Cutting the Cable
A little over a decade ago I unplugged the Cable from my TV. It was an awesome, liberating experience. I still remember the initial feeling of not knowing what to do with myself, this quickly was replaced with reading and fun, exciting outdoor activities that actually involved doing something. Unfortunately I plugged the TV back in for a Superbowl and fell back into old habits.
Fast forward to the present. Over the past year or so I've noticed that I've been "watching" less and less TV. My DVR is set to record fewer shows – and even those I don't seem to care that much about. Most of my TV time has been background noise while I'm sitting at the computer working on something. So after talking with my brother (who cut his TV and Internet this year) I found myself fixated on the idea of cutting the cable again.
This time my transition has been more gradual. I've removed most of the DVR subscriptions. Instead of channel surfing for noise I've gone to my Netflix queue. And I've been reading more at night. The less present the TV has been, the less I've missed it and I decided to take the plunge.
After researching I settled on a outdoor HD Antenna by RCA (see bottom of this post for more details) which I purchased from Amazon. My barometer for success was an indoor test. Namely if any signal was picked up sitting on my floor haphazardly pointed towards the source I would be in business. Not only was the test a successful by my standards, the signal was clear and beautiful. Last night I had the antenna installed on the roof, and didn't even bother with directional tuning – my TV reports 98% signal strength. The NFL season opener with the Cowboys @ Giants was gorgeous – better in fact than the HD feed on the still plugged in Cable.
Today I called Verizon and cancelled my Cable service. That was the adventure that I expected, with a few surprises:
- According to Verizon they cannot generate a bill if you only have one service (in my case Internet) without a phone line, and that the only way is with Credit Card billing. Fine if you want to pay the fee I'll gladly take the Amex points.
- My TV+Internet Bundle was $99.99 / month. The Internet only (same speed) cost is $89.99. I considered keeping basic Cable for the extra $10 bucks except you need to pay an additional fee for the box. That's right, you can't actually watch TV if you have a TV package without an additional fee.
- Not really a surprise but I spent 61 minutes on the phone (mostly in hold waiting) to cancel service.
What did this cost / what am I saving?
- RCA ANT751R Outdoor Antenna $40.77 via Amazon
- 50ft Quad Shielded RG6 Cable $14.52 via Monoprice
- Installation $120.00 (easier and probably about the same as buying the ladder)
Total Cost = $175.29
Estimated First Year Savings = $1,128.36
I cancelled my cable, installed an HD Antenna and will save over $1,000 this year.