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View Full Version : No More Cable - The good, bad and ugly


brymolmom
04-01-2011, 11:08 AM
I know many on this board have been discussing/thinking about getting rid of cable to cut costs. Well, after considering it for many months, dh and I finally took the plunge almost 3 weeks ago. I thought I would share my experience to help those who are still considering.

Our 'plan' was to 1) get netflix streamed thru the wii - this was done prior to the end of cable 2) get a PC or Roku box connected to the TV to watch 'full episodes' of some shows (this has still not been done, I thought it would make us hurry to do this when the cable was gone) and 3) get an antenna for the roof to get local stations (this hasn't been done - cuz we still have snow up there, but the antenna is purchased and waiting for spring to actually arrive here in upstate NY to get it installed. For now, we're paying for a couple months of basic from cable) 4) use the library more for videos for the kids.

As you can see 2 haven't been done even still but I know we'll do them more quickly now that cable's gone vs. waiting for everything to be done before cutting the cord - then we would drag our feet forever.

So, We disconnected almost 3 weeks ago now....here's my take:
The good:
1 - LOVE that we're saving about $50 a month right now (really more - but paying 10 a month for netflix so it isn't all savings), and will save $12 more per month in a couple when the antenna is installed.
2 - I honestly can say it has been EASIER than I thought it would be. I have watched some shows via internet (connected laptop to the tv).
3 - Netflix has much more than I ever imagined when I had cable and didn't need to search for stuff. I have a ton of things lined up to watch.
4- Since I don't do nearly as much mindless channel flipping when nothing's really on - I've been reading a lot more. I've read 4 novels in the last 3 weeks.
5 - I was worried about the kids complaining. They are 7 and 8 and watched a lot of DISNEY channel and movies on the disney channels on tv. They haven't really even complained. They've watched some GOOD LUCK CHARLIE on Netflix and they've watched some of the movies and shows I got out of the library for them. And they've played a bit more wii and watched youtube more often (some cartoons, etc.).

The bad:
1- Ok, this might be a deal breaker for some of you - but likely the only thing I really miss is my DVR. I only watch a handful of shows regularly (survivor, American Idol, Amazing Race, Grey's, Big Bang Theory). And many of them start at 8:00pm. Well, my kids go to bed between 8 and 8:30 and I used to LOVE having it DVR'ing during the bedtime routine so when I was ready to watch at 8:30 - 8:40 I could just start at the beginning and then fast forward thru commercials. It was ideal. Now I have to either just watch the part that hasn't finished yet OR wait for it to be done and watch it off the Internet the next day. I am still getting used to this and I think that when we have a PC or Roku setup it will make this easier as we'll just start watching Wednesday's shows on THursday, etc.
2 - Tied to the one above, right now and until we get a PC hooked up permanently to our TV, it is a bit of pain to do the whole watching from the Internet thing - have to connect the laptop, find the show, get it going, we've found some shows that 'hang' sometimes during it playing - so we have to fiddle with it.


I think overall for the bad points, when we have our setup finalized and when we get more used to it - I think they will become more like annoyances and be more minor with time. I am HAPPY we went this direction.

Good luck to anyone else deciding on this!

rvchat
04-01-2011, 11:22 AM
Hi, i also love the dvr. CAn't we buy a dvr of our own and connect to tv?







I know many on this board have been discussing/thinking about getting rid of cable to cut costs. Well, after considering it for many months, dh and I finally took the plunge almost 3 weeks ago. I thought I would share my experience to help those who are still considering.

Our 'plan' was to 1) get netflix streamed thru the wii - this was done prior to the end of cable 2) get a PC or Roku box connected to the TV to watch 'full episodes' of some shows (this has still not been done, I thought it would make us hurry to do this when the cable was gone) and 3) get an antenna for the roof to get local stations (this hasn't been done - cuz we still have snow up there, but the antenna is purchased and waiting for spring to actually arrive here in upstate NY to get it installed. For now, we're paying for a couple months of basic from cable) 4) use the library more for videos for the kids.

As you can see 2 haven't been done even still but I know we'll do them more quickly now that cable's gone vs. waiting for everything to be done before cutting the cord - then we would drag our feet forever.

