I don’t think of us as the “cancelling your cable” types. We are just used to the convenience of tv anytime we wanted to watch and options that everyone in the family enjoyed.
We were paying a ridiculous amount for our cable and high-speed internet. A ridiculous amount. For a couple of years we contemplated cancelling, but just couldn’t quite make ourselves do it. It all seemed so confusing to evaluate the other options of how to watch tv without cable. We didn’t have any extra movie channels, and yet we were paying $214.00.
We were paying $139.99 for “bundled services” for cable/tv, voice (home phone) and high-speed internet. We didn’t even plug in a phone but they offered a better price for bundled services. So, technically we were paying for a service we didn’t even use. In addition we were paying $41.88 for “additional equipment and fees”. Then still some additional “fees” that totaled $21.40.
Below is the “additional” equipment and fees we were paying, totaling $41.88.
- $10 A DVR I loved my DVR and rarely ever watched live tv. This allowed me to watch my favorite shows when it was convenient for me and not when they aired.
- $9.95 digital converter box for our bedroom. The tv was 25 years old and original remote didn’t work, so this was a more expensive box than the other adapters.
- $11.98 for 2 additional digital adapters boxes @ $5.99 each. One of the two was rarely being used.
- HD fee of $10. Say what?! That was ON TOP of the 139.99 we paid for “bundled services”
- $10 fee for the modem….we still have to pay this, unless we later opt to buy our own.
For such a long time, a lack of understanding the other options kept us in limbo. We just couldn’t figure out how it would all work. Jay especially wanted local channels, the ability to watch the Alabama games on tv and likes to be able to watch Fox News.
Our married daughter Jordan, and her husband Josh were surviving without cable. Josh was able to help us understand some of the options. They opted to have Sling TV, Hulu and Netflix. They were able to tell us we for sure would be able to watch Bama games on Sling TV and that with Hulu, most of the current popular shows are available the next day after they air. Sling TV has Fox News in some areas but not in ours, just CNN.
Even though we didn’t fully understand all the options, we did it. We bit the bullet and cancelled cable. Jay enjoys tv more than I do, so I knew it would affect him the most. Jessie had been gifted a 3 month subscription to WWE that I knew she would still be able to watch, and that’s her favorite thing to watch besides YouTube, so I knew for now she would be ok.
I was surprised that when I hung up the phone with Comcast (our cable company) I felt a little sick to my stomach. It seems ridiculous to say now, but it felt like this big scary leap that I was afraid we would regret.
We kept the high-speed internet offered by Comcast, but cancelled the cable and phone. We knew that whatever options we chose we would want the high speed internet in order to be able to stream tv and use wi-fi for other purposes on multiple devices at the same time.
The same day I cancelled cable I subscribed to Hulu. Most of the current shows we watch are available on Hulu the day after they air. We were leaning toward going with Sling TV to be able to watch Alabama football, but since it was off-season we decided to wait on that. We already had Netflix and Amazon Prime. We didn’t remember to use Amazon a lot for tv, that isn’t our primary reason for having it but without cable it added options.
For the next few 3 weeks we streamed tv using the apps for Hulu, Netflix or Amazon only on our phones or the Kindle, which had a little bit larger screen. I was surprised to see Jay did great the first 2 weeks. By the 3rd week he was finding the small screen uncomfortable to find a way to watch.
Jay really missed “live” tv that just stayed on and went to the next thing. He likes to just leave the tv on in the background all the time, and I really can’t take that hour after hour, which is why he watches in the bedroom a lot. He likes background noise, its ok sometimes, but I really like quiet.
Jessie before bed the other night asked if I “wanted peace and quiet” in the morning. That was her way of asking if she was going to be able to watch tv in the living room or would have to watch in our bedroom when she woke up 🙂
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On the 3rd week when Jay was really starting to get antsy Hulu Live came out. For us, this seemed pretty much the perfect solution. We subscribed to it for $39.99 a month. It has “live” tv, built-in dvr, the sports channels for Bama games and Fox News. His perfect match. We still needed to figure out how to make our ancient tv in the bedroom work with it. Because Hulu Live is brand new, not all the devices that work for other options work yet with it.
Jay ordered a Roku Express from Amazon because he read that works with Hulu. It does work with Hulu, but not the Hulu Live. We returned the Roku device.
Unbeknownst to Jay, Evan was feeling sorry that his dad couldn’t watch tv comfortably. Evan knew daddy wouldn’t buy himself a new tv and he wanted Jay to have one. On Sunday afternoon of Memorial Day weekend I went with him to Best Buy where he bought his dad a smart tv.
