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Dear PoPville – Canceling Cable Advice

by Prince Of Petworth February 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm 73 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Rukasu1

Dear PoPville,

I was curious if PoPville has any experience with “cord cutting” (i.e. canceling cable on using online streaming services). Our Comcast bill for TV/internet is very expensive (~$175/month – granted, we have the ‘deluxe package’ with two boxes, a DVR and HBO), but we are thinking about dropping it and getting an indoor antenna (to get local channels), Apple TV or a Roku for streaming, and paying for subscriptions to for Hulu Plus and Netflix. After the intitial hardware costs (~$150), we assume we can drop our monthly bill for everything by about $100 (to ~$75). We figured the tech savvy crowd would have some opinions and experiences to share.

  • KenyonDweller

    I haven’t had cable in 20 years, and technology makes this easier and easier. We have a wifi-enabled blue ray player that streams Netflix, which is supplemented by their DVDs. We get network TV with high quality rabbit ears, and the digital signal is excellent. We have a DVR that allows us to record broadcast shows. This is all the TV we need, and the only monthly fee is the small Netflix charge.

    But, we’re not big sports fans, which I understand is what keeps lots of people tethered to big brother Comcast.

    • KenyonDweller

      Of course we do also pay for internet. We have DSL. That plus Netflix is still cheaper than cable, and there is the added bonus of never being dicked around by a cable company.

    • SawItAgain

      We had RCN for years but got tired of the high bills – so we cut cable about a year ago. As many people stated there are lots of options available.

      Here is how things went for us.
      bought Tivo box and got:
      heavy duty antenna for free with Tivo
      got 6 months of Hulu plus for free with Tivo
      Brother gave us his Roku
      Had Netflix streaming account

      We wound up going back to RCN cable about 8 months later – here is why:
      Sports and news – basically the 2 live type of programs you want – streaming doesn’t help very much.

      But what really caused us to return was the reception. It is our location in our condo building – our reception was awful. We experimented with many types of antennas – but for our location in the building (facing alleyway and sloping into the ground) nothing worked. Every time a car drove down the alley the broadcast would freeze.

      In the future when we move we would definitely think about going back to no cable but I think we are just in a bad location.

  • m

    Try searching AskMetafilter for this – it comes up frequently. We looked into it recently, and the upshot seemed to be that it’s a good idea unless you are really into sports. If you’re really into sports it’s hard to get all the games you want (especially college) unless you have a cable package.

    • Anonymous

      if you are really into sports, try first row sports dot eu. download the ad blocker for chrome and just don’t click anything except for the link for the game and the full screen button…I’ve been using it for a long time and have not had any issues. It is the only way i can watch UCF games up here.

  • Anonymous

    From what you wrote I’m assuming you mean you just want to cut out your cable tv, and not both cable and internet (because then how would you run your streaming services?)

    We decided after moving that we wanted to reduce our monthly entertainment bill, which was basically as high as yours, and so now we have cable internet and Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. We pay a fraction of what we used to and I find that I basically don’t miss regular television at all. While there are certain shows that won’t stream on any service (Justified and the Walking Dead for example), I find that most new stuff I want will show up on Hulu. Also, we hooked our tv up to the cable outlet for basic channels, for which we don’t pay a dime. We have an Xbox 360 that we use for streaming, so we don’t need a Roku, but I know someone who owned one and he highly recommended it.

    So, unless you have some must-see television that won’t stream (although there are internet options…) I’d highly recommend cutting your cords. Also, added bonus for us this past year: I didn’t see a single televised campaign ad unless I was at a bar or went to a friend’s house and they had their tv on. That’s something you basically can’t put a price on.

    • Psmitty

      Just a heads-up: you can stream the Walking Dead (and other FX shows) from Amazon, you just have to pay for each episode. Still… it’s cheaper to buy the very occasional show than to pay for cable television with a DVR. I’ve had a Roku now for over two years, and haven’t missed cable at all (except for Game of Thrones on HBO, but that’s what friends are for). If you don’t care too much about sports, then do it.

