably safe to assume the Hulu app does too?

I think I'm ready to rid myself of the exorbitant cable tv pricing once and for all.

Anything I'm missing?

Thanks in advance.

SeñorAmor on
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Posts

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    Just make sure you do the math on what you're looking to do. Cable is expensive but if it costs nearly as much to subscribe to all of the other services to come close to matching it it might not be worth it.

    As for the MLB stuff, sports are the last bastion of live TV, and that probably won't change for a while. All of those lucrative multi-billion dollar contracts the 4 major sports have? Yea that's why sports on the internet is a bitch. I'm a huge sports fan so for me ditching cable isn't a reality because there's no way to replicate what I can get on TV (legally). I'd ditch my cable entirely if there was a way for me to just give money to the sports leagues to watch their games, all of them, live.

    to get to your actual question about MLB.tv, I would imagine a VPN that told it you're living anywhere outside of the Brewers' "home" zone would work. MLB wouldn't like it, but unless they're actively trying to stop VPN traffic (I have no idea if they do) there wouldn't be much they can do about it.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    Well, Netflix is $8 a month. Hulu is another $8 a month. MLB.tv is $120 a year (10 a month), IIRC.

    That's only $26 a month. My cable sub just jumped to $70ish a month and that's not counting the extra $20 for the DVR service.

    Am I missing something? (I purposely left Amazon out as I'm not entirely sold on it just yet.)

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    if that's all you want to subscribe to than that's fine. I just mention it to people that are thinking of cutting cable because I've known a couple people that within 6 months are paying nearly as much as they were paying for cable for a bunch of different services because they keep adding them over time.

    for example, you could look at something like Sling TV which gets you access to a set of channels streaming, starts at $20/month. Might be worth looking at.

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    If you watch sports, ditching cable is really hard. Football yes, you can watch the games that are on CBS, FOX, and NBC over the air. But any games that are on MNF, or NFL network you will not see.

    MLB is even worse. You're right, you can't watch any games for your home team, unless there is some VPN trickery you can employ. I'm not sure if that works or not - you could do some research. For me as a baseball fan, I couldn't deal with not being able to watch games live - the ability to watch them later with MLB.tv is useless to me. Not sure how much you watch - but I watch at least part of nearly every game during the summer.

    Another thing to consider is what deals your cable company offers - would your internet price go up if you don't also have cable? Cable companies are also VERY receptive to lowering your bill when it jumps up, or getting you one of the "new customer" deals, if you call them up.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    If you watch sports, ditching cable is really hard. Football yes, you can watch the games that are on CBS, FOX, and NBC over the air. But any games that are on MNF, or NFL network you will not see.

    MLB is even worse. You're right, you can't watch any games for your home team, unless there is some VPN trickery you can employ. I'm not sure if that works or not - you could do some research. For me as a baseball fan, I couldn't deal with not being able to watch games live - the ability to watch them later with MLB.tv is useless to me. Not sure how much you watch - but I watch at least part of nearly every game during the summer.

    Another thing to consider is what deals your cable company offers - would your internet price go up if you don't also have cable? Cable companies are also VERY receptive to lowering your bill when it jumps up, or getting you one of the "new customer" deals, if you call them up.

    Isn't MNF on ABC, too, or something?

    As for lowering my bill, I've tried several times to lower my bill. I've called and asked for different promos or anything they can do to get my bill back to what I had been paying for the past 5 or so years, but this time they're playing hard ball and refusing to compromise. I have no loyalty to Charter's TV service, but I am stuck with their internet service.

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    If you watch sports, ditching cable is really hard. Football yes, you can watch the games that are on CBS, FOX, and NBC over the air. But any games that are on MNF, or NFL network you will not see.

    MLB is even worse. You're right, you can't watch any games for your home team, unless there is some VPN trickery you can employ. I'm not sure if that works or not - you could do some research. For me as a baseball fan, I couldn't deal with not being able to watch games live - the ability to watch them later with MLB.tv is useless to me. Not sure how much you watch - but I watch at least part of nearly every game during the summer.

