We did it! We cut the cord, so to speak. I ditched cable this last week and went internet only. I’ve been considering it for about a year or so. The idea of not being able to just absent-mindedly channel surf was of concern though.
I watch a fair amount of TV; however, it revolves around a very limited number of channels. And let’s face it, TV competes with my video games pretty often as well. Like many people, subsidizing a giant list of channels I never watch burns my ass to no-end. I watch 15-20 channels tops and that includes a couple of the multiplex movie channels. Cable and internet thru “Comcrack” was runing us roughly $170.00 a month. At $170.00 a month, the bloat clearly outweighs the benefit.
So after reading yet another news feed on how Comcast is constantly trying to break the internet while simultaneously screwing over it’s customers, I decided to ditch them all together. We signed up for Wave Broadband’s gigabit internet service. Some of you may remember I left Wave over a year ago after months of intermittent service and never ending home visits that amounted to squat. I was reticent to jump back into Wave but being the only provider so far to offer gigabit service to my address, I took a chance.
So far it has paid off. The service isn’t quite gigabit speeds and fluctuates quite a bit. It will go as low as 200 and as high as 800 Mbps.1 It hovers around 500 Mbps consistently. They need a tech to work on the pole on my street to increase it (allegedly). And while that might seem rough, think about it for a second. My lowest speed is double what I was paying for Comcast. It’s $70.00 a month for the first year including the modem/router. I’m saving $100.00 a month right off the bat. The savings will decrease as we add other necessary services. We already had Hulu so I am not counting it toward the monthly savings.
Shawn only cares about the pings, which hovers between 4-20. Again a wide fluctuation but still at it’s worst it isn’t bad. So I’m willing to work thru it at this point. And since they waived the first month of service and the installation fees, I figure they are trying hard to earn back my business.
The biggest struggle, as expected, has been the withdrawal from channel surfing. It bothers me. It’s almost always garbage TV or shows/movies I’ve seen countless times but having the option go missing is oddly disconcerting. Having a Tivo usually allowed me to avoid live TV for the most part. I loathe f**king commercials. Sadly, I bought one of the versions of Tivo that doesn’t support OTA broadcasts. FML right? lol I invested in a digital antenna that works pretty good. Honestly though, I doubt we’ll watch much live TV.
I am adapting, albeit slowly. We signed up briefly for Sling TV, which for some is probably a good deal. However, unlike Hulu, you cannot skip commercials, even on shows you DVR’d to their cloud.2 I got rid of it before the trial had even expired. I’d rather just buy the shows I like outright and watch them commercial free. And while that does add up in the short term, in the long run I still save more money. And frankly, I like spending money on things I value vs endless channels I never even tune-in once.
Buying a season of a given show runs between $15.00 and $25.00. At an average of $20.00 a season, even if I buy 10 different shows, that is only 2 months of previous cable service. I did add HBO and Starz thru my Google+ account so that knocked the savings down to $75.00 a month. Again, still a value to me. All of it averaged together I figure I’ll end up saving around $50.00 a month For that I’m getting gigabit speed internet (for the most part) and the joy of never having to watch commercials. A much better value than I was getting before and the savings adds up to a whopping $600 bucks a year!
It isn’t all rosy though. Navigating which shows you can get where can be a royal pain in the ass. Some shows air the same season on Hulu as they do live. Some shows run a season behind. Some shows aren’t even available on Hulu at all. Premium movie channels like HBO are prevalent almost everywhere so they are relatively easy to find. Basically, you have to review all the shows you like or watch and chase them down. Once you get past that hurdle it’s pretty smooth sailing. And none of these services require a contract or commitment so you can add/remove anytime your favorite show airs.
If you don’t mind commercials, Sling TV and/or Vue are probably the two best for choice and flexibility. Hulu is decent but lacking in many areas;however, it allows you to watch almost everything commercial free.3 YouTube TV is pretty basic but if you watch the basics you’re covered. I don’t know if it forces you to watch commercials or not as I didn’t try it out. It was missing several of my favorite channels.
All things considered, I’m happy with the decision so far. I let Comcast overlap until I finalize whether Wave can deliver. The abrupt and jarring end to channel surfing is slowly wearing off. The are other ways to surf anyway and I’m happier with my options.
- megabits per second [↩]
- Yes, I know Comcast owns a chunk of Hulu. I can’t avoid them completely it seems [↩]
- A few of the most popular shows require you to watch a commercial before and after. [↩]