      • UStreeter

        Walking Dead is actually free if you have Amazon Prime.

  • ah

    I know I’m changing the question, but have you called Comcast to threaten to leave and see if they would offer any rate discounts? (and this puts aside the idea of dialing back your service level).

    • Anonymous

      Apparently this doesn’t work anymore. Even if you actually cancel. Because so many people were threatening to cancel and then backing down when they didn’t get a lower price.

      • Anonymous

        Um, I called literally yesterday and said I wanted to cancel my service and they immediately offered me the same cable + internet package, plus HBO, at about $40 less per month for a year (from $140/mo to $100). Plus they credited me back $23 from my last bill.

        • utterlyanon

          i called comcast about every 6 months to lower my bill. actually it was for internet (i had the most basic cable at $15/month). I didn’t even threaten to leave, just asked how I could lower my internet bill with promotion and they did it every time. Usually from the $49/month to something like $33/month.

  • jem

    My sister and her husband did this in Boston a couple of years ago. He’s a huge baseball fan so continues to subscribe to a special package for that and they get the local channels through a very basic cable package (I think it’s less than $10/month). They have a Roku that they stream Hulu and Netflix through. They seem to have had no problem making the switch and they save a lot of money.

  • We have an apple tv, subscriptions to netflix and hulu plus, and a $10 rabbit-ear antenna. It’s more than enough.

    We also have a cable splitter between the wall and the modem and we can plug the tv into the internet cable. It’s a little-known fact, but you get clean digital signals for non-pay channels that way too (google QAM channels). That’s nice if it’s windy or the antenna is otherwise interfered with. Sometimes there are pay channels in there too–I used to get Discovery. But the cable companies constantly change and re-change the channel order, so it can be annoying (that’s their goal).

    You can control the apple tv with an iphone or ipad and you can watch almost anything you can find on the internet.

    It’s totally workable

  • We just have comcast internet, ~$50 a month, and then a Roku with Hulu and Netflix subscription – $15-$20 per month. We get around 5 channels on our digital antenna for things like Today show and Meet the Press. Haven’t had cable in 2 years and definitely don’t miss it.

    • Anon

      You only get 5 channels!?! I get at least 30 over the air.

      • Anonymous

        not the OP, but….. I get 30 stations with my rabbit ears, too, but would tell you I get half a dozen. I don’t count the Spanish or Asian language stations or the station that shows nothing but weather radar, or the one that shows religious cartoons every time I’ve turned it on. So it’s basically the broadcast networks and a couple of different PBS options.

    • blur

      You should play around with your antenna placement. I get 35 channels with it set up a few feet from our west-facing window.

      • sounds like we need a new antenna! will look into a replacement. good to know there’s more to life out there. ;)

    • if you have a wireless router too close to the antenna, you’re going to lose a lot of channels. mess around with the antenna placement and re-scan for channels.

  • Although I am a bit of an Apple fanboy, I wouldn’t recommend the Apple TV at this point. Sure it plays well with your other Apple devices, but there is not much content available from channel providers, unlike the Roku, which has tons of both free and subscription content. Also, the Roku has access to a number of sports packages like MLB.tv and NHL Gamecenter, which you can subscribe to for a monthly payment that is significantly less than you would spend on your cable bill. If you don’t care much about content beyond Netflix and Hulu, an Apple TV or a wifi-enabled Blueray player should do the trick. Other options with a bit more content include the PS3 (which plays Bluerays) and the Xbox 360 (which does not play Bluerays). I think the PS3 gives you the option of purchasing an NFL package, in addition to MLB and NHL.

    • Ben

      While I partly agree with you – Apple has updated the “channels” available in the ATV significantly in the past few years.

      They now offer MLB.tv, NHL, NBA and a few others. The only one major one missing is HBO (coming soon apparently) and Amazon’s.

      • saf

        The problem with Apple’s MLB tv is that you cannot get your local team.

        • Good point. I forget that because I’m from Philly. In that case, I would recommend getting an HDMI cable for your computer to hook up to your TV and using a proxy server to access your sports subscription service.

