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I cut the cable cord (sort of)
Old 10-31-2011, 10:47 AM   #1
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I cut the cable cord (sort of)

I got my cable bill the other day and it had crept up once again to a ridiculous amount (nearly $150). It seems like the folks at Comcast just periodically decide to try to gouge people and hope people are too lazy to call and complain. There may actually be reasoning behind their billing, but I have never figured it out.

I got one of those $100 TV streaming boxes (there are a bunch, I went with the Western Digital one). I signed up for Hulu Plus for $8/month. I can now stream most of the shows I regularly watched over the internet to my TV. It's quality is comparable to what the cable was providing.

I called Comcast and cut my service to just internet. They include the local channels with their internet package, so I still have HD local channels provided by them (and ESPN, go figure). My bill is going down to something around $50/month for the first year and about $70/month for the second.

Still not a bargain, but at least I've cut Comcast out of most of the content loop.

I have to think that cable companies are going to have issues down the road with streaming. Hopefully, they won't pull their Washington strings to get it squashed.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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Congratulations on a great budget reduction, Hamlet! The money that you are saving every month will add up quickly.

Until this spring, I didn't have anything but bare bones basic cable either. And twelve years ago I didn't have any cable - - I only got it because it cost $11 at that time and provided a $10 rebate on cable internet. TV for $1/month? Who could resist... then I was hooked.

This spring, I went all out and got digital cable with the "sports and information pack" that is required for financial channels, the biography channel, Music Choice, and so on. They threw in HBO and Showtime, which I never watch. So, I have almost everything now. As you might imagine, in the past decade my cable fees have gone up quite a bit.

Right now I am enjoying it, but I consider it to be budget "fluff" that I would readily consider cancelling at the drop of a hat.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Hamlet View Post
I got my cable bill the other day and it had crept up once again to a ridiculous amount (nearly $150). It seems like the folks at Comcast just periodically decide to try to gouge people and hope people are too lazy to call and complain. There may actually be reasoning behind their billing, but I have never figured it out.

I got one of those $100 TV streaming boxes (there are a bunch, I went with the Western Digital one). I signed up for Hulu Plus for $8/month. I can now stream most of the shows I regularly watched over the internet to my TV. It's quality is comparable to what the cable was providing.
Comcast in 2002 Revenue $12.4B, profit $319M, margin 2.6%
Comcast in 2010 Revenue $37.9B, profit $3.6B, margin 9.6%

All my relatives that have cancelled Comcast are pleased.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:01 PM   #4
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We cut out cable over a year ago and don't miss it a bit. When I did it I was feeling like a cheap skate fuddy duddy but then found out both of my kids had cut off their cable 6 months before I did. I knew I raised smart kids.
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Comcast free for 1 year
Old 10-31-2011, 01:05 PM   #5
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Comcast free for 1 year

Cut comcast 1 year ago after having them for like 15 years. Put an antenna in the attic and connected a computer to the TV to act as a DVR and stream netflix and itunes. Probably spend less than $20 per month on TV. The high def signals available by antenna are great. 1-2TB drives for recordings are about 1 month of the Comcast tax. Who needs them.

edit: Sorry for the title. Didn't mean 1 year of free Comcast. Meant 1 year (so far) without Comcast.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:19 PM   #6
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I love my over the air (FREE, not cable) setup.

My set up includes a DTV Pal OTA DVR, Slingbox, DVD recorder, and self-built antenna for good, trusty reception
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
and connected a computer to the TV to act as a DVR and stream netflix and itunes.
This was my solution as well. No monthly fees, and the computer I set up is better than any of the boxes you can rent from comcast. The only downside is it's a little more complicated, but since fiddling with things is a hobby, that's more of a benefit than a downside.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:28 PM   #8
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This was my solution as well. No monthly fees, and the computer I set up is better than any of the boxes you can rent from comcast. The only downside is it's a little more complicated, but since fiddling with things is a hobby, that's more of a benefit than a downside.
Do you guys have some good links by any chance on how to do this or other similar setups? I am interested in
- minimal requirements for a computer I would need for this
- minimal requirements for a TV for this to work
- how to hooks things up

Thanks!
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:36 PM   #9
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I would love to eliminate our cable - but more for philosophical reasons than economic -- I don't like monopolies. I don't watch the thing except one hour for PBS evening news. Our cable runs $140 a month and that includes internet, phone (unlimited long distance) and TV. My wife curses the cable company but she watches many of the cable channels and if I made her use different devices to get to things like HGTV, TLC, FOOD, etc I'd be the recipient of those curses.

