Arbritary
Contemplation
Cutting the Cord
by ChrisWDP on February 13th, 2013

On January 22, 2013, I canceled our service with DirecTV. Effectively cutting the cord from satellite or cable for our TV viewing. This was the last step in a process that had started when I switched Internet providers for better Internet speed and service the previous work.  Close to a month later, we still have the cord cut.

Cutting the cord is not for everyone, especially if you are into sports. Before you decide to cut the cord, I would recommend you do research to see if it is right for you, The key item with cutting the cord is making sure that it works for you. This is a summary of what I did, how we get the shows we want, and the direction we are going with this.

The first thing is I was able to cut our satellite because our 2 year contact was up. This timing allowed us to drop it without any cancellation fees. If you are on satellite or cable, double check to see if you have any fees for cancellation for your services.

The second thing to do before switching is check up on which shows you enjoy to begin with. One good site to use i tool is Clicker.com

Internet Company: Make sure you are comfortable with your Internet provider. We had been with CenturyLink for the last two years. We were not impressed with their service, or quality of modem. We switched back to Cox, once the satellite contract was up. We have had them in the past and have enjoyed their service. Even though Cox is slightly more expensive, they also provide different levels of bandwidth so that can come in handy, if the bandwidth I signed up for does not meet our needs. 

Modem Location: To give the best streaming option with minimal buffering, our cable modem is downstairs. It is connected to it is our Linksys wireless router. The reason for this location is that it is located next to our main TV. This allows our devices to be wired into the system, instead of using the wireless. When we watch downstairs, the buffering is at a minimal, because of the faster connection. Our connections upstairs through the wireless are pretty decent still. Though you do notice the buffering more before the program starts.

Devices: In order to view our programs we needed a device to stream the video on. Currently our options are the Wii, PS3, Nexus 7, or Blu-Ray player. Each one is configured with the services that we use. The Wii, PS3, and Blu-Ray are wired into the router. The Nexus is quick for watching something when the main TV is in use.

However, our main device, and the one that works the best is our Roku. We actually have two Rokus, one is for downstairs and the other is for upstairs. Both have the option of HDMI to give the best picture. Even though the Roku we have upstairs is two years old, and is hooked up to a V upstairs that does not HDMI, it could still support HDMI. This is an attempt at being pro-active once we upgrade the TV. The Roku downstairs is a Roku 2. 

Programs: To watch our programs, we use a combination of Amazon, Hulu, & Netflix. For Hulu & Netflix we are on a monthly fee with them. This allows us to watch an unlimited number of shows/movies. For Amazon, we have three shows we subscribe to. These shows are not part of Amazon's Prime system. I am keeping an eye on it, in case it does expand to cover other shows. One other service we have, but not have used too much is Crackle. They offer additional movies and shows, but have only used to test Thunderbirds and The Prisoner.

Local TV: One item not available through streaming options is local TV. To get the local news channels, I just picked up a $15 antenna from Radio Shack. Once again, hooked to our main TV.

Savings: This is what it all comes down to, how much have I saved? With CenturyLink, excluding and discounts for DirecTV it would be $83.05. Since we were already subscribed t  Hulu and Netflix our total for TV/movie watching was $99.73. (Taxes and Fees are included). When you add the cost of our Internet connection, at $74.99, our grand total was $174.72.  With Cox Internet, it is $53.99. Once you calculate in Hulu and Netflix our new cost is $70.67. Savings = $104.05. To be fair, we did have a LAN line with both services. When you take that into consideration it takes the savings down to $78.80.

Additional Costs: Even though the savings look good, there are some up costs with setting up the system you have to keep in mind. You have to include the purchase of the equipment you don't have already and any installation fees. Then when you close your other accounts any last bills depending on when you cancel. For two of the shows on Amazon we had to pxay for previous episodes in the current season to get caught up.. So the savings for us does not kick in for another month or two. 

Conclusion: Cutting the cord does save money, but you should do it if you are able to switch over. Our cutting of the cord is still regarded as an experiment  Because of certain programs the kids like to watch, I have told the family we will see how things are in a couple of months. I believe we are at the cusp of opening up new directions for viewing media. I would not be surprised to see a lot of changes in the next two years. At the same time I can see satellite and cable companies changing their model to try and stay in business. As with most things, time will tell what happens.


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