          Also could get someone to give you their slingbox feed and view that way – maybe toss them a few bucks.

          Or, if you’re really hard up, check this out: http://livetv.ru/en/

    • D

      Xbox is the way to go. It’s not often that MS outdoes the competition lately, but in terms of set top boxes (that in this case happens to be a good video game console too) Xbox has the most streaming content and a very good, frequently improving interface. I also have a Roku too and a few Apple products, but the Xbox has been key to not missing cable.

  • If you cut your cable, the cost of your internet will jump up to like $70 (Comcast charges a premium for internet only). So you won’t save $100 per month, but you can prob. save quite a bit.

    • Anonymous

      Ah, then that would explain my $40/ mo cable bill for internet only from Comcast.

    • blur

      It sucks, but if you haggle with Comcast every six months, you can get internet-only for 40 bucks. My girlfriend and I cut cable a few months ago and talked them down on the internet price, and we’re enjoying saving $100 dollars a month.

      • Anonymous

        So what about internet and phone only? I need a landline also, and I can’t find any option for those two services that’s cheaper than the Comcast TV/phone/internet bundle (even though we don’t use the TV at all).

  • Anonymous

    I cut the cable cord about 2 months ago. I had RCN for internet and cable with my own Tivo (service direct with Tivo – not through RCN). I was paying around $130 and cut my bill down to $50 for 20 mbps internet with RCN. I also subscribe to netflix and have amazon prime. I bought the most popular over the air HD antenna on amazon (~$30) and couldn’t be happier. I pick up all the networks + pbs in HD for free. I can still tivo my shows and stream amazon and netflix. All in all, I’m happy I made the switch and wish I had done it a year earlier.

  • Anonymous

    We did this after we moved a few months ago. I find that I don’t really miss cable all that much (except for HGTV- I do still mourn that loss). We have both a Roku and Apple TV. I would describe my TV watching habits prior to canceling cable as moderate to low. I watched two or three channels regularly, but that was about it.

    As far as the devices- they basically do the same thing. I definitely like the interface of the Apple TV better (and it’s faster), but if you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you cannot use it on your Apple TV. You can, however, use it on Roku. Roku also has a handy app you can download called Plex, which lets you stream any video file you have on your computer to your Roku. I’m not sure if Apple TV has anything similar, but maybe someone else would know.

    On a side note, I hope if enough people start doing this, cable companies will be forced to start offering channels a la carte rather than as a package. Paying $80 (or more) a month to watch two or three channels with 100s of others you never look at is a total waste.

    • Guessing this only applies if you have all Mac products, but you can desktop share to your TV with an Apple TV. So this way you could watch your Amazon Prime movies on your TV screen. You can also screen share with your iPhone or iPad, so if I am watching youtube videos or looking through photos I can pop them up on my TV screen. You can also access your iTunes through the Apple TV if you have a nice soundsystem for your TV.

      • Anonymous

        Oh yeah, I forgot about Air play! Unfortunately if you have a pre-2011 mac or do not have Mountain Lion, you don’t have this option. As for ipad or iphone, the newer ones will work, but some content (such as amazon) is still restricted from being air played from these devices.

        But yes, it is a cool feature! I imagine it works best if you have a Mac that supports it as you can actually mirror your desktop to the TV, like you said.

    • Anon X

      You want a la carte? Sounds great, except as it is right now, you’re basically getting a huge discount for taking all those home shopping networks which offset the retrans and other fees paid by cable companies to content providers like espn, amc, fx that all charge a LOT per subscriber to put their content on cable. Without the shitty channels, cable would be even more expensive. A la carte just doesn’t work. It’s like going to a restaurant and asking to be charged the same for a bacon cheeseburger as a cheeseburger because you aren’t getting lettuce.

  • j

    We did this about a year ago – canceled the cable; kept the internet. We the comcast tech came out to get our cable box we found out that keeping basic cable (no box, just local channels with our digital tv) with the internet was cheaper than cutting out the cable completely and having just internet. So you might be able to have the major networks. It works well for us and we pay around 70 for internet and the basic cable.