The super sweet thing about this purchase is that Evan has been working out of town for a couple of months and sleeping on a futon. He is so tight with his money that he won’t buy himself a bed. But he bought a tv for his dad.
When we drove up Jay was working on the van with his head under the hood. Evan quickly went to the front door with the tv while I distracted Jay. In a minute Evan told Dad he needed help with something and went back to the front door where he was holding Dad’s surprise when he came around the corner. Evan had bought an open box model so how he rode home with it in his lap was entertaining 🙂
Evan had one Chromecast (streaming device) and we bought another. Chromecast, like most of the other options, plugs into the HDMI input in back of the tv. Jessie thinks it’s so cool now that she can use the Hulu or YouTube app on her phone and “cast” it to the tv to watch on the big screen. We really like watching this way. Jay finds it slightly less convenient but it doesn’t bother me or Jessie at all. The only time I think about it is if I get a phone call. Then, I’m trying to pause the tv so it will be quiet while I answer the phone. My solution is use the tv remote to mute the tv until I can pause it after answering.
Although in the end although we chose Hulu Live and using Chromecast to stream it, I will share here for you the choices we considered to help you evaluate your options.
Here is my understanding of the tv options we checked out, including Sling, which we ended up not choosing once Hulu LIVE was available. There are other options we didn’t really explore.
Streaming Device Options
On any of the streaming options you have to use a device that enables you to stream them on your tv using your wi-fi. Roku, Amazon Fire TV Stick, and Chromecast seem to be the most popular. You can go here to see a comparison of all the Roku options. You can go here for a review/comparison of some of the different streaming device options.
Xbox One works for Sling, Hulu, Netflix and also works for Hulu LIVE, which doesn’t have as many streaming options yet. Hulu says there will soon be more options for streaming Live. We went with Chromecast since we chose Hulu Live. We probably would have gone with one of the options that comes with a remote otherwise.
Evan has an Xbox One, so when he is home on weekends he can use that option in his room but unless you already want one for playing games, it is the most expensive of the options. All of the other options are less than $100 and some significantly less.
TV Streaming Options
Sling Tv: they offer a couple of different options and you can try it for 7 days free. If you pay for 2 months Sling TV you can get a Roku Express device (enables you to stream on your TV) for free. The Roku Express is currently sold on Amazon for $29.99. This was what we originally planned to do. The main thing about Sling was (before Hulu Live) the only option we knew of that was going to get Jay Alabama football and other sports, but Bama football was at the top of the list. If you don’t care about everything Hulu Live has to offer, but want your sports, Sling is a less expensive option.
- Sling Orange is $20 and includes 30 channels and streaming on ONE device. Channels included HGTV, Disney, CNN (no Fox news), ESPN and more.
- Sling Blue $25 includes 40 + channels Fox (not Fox News in our area but for some areas is offered), NBC, regional Sports, NFL Network and more. Stream on up to THREE devices
- IF you subscribe to orange AND blue you can save $5 and stream on up to FOUR devices at the same time.
Hulu- (not Hulu Live) “Watch premium original series, full seasons of hit shows, current episodes, movies and more.” Like Netflix, they have some original series’. On Hulu the current most popular shows from a variety of networks are available to view on Hulu the day after they air on live tv. I mostly dvr’d everything so that didn’t matter to me at all. When we were considering this option I looked for specific shows and pretty much everything I watch was available on Hulu. When Jessie’s subscription to WWE runs out, they even have her Monday Night Raw.
- Hulu you get 30 day free trial then $7.99 per month. One device at a time.
- Hulu Live Live 7 days free then $39.99 per month . This is the option we chose. For sports enthusiasts they have the sports channels and they have both CNN and Fox News. You can stream on two devices at the same time for this price. Comes with 50 hours of cloud DVR. You can pay more to stream on additional devices or add more space on your dvr. You can click here to see all the channels they offer.
We haven’t received one normal full monthly bill yet for just our Comcast internet, so this could be off by a couple of dollars. But this is now our current cost of high-speed internet and tv.
$91.76 (79.95. +10.00 modem +tax) high-speed internet
+$39.99 Hulu Live
total $131.75 for a savings of $82.25
I hope our wild ride into ditching cable and finding a less expensive option is helpful to you. It was confusing to figure out, but we’re so happy now that we’re saving $82 and don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything. I regret we waited so long. If you choose any of the streaming devices through Amazon, I would appreciate you using my link. I will receive a small ad fee at no additional cost to you and I would be grateful.
I wish you the best of luck finding the best value for your family.
Till next week,