The game of Monopoly has always been one of my favorites. Buying up as many properties as possible and charging as much rent as possible to everyone else is the way to win.
When this happens in real life, it’s not as fun.
Most of us have very few choices when it comes to how we can enjoy televised entertainment due to cable companies and their monopolies.
I recently read a post by Tyler Stanton entitled, “Cancel Cable and Still Watch it All” (Part 1, Part 2) that gave me just the nudge I needed to finish being stuck in “research mode” and make a decision to ditch cable once-and-for-all.
We have been happy Comcast customers for a number of years. Since moving to Pennsylvania, they have been the only option for Cable Internet, so when signing up at our two homes, we have always seemed to get a deal that offered us not only internet, but cable television as well. When we moved here to Shippensburg, we were given a 6-month deal on the package and also a free upgrade which included a DVR! This month we crossed over our 6-month subscription mark and they bounced our bill up by $20/month. I called on three separate occasions and spoke with three different customer service representatives asking about what other options I had and none of them could give me anything better than what our current package included. We even talked about dropping cable television and sticking with Internet-only, but would have only saved $5 and lost all television options.
Disgusted with these options, I started researching DSL. I’ve never been a real fan of DSL – always thinking it was inferior to Cable Internet technology and availability, but was quite pleased at the speeds offered by CenturyLink and was excited by the advertised prices.
One phone call to CenturyLink and an hour-long conversation with “Anna” netted us a deal on Internet-only DSL (this is not an advertised feature, but when I asked, they told me it was possible!). We were paying for 6Mb/s speed Cable Internet through Comcast, but this DSL promises 10Mb/s speeds and would cost us less than our current TV/Internet package.
The downside, of course is the loss of all television-programming including the DVR option that our family has grown to love so much (no commercials, recording our favorite shows automatically, pausing live TV, etc.)
At the same time we have been researching Internet options, we were also looking at television-options available over the web.
Our family landed on Netflix for a few reasons. #1, we subscribed for only $7.99/month which after subscribing STILL keeps us at around $20 LESS than what we were paying for Cable & Internet through Comcast! #2, Netflix offers instant-viewing on our television thanks to our Blu-Ray player. #3, contrary to some people’s thoughts, Netflix offers a wide-range of Children’s programming that made the choice to get rid of cable and go with Netflix an easier pill to swallow.
There are a few setbacks to removing cable completely – especially for a family like ours that does enjoy numerous television series together and individually. Not every show that we like to watch (NCIS, The Mentalist) is available through Netflix (yet), but we continue to make use of the likes of Hulu.com and even CBS.com to watch some of our favorites that are made available usually the day-after the original air date.
We also decided to invest in an over-the-air antenna to attempt to pick up whatever local channels were available to us. I was actually hoping to pick up our local FOX channel so that I could pull in the Super Bowl a few weeks ago. Sadly, after hooking it up, FOX is the one local network we don’t get.
After almost a month of making the switch, I think we’re very pleased with the change. Saving money is terrific and what we have gained continues to surprise us! We’re continuing to take advantage of full seasons of Dora the Explorer, Backyardigans, and Wonder Pets (and many more) through our new Netflix account.
Have questions about our switch from Cable TV to Internet-only? Ask them in the comments and we’ll keep this conversation going!