  • Anonymous

    We did this for a year while living in Logan Circle and didn’t feel like we missed much. Between Hulu Plus and Netflix Streaming you will probably have too much content to watch for $20 a month. If you want a little extra, add 1 DVD rental to catch any of the newer movies or just suck it up and go to the theater with the extra money you are saving.

    The one major downside is that you don’t get any live events. If you love watching sports, you’ll just have to walk down to the closest sports bar which will probably be more enjoyable anyways.

    • Anon

      You can purchase movies for instant watch on the Amazon channel of a roku, and they include new releases.

      • Anonymous

        I feel the actual blu-ray disks provide higher quality visuals than anything that you can stream. We are major HD snobs and have a high end55 inch LED screen that we watch from 10 feet away. If the picture isn’t crystal, it’s hard to watch..

        That aside, streaming new movies is obviously much better than DVD delivery.

  • saf

    We have never had cable. Our internet is DSL. We have an antenna on the roof and get a ton of broadcast tv. We have a TIVO, and that streams Netflix.

    We also have appletv, just for the convenience.

    The costs were:
    TIVO (bought the lifetime service package)

    Our monthly costs are:

    The only problem – stupid MLB locking so much baseball on cable.
    The solution – Dave and Charlie. Baseball on the radio is great.

    • Anon

      Should have got a roku instead of appletv. You can see all MLB gamesif you buy the MLB channel.

      • newintown

        You can watch most games (except during the Fox blackout time) if you get the MLB package. The MLB channel itself only carries a few games a week. The package (Extra Innings) is obviously much more expensive than just the MLB network.

      • MLB.tv does not allow you to watch all games — you’ve got the Fox blackout to contend with, but more notably, you can’t watch any local teams. No Nats for you!

        • saf


          No Nats, no point in paying for it.

        • I use MLB.tv to follow the Indians. MLB.tv blacks out “local” games based on your ISP address (so for DC, Baltimore or the Nats, or if your team is playing either Baltimore or the Nats). There are ways of getting a proxy ISP to authenticate the stream to fool it as to where you are (Google it), then switch back (bc the proxy will slow the connection down too much). MLB.tv does not authenticate after the initial stream startup. I have not had to do this since my favorite team is not local and only plays Baltimore like 6 times per year usually. MLB.tv is terrible for the playoffs, but you can get the FOX aired games with the antenna. You’re out of luck with the TBS games.

  • S

    We have cable, but because we only have one cable hookup in the living room, we have a Roku hooked up to a TV in the bedroom–I definitely recommend the Roku with Netflix and Hulu Plus! I probably watch it more than the living room tv with cable. I also have an ipad mount in the kitchen because I like to catch up on tv while I cook, and that works well with both services, too.

    I will say this–our internet through Comcast used to SUCK, which frustrated me with these devices because of the endless “buffering”, but it actually seems to have improved a lot in the last few months. As long as you have reliable internet, you should go for it!

  • Haven’t had cable in 6 years. While in school I didn’t have much time for TV so Netflix streaming was fine, but now we have Hulu+ too.

    The only thing I wish I could watch is live AMC. But we bought a season pass to Breaking Bad which downloads the next day (and we can stream to our TV with the Apple TV) which is only minimumly unbearable.

  • Do it! Unless you’re a big sports fan and need watch a lot of games on cable. I have Netflix, Hulu + and AppleTV and they meet all my TV watching needs. I don’t miss cable at all. I mean, there is something to be said about the joy of watching an unplanned marathon of junk TV, like Say Yes to the Dress, or whatever your junk TV shows are. The spontaneity of cable TV is fun. But watching season after season of a show on Netfix with NO commercials is even better. So is saving money on your cable/internet bill!

  • I ratcheted back to very basic cable and Internet only. I have a Roku and a “hacked” first-gen Apple TV that frees me from the tyranny of the iTunes store. I’m a baseball fan, but I can get the local games on MASN and have subscribed to MLB.tv to follow a favorite out-of-market team. I am an Amazon Prime member, so I partake of the free Prime streaming videos…can always find something to watch when I have time.

