Saturday, March 9, 2013

So why are you still paying tv cable or satellite fees?

When I was single, some twenty years ago, I prided myself on NOT owning a television. I had always believed that time in front of the tube was time not spent making dreams come true. Then I got married and discovered that television is almost a prerequisite of family life. So, for the following two decades, after purchasing my first television, I have paid either packaged cable or satellite television fees…fees I ignored—

Until last year!

Last year, we had a service problem and I called the cable company directly. Imagine my shock to discover that our prepackaged entertainment was costing in the triple digits each month. Beyond the cost, what really aggravated me was that the service was poor and I always felt there was nothing to watch. It took a few discussions, but I finally convinced my wife that it was a waste of money and life. We canceled the service while simultaneously signing up for Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming services…at a combined cost of $16 per month. That’s a savings of more than $100 per month!

Here’s the amazing thing. I lost nearly 200 channels but now always have something to watch. On Netflix, I have been able to watch endless episodes of Star Trek, The Shield and various other shows that I really had missed. I have also been able to watch those episodes anytime I want. I could view half, one or endless episodes at a time.

Hulu Plus also allows my wife to watch most of the shows from the major networks. Furthermore, an antenna and digital converter allow us to view CBS and other current shows that Hulu Plus does not carry. In short, we have lost almost nothing and have gained a universe of reruns that we already know we like.

Now, here’s the exciting part: Netflix just produced “House of Cards” a fabulous and expensive television show that cost four times what most networks are spending per episode. They also have coming: Hemlock Grove (a four million per episode werewolf program), a similarly high-end Dreamworks live animation show as well as ten new episodes of Arrested Development, which I have yet to see. Hulu Plus is also gearing up for its own original high-end programing. Amazon and a few other streaming companies are also coming online for equally affordable fees with some new programming, as well.

In short, the days of forcing viewers to buy hundreds of channels they don’t want is coming to an end. Instead, a new paradigm is forming where we get to pay a lot less for services that offer television shows and movies we want to view.

So, I hope you will consider abandoning your current prepackaged entertainment and swapping for the new streaming services. Why? Even if you can afford your current channel conglomeration, once enough of us unplug, ALL channels will be forced to up their game. We’ll have more and better shows, and we’ll be able to purchase just the channels we like. If you love crime shows, imagine what it would be like to view spectacular new crime shows with equally spectacular actors anytime you wanted. Also imagine how happy you would be to NOT pay for reality TV, cooking shows or home improvement shows that you might not like.

If I’m going to invest my time in relaxation, it should be high-quality relaxation. For me, a television filled with only high quality sci-fi and fantasy (not the current string of sci-fi channel schlock) would be the dream. Netflix and Hulu Plus suggest that dream might not be so half-baked.

So why did you say you’re still paying cable or satellite fees?

Happy streaming!  


  1. Someday, I might understand how all this streaming and similar systems work, but for now I'm stuck with what I've got. It's good to know there are options.

  2. If you're like the rest of us, Richard, you'll ask your kids or grandkids to hook up to new services. I swear, kids today are born with an a built-in knowledge of all things technology. Thanks for stopping by. 'Hope you're having a great weekend!

  3. My hubby is so unhappy with TWC's non-weather stuff, maybe I'll finally convince him to go basic TV and get Netflix. LOL

    1. Meg: I hope it works out for you. The savings are great...and the chance to shake up the system when enough of us do this is exciting. I appreciate you stopping by :-)

  4. Great post, Tim. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now. And the options seem to get better every few months. Maybe I’ll try again to talk my wife into it. We’d save at least 100 bucks a month.

    1. Stephen, there is an impressive benefit available for anyone that disconnects and changes their minds. My cable company offered all kinds of discounts and special promotions when I asked to disconnect. They offered even better promotions after I did. In short, you might cut your cable bill in half just for leaving the company for a week or two :-) Either way, I hope you next move is fun and profitable :-)

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