During a rough financial period a few years ago my wife and I decided it was time to get rid of cable TV. At the time we were paying $130 / month for internet and TV services through Comcast Cable. We had an HD box and a few premium channels. One day we sat down and calculated that just TV entertainment was costing us about $840/year, the price of a short family vacation! We also came to the conclusion that the majority of the content we watched was On-Demand programming. Our kids would sit and watch the same shows over and over. Why were we paying for all these channels that we didn’t need? (especially when most of the content was garbage)
We knew that we couldn’t ditch the whole package because we still needed solid internet access. DSL would be too slow and 4G networks like Clear weren’t available in our town yet and would likely be too slow also. So we cancelled all TV services and kept our high-speed Comcast internet at $59.95/month.
After researching OTA (over-the-air) TV broadcasts I decided to go with a roof-mounted antenna from Terk which I purchased from Newegg. Mounting the antenna was a breeze and in no time I was picking up 35 HD channels from Philadelphia and Allentown – FOR FREE. The price of the antenna was about $90, barely more than one month of cable. All HD TV broadcasts are 720P and most newer flat-panel LCDs and Plasma TVs have a built in tuner so there is no need for a separate converter.
My next purchase was a Roku XDs. The Roku box is about the size of a few CD cases and allows me to stream HD content from Netflix, Pandora, Amazon Video-On-Demand, Hulu, Fox News, my local network, USB devices and many other places directly to my home theater. It has built in wireless and has multiple connection options. I used HDMI for video and the optical output for audio to my home theatre.
Once you buy the Roku you only pay for what you want. For example, Netflix is only $7.99/month for the streaming-only package. Hulu basic is free (you can upgrade to Plus for about $6.99/month. Pandora is free up to a certain amount per month. With Amazon you only pay for the movies that you rent and if you have your own media on your local network or on a flash drive – just stream it!
It seems like everyone is looking to save money these days. For us we have found that there is plenty of entertainment between the Roku, OTA HD, and of course the local Redbox machine. Who can say no to a $1/night DVD rental?
To sum it up, we used to pay about $1,560/year to Comcast for cable TV and internet. Now we pay about $720 for internet and $96 for Netflix. We have just as much content as we used to – if not more, and almost $750 back in our pockets.