    I’ve subscribed to Netflix on and off, depending on my mood and the amount of time I have to actually sit down and watch TV.

    I initially tried one of these “leaf” antennas — http://www.amazon.com/Mohu-MH-ANT1000-Paper-Thin-Indoor-Antenna/dp/B004QK7HI8 — but what you can get over the air is highly dependent on where you live…and I am in condo tower that faces another condo tower, so my reception is pretty poor. (A friend tells me most of the broadcast antennas are in the vicinity of Tenleytown…high location.)

    I got an HMDI splitter and long cable from Monoprice.com (they’re awesome) and share my cable box (I have the local HD channels) between my living room TV and bedroom TV. (YMMV if you live in large place.)

    I pay roughly $81 to FIOS for the basic cable and my Internet, which is still high, IMHO. It would have been only about $5 less had I just wanted straight-up Internet. And yes, before I downgraded, I called them and threatened to leave, but they wouldn’t budge. I guess I was not a “valuable” customer, since I had no DVR, no premium movie channels, etc.

  • Dane

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus. You can get a fair amount of channels over the air (in HD!) in DC. Add an Apple TV or Roku with Netflix and/or Hulu, you’ll have plenty to sate the media appetite.

  • With a strong enough internet connection – you can find streams to a lot of different sporting events on twitter. It’s the only way I’ve been able to watch a lot of international soccer leagues!

  • proventlogger

    Cutting cable is great. You only watch the TV you want to watch and don’t have it on as “background noise” just because it is there. You also free yourself from the constant barrage of advertisements on TV. Sure, there is Netflix and Amazon prime streaming options. But don’t be afraid of direct pay to play options either. On iTunes, Vudu, and the like–many TV shows run at $30 per season, in my experience. We watch like 5 shows a year this way (full paid seasons, that is) or less. That is less than ONE MONTH’s full cable bill. Its crazy to pay for all the junk on cable. You either are paying too much for stuff you’re not watching, or you’re watching too much TV.

  • We have both a Roku and AppleTV. The AppleTV is great for movies and music that we already own but for the most part I find that Amazon Prime has much better deals in terms of price and options. I have had Amazon Prime forever for the shipping savings and when they added all the movies and tv shows it was a no brainer to get a Roku. We still have a DirecTV package because of our football addiction (and that we do not follow any local teams).

  • On using a rabbit-ears antenna to get over-the-air digital TV:

    If you don’t get good reception or can’t get certain channels with a basic rabbit-ears antenna, try getting the “amplified” rabbit-ears kind. (It’s powered; you plug it in.)

    I couldn’t get WETA in my new place at all with a basic antenna and had almost resigned myself to getting basic cable again… until I discovered that with an amplified antenna, I could get WETA after all.

    • blur

      I was in the same boat. The amplified antenna added about 15 channels (literally depending on how the wind blows). Specifically, I went with the Terk HDTVa ($40 on Amazon). I get all of the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CW, MyTV), PBS (both WETA and WHUT) a slew of foreign news channels (Al Jazeera English and RTV are the ones I drift to the most), a few local weather channels, a few Spanish language channels, and then some oddball channels that show old tv shows and movies. Combine it with Netflix and Hulu Plus and you’re set.

      My only issue is that Fox will come and go during bad weather, which sucks ass on Sundays when I’m trying to watch football.

  • No one here (that I’ve seen) mentioned the HDTV antenna. I get great reception because my building has a rooftop antenna that links with my TV via a coaxial cable. However, friends in apartments sometimes miss channels like PBS which would be a big deal for me. My recommendation is to get an antenna, hook it up and see if you get all the over-the-air channels. It’s great getting HD shows for free when some friends with cable get them still in analogue.

    • Looks like we posted right at the same time about the same topic. :)

      As far as I’m aware, antennas aren’t HDTV-specific (although I think the manufacturers are now trying to market them that way). Even an old antenna should work for some/most channels, depending on what kind of reception your apartment or house gets. But the powered kind can help you pick up more channels than a non-powered one.

