Cutting the Cord to Cable

Cutting Cable Ties

We finally did it, and I really couldn’t be happier about the decision, which I NEVER thought I’d say.  I’m a TV junkie, although, I will admit I haven’t been watching much of it lately, anyway.  The only current shows I watch are The Voice and Jimmy Fallon, which I can get both on Hulu.  Even though my actual TV usage wasn’t very high lately, it was nice to just sit down after work and watch whatever was on.  I also enjoyed it as background noise for cooking dinner and what not.  $170/month for background noise though?  It was time to re-think this situation.

The amount of people cutting their cable ties is increasing extremely rapidly.  It’s almost becoming uncool to still have cable or satellite TV.  People are no longer willing to pay so much money every month for thousands of channels that they don’t watch.  It used to be cool to have ALL the channels, but really, how often do you find yourself with still nothing you really want to watch.

I have been a DirecTV customer since 2006, when we moved here from California.  We have 3 TV’s and 3 DirecTV boxes (one main one and then 2 wireless remote ones).  We also had the GenieGo service so we could take our DirecTV shows anywhere we were going on our mobile devices.  It was extremely anxiety inducing for me to even consider the switch.  This could not be a band-aid removal… it needed to be a process.

I called into DirecTV and had them put my account on hold for 6 months.  I really love that you can do this.  It can give you a chance to see if you will survive without your TV subscription without making any final decisions or changes.  Keep in mind, if you are under a contract for a specific amount of time, the hold will suspend the time ticking down on your contract, so you will still have to make up the full obligation.  Since we have been customers for so long though, we are no longer under contract.

Once I pulled the trigger to put our account on hold, it was time to test it out.  We have Netflix, we have Hulu Plus, we have our Vudu movies (over 400 of them), and our Plex server.  We were definitely not lacking for entertainment.  Netflix, Hulu Plus and Plex cost us about $25/month… money we were actually already paying anyway, so if you aren’t already paying for those subscriptions, factor that into your decision to cut your cable.  Suddenly our Roku started getting a lot more use, and we liked it.

There are 2 main things I was concerned about though.  Next summer is the Olympics.  I am OBSESSED with the Olympics.  I love every single event, and I usually watch EVERY SINGLE EVENT.  I’m still concerned about this, but I figure enough people will have cut the cord by then that NBC will come up with something awesome for streaming.  As it stands, all of the events are already available live online, I just like watching on my TV.  Which is the main reason we hooked up an antenna (an entire post about my antenna and TiVo coming next).  With the new addition of SlingTV though, I have a feeling by the time next summer comes around there will definitely be a way to enjoy my beloved Olympics.  I haven’t tried SlingTV out yet myself (mainly because there still isn’t anything I’m dying to watch right now), but if you are on the fence because of certain channels or shows you absolutely have to watch, check out SlingTV and see if they offer it.

My other concern is my other obsession with made for TV Christmas movies.  There are several of the ABC Family ones already available on Netflix, but most of the Hallmark Channel ones are no where to be found.  Hallmark does have their own Roku channel called Feeln.  There are a couple of the Christmas movies there, but definitely not nearly their full collection.  I’m also hoping that by Christmas time this year Hallmark will have them available through the Feeln channel.

So, this only leaves live TV as the missing link.  The local network channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc you can get through an antenna.  This is the one we have, and we LOVE it.  I was able to install it myself, I just took the cable out of the DirecTV dish and plugged it into the antenna.  Didn’t even need to wire it back down to the TV, it’s already been done!  Then I got a TiVo Roamio OTA.  For $50, and then $15/a month, I can even have DVR for my live TV!  The TiVo will need it’s own post, as this one is already super long, but I have to say… I haven’t missed DirecTV one bit.  It’s been 3 months and I finally gathered all of our DirecTV equipment up and just got off the phone to officially cancel our service.

So, if you are like me and nervous about cutting your cord, call and just put it on hold for a couple months.  I didn’t even have to talk to someone to do this!  It was one of the phone tree options.  (Canceling was another story all together).  I really couldn’t be happier with my decision.  Now, what should we do with that extra $170/month?!?!


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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website

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