As the first step of what we should do, I started building a list of what programs on TV we watch. That was a little disturbing in places, because apparently we’re “those people” that keep all the CBS shows on the air. It actually worked out that a very large chunk of what we watch is on CBS. Then we have a few programs on NBC, one program on ABC (that I’d actually picked up a season pass on Amazon for when they “mistakenly” listed the price before the season started), a couple on FOX, and a number of programs on some of the various cable channels out there. And then there’s the ugly duckling in the room: sports. As far as I can tell, sports is the bane of the cord cutters ambitions to save money. I figure that from things I watch, I pretty much need access to ESPN, Fox Sports, the Fox Sports local, Big 10 network, and NBC Sports. Maybe sometimes CBS sports, but not anywhere near as common. And as far as I can tell, you can’t get them without subscribing to one of the various live tv streaming services out there. Which means that instead of being able to get something like the Hulu plan that just includes on-demand content, now I’m looking at having to get their full hulu tv service. Their ad-free service is something like $12/month. Their Hulu TV service with ad-free on-demand is something like $51/month. Yikes. Suddenly I’m back to dealing with what’s effectively a cable company in different clothes, and any chance of actually saving money on this process is rapidly headed out the window.
So, for a long time, I’ve had tv packages that largely included pretty much everything. I started out many years ago with Directv, and had one of their packages that pretty much included all the normal channels and the premium channels. Then my neighbor went and planted willow trees along the edge of his property. Fast forward a few years, and suddenly I found myself having to switch to Comcast. This actually started saving me some money, because I’d already switched to using Comcast for their cable internet instead of the dsl service I’d had before. So again, went with one of their higher packages that had everything. Which was fine, for about the first two years. Then the end of that contract hit, and I found myself staring at a massive increase in the monthly costs. So I reassessed what I needed, and dropped back a ways, and ended up with their HD Preferred 220+ Channels with Blast internet, along with the X1 dvr. After a few months of that, I started looking at things, and realized that I’m still paying about $169 a month for TV plus the internet. I then went to a slightly larger TV, and that only emphasized just how poor of a signal Comcast is putting out on their HD channels these days. That was kinda the last straw for me, and set me off on the path of wondering what my options would be. From experimenting, I was finding I could stream various channels like ESPN and get a better image quality with the streamed version that I was getting from Comcast. Doesn’t quite seem like that’s all that reasonable.
So, like a lot of people out there, I’ve been reaching a point of frustration with the state of my television service. Prices keep getting higher and higher, and quite honestly, the quality of the product that Comcast is pushing out these days is far from adequate. Doing comparisons with streamed versions of channels and what Comcast is pushing out, it’s pretty obvious that we’ve reached the point where the streamed version of the channels. Couple that with some of the price increases in the service lately, and I’m starting to wonder just why I’m paying what I’m paying.
I actually started this exploration about a month ago or so, and my goal is by June 15th we’re going to have dropped Comcast as the tv provider and replace it with some combination of online services. We’re largely stuck with Comcast as the only true viable high speed internet in my area, which ultimately is going to be bad – the internet only price for Comcast is high enough that it’s going to eat into any savings this project might have.
My future posts will start detailing what I’ve been exploring, and what my opinions are of those options.