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Cutting Cable Question
Old 05-22-2014, 07:19 AM   #1
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Cutting Cable Question

So finally about to make the leap and cut the cable bill. I'll be using Comcast for my internet. I have 2 questions for all of you official cable cutters out there.

1. Do I need to keep any equipment from Comcast to use the internet? I feel like I could just get a wireless router that has a cable plug in the back but want to make sure that would work. I've always had a double play package so everything has always been linked to the cable box... Obviously avoiding a $8/month rental fee would be nice.

2. What internet speed package would you recommend? I'm leaning towards the 25mbs package since the lower packages are so... slow. I'd mostly be using the internet for browsing and up to 2 netflix streamings at a time. I have access to some Apple TV stuff to live stream a few channels too.

I'll be canceling the cable in my name and then my roommate will be signing up as a "new customer" once we move to our new place. That way we can get the better deals for at least a year.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:32 AM   #2
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Go to their Web page and see what is offered in the new location.

As a new customer your rate will be very low. You may do better by bundling basic TV with Internet. Really depends on the area.
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Old 05-22-2014, 07:49 AM   #3
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You'll need a modem/router that will work with Comcast's system. Any old router won't necessarily work. They will rent you one on a monthly basis or you can just buy it.
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greencheese View Post
1. Do I need to keep any equipment from Comcast to use the internet? I feel like I could just get a wireless router that has a cable plug in the back but want to make sure that would work.
A lot of equipment will work, but I'd recommend going with something that Comcast specifically says will work: DOCSIS Devices

I went with the ARRIS/Motorola SurfBoard SB6141 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and used a wireless router I had lying around. There are also modem/wifi-router combos on that list if you prefer.

Quote:
2. What internet speed package would you recommend? I'm leaning towards the 25mbs package since the lower packages are so... slow.
That's the package I use and it's adequate for Netflix HD streaming 90% of the time. Periodically the streaming speeds will grind to a near halt, and when that happens it's normally somewhere between 9-11PM. I assume this is due to high network traffic, and I don't know whether a higher-tiered speed would help or not. It seems to happen for a week or two at a time, and then all is well again for weeks or months at a time.

Quote:
I'll be canceling the cable in my name and then my roommate will be signing up as a "new customer" once we move to our new place. That way we can get the better deals for at least a year.
That's the way to do it. My internet + basic/limited cable rate has crept from the low $50's about 5 years ago to > $70 now.

FYI there's usually a discount on internet service if you also have any level of cable TV service. When I first signed up the discount was slightly larger than the cost of the limited basic cable service, so it was a no-brainer to package them. I'm not sure if that's the case anymore.

If you decide to keep limited basic cable, know that Comcast is also requiring a digital transport adapter (DTA) in many (most? all?) areas now. They gave me a DTA to use for free for a period of 2 years, and then if I want to keep using it there will be some nominal (~$2/month) fee to continue using it. Without it, I can't even watch the local/free/previously-unscrambled channels.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:58 AM   #5
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I think having a separate modem & router is the way to go (as Bird in Hand suggested).

Another way way to keep costs low is to switch internet providers every so often if you have a choice (for example a DSL provider & a cable provider). In that case, it will help having a separate modem & router, since the "modem" portion is different for DSL and cable. I have a neighbor who does this every time the fees creep up. I am too lazy for it - at least to this point.

As for speed, start with the lowest available. Please confirm, but providers are only too happy to allow you to upgrade the speed for no extra cost.
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:05 PM   #6
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I changed my provider about a year ago. I went from 6M down, 1M up, $45 a month to 25M down, 10M up, $40 a month. Both, no contract.
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Old 05-22-2014, 12:13 PM   #7
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We have DSL and is good fiber to local box where can get speeds up to 40Mbps. We get the cheapo package 12Mbps and have no problems streaming content including at peak hours, although it is my understanding DSL has less issues with variance during peak times as cable. They rent out a combo modem/wireless router.

The main point of suck = we have to have home phone service to get the DSL service. That has stopped us from making the cut of the land phone line.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:31 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advise everyone. I'll look into getting an appropriate route and start looking to save $40/month!
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:13 PM   #9
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Best of luck in trying to "outwit" Comcast.

The basic agreement (contract) contains 15,000 words, and is the size of a novelette. This does not include the 13 additional linked agreements to which you also agree when accepting your comcast contract. This could double the basic. The entire US Constitution, including all 27 amendments only totals 7800 words.

