Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cutting the Cable

First, my rig:

Living Room
- 32" flat panel TV
- Older digital audio receiver
- Playstation 3
- A Laptop (More on this in a moment)

- Smaller flat panel TV
- Roku Player

The Experience has been a good one so far. Before cutting, our bill was $120 monthly from Time Warner Cable with the HD package (underwhelming if I may say so), Two boxes which we had to rent, and cable internet. The offering just felt like a bad deal to me, so we began to take a hard look at the shows we really watch. We discovered that we really only care about one show in synidcation (The Closer on TNT) and that there were alternatives to paying over $1,000 a year for just that one show. The only other network we remotely cared about was ESPN because we are LSU grads, and college sports matter to us.

I would have been content to keep the cable internet and cut everything else, but Time Warner brokered a unique deal with ESPN that prevents non-TV cable subscribers from streaming content from ESPN3 (The answer to our sports prayers). So we dropped cable internet, which I think was $40 a month and switched to the best available DSL package from AT&T and bundled with our wireless, so it costs $15 a month.

The PS3 has streaming Netflix and Hulu Plus, which covers about 95% of the things we like to watch. To get the remaining 5%, we subscribed to Playon to stream stuff from the Food Network and Comedy Central to the PS3. And for the Closer, we will subscribe to Amazon Video on Demand when the show comes out. Though a season might cost $30, it's still cheaper than carrying cable costs.

I bought the Roku after learning that Hulu Plus would soon be available, and that it could stream Netflix to that TV, which is important to my wife. Aside from these two, the other web based content is fascinating and will probably keep me busy for years to come.