Television has always had a special place in my heart. I grew up just when color TV started to blossom. I think we switched from black & white to color about 1970. We got rudimentary cable about 1979. I was always enthralled with the TV’s glow of sight, sound, and motion bringing great stories, places, and events into our living room.
TV wasn’t just my childhood guilty pleasure. I grew up to make my living selling branded packaged foods over air. At MegaCorp, we didn’t just watch TV, we studied it, measured it, and analyzed it. With our treasured Chicago & NYC agency partners, I worked on 30-40 commercials and spent hundreds of millions of dollars airing them. Some of those campaigns were forgettable. Some were pure gold.
(Insider insight: Everyone says they aren’t influenced by TV advertising, but you’d be amazed at how effective it is. I’ve put ads on the air that sparked such demand that giant factories couldn’t keep up and store shelves went empty!)
At home, we have a screen-intensive lifestyle. We have eight smart TVs working with a full digital cable plan and subscriptions to all the popular streaming platforms. Or, I should say … we DID have those capabilities. Today’s the day I go in and “cut the cord” from the cable company and make the switch to pure streaming.
Comcast is going to miss their most loyal – and most profitable – cable customer. Our most recent cable bill jumped from $220 a month to $370 a month. That’s for their “four play” TV, internet, voice, and security monitoring plan. It’s a +68% increase and TV is the biggest part of it. They said the jump is because our two-year special subscription rate had ended. Well, now I’m ending them. I think we’ll save as much as $3K compared with they want to charge going forward.
Yes, I know that I’m about 10 years behind the “cutting the cord” trend. I think Netflix launched in 2009. Perhaps it’s shameful for the writer of a personal finance blog to admit we’re still wired to coaxial, but that’s where we are. TV is my good friend and I treat my good friends well. 🙂
I don’t think I’ll miss cable. It seems that most of the TV we’ve been watching has been on the streaming services lately. Between Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Hulu, Paramount, and HBO, we have most of our bases covered. The only channels I’ll want to look for are ESPN & our local sports channel. Last year, I cut a bunch of our smaller, ancillary TVs off cable, switching to a simple digital antenna for local channels. That’s worked well.
The cable company’s greedy price increase is the immediate trigger for our change, but May is also probably the best time of year for us to make the switch. When the weather gets nice in Minnesota, we definitely watch much less TV. Here’s hoping for sunny skies and smooth streaming going forward!
I’m guessing all of you smart FIRE devotees made the switch to streaming years ago, so please let me know any good tips that make streaming work well for you!
Image: MidJourney Bot AI
10 thoughts on “Finally … Cutting The Cord”
Chief, you will not regret it. We use Roku as our streamer. YouTubeTV is our master resource, with key local channels and sports included. Our content channels vary, depending on what shows they offer at any given time. They are now in our hands to choose or cancel, instead of us captured by cable monopoly. You keep track of stats — figure out how many times/ how much time you use each every month. Leaders emerge and laggards reveal. Then put your savings aside to splurge on entertainment event (like a major concert or big league outing once a year. )All upside!
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Great to hear! I’ll check into YouTube TV. The Comcast guy said most people go to Hulu, because they have local sports. Our son’s software job at GigaCorp is on their streaming hardware business. We just bought one of their big TVs.
Following. Disgruntled Xfinity user. This is a summer project for me. Specifically, what did you choose for your internet connection?
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I just got back. Dropped my bill to just $126/month for internet, security, and voice. I kept the Xfinity internet (200 speed), which is about $80 in Woodbury.
Glad to see you are reducing your monthly vampire fees.
Here is what is going on. Your cable provider has a dying business model. They are trying to extract as much money as possible from those they perceive as lacking the technical wherewithal to switch to alternatives. I have seen this played out numerous times throughout my career in tech. This is your chance to show them who the boss is.
Here is my experience for video. Three years or more years ago my Verizon FIOS connection was bought by Frontier Communications. About two years ago, Frontier jacked up the cost of the TV portion of my bill from around $100 to $200 per month. I fought back by switching back to Dish Network for around $87 for a two year contract.
I am looking at the end of my two year contract and now Frontier is offering me YouTube TV for $400 off per year. I am planning to switch to this for the next year. This painless move should reduce my current $87 to around $40 per month.
A year out YouTube TV will need to either continue their teaser rate, or I will switch to a combination of off-air with Channels DVR and selective streaming channels.
Selective streaming channels offer good value. My wife and I watch streaming channels that are commercial free. The Channels DVR will also automatically strip commercials of pre-recorded off-air programs.
Another portion of your bill to look at is your voice. I have been using Ooma for so long I don’t know the exact number of years. Let’s call it 12 years. My cost after I bought their device and since I was an early adopter is $0 per month for unlimited phone calls. You can switch your phone number over to Ooma. Your cost for this will be around $4 per month, because you will have to pay some Federal Government Excise Taxes to help whoever.
I would also take a look at the security portion of your bill. There are services out there that only require an internet connection. I live in the country, so I definitely want to know if someone is driving down my 250 foot long driveway at 3:00 AM. My firearms instructor taught me, what are you going to do when someone breaks into your door at 3:00 AM. A lightbulb turned on and I thought knowing about someone breaking into your door before they ever reach your door provides precious seconds or minutes of advance notice. I use Lorex smart cameras that are free of monthly service fees.
Here are my takeaways:
1) As a consumer, you are free to pick and choose the best services available instead of being forced to buy someone else’s package that doesn’t exactly meet your needs.
2) You can save a ton of money. Your future bill will likely be $80 per month for internet plus your streaming channels and everything else.
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Yep – We bundled everyone together when it made sense. Now we’ll begin the process of unbundling things. Hopefully, I’ll still find a good way to watch my Minnesota Twins. 🙂
Here is a crazy one. My recent monthly internet bill went up $15 per month due to my deal ending. An increase in anything electronic related is my call to action to call the provider and find out what their current ‘deal’ is. In my case, Frontier offered me 500 Mb by 500 Mb for $20 less per month than what I was paying for my old 100 Mb by 100 Mb internet connection. Factoring in the increase, I will be saving around $35 per month off the ‘normal’ rate. The irony is that I have only one legitimate broadband provider in my rural area. But, it still pays to ‘shop’ around.
I am expecting a similar compelling sales event from my satellite TV provider and expect to come out of this paying a lot less.
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Nice savings! We dropped from 400 speed to 250 speed with our cable change. No noticeable loss in performance that I see.
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I still do IT consulting and the name of the game is having a symmetrical Upload / Download Speed. Note I specify my old bandwidth as 100 Mb Download and 100 Mb Upload and new as 500 Mb Download and 500 Mb Upload. This type of connection is called a symmetrical internet connection. The fast upload speed is needed for testing servers, but also provides the benefits of better VOIP voice quality and gaming for my sons.
Faster upload speeds is also good for security systems such as video surveillance. The takeaway is know you upload speed. If you don’t know what is it, then visit https://speedtest.net If you have fast upload speed available at reasonable cost, it is worthwhile.
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I’m getting 250 mbps download, but only 10 mbps upload. My upload speed has always been slow.