With the time I'd invest rigging up an alternative, I can save a lot more on our tax bill.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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We cut our cable about 5 yrs ago and it's been great. Money saving is good but I'm more happy with not sitting on couch hours watching useless stuff.

Another good thing was changing my cell service to prepaid plan. I really really hated the fact that my cell bill go up slightly due to taxes. For the same plan, I remember paying less than $50 but I was paying $52 due to taxes. Small amount but it really pissed me off.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:42 PM   #11
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I had such a horrible experience with Comcast Internet service that I ended up switching to DSL (with the helpful advice of a few on these forums). Night and day in terms of reliability and a cheaper monthly bill to boot. I wish I could cut off Comcast for cable TV service, but I don't have other options.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:56 PM   #12
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I have never paid for cable, and I never intend to.

I spend too much of my life in front of glowing screens as it is. I don't need more encouragement.

If your local DSL provider offers it, naked DSL can be substantially cheaper than internet through Comcast. I was paying $20 a month at one point.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:57 PM   #13
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I've seen some great OTA. Fed to a good set, it is the finest HD I've ever seen. I'd use it in a minute, but I'd need the Goodyear Blimp to hold the antenna...Hills, dales, valleys, mountains, trees....
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:04 PM   #14
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I've seen some great OTA. Fed to a good set, it is the finest HD I've ever seen. I'd use it in a minute, but I'd need the Goodyear Blimp to hold the antenna...Hills, dales, valleys, mountains, trees....
I live up on a hill, 45 miles from the 'antenna farm' where most of the OTA stations broadcast their OTA signal. I get great HD on all the traditional networks plus PBS and two other local independents. I've considered dropping satellite but DW is a HGTV junkie and her withdrawal symptoms might prove fatal - to me.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:12 PM   #15
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I like the DVR on our Dish... holds a lot and is easy to choose programs...

I have a regular TV DVR upstairs collecting dust... you had to program it like an old VCR... start time, end time etc. etc.... never did use it with HDTV so I do not know how much I could record...


Another negative with Comcast (from my sister... I never have had it) is that her DVR hold 15 to 20 hrs of shows... mine holds close to 90 hours... a big difference... and Comcast has said she has the HD DVR... so it should be their best...

I wish I could get internet for a lot cheaper... just lost my $15 per month DSL and now am paying $35 per month...
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:23 PM   #16
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I do not use cable or satellite TV. I use FREE TV that I get using an antenna.
Broadcast TV has the best HD imaginable!!! I also use Netflix - the 3 DVD's at a time deal. I used to have Netflix streaming but I noticed that only 30% of what I want is on streaming while 99% is on DVD's.

For what it is worth my Roku box gives me other goodies - I mostly use Crackle TV occasionally, and Al-Jazeera for international news. (Sort of like the BBC in many ways.)
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:24 PM   #17
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My DSL just went from $30 a month to $45 a month. :-(
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:00 PM   #18
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I would like to cut cable, but as a baseball and hockey fan of my local pro teams, I wouldn't be able to see the games without cable. The games are streamed, but blacked out locally so to force one to watch the regional sports channel on cable.

I think the major providers will continue to limit TV programming on the internet. Most of the shows available on the web, are off of the broadcast networks. I've found it difficult to access streams, that I'm not paying to see over TV. HBO is a prime example.

Other than 60 Minutes, I have no use for any of the drivel shown on the broadcast networks. Without cable, I would proceed to the next step, and not even own a TV. On a basic subsistence level, sports are the only thing I need to "see". All other content I can either "hear" or "read".
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:09 PM   #19
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Mom was ecstatic to be rid of Comcast when she moved to FL from Seattle. We get free basic cable in our rent so her cable bill is about $60 per month to get HD, Sportspack, and internet.

About 6 weeks ago, she found a $450 charge from Comcast on her Wells Fargo CC. She has never given this credit card to Comcast and she cleared things with them a year ago when she moved. The charge is in dispute and should be removed soon. She hates them.
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Old 10-31-2011, 08:03 PM   #20
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As a Mediacom customer, I would kill to have Comcast. I know they suck, but they suck a lot better than Mediacom does.

As far as getting rid of the cable, I'd say 9 out of 10 shows that we watch are on a cable channel (Syfy, Discovery, HGTV, TBS, etc). If I cut the cable (except for internet, of course), I'd probably end up watching TV completely. We only get 2 or 3 channels OTA, and nothing I'd be watching. So for now I'm stuck with it.
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