      • saf

        You’re right.

        We have a rooftop antenna – put it up years and years ago. It brings in HD just fine.

  • jajajuliane

    I cancelled my cable almost a year ago and never regretted it. I use a Roku box to stream Netflix, Hulu+ and HBOgo. The old fashioned rabbit ears work great in the city because there is such a strong signal. I almost never get static. I have 20mps internet from Comcast and it’s about $40 a month.

  • 16th st

    I recently called Comcast to cancel my cable service (was paying $142/month for internet + cable, no premium channels and no DVR!) and they ended up knocking it down to about $110 with HBO and Showtime, which I thought was reasonable-ish. I love my Roku and streaming netflix, amazon and hulu, but there is something very therapeutic about spontaneous HGTV watching/keeping it on in the background that I would really miss!

  • Anonymous

    Avoid all the limitations of the various streaming boxes and just get a mac mini (2.0ghz C2Duo or better for adequate 1080p performance) and then plug into your TV’s HDMI. The older mini’s don’t have HDMI out so you’ll need to combine the DVI and S/PDIF outputs to HDMI using a converter box ($34 @ MonoPrice.com).

    A Bluetooth mouse and keyboard will ensure you never have to leave the couch. The mini will also play tunes via AirPlay and serve as a TimeMachine host if you want.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t have much trouble when I dropped Comcast a few months ago. Verizon has been sending out salereps door-to-door for its FIOS service, so at this point, Comcast is used to getting dumped.

  • I highly recommend it. We’ve been cable free for over three years. We always maintained cable internet, which is highly negotiable with Comcast (we are paying $25 per month, but should be $60). We started off with just Netflix, then Hulu (not plus) came along, and we added Amazon Prime. We don’t care that much for sports, but I do like baseball, so I have MLB.tv. We use our Bluray player, Xbox, and laptop with HDMI output to access these on our TV. Others love Roku (cheap) and have great experience with it. The devices I already own meet the same functionality, so I don’t need it. We also use Redbox to supplement at times. This is plenty of content for much less than cable services.

  • John

    We did something similar – our Roku gets us Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video, and we were able to connect the cable cord up to our TV and run a channel scan and get all of the local channels in HD (plus a lot of Spanish, religious and international channels in SD). This may not last forever, but we can switch to an antenna if we need to–though reception isn’t perfect in our first floor apartment.

  • D

    Go for it, but don’t forge there’s a real trade-off. You shave $100 off your monthly bill keep in mind:

    1. No more Watching TV the moment it comes out
    2. No more live sports programming
    3. No more instant video (prepare for buffering)
    4. No more Pay Per View and Video Renting – which is nice from time to time
    5. No more inexplicable catharsis of channel surfing
    6. No more discovering new shows you never thought you’d like
    7. No more of many good shows that are subscription only

    And on big TV months it can end up costing more than cable subscriptions.

    I did the cord cut for years. Hulu + Netflix + iTunes. I liked it. I didn’t miss cable at all. Then I went back to a subscription and realized it’s an expensive luxury but its worth it if you like TV.

    • D #2

      I admit there are some (very) small trade-offs, but I cut the cord over three years ago and here would be my responses based on that experience:

      1) You can still watch network TV shows immediately. For the rest, who cares? Even when I had cable, I mostly DVR’d anyway.
      2) No sports has been the biggest drawback for me. Luckily I live near bars (not cost effective, I know, but it’s more social).
      3) I have had issues with buffering much less than I had cable go out when I had it. Seriously, buffering is an issue less than 1% of the time.
      4) Actually, the pay-per-view/renting options are plentiful through Amazon, Xbox, iTunes, and several others…
      5) Channel surfing catharsis is a little like fatty foods. Tough to give up at first, but then you realize you’re happier and healthier without it.
      6) You can still discover some new shows through app suggestions (Amazon is particularly good at suggesting) but yeah, you will not stumble into new shows as much.
      7) If you’re referring to HBO, then that’s available to cord cutters through the HBO GO app.