You could be the first customer of Comcast...EVER... to read the entire contract.

Here is the "basic" agreement.

Comcast Agreement for Residential Services

One can only image the full extent of the Comcast - Time Warner agreement when the merger is consumated.

From a practical standpoint, I would suggest that Comcast customers read the newest list of labor and ancillary charges for service calls... (either in person calls, or consultations). In some cases, even if the problem is the fault of the provider, charges will apply.

As to the Modem used... Any problems with speed may be attributed to the use of a non-comcast modem. In my own case... paying for 25Bbps and receiving only 3, was arbitraily diagnosed over the phone to the fact that my owned docsis 3 modem was at fault. If a sevice man came out, and that was found to be the case, I would have to pay the $59.95 service call. As it turns out, a week later, our whole neighborhood underwent a diagnostic speed test, and my next door neighbor's connection (at the outside box) was shorted... and that was the problem.

One more thing... when accepting equipment, it might be well to inspect it for obvious signs of use or damages, as you would a rented automobile. Not in all offices, but in some, the return of equipment may be denied or value reduced if any part is broken or missing. The Comcast "list" price is about double for the comparable equipment available on-line.

Since there is no choice (in my area not a single provider except Hughes Satellite) checking the fine print may not matter in any case, so the thought of warning Caveat Emptor becomes moot.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:20 PM   #10
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We've had Comcast three times. Only because they were it in the area. Second time, UVerse brought in the service. I switched and DW loved it.

Then we moved and Comcast is "it" except that Consolidated Communications is gearing up fr this area. I don't know if CC is any better than Comcast. Anyone have any experience with them?
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:38 PM   #11
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I pay $85 per month for Comcast basic cable, an HD DVR, and 25 Mbps internet. I was happily paying less than $20 per month for basic service and getting what I needed in HD with my TV's built in HD tuner until our fine representatives in Washington changed the rules to allow cable companies to scramble everything. The little cable tuner/descramblers aren't HD so I had to upgrade to a cable box with a DVR to continue to watch HD TV. Grrr. I added internet when my DSL contract expired and Frontier's story was that I had to pay them $50 per month for 7Mbps service, no deals.

I believe that you can now get an HD cable tuner from Comcast that doesn't have a DVR, which ought to save you some money. I can't imagine paying for cable service and not being able to watch it in HD. I have come to enjoy having a DVR, but I'm not happy about the increase in my monthly bill. If WGN looses the Cubs next year, I might work up the nerve to drop cable and got with OTA.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:06 PM   #12
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Fwiw, when I had the 6 M service, Netflix worked well though I think the image quality improved a bit when I went to 25M down. I can't prove it, but it is my impression.


Sent from somewhere in the world with whatever device I can get my hands on.
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:57 AM   #13
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I'm actually moving in the other direction and getting more cable. When we moved to our current house a couple of years ago I planned to just go OTA + Netflix and Hulu. The problem with that turned out to be that due to how the sightlines work we can't get OTA channels at our house.

That would have been OK for me actually, but my mother visits and she would be extremely upset with no TV. We were just going to get the cheapest basic cable service. But, as it often is, it wasn't much more to do a package with internet (which we were getting through Comcast) and get a package with more channels.

Currently we have a DVR on one TV and then have cable on the TV my mom uses. We have 2 other TVs in the house that aren't hooked up to cable but we can use them with our video game consoles to watch Netflix or Amazon/

But, Comcast now has the X1 Infinity service. Right now, the draw of it is that you have the DVR box on one TV and then you watch the recorded shows on the other TVs that you have on your account. You can also record up to 4 shows at once. SO that is really attractive.

Also it is easier to record stuff as you can schedule it online.

So that is more attractive to me.

Also Comcast is getting more and more channels where you can watch TV alone with your account. SO I often watch something on one monitor while I am doing stuff online. I enjoy that.

And, soon they will have the X1 with cloud technology (they have it in a few areas now and will soon have it in others). That lets you watch your recorded shows on your computers and tablets while you are on your home network.
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Old 05-23-2014, 11:05 AM   #14
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I just switched from FIOS to comcast last week and ditched TV service in the process. The comcast phone rep insisted that since I am getting the phone service from them, I have to rent their equipment for $8/mo and cannot buy my own. That was about 45 minutes into the phone call and I was worn down from haggling, so I just let it go (I'm cutting my monthly bill by about $70, so decided I'll worry about the equipment rental in a year when my contract ends and the price jumps).
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