Cutting the Cable Cord: What Worked For Me

June 2, 2015

It has been about 18 months since I wrote about getting rid of cable and the big monthly bill that comes with it. So, how have I done with that plan? I’ll admit, I stalled a few months. It was winter, and I typically watch more TV when it is dark and cold outside. Then I was further delayed by an unfortunate run-in with mono, which laid me up on my couch for over a month (confession: I added to my cable package then to get access to HBO and Showtime since I couldn’t do anything else while I was sick).

But, after that, it was time to call it quits. I could no longer justify the $140 per month that I was sending to my cable company.

My cable replacements 

I am not a huge TV watcher to begin with, so I am able to get most of what I want through network TV anyway. I bought a $40 antennae at Costco, and am able to receive a very good HD signal for all the network channels through the antennae. In addition, I recently bought a TiVo Roamio so that I can record shows to watch later. The TiVo does have a monthly service fee ($14.99), but to me it is worth it to be able to record the shows that I want (which I was previously paying my cable company $140 per month to do).

Sure, the channel options are more limited, but it works for me. TiVo also integrates with Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu so I can stream shows from those services as well. I am an Amazon Prime member so I can stream many shows and movies for no additional charge. I originally purchased Amazon Prime to get free shipping on my purchases, but now that I have quit cable, I have really taken advantage of the streaming capabilities. Overall, I save $125 per month with my new set-up.

Other new(er) options

Sling TV was launched in February and may be the answer sports fans have been waiting for. One of the greatest problems with cutting cable is you lose out on a lot of sports channels, other than what is being broadcast over local network TV. With SlingTV, you pay $20 per month and get access to ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, HGTV, and others. For $15 more per month, you can add HBO and on-demand. Sling lets you watch your content anywhere (TV, tablet, phone, computer) at any time you want. If ESPN and ESPN2 aren’t enough for you sports fans, take a look at my previous blog to see even more options for watching live sports broadcasts.

PlayStation Vue (not yet available in Colorado, but hopefully soon):
If you have a PlayStation, you can add Vue at a cost of $50-70 per month, depending on what channels you want to access. Vue lets you watch live programming from several of the large broadcast and cable networks, including sports and local network content. It will also let you record the content to watch later (much like a DVR), and there is a large library of on-demand content. Some of the networks that participate are NBCUniversal, CBS, FOX, TLC, E!, and AMC.

With these new options, it is getting easier to cut the cable cord and still get the content you want for a lower price. Have you changed the way you view TV? What works for you?