So, We disconnected almost 3 weeks ago now....here's my take:
The good:
1 - LOVE that we're saving about $50 a month right now (really more - but paying 10 a month for netflix so it isn't all savings), and will save $12 more per month in a couple when the antenna is installed.
2 - I honestly can say it has been EASIER than I thought it would be. I have watched some shows via internet (connected laptop to the tv).
3 - Netflix has much more than I ever imagined when I had cable and didn't need to search for stuff. I have a ton of things lined up to watch.
4- Since I don't do nearly as much mindless channel flipping when nothing's really on - I've been reading a lot more. I've read 4 novels in the last 3 weeks.
5 - I was worried about the kids complaining. They are 7 and 8 and watched a lot of DISNEY channel and movies on the disney channels on tv. They haven't really even complained. They've watched some GOOD LUCK CHARLIE on Netflix and they've watched some of the movies and shows I got out of the library for them. And they've played a bit more wii and watched youtube more often (some cartoons, etc.).

The bad:
1- Ok, this might be a deal breaker for some of you - but likely the only thing I really miss is my DVR. I only watch a handful of shows regularly (survivor, American Idol, Amazing Race, Grey's, Big Bang Theory). And many of them start at 8:00pm. Well, my kids go to bed between 8 and 8:30 and I used to LOVE having it DVR'ing during the bedtime routine so when I was ready to watch at 8:30 - 8:40 I could just start at the beginning and then fast forward thru commercials. It was ideal. Now I have to either just watch the part that hasn't finished yet OR wait for it to be done and watch it off the Internet the next day. I am still getting used to this and I think that when we have a PC or Roku setup it will make this easier as we'll just start watching Wednesday's shows on THursday, etc.
2 - Tied to the one above, right now and until we get a PC hooked up permanently to our TV, it is a bit of pain to do the whole watching from the Internet thing - have to connect the laptop, find the show, get it going, we've found some shows that 'hang' sometimes during it playing - so we have to fiddle with it.


I think overall for the bad points, when we have our setup finalized and when we get more used to it - I think they will become more like annoyances and be more minor with time. I am HAPPY we went this direction.

Good luck to anyone else deciding on this!

brymolmom
04-01-2011, 11:24 AM
Hi, i also love the dvr. CAn't we buy a dvr of our own and connect to tv?


I said the same thing and actually thought that it would be possible (even if it involved buying something expensive), but as of yet - we haven't found a way.

Maybe someone on here knows more than I do....Honestly it's still OK for me at least as most of what I want to watch I can get full episodes from the computer...just way more cumbersome.

aclov
04-01-2011, 11:25 AM
Been thinking about this and saving the $128 month!

Dashzap
04-01-2011, 11:33 AM
We turned off the cable a few years ago and haven't gotten around to adding netflix yet!

We spend more time online than we used to.

We get a couple of channels with set top rabbit ears.

We haven't found a way to connect our mac laptop to the 10 year old TV.

BSil
04-01-2011, 11:41 AM
There is a product called elgato http://www.elgato.com/ which makes some items specifically designed for DVR purposes with a pc/mac. I think they are designed around the basis that you have some form of cable, but it might work with antennas too. It seems like they are designed to save you the cost of paying for DVR from the cable company, but I'm sure there are plenty of applications you can use their products for.

KandiB47
04-01-2011, 12:25 PM
I got rid of my cable last August by default when I moved into a 90 year old house without cable connections.

I have indoor rabbit ear antennas for our three tv's ($6 for the antennas). They pick up HD channels and everything. I get about ten channels. My new favorite channels are PBS and Create. I also get two music television channels and a weather channel that I have on a lot. There is no difference in the picture from cable HD channels.

If you have Redbox near by, that is useful for quick movie rentals. I notice we have to plan ahead more because you can't just turn on the tv and have dozens of options anymore.

piperdown
04-01-2011, 01:12 PM
We cut the cable about 2 years ago. DH installed an antenna and converter box. Only recently got Netflix, which we love. I use hulu.com for many of the network shows I watch.

As a side note, we watch a lot more PBS. With the converter box, we get 4 channels of PBS. There is a lot of really great programming, and I would have never taken notice if we hadn't cut the cable.

SandrA9810
04-01-2011, 01:13 PM
That's what Tivo is for. You can find them cheap on Ebay, and I've found them at Blockbuster stores that were closing on sale for 20% off (about $140). Not exactly sure how it all works, but it's a DVR box that isn't connected through cable.

Now if you sign up for Hulu Plus, you can watch shows after they're done airing, and older episodes.

KandiB47
04-01-2011, 01:24 PM
That's what Tivo is for. You can find them cheap on Ebay, and I've found them at Blockbuster stores that were closing on sale for 20% off (about $140). Not exactly sure how it all works, but it's a DVR box that isn't connected through cable.

Now if you sign up for Hulu Plus, you can watch shows after they're done airing, and older episodes.

I'll have to look into the Tivo thing for my antenna.

brymolmom
04-01-2011, 01:25 PM
That's what Tivo is for. You can find them cheap on Ebay, and I've found them at Blockbuster stores that were closing on sale for 20% off (about $140). Not exactly sure how it all works, but it's a DVR box that isn't connected through cable.

