Thursday, October 23, 2008

I am here to save you $.

I am contemplating a big move, a bold statement against the evil forces at work, a stand against the incredibly expensive pigeon hole that society has forced me into.

That is right, my husband and I are in negotiations to cancel our cable. Screw you Cox. You have terrible HD reception, a million hidden surcharges and really just suck. Plus you cost $80 a month.

See we pay you something like $145 a month for phone, internet and cable. We don't use the phone, so when we called you to cancel it, you said, "no problem, you bill will now be $3 cheaper". WTF? Basically we lost our bundle savings making it virtually worthless to not have a phone. So now we only pay $142, ($60 for internet, $80 for phone)... woohoo smoking deal.

So how big of a deal is to cancel cable: NOT BIG AT ALL. See even though I don't watch very much TV anymore, when I had some down time to kill, I like it as a time waster option. Mostly I just DVR the three shows a weeks a week I watch (right now Life, How I Met Your Mother and The Office, plus 30 Rock, coming soon). So how will I replace these in my life if I cancel the cable?

Easy peazy. It can be done without any disruption to your life, while still utilizing the giant HD tv society forced you into thinking you needed.

Step 1) Buy or in my case build a cheap desktop computer (no graphics card needed). A laptop also works!
Step 2) Hook up said computer to the internet and to the back of your HD TV with a VGA cable and a simple audio headphone to headphone jack cable.
Step 3) Purchase and hook up an HD antenna to said HD TV.
Step 4) Purchase or steal a cheap wireless cable and mouse.
Step 5) Subscribe to Netflix for $12 dollars a month so you get unlimited Online On Demand.

And there you have it.

The HD antenna will get you perfect quality picture for all your local television (channels 3 - 62) and according to most people, some cable channels as well for free. You can also watch complete episodes from most shows online over your HD TV through you computer for ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Comedy Central ... etc so no need for DVR.

For shows that are only available through Cable, you have the choice of buying them from ITunes per episode, or what I do is watch specific shows unlimited for free from Netflix On Demand online. Shows like Dexter or Weeds are up there and have no commercials, stream flawlessly over the internet and look great in full screen mode on our big TV. If that isn't enough, there are also sites like Hulu and YouTube, which are homes to hundreds of movies and shows. The final kicker is that if you are a big fat criminal, you can download pretty much anything for free (not that I am advocating this).

Okay so I realize that the startup costs I mentioned are not that, antenna, some cables, wireless mouse and keyboard so that you don't have to get your lazy butt up ever, and subscription to Netflix ($12/month). But chances are you already have some of this stuff laying around your house... and think of it as an investment in the future, it has to be better than your 401k right now.

If technology scares you, well... I can think of two options.
1) Go to a bar at happy hour right next door to a major engineering firm or computer company. Look for the group of nerdy looking guys/gals. Proceed.
2) Google is everyone's best friend.


garobbins said...

NICE! If I had an HD t.v. and didn't get cable for free I'd be all over it!!

Jeff D. said...

Yeah, cable is old technology. It's surprising they still try to charge so much for it.

Check out for lots of free online TV. We watch The Office every week online.

Keith said...

Good taste, Hannah. You're now the only other person I know who watches Life.

As for an HD Antenna--a regular UHF antenna will do. Or at least it can. I "splurged" for a Radio Shack one that came as a picture frame.

Over-the-air HD is also better than cable/satellite HD--it's not compressed in any way. Some of the differences, though, may not be readily apparent though...

The Chaser said...

@Gary: I am sure living where you do that watching TV is the last thing on the agenda.
@Jeff: Hulu is pretty cool.
@Keith: Love LIFE...I hear it isn't doing well, but Tom and are totally into it. Also I have heard that a UHF antenna works, but was skeptical. I am going to give that a try. You got one disguised as a picture frame? Interesting.

Sarah said...

Nice! This blog entry is definitely one of my top ten faves. I would do the same thing but my husband is not gonna let me get rid of ESPN.

Bonnie said...

I agree! I worked from Phoenix for a month last year and hated COX! They need competition - glad you are choosing other options!

ctgobucks said...

Hannah blogs like this are irresponsible, and dangerous. When you say things like this, you make peoples wives threaten to get rid of cable, which would pretty much kill me. My theory on cable is, it is cool, and expensive, so I just work harder. As for your ways to get rid of cable, the only parts I understood were HD tv. and happy hour.