I think I’ve failed to mention this over the past week or two, but after seeing positive results I felt the need to share. We’ve completely cut our TV service. We’re going 100% streaming, and it’s awesome.
Our average cable bill was $250. That’s insane. We were using AT&T Uverse in a combo package with TV, Internet and Home Phone. The introductory price (as seen on the commercials) was $99. Over the past two years they’ve raised the TV price by $20, and for some crazy reason, the phone price as well. Also, after the introductory period ended, they started charging for the DVR, the 2 receivers, call notes (on the phone), and a half dozen other things. I had enough. In the grand scheme of things $250 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was my 2nd highest monthly bill. Only my car payment was higher.
I got fed up and decided to make a change. I kept only the Internet portion of the Uverse service, and actually increased it from 18mbps to 24mpbs. My entire bill is now $60. Since we already pay for Amazon Prime (well worth the $79/year) we have access to all of that video library via the PS3 (which is free compared to XBL). I’m also considering reinstating my Netflix account, streaming only, for $7.99. $68 total is quite a bit better than $250. Both Netflix and Amazon have huge libraries, including a lot of Sesame Street and other children’s programming that our kiddo enjoys, and more than enough of a backlog of good shows we never watched to keep us busy if we get the urge to watch something. Tudors, Breaking Bad, 24, it’s all there if we want it.
I also picked up, for under $20, an over-the-air HD receiver. I set it up above the entertainment center and we now get the 4 local stations (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) for free. I did that in case of emergencies. I didn’t want to be completely information-less in the event a hurricane was headed our way. $20 for a little redundancy, well worth it.
Honestly, we were watching less and less TV anyway. Kids take up 99.9% of your free time. After getting her to bed at 8:00 every night, there’s only about 2-3 hours left in the tank before I pass out. I’d rather spend that time with the wife, or playing a game, or blogging, or sorting cards. TV was so low on the list that it was easy to cut it out entirely.
Growing up, my parents always told us that, after finishing our homework, we had 1 hour we could use the TV. Not watch, use. That meant that you had to decide if you wanted to play Atari, or watch cartoons. Usually I opted for 30mins of Mighty Mouse and 30mins of gaming. Other than that, we were told to play outside. Looking back, it’s one of the things I think my parents did absolutely right. I wanted to pass on those good habits to my little one. So, we let her watch Sesame Street or Shaun the Sheep for about 30mins in the morning while we’re getting ready for work. That’s it. No TV in the afternoons and evenings. That’s family time.
The cost savings alone were worth it, but the added family time was equally important to us.
If the cable companies ever switch to an à la carte system, I’d consider signing up for a station or two, but that would be the only way I’d come back. Paying for 250 channels I don’t watch was simply a waste. I’ve been happily streaming shows for 2 weeks now, haven’t had a problem finding and/or missing any content I wanted to see, and have no plans to go back. I’m feeling good about this one.