Cancel Cable Without Losing Out Part 1

One way my husband and I save money is by not having cable. If you know us then this might sound crazy because we follow an embarrassing amount of weekly TV shows. We also work very long days, often being gone in the evenings when our favorite shows air. So how do we stay up to date on The Mentalist’s search for his wife’s killer or the latest shenanigans of Glee’s New Directions?

We stay current in three ways:

1. We watch streaming video on the internet (legally and safely)

We rely on our internet connection for most of our TV watching. We have a free account on Hulu.com where our list is updated weekly with the most recent episodes of our favorite shows. This is actually our favorite way to watch our shows because there are very few commercials (usually 1 30-second commercial for each standard commercial break) and we can pause and rewind the show at our own leisure. Some fight scenes on Human Target are worth rewinding and watching again.

We watch most of our content on our laptop in the living room, but if you prefer to watch on your TV you can purchase a Hulu Plus account for $7.99/ month and stream the content to your television set through one of the supporting devices. We are looking forward to when we can use Hulu Plus for the Xbox 360 (coming soon).

Outside of Hulu, many networks offer their most recent episodes of shows on their own websites, requiring you to visit them weekly so they can make more money from the traffic to their site. While this is a bit more annoying (CBS is notorious for this), the viewing experience is very similar to that on Hulu.

2. We utilize Netflix Instant Watch, streamed through Xbox 360 to TV

Our Xbox 360 connects to the internet for game play. Many people don’t realize that the Xbox 360 offers many “apps” for other internet related fun such as Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix. If you have an Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, or one of the other supporting devices,  you can easily stream Netflix to your TV.

We received a year of Netflix for Christmas, so we are currently not paying anything for our account. We have the subscription that allows for streaming Instant watch and 1 DVD in the mail at a time, which if purchased would be $9.99/ month. If you purchase a year at a time you can get a lower fee. They offer a free 1 month no commitment trial. Careful, it’s like crack-it doesn’t take much to get hooked!

Netflix has an extensive online streaming library of movies and seasons of TV shows that we can watch instantly. Though many of their most “premium” movies are currently only available by mail, we have never found ourselves without something to watch. Thanks to Netflix we discovered a new favorite show, Bones, and have been watching all of the seasons from the beginning- without commercials! We are in season 4, please no spoilers. 😛 Netflix has also said that they would like to move to having all of their content available online for Instant viewing, thus making the slow by mail option obsolete. This will be amazing.

3. We have an antennae (remember-some channels are free)

When we are home, we do enjoy watching stuff as it airs. Having an antenna also allows us to watch big events like the Super Bowl and the Oscars. We get all the basic network channels, so daytime TV that is unavailable online (i.e. Ellen) is available for normal viewing. Our TV is older, so we also require a digital converter box for our antenna to work.

Cost Savings:

My mom pays $121/month for combined cable and internet and is able to get internet alone for $40/ month. If she cancelled her cable and purchased both Netflix and Hulu Plus, her monthly fees would drop to $57.98/ month. She would save over 50% monthly. That’s a savings of $62.02 each month, or $744 each year, and that’s a lot of money! Savings like that are worth doing without the very few shows that are unavailable with an internet connection.

For her there would be an upfront cost for a device that streams to her television, (I recommend Roku but there are many devices from which to choose) but you may find you already have the capabilities in your existing gaming system.

There are other benefits to switching to this method of TV watching, but I’ll go into that more tomorrow. For now I hope this information is enough to get you thinking about doing away with your monthly cable bill.

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15 responses to “Cancel Cable Without Losing Out Part 1

  1. When I started blogging, I hardly ever watched tv any more.
    I also use Hulu plus and netflix , with the occasional redbox thrown in!
    Why not? Why pay $150 a month for what was never on?
    That’s an awful lot of bling bling!

    • YES! I love Redbox as well. It’s great for those new releases you want to see right away because it’s only $1 for each day and you can return it to any Redbox. I rent at the one at my grocery store and return it at one near my office.

    • Oh that was expensive. I can think of a lot of things to do with $150 a month. I could have a lot of chickens with that for feed. hahaha

  2. I love being able to to watch what I want when I want with very little commercials on the internet. And if you have a modern TV and laptop you can plug your computer into the TV and watch whatever you want on your TV via your computer. You may have some trouble with sound and wires when you do this but I am sure there is a way.

  3. I love my Roku! I get a lot of free channels as well as the subscriptions (Netflix, Hulu Plus etc) and in the 2+ years I’ve had it I’ve only had one day where there was a problem and the company sent emails immediately. I even had a lovely yule log streaming on my big screen TV on Christmas day which was fun while my boys & their families opened presents. (best $100 I ever spent) Plus I get 2 DVDs a week from Netflix most weeks and all the free content is amazing. I love watching old classic movies that I haven’t seen in a long time and, like you, I’ve discovered TV shows that I hadn’t watched until I caught up with Netflix then I started watching the new seasons on TV. With tax I pay $10.61 a month, that’s a big bang for my buck!