Now if you sign up for Hulu Plus, you can watch shows after they're done airing, and older episodes.

Yes - we thought so too, but I do not actually think it's possible (at least with my research so far). We have a Tivo from awhile ago leftover from some satellite plan we had at one time. I am told that you need cable to be the tuner for it or something along those lines.

Now I believe we could watch something off of Tivo...but as for recording new current programs....Anyone have any other information if this would actually be possible?

usnuzuloose
04-01-2011, 01:57 PM
I love my roku box. I get Hulu Plus and Netflix.Plus it has many other channels as well.

HunnyPots
04-01-2011, 02:27 PM
We went from Dish to streaming TV via Roku last month and I have not missed it at all! Like you, I'm doing a lot less channel surfing and watching any pointless show just to be watching. It really made me think about the stuff I was spending so much time watching. Why on earth was I spending several hours a week watching people dig through old junk or taking their stuff to a pawn shop??? And why did I care about total strangers trying to buy or sell their home? :confused3
Anyway, I love the choices on Netflix and a few things on Hulu, but mostly I LOVE that I am saving over $1000 a year! :goodvibes

DawnM
04-01-2011, 02:30 PM
A Tivo will work if you pay the subscription fee of about $12.95 per month per box. The newer Tivos also have wireless built in to watch Netflix or HuluPlus.

We just got a Roku and LOVE it.

Dawn

pixiewings71
04-01-2011, 03:49 PM
Ok we got rid of cable (mostly) in July 2010, we kept only the smallest cable package available, this actually SAVED us $2 per month because we were keeping our high speed internet thru Comcast. At our house the ONLY high speed internet available is thru Comcast, no Verizon, no AT&T, no anything BUT Comcast...no clue why, a friend a block away has plenty of option but where we are it's only Comcast. So, we wanted to keep the high speed internet, disconnected our cable box and took it to the office, dropped it off and disconnected, the lady was trying to get us to keep cable "I can offer you what you have for only $99 a month if you keep it" no thanks.... "I can offer a deal of basic basic cable, it's only the local channels and the Discovery channel but it will actually save you $2 compared to the internet only plan" so we did that. :) Came home, hooked the cable to the computer (desktop) and we now use our Windows Media Center as our DVR!!!!!! Yup, FREE DVR! The downside is that you can only record 1 show at a time but that's OK, we don't watch a lot of overlapping shows anyway. :) We have Netflix, we can watch it thru the desktop, laptop, netbook (but it's super slow this way) or the Wii, we generally use the Wii but we've used the desktop a time or two. We love Netflix!! And we use the Redbox a lot as well. :)
Do I miss cable? Sure, but it will be a while before we get it back, even if I get a job offer this month we will pay off bills before we get the cable back. :)

msmama
04-01-2011, 03:53 PM
I'm curious - when you called to cancel the cable did they just cancel it for you or did they try to "make you an offer you couldn't refuse."

I figure once I do try to cancel, I may end up having it for another year with a good deal, lol.

DisneyMomma81
04-01-2011, 04:01 PM
I'm interested in cutting the *cable* cord ~ we'd need a converter box to get channels with an antenna - how do I purchase one for a good price?

Jaden'smommy
04-01-2011, 04:07 PM
i also cancelled our cable plan, just have internet. we dont miss it at all. we get about 5 reg channels free,idk why but we do. the only channel i actually watch is NY1. My 7 year old son doesnt watch tv during the week, he plays with his wii or watches movies through netflicks. im saving about 75 bucks a month.

SandrA9810
04-01-2011, 06:07 PM
I'm interested in cutting the *cable* cord ~ we'd need a converter box to get channels with an antenna - how do I purchase one for a good price?

You can get one on Ebay for about $30, or at the store for about $60.

My aunt's died (Apex brand) just after moving into her new house. The power supply was broken, and seemed to be a common occurrence with that brand. ALL the stores were sold out of Digital boxes, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and was told it was a manufacturer issue.

We finally headed over to Radioshack and bought one for $60. It just says "digital stream" on the front of the box, but it worked a million times better than the old box. My aunt was able to pick up channels she hadn't seen since she moved (only 2 miles away), and she didn't have to turn the antenna every time she changed the channel. She was miffed that the old box only lasted less than 2 years, but she's happy with the new one.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Digital-Stream-Converter-Box-/120704179144?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c1a879bc8

Having a good antenna is key too.

whois figment
04-01-2011, 06:34 PM
For those of you missing your dvr and are using a computer to watch tv you can buy a usb or internal tv tuner for your laptop. Most of the tuners come with dvr software but if not just google free pvr software. There are several out there that work well and are free so you have no subscribtion cost.