    Another thing to consider is what deals your cable company offers - would your internet price go up if you don't also have cable? Cable companies are also VERY receptive to lowering your bill when it jumps up, or getting you one of the "new customer" deals, if you call them up.

    Isn't MNF on ABC, too, or something?

    As for lowering my bill, I've tried several times to lower my bill. I've called and asked for different promos or anything they can do to get my bill back to what I had been paying for the past 5 or so years, but this time they're playing hard ball and refusing to compromise. I have no loyalty to Charter's TV service, but I am stuck with their internet service.

    I guess you're not much of a football fan then :smile: MNF has been on ESPN since 2006.

    have you told them you're going to cancel your service? asking for lower rates is one thing but usually when you actually say you're cancelling that's when you end up getting deals.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    I vaguely hinted at it to try and elicit a response, to no avail.

    I'm too proud to submit if they were to call my bluff, so I wanted to make sure cancelling was an option.

    If they tell me to pound sand, I think Netflix, Hulu, and an HD antenna will cover most of the stuff I'd lose.

  • lunchbox12682lunchbox12682 MinnesotaRegistered User regular
    Sling TV has ESPN as part of its basic package, so that could cover MNF for you.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    The other option is to look into something like the streaming plan for DirecTV. I know last year, when the Madden game came out, a lot of people were buying it for the free DTV NFL sub, and selling the game. Depending on what they could get for the game, they were essentially watching football for free.

    Another option is to look into radio streams for live games, so you at least can listen to them.

    Now that HBO went no-sub-required, I'm starting to look more into non-cable options. My wife watches about 4x as much TV as I do, and I can pretty much leave most of the shows I watch.

    I'd suggest you try a ~3 month trial, where you keep your sub, but use it as little as possible; to see if you can cope without it.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    For MNF/TNF football games, those are actually simulcast OTA in the two markets of the teams playing. So if he's in the Green Bay region, he should get Packers MNF/TNF games on ABC or CBS or something.

  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    For MNF/TNF football games, those are actually simulcast OTA in the two markets of the teams playing. So if he's in the Green Bay region, he should get Packers MNF/TNF games on ABC or CBS or something.

    This might be what I was thinking about when I saw MNF games on ABC. I don't recall ever seeing any Thursday night Packers games on a local channel, though it must have been broadcast locally or I would have had an absolute shit-fit, which I don't recall having.

    Cable bill finally hit $150, so I'll be paying it and having them cancel the tv portion when the month ends. Parts for the antenna will be purchased shortly and hopefully I'll be able to survive on local channels, Hulu, and Netflix.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    I have a HD Antenna that's been floating around the house for going-on 6 months. I need to get off my ass and set it up. The issue is that it needs a powered amplifier and there aren't any electrical outlets in my attic (yet?). I'm thinking I can set it up behind/above the tv in my living room and it should supply to all the tvs in the house, but I just don't' have the experience with it.

  • darren66darren66 Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    You sure you need a powered amplifier? They usually don't work anyways.

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  • ironsizideironsizide You must whip it Registered User regular
    Just to confirm for you: Hulu's app on phones and tablet does Chromecast. I've been using Hulu+, Netflix, and HBO GO on my phone and Chromecast for the last 2-3 months and it's awesome. I have basic cable and the only show I have to catch there OnDemand is Justified (it'll be on Netflix eventually, but I don't wish to wait). I'm moving in a couple months and won't have cable there at all (just internet), and once I can pick up HBO with out cable, I will be as happy as a clam.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    (most of) the parts for the antenna were purchased last night, and now I just need to call Charter and tell them to go pound sand while trying to sweet-talk them into giving me a better deal on my internet ($52 a month).

    My wife is apprehensive and it annoys her to no end that I keep talking about this and am going through with it, but I'm actually rather excited about the prospect that I may like not having cable.

    I'll be saving $80 a month (minus Hulu) that I can put towards better things, like cigarettes and Jolt for my kids.

  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    And new bikes for the whole family!

