It’s been four months now that I decided to cut the cable cord and save some money on my path to minimalism.  Cable television, although convenient, was riddled with commercials and I really only watched about 10 channels out of the 270-ish available to me.  Having a DVR to record up to 6 shows at a time quickly became unmanagable in my limited amout of time to watch television.  I found I would get into a show run, get a few hours one random weekend and binge through 5 or 6 shows in one shot.  Often I would run out of room quicker than I could watch the shows and end up deleting entire series because I wasn’t in the mood to start them (at one point I was interested to watch it).

My previous setup:

  • 6 channel HD DVR system
  • 2 stream boxes (from DVR to television)
  • 75Mbps cable Internet
  • Monthly bill = $180-ish/month

My current setup:

  • 1 Roku streaming stick
  • 1 Roku 2 set-top box
  • Hulu subscription
  • Netflix subscription
  • SlingTV (but I will most likley cancel this, not the best service yet)
  • Monthly bill = $102/month (SlingTV adds $20/month)

It took some time to get used to the fact that you couldn’t just turn on the tv to a random channel like HGTV for background noise.  Paying for streaming services has a sort of obligation to pay attention, or else just not watch anything at all.  I started putting music on in the background instead (like Pandora or Amazon Music) that didn’t require any special subscriptions and I could access via Roku.  My wife is complaining that she misses watching the news, but I remind her all the time that the news is depressing and is filtered.  If she read the news like I did, I doubt she would continue after a few days.  My personal preference is that the news not be moderated or censored and unfortunately American “news” is both.

In my honest opinion, I am liking the fact that I’m saving almost $80/month and quite possibly more as the HD DVR did not turn off, ever.  It ran all the time and was consistently doing something judging by the humming of the hard drive and various components inside the box.  What I do really like the most is that I can sit down anytime, regardless of the time of day, and watch something specific and without commercials for the most part.  Some of the free streaming channels still have commercials, but they’re front ended and not during the actual show.  Easily glazed over until your show comes on.  I also have access to a lot of content via the streaming services that normally isn’t on television, although some of it isn’t that good in some cases.  Netflix in particular likes to put on movies that were so bad they are classified as “made for streaming service” and never actually publically released.

If you like saving money (other than Comcast subscribers) and can get used to not having all your content when it’s immediately available, its worth experiementing with cutting the cable cord.  Some cable companies are getting smart to the idea, espcially bundling companies, and have made Internet only service $10-15 cheaper than the bundle with Internet and cable television.  My company thankfully hasn’t done that yet.  There is an odd sense of freedom knowing that I’m not subscribing to the system of moderated and filtered content.  What do you have to lose by trying?