JB2K
04-01-2011, 07:56 PM
A Tivo will work if you pay the subscription fee of about $12.95 per month per box. The newer Tivos also have wireless built in to watch Netflix or HuluPlus.

I won't get into the good/bad of cutting cable, as that has been discussed a zillion times, here (why doesn't the moderator make a sticky, already? Oh, wait, I forgot that the moderator has been MIA for about the past 18 months).

Seriously, while many TiVos have a monthly subscription fee (which for many negates going cable-free), you can still pick-up some units with transferrable lifetime subscriptions from eBay (http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5039.m570.l1313&_nkw=tivo+lifetime&_sacat=See-All-Categories).

Now, that may be appealing to some of you, out there...

C.Ann
04-01-2011, 08:47 PM
I'm curious - when you called to cancel the cable did they just cancel it for you or did they try to "make you an offer you couldn't refuse."

I figure once I do try to cancel, I may end up having it for another year with a good deal, lol.

Last year they cut me a good deal when I told them I would either have to drop to the Basic (with internet) or go without completely..

This year the prices have gone up yet again (I'm talking about my place at the lake where I live for about 7 months out of the year) and I have a "gut feeling" there will be no offers this time around.. (Which is why I said on the other thread I will go from Standard to Basic..) The problem is that they know they have everyone over a barrel up there - one cable company - one telephone company - and a dead zone, making cell phones useless..

Of course I'll still try when the time actually comes to call and tell them to take me off my seasonal plan and get me up and running again, but when I called just as an "interested potential customer", the rates I quoted on the other thread were what was offered for that particular area..

There's no way I'm paying $116 a month (plus tax) for Standard Service that is at least 75% sports and shopping shows (if not more), so we'll see what happens when I actually make the call..

If I have to go with the Basic, that's fine.. I'll live..:goodvibes I've been gathering up VHS tapes I have, DVD's I have, borrowing some from my DD, and will be picking up more at garage sales and such for "background noise".. For such a significant savings every month, it's well worth dropping down to the Basic..:goodvibes

Kycha
04-01-2011, 08:56 PM
Can anyone explain what hulu and roku are?

crazelion
04-01-2011, 09:06 PM
Can anyone explain what hulu and roku are?

I know what hulu.com it website that watch shows. It can be access on online. I have use hulu.com and I like it. I getting ready to setup wireless network in the house so I can stream netflix and hulu . One my friends was throw out old hp with windows xp on it and told let me have it.

I can't get mom to cut cable. That her life live.

brymolmom
04-01-2011, 09:12 PM
I'm curious - when you called to cancel the cable did they just cancel it for you or did they try to "make you an offer you couldn't refuse."

I figure once I do try to cancel, I may end up having it for another year with a good deal, lol.

It is my experience (and those around me from discussing with them) that Time Warner does not ever make you a deal if you call to cancel it. The last time, several years ago, when we were getting the Dish - I called and they said nothing, no offer. Not until I disconnected anything and then brought it all into downtown 20 minutes away and waited in line to hand it in - THAT'S when they 'made me an offer'. At that time, I was way too annoyed and too invested in the Dish offer - so I declined. This time around, even when I went thru all that and handed in my boxes, etc - they made me NO OFFER. Nor have I gotten any calls. I think they realize that this is the end and they can't lure back people like me.

brymolmom
04-01-2011, 09:17 PM
I won't get into the good/bad of cutting cable, as that has been discussed a zillion times, here (why doesn't the moderator make a sticky, already? Oh, wait, I forgot that the moderator has been MIA for about the past 18 months).

Seriously, while many TiVos have a monthly subscription fee (which for many negates going cable-free), you can still pick-up some units with transferrable lifetime subscriptions from eBay (http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5039.m570.l1313&_nkw=tivo+lifetime&_sacat=See-All-Categories).

Now, that may be appealing to some of you, out there...

I apologize for my ignorance, but with these Tivos with lifetime subscription - would we be able to hook it up to our TV with only antenna and record from it? Thank you for the information and link! I'm definitely going to check it out!

*Seanaci*
04-01-2011, 10:06 PM
DH and I haven't had cable for 3 years now (ever since we moved back in with my parents). I actually love not having cable. If we had cable, DH and I would most likely fight over what to watch on any given evening.

With a digital converter box (got it at Radio Shack for like $60 as a replacement for the original Apex we had which crapped out on us after a year) and rabbit ears, we get all the local channels, several PBS channels, and my sons favorite Qubo (this is a channel that if you have cable, you have to call your cable company to have it added to your line-up).