  • In addition to what all the posters above have mentioned, if you have a computer equipped with Intel Wireless Display, you can “beam” whatever you’re watching on your computer onto your television with an adapter. I watch Hulu this way, as well as full episodes posted on station websites.

    I’m sure there are other ways to do this and for WiDi, I think you need a relatively new television to be able to plug in the adapter.

    Good luck! I found the first few weeks without cable were the hardest and now I’m used to it.

  • none

    buy a $40 over the air antenna (might want to buy a long coaxial cable so it reaches close to a window). Try that for a few months before subscribing to hulu or anything like that. I do fine with that and connecting my laptop to the TV using the HDMI cable. Borrow DVDs from the library. and occassionally renting movies from itunes at $3 – $5 a pop. life is as simple as you make it

  • E

    68 posts here….I assume you have more than you need. I will just add that I fired Comcast more than 5 year ago and don’t miss it at all. In fact, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. DO IT!!!

  • Anonymous

    haven’t paid for comcast cable in over 5 years I think. I just get cable internet for 40 per month. It doesn’t take much tech knowhow but I run have a HD HOMERUN QAM tuner hooked up to the cable and get all of the channels you’d get over the air plus A&E for some strange reason. HD HOMERUN puts the tv signal on your network. Then I have my computer hooked up to my TV with windows media center which is just as good if not better than a TIVO to DVR the free TV. On top of that you can easily stream tons of free shows from websites with pretty good quality, HGTV, TLC, etc… then if you have a family member or friend with directv or cable and they’re nice enough to share their password with you you can stream a ton of stuff from the directv or xfinity website. Also if they have HBO or showtime you can use that to stream HBO or showtime and for free or just give then some money to split their HBO cost. Really, the key is hooking up an actual computer to your TV instead of a crappy cable box. I also have an antenna for over the air reception which works great if you’re not in a basement.

  • Lee

    Don’t think I read any mention of Torrents in the replies. We cut off Comcast over a month ago, and have never been happier.

    We have the ability to record OTA HD network stuff, but have found that by using Torrents, we get almost instant downloads of shows with NO commercials.

  • Anonymous

    What’s the cheapest option for having internet (good enough for streaming) plus a landline phone (not over the internet)? Right now we’re paying $140/month for Comcast Triple Play but we wouldn’t save any money by getting rid of the TV. I’m going to put the Puppy Bowl on for a few minutes today just so I feel a little more justified in having it.

    • Anonymous

      I pay $30 for internet only (RCN). I don’t have a landline, but until a couple of years ago I had a super basic phone plan (it might be called a “lifeline” or something like that) for about $12. Incoming calls were unlimited, outgoing calls to 800 numbers or 911 were unlimited, I got something like 5 free local calls per month, and after that paid exorbitant rates for local calls. So if you want a landline for people to call you at, don’t make a lot of local calls, and use your cell or a service like onesuite (with an 800 number you call to place outgoing longdistance calls) for making long-distance calls, it is totally fine. If you make tons of local calls, this would not be for you.

  • jl

    This was a pretty interesting post thread to read as it is something I am actively interested in. I totally agree with people on here and think most would be interested in a more “video everywhere” solution streamed through the net. Unfortunately it seams most cable operators will never offer it the way we really would like it due to distribution deals that are in place and obvious licensing of content issues. I have noticed though no one has mentioned some of the newer services that are coming out soon or will be available in the near future. Here are a couple options sure to widen the playing field with cable operators in future if they aren’t immediately suppressed in court by their legal teams for trying to work in the same business:

    Aereo – https://aereo.com/home
    live TV & all the major broadcast networks available over the internet. (Fee based)

    Nimble – http://www.nimbletv.com/?gclid=CLm4p6v78K8CFUZN4Aod_jJvYA
    – cloud based TV – subscribe to a cable package from anywhere in the world and stream from a cloud server.

    Google Fiber – http://fiber.google.com/about/
    – if enough people signup and are willing to pay a fee for installing a new fiber cable ($300 one time fee – won’t have to pay for life afterwards) – could be new service option in the future.

    Some stuff to ponder for sure. Especially Aereo.


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