Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TV Choices

I'd call this post "The Boob Tube", but I think it might attract the wrong sort of google searchers.

A friend said recently that she missed my blog posts.  The problem is, there hasn't been much to post about. Lots of work, lots of playing chauffeur to the kiddos, not much else. In fact, there's been so little "else" that I've been suggesting for months (maybe a year or more) to my husband that we quit paying for cable TV. Because "else" hasn't even included couch potatoing (is that a verb?)

We don't watch TV.  Much.  And we're paying for it.  A lot.

I might have just pulled the plug myself, except that the bill has been in his name.  And while I'm not entirely above impersonating him on the phone (not sure it's really identity theft when our finances are already so interwoven...).  However, the decision affects the whole family and not just me.

We finally really looked at our bills this past weekend.  We were paying $170/month for our cable+internet service, plus another $60/month for the home phone. (Plus we have cell phones on a different plan, and didn't even look at changing those).  All that for the kids to watch a few cartoons, some Nickelodeon shows, the occasional Mythbusters, and about 3 hockey games per season.  Maybe a few more shows sprinkled in there.  But honestly, not $170 worth of entertainment every month. (BTW, that $170 included some movie channels, but not the most expensive HBO/Cinemax, and no special sports package or anything else...plus our equipment was going on 5 years old).

We already have Amazon Prime (have been using it for years for shipping, plus the occasional streaming show on my kindle). One of our TV's is a "smart tv" that was already not connected to the cable (because of room arrangement...it is on a different wall than the cable jack), but was already configured to stream Amazon, etc.  Another TV is connected to a blu-ray player that can run apps from various streaming providers.  The third TV has a Roku box.  Yes, we have a lot of gadgets.

We are now down to a total of $65/month for internet + VOIP home phone combined (which will increase by $30 in a year after some special deal wears off). We didn't change the Amazon subscription.  We are probably adding Hulu and Netflix (or at least trying them...will see whether it's necessary to keep both in addition to the Prime).  And have an HD antenna on order so that we don't lose the local channels as an option.

To summarize we're talking a one-time purchase of $35 antenna, plus $8/ month each for netflix and hulu.  Amazon is a net $0 change, though it is around $8/a month if you really want to count it.  We are still debating whether we need a DVR, and what the best option is if we do.  I think the only programming we would use the DVR on is local channels coming in over the antenna.   So, $65+8+8+8 = $89/month.  Way, way, way less than the $230 we were paying before.

I guess time will tell whether we made the right choice. But i'm thinking that our checking account will thank us in the mean time.