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!
I recently bought a refurbished Linksys CM100 cable modem for $20 since the cable modem Time Warner Cable provided has been a pain in the ass (we had a Toshiba PCX2600). Being a huge fan of Linksys hardware, I couldn’t resist such a great sale. The only problem was I knew activating it was going to include spending an hour or more between fighting an automated phone system, waiting on hold, convincing a level 1 support person that it IS possible to put a new device on the network, more holding, then getting a higher up tech person to get their act together. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting.
First step was to get to an actual human. Time Warner Cable must have updated their phone system recently because I’ve never dealt with a voice recognition system that actually works as well as Goog411. I wasn’t able to get to a human the first try since it decided I was just having connection problems and told me to restart the modem and watch the flashing lights (impressive, but not what I wanted). I couldn’t figure out how to get out of that process so I hung up and called again. As soon as I gave it my phone number again, it said “I’ve noticed you recently called for tech support. Is this call for the same problem?” Answering “Yes” connected me directly to a level 1 tech. Shocking! I’m definitely keeping that trick in mind.
The level 1 tech agreed to set me up, no questions asked (fully expected them to ask why I got my own since they don’t charge rent). He asked for the MAC address which he looked up and found it wasn’t on the system. He opened a ticket for me and forwarded me to a higher level tech. I sat on hold while he called the 2nd tech and was quickly connected. I verified the MAC again with the 2nd tech, he clicked away for a minute then asked me to restart my router and BAM! Internet was back up and faster than ever.
Maybe TWC is getting their act together… Maybe I just got lucky. Either way I applaud their new phone system since I’m sure it helps keep the lines open for more obscure requests like my own. I also applaud their techs because they weren’t reading a script. They knew their shit. Well done TWC!
That said, they had better not try to re-introduce those tiered billing plans again. If they do, they might just wind up next to Apple on my Shit List