Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ditching the Cable?

During our morning walk yesterday morning, Dylan mentioned an article he read on Wired on the Geekdad blog about "Cable Cutting." He said it talked about a family that decided to give up their TV cable 3 weeks ago and there was an update on their progress.

For some reason, it sounded like a really great idea to me. We talked about it a lot that morning and then some more after work when I had done some research. Allow me to walk you through what we have thought about.

The reasons we are considering dropping our DirecTV:

1) The cost is definitely the biggest factor. We pay $100 a month for our DirecTV. (well I just got it down $10 a month when I called them last week, FYI). That includes two HD Receivers, one of which is DVR, and HBO. That is $1,200 a year that I could spend somewhere else.

2) We really don't want that much TV. We have all these channels, but we really only watch the couple shows that we record. How can there be so many channels and nothing on? And most of the time when we do watch TV, both of us are on the laptop or our iPhones doing something else at the same time.

3) Like I said, we only watch a couple shows, and most of them are available online. We mostly watch ABC shows, some CBS and a couple FOX. Then we have some HBO shows we watch when they are on.

4) Do we really need to be watching TV? With both of us needing to get in better shape (especially since Dylan mentioned wanting to go on a cruise this Spring!) and the puppies wanting more love, we definitely don't need to spend our time watching TV that we don't really need or want to watch.

I am still really surprised that I am so jazzed about this idea! I think it is the combination of savings, better use of our time and the fact that technology is so much better we can still watch most of our shows.

I think the biggest hurdles are:

1) HBO. Two of our absolute favorite shows are True Blood and Game of Thrones. These are shows that we both make sure we pay full attention to and that we crave to watch each week. Currently, HBO Go is only offered to people who have a subscription through their cable/satellite provider. Games of Thrones is on in the Spring and True Blood is on in the summer. I am surprised we didn't think earlier about dropping HBO during the months we don't have a show we want to watch, especially at $15 a month. We can hope the HBO Go starts going direct to customers by the time Game of Thrones starts, but I think that is unlikely. I looked into some articles about HBO Go and they have said they are not currently pursuing direct to customer, but they didn't say that they wouldn't do it. So without TV our options would be to may be try to find a watch party or to just wait until they come out on DVD. Most of the time that is like 4 months later, but for Game of Thrones, which ended in like June, the first season comes out in March... But for two shows is it worth spending $100? Probably not.

2) Not being able to channel surf. There are times when you don't really know what you want to watch so you surf. We will have to know what we want to watch and load that up or pop in a DVD. But think about even on those days when we stay home all day or are sick, we theoretically have a little extra spending money and you can go buy a season of a show you want.

Like I said, I am really excited about this idea! But how exactly do we plan on implementing it?

First, we are planning to wait to drop our DirecTV until we get our new TV probably in February. We want to get one with internet capabilities. Then we can stream from our computers to the TV or have more functionality on the TV.

Second, we will buy a digital antenna and see what channels we have. According to Antennas Direct 
we should receive CW, CBS, ABC, NBC, MyTv (our Local NBC other station), PBS, FOX, IND and ION (no idea what the last two are...). So that covers most of what we watch in terms of shows. We will probably do this in January, since it is only like $20 so that we know what to expect.

Third, we will see how that goes for a while, then look into getting a streaming service if we feel like we want something else. There are A LOT out there! Obviously Netflix ($8 a month), but TiVo has a service ($20 a month), there are some, like Playon, that are just one payment a year ($40 the first year, then $30 a year after that currently). A lot of different options. We will probably utilize our PS3 as our streaming device since we already have that.

One of my other concerns was if we would ever go back to getting cable/satellite? (By the way, we really do love our DirecTV! I heartily believe it is the best option in our area in terms of use and options.) I initially thought we might once we have kids. But, if we don't have a streaming system by the time we have kids that would watch TV, we would get one. There are so many shows available on Netflix, including the shows I used to watch! Besides, do I really need or want my kids to spend more time watching TV? And by the time our kids exist and actively would watch TV, I am sure each of us will have our own tablets or computers.

I really think we will be moving forward on this early this next year. I am so glad Dylan mentioned the article and that we are looking into this. It can never hurt to save money and spend less time watching TV!

See what we ended up doing HERE!

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