I Cut the Cable

My memory is a bit foggy but we’ve been cable TV free for about a year now. There are a few things we miss but honestly, those few things are not worth ~$45 per month. I did some research, went to RadioShack, argued with a sales guy about UHF and VHF, bought a $70 UHF/VHF antenna, installed that sucker in the attic, and cancelled our cable. We get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, My New TV, CW, and PBS all over the air. Using the federal DTV transition program, we got two DTV converters for $40 total and eventually bought an HDTV. Our savings from ditching cable will pay for the TV in just over a year!

We also bought Playon around the holidays when they had a ridiculous sale going on. With Playon, we can stream all kinds of media from various sites (like Hulu) to our TV via our Xbox 360. It’s a great deal even at the regular price. Since we enjoy movies so much, we also subscribe to the three dvd Netflix plan which includes instant view which also streams to our TV with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. For $17 per month, it’s a fantastic deal if you watch a lot of movies.

If you haven’t figured it out already, it was well worth it! If the price of cable packages drops dramatically, we may consider signing up again, but I find that pretty unlikely. We’re pretty happy with our media options and we’re saving quite a bit. If you’ve been thinking about cutting the cable but are holding back, let me know! Maybe I can help you pick out hardware, software, and alternate service plans. Just leave a comment!

 Eric is a software engineer and father of two, who's hobbies include video games, open source software, and just being a geek. Read more from this author

5 thoughts on “I Cut the Cable”

  1. I just started using playon at the start of the new year. My family has never look back. We do use Netflix the 1 disk plan and pay 9.00 a month. We stream everything over our wii and xbox 360. The next step to help the kids stream to their rooms.


  2. I’ve been using Playon and also over-the-air for quite some time now. Real happy with it! I was using a DLink DSM-520 Media Player but moved on to a Western Digital WDTV Live media player instead. Wow! Awesome! By the way, I also steam over my network 4TB worth of movies and music from my in house network servers.Even though PlayOn will be offering a “Premium” service package I would recommend getting the “basic” package.

  3. I’ve learned to not talk to the people that work at Radioshack.

    Annoyingly most of the TV that gets watched in my house is on channels that one can only get with cable or satellite.

  4. Well RadioShack had a good deal on an antenna that fit perfectly in my attic and provided enough range (all the towers are between 30-40 miles from our house so we needed pretty decent range). When I got there, he said they didn’t have any in stock but that I didn’t need that antenna anyway. He claimed that after the digital transition, nobody would be transmitting over VHF anymore. I knew for a fact that Fox, which was transmitting digital over UHF at the time, was going to switch back to their VHF channel after the transition. I even had him pull up the FCC licenses on his computer and he insisted that it was only referring to the channel number that gets auto-programmed into your converter box or TV. Lo and behold, I was right, our local Fox channel is currently transmitting on channel 11 VHF.

    I generally try to avoid any technical discussions with sales people because I do my homework before buying and I, frankly, know far more than the average sales person by the time I step in the store.

  5. At least he was competent enough to follow the conversation. I had a Radioshack employee ask me what a diode was. I stopped asking them questions after that.

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