We have also been on Netflix for a year and a half and LOVE it. I have watched so many shows that I never would have otherwise.WE have considered dropping our Netflix subscription to 1 DVD out at a time and unlimited streaming (to save money)...but so far we have not. But still, $20 a month for 3 DVD's out at a time and unlimited streaming is a heck of a deal IMHO.

My parents do have cable downstairs...and told us we were welcome to get cable upstairs but we'd have to pay for it. It's do-able...but we'd have to put our TV in one spot and leave it...which I'm not fond of (I like to re-arrange my furniture every 6 months or so). Plus, it's an expense we just don't need. And we've done without it this long, we're obviously not missing it. :)

GoofItUp
04-02-2011, 05:28 AM
I apologize for my ignorance, but with these Tivos with lifetime subscription - would we be able to hook it up to our TV with only antenna and record from it? Thank you for the information and link! I'm definitely going to check it out!

Yes, this is definitely possible. We've been on antenna only with Tivo for about 4 years. We bought the lifetime subscription back at the time (I think it was around $300 or so) and have not paid anything since! I would tell you the technical details if I knew them, but DH is the one that sets all this up.

We currently have AT&T internet, but our one year promotion expired last week. We called our cable company to see about changing internet service to them and found out our house we now live in has never had cable service set up! And our house has been here since '03! The cable co was suppose to call us back -- which they never did -- but I called AT&T and told them I was looking at switching. They have me a new 1-yr promotional price that was $5 less than what we were paying! WINNING!

shortbun
04-02-2011, 07:50 AM
I hope I am never faced with this. I love my DVR and I'm lazy. you guys are very, very good and should be proud of yourselves. I don't watch tv during the day or when my son's around because I have more important things to do but after 10pm or when he has friends over, Saturday and sunday mornings...I'm a tv head, lol! There would be no consoling me if I had so few choices. Alas, I am spoiled by progress. ha!

hsmamato2
04-02-2011, 08:17 AM
how do you hook your pc to the tv? I'd heard you can DVR on Windows 7- (which I don't have) I tried Hulu plus for a week- it was cool- but we are keeping dishnetwork for a while till my life slows down and I have time o think about it....
I already know I only keep it for the DVR-

JB2K
04-02-2011, 08:41 AM
I apologize for my ignorance, but with these Tivos with lifetime subscription - would we be able to hook it up to our TV with only antenna and record from it? Thank you for the information and link! I'm definitely going to check it out!

Absolutely! The beauty of TiVo is that you can use it with either an antenna or cable...

Rob R
04-02-2011, 02:15 PM
We are halfway there. We have cable and use it mostly to watch
College sports.

Tv we watch the same list if shows earlier- survivor, amazing race, big bang theory and undercover boss.

We have a homemade antenna using coat hangers and a dvr recorder from magnavox I bought at walmart online. It was about $200 give or take, we've been using it for a couple of years.

We own the dvr and can record what we like. The tuner is digital in it, so no converter boxes and the like

Works well for us.

If it wasn't for MSU hoops and football the cable would be gone too. But since we have a projector with a 92 inch screen gameday gets crowded at our house.

KandiB47
04-02-2011, 03:10 PM
After reading this thread last night (I don't have cable, my husband wants it back) I decided to give Netflix another try. We have a Wii and a PS3. It's only $8 a month for streaming only. I'm am very happy with their streaming selection. When I tried it a few years ago, there was very little. Now I have the Wii connected to the upstairs tv and the PS3 to the downstairs tv. You must be able to connect as many devices as you want to one subscription.

The only downside is I've been watching a lot of tv for 24 hours;)


Does anybody have suggestions on how to get sports channels, specifically football and baseball, without cable?

Nayan
04-02-2011, 03:30 PM
No, you cannot get LEGAL sports online. There is ESPN3, which is online sports programming, but none what you mentioned and you must have it in your cable package to access it. There are 'illegal' sites you can view sports, but many have been or are being shut down.

sookie
04-02-2011, 03:34 PM
I second the TiVo recommendation. You can also user the new TiVo machines as a digital receiver.

KandiB47
04-03-2011, 09:11 PM
No, you cannot get LEGAL sports online. There is ESPN3, which is online sports programming, but none what you mentioned and you must have it in your cable package to access it. There are 'illegal' sites you can view sports, but many have been or are being shut down.

I've tried doing that for some Vikings games but it was pointless to bother. They shut the games down well before halftime. My friends husband subscribes to some online site with Steelers games because he is from PA and lives in WI. I thought somebody might have experience with that.