Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cutting the cord (getting rid of cable) UPDATE

I have been meaning to write this post for awhile now. It came to mind recently as a few people have asked me again how it's going.

So earlier this spring we cut the cord on cable. It started off by Aaron tracking what we watched on TV. Turned out most of it was on network television (not counting movies).

Watch every week

FOX - House, Glee, Bones, Fringe, Family Guy

ABC - Modern Family

SCIFI - Warehouse 13

HBO - True Blood

Watch occasionally

Food Network - Giada at Home, Everyday Italian, Nigella, Good Eats

Discovery Channel - Dirty Jobs, Auction Kings, Mythbusters

Hallmark Channel - Martha

DIY Network - House Hunters

PBS - Antique Roadshow, America's Test Kitchen

So we stopped cable completely, returned the DVR, bought a digital antennae for about $20, a Roku for $100, added Netflix streaming (recently went up to $16 for 1 DVD and the streaming) and added Hulu Plus for $8 a month. We kept TW Roadrunner for high speed internet to run everything on. It's about $30. But we were paying that before.

$120 one time cost + $54 monthly cost = a heck of a lot less than cable.

So how has it been without cable.

The good

If I miss one of my network shows live - they are all on Hulu Plus.

They are putting interesting things on Hulu Plus - just watched The Piano. All the old Incredible Hulk episodes are there too.

I watch a lot of good stuff on Netflix - old movies I forgot about but love (Robocop), older movies I missed (Forget Paris) and TV shows I missed (The Tudors).

If you have kids there are a lot of Nickolodeon shows on Netflix streaming.

Most new movie releases are available on Amazon streaming - a SD new release is $2 for 48 hours... I watched Red Riding Hood, I am Number Four and Beastly on Amazon - was pretty happy with the experience.

We are paying $24 a month! ($54 if you count the internet connection.)

The bad

TV episodes typically aren't avaible on Hulu Plus until the next day.

Some Hulu Plus shows are only available on the computer, like Fringe. I can't watch Fringe episodes on the Roku or even my iPad. Only the computer. Many of the cable shows like The Barefoot Contessa are like that. Or they direct you to the cable webpage to watch it like Deadliest Catch.

Not everything is on Netflix. There isn't a huge selections of new movie releases. They are older movies, B movies and independent and foreign films.

Stuff comes and goes on Netflix. The Social Network and Pushing Daisies used to be available streaming, now they are not.

I do miss True Blood and Warehouse 13 (oh hey, Warehouse 13 is on Hulu - nevermind!). I have been going to Tina's house to watch True Blood on Sunday nights. If I didn't have her, well I guess I would wait for it to come out on DVD and get it through Netflix.

Overall - Am I happy we cut the cord? Yes.

PS - Roku just announced a $60 box and you can play Angry Birds on the the higher end $100 box!



  1. ooh, didn't know forget paris was on netflix streaming, thanks! love that movie...not enough ppl appreciate it.

  2. This is the perfect post at the perfect time! We just ordered a Roku to test it out, and I had the exact plan as you described. My one big question is what about Showtime shows (like Dexter and Shameless)? I see that you can get them off Amazon VOD, but what about the new seasons - do you know if Amazon offers a TV pass for those shows? They off all the past seasons, I just dont know what is going to happen when the new season comes out. I take it you cant get any HBO shows at all, even if they aren't new? Thanks for this post!!

  3. We have the same setup thanks to a Roku we got for free, and minus the digital antenna. Our basic 12-channel cable lineup/high speed internet bundle saves us some money (and we get free HBO!). I'm considering dumping the cable altogether, especially now that Netflix is going up. The only show I really miss is Doctor Who, but I can buy a season pass on Amazon. I can't imagine going back to paying up to $100+ on tv...

  4. You could easily hook up a computer to your tv and use the tv as one big monitor!

  5. Not that I do this, of course, but you can find most HBO shows on youtube the day after they air, and they're usually up for a few days until youtube finds them and takes them down. I watched all of Game of Thrones, and am now watching all of True Blood. The quality is sometimes sketchy, but I can't wait until a year later for the DVDs to come out! A tip is to search by the episode name.

  6. I have been wanting to do this for so long, but my husband is hesitant. We pay over $150.00 a month for cable and internet. That doesn't include Netflix and the kid's Gamefly account.

    Our only problem is we watch a lot of sports. College and professional football, baseball and racing. We wouldn't be able to watch these on the computer or through a roku, even with an antenna. What to do, what to do? Must do more research or just take out a second mortgage on the house for the cable bill, Hee hee.

  7. I second this! Except we use DSL ($12.95/month) so it's even less expensive. There are "independent apps" that you can connect to your Roku where people create a feed for TV shows that are web-only, like, say Adult Swim. The one that I have tried is Nowhere TV ( which is free. This one uses a DVR-like service to sling the content to Roku, 5 at a time. This means that the episodes change frequently (especially Adult Swim where they repeat their content blocks 2-3 times a day). Not a problem for me - especially since it's free! The quality can be low sometimes, but again: free!

    We signed up for Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus to replace our Blockbuster by mail service. We supplement that with Amazon rentals, which is perfect for us. Plus, we save something like $60 a month. Not too shabby!

  8. We haven't had cable for 2 years now - it is a huge money saver, and I find myself watching a lot less "worthless tv" :)

    I do miss: Food network/cooking channel, HGTV, and Martha. Netflix or hulu should get on that :) Though I find even when I watch those channels at other people's houses, they are still showing the same repeats I've seen 2 years ago! LOL

  9. Jenny - this is so helpful. We've been using Tivos w/ cable and curious about cutting the cord. I think the time has come.
    PS, I also noticed no more Pushing Daisies on Netflix streaming and was bummed - the production design on that show alone merits repeated viewings.

  10. Three words: Project Free it. And like ACK said, hook your computer up to your tv! The cable should be fairly cheap.

  11. Interesting idea to hook the computer up to the tv but I'm always using my computer while I'm watching tv shows and movies. Much cheaper to buy a $60 or $100 Roku than another computer.

  12. Thanks for the tips! we also do not have cable. Will look into the Roku. who do you use for high speed internet? We live in Rochester and have TWC but it's $55/month. would love to get it down to $30!

  13. My hubby built some kind of HD antennae (plans online for free). It works! We catch free HD - like PBS, etc. Nice! It is even behind the tv buffet. My friend has hers in her attic. So it does not need to be displayed (it has sharp metal and i was worried about the kids).

  14. But you do have me :) and I love having you over for Sunday dinner and True Blood! A tradition we should keep!

  15. went with an HD digital air antenna. pull in 67 channels anything else is done online at no cost