  • EliminationElimination Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    Well, Netflix is $8 a month. Hulu is another $8 a month. MLB.tv is $120 a year (10 a month), IIRC.

    That's only $26 a month. My cable sub just jumped to $70ish a month and that's not counting the extra $20 for the DVR service.

    Am I missing something? (I purposely left Amazon out as I'm not entirely sold on it just yet.)

    I am crying, over here in Canada, cable + 30mbs internet hits $160, internet alone, 25mbs is $70....a month.

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  • DehumanizedDehumanized Registered User regular
    Price is very regionalized in the US. At my old house I was paying $65/mo for internet. I moved ~15 miles away and a comparable connection now runs me $30/mo.

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    yea, it's a bit of a myth. Prices for cable/internet in Canada are usually comparable to *most* cases in the US. Not exactly, we usually pay a bit more but it's not like it's 50% more like a lot of people assume.

    That doesn't mean I think the prices are reasonable, There is zero reason they need to be that high, but Canadians don't get gouged compared to US prices nearly as much as people assume.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    Finally had time to finish my antenna last night and promptly hooked it up to my tv and got jack shit.

    Now, granted, I didn't have it properly mounted in my attic, and was testing it by holding up in my bedroom, but I guess I expected something more than a garbled connection to the local Fox affiliate.

    I know it wasn't optimal conditions, but it was so disheartening to get nothing.

  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    1. What antenna did you buy?
    2. Have you checked out any of the sites that show you where to point it? http://www.antennaweb.org/

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    2. That's how I ended up with two kids.

    tsmvengy
  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    I made my own antenna. The link is in the first post.

    TV Fool told me exactly where to point it and I used a compass to get as close as I could while holding the thing with one hand.

    My dad -- who helped me build the thing -- thinks the metal bars we used for the whiskers may have been galvanized. I'm not a tools-y guy so I can't say for sure, but if it's true, there's a very good chance that it's the cause of my shitty reception. We're going to replace the whiskers with something else and re-test.

  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    I'm about to "make the call" to Comcast this week. I got my own cable modem, so I need to send their hunk of junk back, and if they can't cut at least 100 bucks off my 230 dollar a month cable bill, I'm dropping TV entirely and just upping my internet package. The only thing I watch on TV right now is live sports, and really, I don't them. I watch Formula 1 races, and that's really it these days. My NFL fix I can get at the sports bar two blocks from my house, or on broadcast TV.

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  • tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Christ, $230 a month for cable? What do you have - the plan with every premium channel?

    @SeñorAmor very cool that you made your own - hopefully you can get it working!

    tsmvengy on
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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    It was ridiculously easy, and I'm not so good with tools and stuff.

    A comparable antenna runs a good $100 and I built mine for maybe $30.

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    Mugsley wrote: »
    2. That's how I ended up with two kids.

    I'm sorry, I can't hear you over how hard I'm laughing at that.

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  • GnomeTankGnomeTank Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    tsmvengy wrote: »
    Christ, $230 a month for cable? What do you have - the plan with every premium channel?

    @SeñorAmor very cool that you made your own - hopefully you can get it working!

    Yep, because that's how Comcast gets you. They make sure they spread certain important channels through out various premium packages, and so to get NBC Sports, for instance, requires you to buy in to a top tier sports package that contains a bunch of other shit you don't care about. They also, of course, give you a "promotional price" at first, so you get complacent with the pricing, until one month you're bill goes from 140 to 230 bucks.

    I've been planning to cut the cord ever since, just working up the willpower to call and deal with Comcast's inevitable stream of bullshit when I try and cancel.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    Replaced my whiskers with metal hangers and while I could only sniff out FOX, it came in loads better than it did last night.

    I expected to at least see other channels since the rest of the affiliates are in the same area as the FOX affiliate, but got nothing. It's raining cats and dogs and I did the test from within my bedroom, so I'm sure that didn't help any, but it's a step forward. This weekend I'm going to put it up in my attic and try again.

    Progress!

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    It was ridiculously easy, and I'm not so good with tools and stuff.

    A comparable antenna runs a good $100 and I built mine for maybe $30.

