It’s time. We decided that after the Oscars, by March 1st, we’d seriously cut the cable cord. We’ve been researching and wiring gadgets to the television to see if we could really do it. Our dependence on the cable box is disheartening especially since most of what we watch is available via streaming internet. It’s really the DVr that we’re most attached to. Oh, I’m not going to lie, I’ll miss the Law & Order marathons or finding random episodes of Friends on six different channels at dinnertime. But the truth is, most of our television is watched after it’s aired either on Hulu+ or the DVr. The only “live” television I’ve watched in the past year is award shows and the Superbowl (and not even that this year since I was flying to Chicago!)
We picked up this HD Antenna at Target for $26. It was super easy to set up and we were SHOCKED to find that we get around 50 channels. Sure 10 are in Spanish and five are religious, but we get THREE PBS channels and a music video channel powered by a local college and that makes me happy!
Along with the HD Antenna, we also have a Roku box. I bought it a year ago to see if it was something that would be a good replacement for cable. It’s actually pretty rad. There are LOADS of channels. From sports to news to technology. I can even watch Korean soap-operas if I want (and I do!).
The four major channels we use on the Roku box are Netflix, Hulu+, Amazon Prime and Plex.
Netflix is basically the streaming video service except it’s on the TV. Sure we can still watch movies and TV shows on the iPad or our computers, but it’s really nice to sit on the sofa and watch on the big screen. Netflix has a pretty good selection of movies and TV shows that have been out on DVD for a bit. The new releases are lacking but it’s chock full of TV shows both US and UK television. It’s a great way to catch up on a series you didn’t commit to when it was on TV (LOST. 24. 30 Rock. West Wing. Parks & Rec). I think it’s around $8/mo (first month free) if you only do the streaming package. We still get old school DVDs sent to us so we pay a little more.
Though Hulu+ it isn’t perfect (no CBS shows, and NBC randomly decides to make certain shows “Web Only” like 30 Rock and The Voice) I’ve found that I can watch most of my ABC shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Modern Family. There are also plenty of FOX shows (Family Guy, Glee) and a good amount of British television. Hulu+ is $7.99/mo with the first month free.
Amazon Prime is pretty rad. This might be the channel we watch the most. Because we have an Amazon Prime membership, we get free 2-day shipping from Amazon.com. That in itself is pretty great. But add on a massive library of videos and tv shows to watch for free and it’s a smoking deal. Amazon Prime also offers an on-demand feature to rent newly released movies for $3-$5 (for 24-48 hours in HD quality). Another bonus is access to the Kindle lending library. The cost for Amazon Prime is $79/year. (Less than $7/mo)
A bonus channel that we just discovered about six months ago is called Plex. We really wanted to find a way to watch the TV shows and movies that we already have on our computer. We tried using the USB plug on the Roku box and we were not having much success. We entertained ideas of getting an Apple TV but hoped that we didn’t have to add another device to the television. Enter Plex. Plex creates an entire browsable server of the media already on your computer. You can watch downloaded programs from iTunes or if you have ripped all of your DVDs to your computer, you can pull them down to watch them on TV via Plex. It’s pretty awesome. Even cooler (and something we only just discovered yesterday) is that PLEX offers a TON of network channels that you can add to your Plex server like PBS, Food Network, ABC, CBS, and USA. Right now it looks like the only shows we’ll have to purchase from Amazon or iTunes is Mad Men, BBC shows that we want to see right away and anything on Bravo (do I really need to spend money on Real Housewives? Maybe.)
So bottom line, you can definitely find nearly anything on TV via alternative methods. What’s more is that we’ll save about $1000 a year by getting rid of cable and that includes what we spend on Hulu+, AmazonPrime & Netflix along with purchasing a season pass to the four shows that we can’t get anywhere besides iTunes. That’s right, A THOUSAND DOLLARS. We knew cable was ridiculous but seeing the numbers on paper made it a clear decision. Cord = cut.