Almost two years ago, I wrote this post about giving up cable TV. I’ve since written two updates: Update on the cable-free life and A year without cable TV, but I think this post was the most informative of them. I’m an avid TV watcher and don’t miss cable a bit. Between the shows I can watch on my Roku, the Tivo I ended up buying which records broadcast shows for me, and shows I can catch online, I have more than enough to watch. And I’m so delighted not to pay for cable TV!
I’m a huge fan of quality television. I watch a lot of TV and always have. I think it’s one reason I love knitting so much. I can knit while watching TV and feel productive. (And I find the combo really relaxing and fun.)
About two months ago, we canceled our cable TV. I never would have guessed that I would do that. We’ve always subscribed to all the premium channels and it’s hard for me to imagine I’d do without. But here I am, cable-free. Why did my husband and I cut the cord?
I’m watching as much TV as ever. But now the internet is my TV provider. We replaced the cable box with a little Roku box, which allows us to easily access streaming video from Hulu Plus and Netflix, as well as Amazon Instant Video. We paid $99 for the Roku box and we pay $7.99 a month each for the Hulu Plus and Netflix Watch Instantly (we were already paying $7.99 a month for Netflix before we cut out cable) and we pay $79.00 a year for Amazon Prime, which, among other benefits, allows us to stream certain content free of charge.
We can watch web-only content (like CBS shows) by hooking up a laptop to the TV. We spent $30 on an HDMI adapter to allow us to do that.
We can also watch live programming on the five major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS) over the air, free of charge. (We bought an indoor antenna to make that happen.)
So let’s add it up:
$7.99 a month for Hulu Plus
$7.99 a month for Netflix (which we were paying anyway)
$6.58 a month for Amazon Prime (and we also get free second-day shipping and Kindle book sharing)
That’s a total of $22.56 a month. Plus there were the one-time charges:
$99 for the Roku box
$30 for the laptop adapter
$50 for the indoor antenna
That’s $179 in up-front, one-time costs.
In the first year, counting those one-time expenses, we will have spent just under $450 on television viewing. If we’d stuck with Charter, that same year would have cost us $1,715 (counting the Netflix we were already paying for). A savings of 75 percent! Not counting the one-time charges, the savings is 85 percent.
That’s huge. And I’m never short of things to watch, because I’m the kind of gal who loves to watch multiple episodes of a TV series in a row. So right now I’m alternating between Parenthood and Sports Night. (Love that Peter Krause!)
I’ll occasionally pay for episodes of certain shows, via Amazon or iTunes, I expect. But that’s okay when I compare it with the money we’re saving.
The one thing I miss is a DVR for the live programming. If I had it to do over again, I might consider spending $99 on a Tivo, rather than Roku, which I now know offers the same streaming services, plus it’s a DVR. But I’d have to pay $20 a month for the DVR service. I’m looking into ways to make the laptop we have connected to the TV serve as a DVR.
Going without cable has been surprisingly pain-free. And I know we’re going to enjoy the savings!