    Amazon's flat antenna with a claimed 50 mile radius and power amp is $50. I only know because it's in my wish list - thinking of cutting as well. I bought a $15 one from monoprice to get a rough idea of the coverage I can expect and signal came in pretty sharp while I was just waving it around in my hand.

    My thoughts on Prime is it's not worth it for just the streaming. They have a Pandora type music thing as well so that's cool, but I have not been impressed with their video offerings. Current TV is one to seasons behind, and movies are about a year behind, with a good size older collection. And of course the shipping, but at least around here, my last two orders came faster when I selected the slowest No Rush option.

    Echo wrote: »
    Something working on the first try is a source of great suspicion.
  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    Finally had some more time to work on my antenna. Planned on putting it in my attic, only to climb into my attic and find that it's much much smaller than I remembered. I ended up wedging it up in the rafters in my garage and just hanging the coax down to a little TV I brought out and did a scan...


    Immediately found 12 channels.

    ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, The CW and a couple of crazy-ass ones I've never heard of (Me Television, I think was one).

    I have to properly secure the thing and then figure out how to get coax from my garage to my main splitter in the basement, but I think I'm good to go, all for about $30-40.

  • Jimmy KingJimmy King Registered User regular
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    Am I missing something? (I purposely left Amazon out as I'm not entirely sold on it just yet.)
    I know I stumbled in here a bit late, but it looks like the discussion is still going on.

    My experience is that Prime is nice to have for the shipping if you order from Amazon a lot and the streaming tv stuff is a nice little bonus. I wouldn't pay for Prime if thinking of the streaming as the main feature. They frequently have most seasons of a show for free and then the last 2 seasons are $3/episode, stuff will go from free to $3/episode out of nowhere, etc. I'm not even talking quality, in demand shows, but stupid stuff like "Ancient Aliens" and "Weird or What?" where I'm probably the only prime subscriber who actually watches it.

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  • MugsleyMugsley Registered User regular
    edited April 2015
    Yeah. There are some older movies and tv shows I would definitely watch via Prime if I didn't have to pay extra (both Willie Wonkas; for example). As it stands, the kids use Prime streaming occasionally for shows like Fresh Beat Band and Annedroids (Amazon-funded show); and the occasional Reading Rainbow (which also only has like the first 3 seasons).

    Luckily, we order enough from Amazon that the charges saved from shipping pay for the fee. I'd say roughly half to 2/3 of our membership fee is covered during Christmastime shipping, alone.

    I'm still being lazy about setting up the antenna I've had kicking around the house. I need to try that out.

    Mugsley on
  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    Hell, up here in Canada we don't have instant video and I still pay for Prime just for the shipping. It pays for itself in the year. I just bought a $4 cable with free 2 day shipping that would have cost me probably $5 to ship or $20 outright if I needed to walk into a brick and mortar store. (which I actually did, saw the price, and then laughed and walked away)

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    wunderbar wrote: »
    (which I actually did, saw the price, and then laughed and walked away)

    And then presumably apologized, right?

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    SeñorAmor wrote: »
    wunderbar wrote: »
    (which I actually did, saw the price, and then laughed and walked away)

    And then presumably apologized, right?

    Apologize to a $20 cable?

    Or do you mean a human being? I try not to deal with those in brick and mortar stores until I absolutely need to, which in this case I didn't.

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  • SeñorAmorSeñorAmor !!! Registered User regular
    It was a joke about you being Canadian.

    :)

  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    Oh, sorry, didn't realize.

    8-)

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  • NijaNija Registered User regular
    I have Time Warner. I cancelled cable two years ago. I called to cancel the digital tv service because I figured I could live without the local news channels and I would figure out football season when it came around. They ended up giving me digital tv for free as long as I kept the upgraded internet package. So I get digital tv and 30MB cable for $80 w/taxes. I don't feel completely screwed over, and that's a good compromise :)

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  • KamiroKamiro Registered User regular
    30Mb is the upgraded internet package? That seems standard if not on the low side.

    I get 75Mb for $49/month with Verizon

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