    I’m very close to canceling my DirecTV. Two issues, first I have to see how I can get my local channels. I live in an apartment building so I’m not sure how to do it. I have a new, big, modern TV and nothing comes in without being connected to something. The second thing, I know it’s silly, but I’m so looking forward to a new season of Torchwood that I have to wait & see if Starz is going to make it available through streaming on Netflix. By the way, if you haven’t seen Torchwood all the past episodes (3 seasons) are on Netflix. Also the 2005-2010 Doctor Who where we first met Torchwood’s Captain Jack! (David Tennant becomes the Doctor in season 2) If you like sci-fi these are terrific and there are plenty of tear-jerk episodes too. I think it’s the oldest TV show, it’s began in the UK in the 60’s. The new season with the new (11th) Doctor started last year & included a terrific Christmas episode based on A Christmas Carol. New season starts in March or April. I’ve watched some of the old ones too. Some are pretty good some are cheesy but good for a laugh & it’s fun to see how far special effects have come.

    Getting back on topic, I hope to give up my expensive DirecTV very soon. This was very good information to pass on. Welcome to blogging Samantha.

    • We will have to check out those shows. We are sci-fi fans. Have you tried Firefly? It’s only one season but SO good! Available on Netflix Instant.

      I hope you are ab;e to work it out. In some of the newest TV’s you don’t even need an antennae to pick up the free channels because the antennae is built in. I’m guessing worst case scenario you might have to buy one and connect it, but they aren’t too pricey.

      I hope they provide the episodes of your show. That would be cruel to have to pay so much for a beloved show. 😦

      • Love, love, love Firefly. That’s another show I got to discover through Netflix & my Roku box. Also the movie they made with the cast in 2004 Serenity. Actually my oldest son & I discovered Serenity first before we knew there was a series. Now we’ve seen them all. Love Nathan Fillion. I watch Castle because I liked him in Firefly. Netflix really has a good thing going and the people who do programming should pay attention because there are several network shows that I watch mainly because I either discovering the show itself or a particular actor through Netflix.

        My TV doesn’t get any channels when I turn off the DirecTV box so I would have to buy something, guess I’ll see if my boys can figure something out one day. Have to wait till June for Torchwood before making the change. 🙂 Starz does stream some of their original programs so fingers crossed!

  4. My husband and I are looking to cancel our cable when we move into our “new home!!!” and I can’t wait!! I’ve been wanting to do this for some time. My only concern is the internet. Not sure what to do there.

    Thanks a whole bunch for this post. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

    • I am so excited about your new home. I know exactly how you feel. 🙂

    • That’s exciting! Moving is such a fun time to rethink everything. New paint colors, new setups, new daily routines.

      Internet companies are sometimes willing to negotiate a monthly bill to a lower price. If you are going to be in a position to pick out a new provider, I would suggest trying to negotiate a lower rate than what they first offer. I’ve found if the person I’m speaking with is unwilling to help, I politely hang up and try again. There are about 1,000 phone operators for most companies and I usually try a few before I accept what they are telling me. Someone may be willing to offer a lower monthly rate in order to make the sale.

      Best of luck!

      • Unfortunately the area where the farm is located we have 2 options. We either go with Frontier (just bought out AT&T) or we can go with DirectTV. Frontier offers Direct TV as their cable option. Right now they are offering a free year of cable if we sign a 2 year contract. They plan to be over in the area where the farm is located in about 6 months. Your father is making all of the phone calls because by the time I get home from work I am cranky. hahaha I know you find that shocking. hahaha

  5. Yay!! Welcome Samantha. Your dad and I are seriously considering our options towards the cable when we get moved to the farm. I might try getting him to read your post here. He has never read a single post of mine but I will see if he will read yours. hahaha

  6. This is an excellent point. For the time being at least (there may be an upcoming trend to charge for internet per bandwidth usage in the future, as Canada is doing) it is a really great option. We recently suspended our DirecTv service while my husband was temporarily unemployed, and we did just fine. (I blogged about it on Nov. 10, with a listing of free internet TV sources.) I found myself watching only things I actually wanted to see, and only when I had the time to do so, rather than watching something only because it was on TV, or watching a show when I should have been doing something else. We also have the streaming only Netflix subscription which is less than if you get DVDs in the mail, although we don’t often watch it because we don’t run Windows, and it doesn’t run in Linux…
    This is a great way to save money (it saved us $78/mo for our package!) and also, for me at least, as a time management tool!
    Excellent post, Samantha, I’m looking forward to reading more of your great ideas!

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