I haven’t had a traditional monthly television bill in over five years. Somehow after getting rid of cable I still have friends and I still have fun. Weird, huh? Pay television prices continue to increase steadily and cable companies continue to raise prices on the folks that are reticent enough to stick around. Have you hit the tipping point yet? NOW could be that perfect time for you to drop these jokers for good – like a bad habit as some might say. I have great news for you on that front. Cutting the cord is much easier now. “Why is that,” you might ask? Well I’ll tell you.
Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are all creating great original new content. Have you checked out House of Cards or Arrested Development season 4 yet (two of my faves)? The quality of these new “straight to the web” shows is just as good as any of the major networks create. And there’s more coming down the pipeline incredibly quickly from these newly minted TV content providers.
Amazon has five of their own new shows in the works for their Prime customers that should be hitting the internet shelves later this year. With actors like John Goodman starring in one of their new political dramas these companies are hitting home runs from the very start. In particular, Amazon continues to add new perks that make it harder and harder to resist signing up for a Prime account. Three of their new shows are for children and the other two are aimed at adults. You can check out some of their original pilots (like Alpha House – the one I referred to starring John Goodman) to gauge your interest.
Netflix has struck it big with their original series picks already and is planning to release eight new shows next year. Lets hope that a sophomore slump doesn’t ensue. And Hulu is boldly releasing 11 of their own original shows this year. You are bound to find one or two that look appetizing. A Hulu bonus is that a lot of their original content is actually free – but only if you watch on a computer. To watch it on a tablet, TV through Roku, or other mobile device will require paying the piper.
Work around: Scott Products (the guys who make paper towels) are offering a free month of hulu plus here. The normal offer directly through Hulu’s website is for just one free week.
The obvious bummer is that ESPN and some of the other cable sports channels aren’t available unless you subscribe through one of the major cable or satellite providers and pay them gobs of money every month. Many people (especially men) aren’t willing to give that up though.
Work around: I’ve been listening to my local baseball team’s games on the radio this season (when I’m not at the game). No need for the TV set at all. Baseball is better on the radio anyway I’ve found. I’m also kind of nostalgic.
That’s a lot of fresh content right at your fingertips for WAY LESS money than your current television provider – $7.99 or less per month for each service. And as more people take this plunge you won’t have to worry about missing out on “the good shows.” The great TV moments are increasingly happening online! These Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon shows are what your co-workers will be yapping about around the water cooler. Things are certainly looking up for us as TV consumers these days.
Don’t forget that these things called antennas still exist – that means that you can watch a few of your local channels for free in stunning HD. Did you know that antennas actually deliver a better local signal (if tuned correctly) than your cable or satellite provider?
Are you ready to take the plunge yet? Does this news of more fresh content from the online players perk your interest? Getting rid of cable is such a smart move now. Make it happen!
[Photo Courtesy of Mike]
20 Comment responses
We’ve been “0ff the grid” for 4 years now and don’t miss it at all. Our outside antenna recieves 60 Atlanta area channels and it was pretty easy to set up. For the more technically minded check out tvfool.com. You can put in your address and see how many local channel you should receive. Also gives antenna recommendations. With 60 local channels, Netflix , and Amazon Prime we have a lot to choose from.
Well done Gary. Antennas are awesome – such an easy way to get free TV. I love that your monthly bill for TV is less than $15. Mine too! What a great feeling.
Sports junkies need not fear, though! There are lots of options.
Major League Baseball’s MLB.TV service is $130/year and is available on Roku, web and mobile devices. That breaks down to $21.66/mo or $0.72 a day for access to EVERY game, including games that are blacked out (available 90 mins after finish). My kids love to watch the west coast games, and it really is the best value in sports programming, hands down!
NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS also offer online season subscriptions. Ultimate Fighting Championships and World Wrestling Entertainment offer premium MMA and professional wrestling online, and many smaller promotions also offer MMA and wrestling programming online (although quality may vary). GoFightLive offers live MMA, boxing, wrestling and other events from small, regional promotions on a per-show basis as well.
Kevin, I’ve had my itchy hand on the MLB.TV trigger for a long time now. I live only 2 miles from the ballpark though and since I go to so many games I just haven’t made it happen. I hope never to move away, but if I do, MLB TV will become a serious option for me.
Nothing beats live baseball! But MLB.TV is a must-have for baseball junkies. I really wish the other sports leagues would be just as fanatical as MLB is about their product. Sadly, the NBA’s online/streaming product may be the worst.
I moved and have gone cable free somewhat (parents still record a show for me to watch, but it cancellation was announced recently)
But this blog got me to review my options because I’ve slowly discovered the antenna only has not made me completely happy. My channels seem to be developing issues. I budgeted for a single service but I was seeing if I could go on without it.
I went with Prime (more perks and less costly over a year) and it’s making me very happy, it seems to have the content I want (others did not). Sadly I figured out last minute it doesn’t work with my Tivo like I intended(only “instant video” downloads, no Prime), but there’s an unused laptop I can hook up for now in the living room. It seems like you can accidentally pay for content, when you thought it was free (haven’t done so yet) but I never start a download until I find a price for what I’m clicking, and I’m good.
Thanks for stopping by Sara. I’m glad the info in my post helped you to re-evaluate. I have Prime too but I don’t watch a lot on it. I think I will watch more as their content expands. Netflix is my favorite. There’s a LOT of content there. And I’ve found that I don’t need Hulu Plus because regular Hulu gives me enough content for free. But I’m so glad that you’ve found something that works for you!
That is great to hear that you haven’t had cable for 5 years and that your quality of life hasn’t suffered. We recently cancelled our satellite so now Netflix as well as Redbox are what are keeping us entertained. Hopefully we will last five years without it like you!
You can do it Deacon! I like to hit up Redbox from time to time as well. Sign up for their texts and emails for free movie rentals a few times a month.
What if you want espn or speed chanel?
It is definitely a tradeoff. If you really want to watch a big game or event maybe get one of your friends with cable to host a little party? Just a thought. There are certainly times that I wish I had cable, I’m not gonna lie. But the cost vs. benefit just doesn’t line up for me. I prefer to miss out on a few things in order to have that money in my pocket.
I recently cancelled cable in preparation for my move from the ‘burbs to downtown DC, mostly because cable was the first thing to get cut from the budget if I would begin to struggle with a different financial living situation. I found that apart from the US soccer games (streamable online anyway), and so you think you can dance, I haven’t missed cable at all. I signed up for the free hulu+ trial, have netflix streaming and prime, so I find that I’m not really bothered. I can watch shows when convenient for me, and not feel the need to schedule my life around when TV shows air. I do think I will get an antenna once I move and settle in, but I can’t really see myself getting cable again. It’t the perfect excuse to go “visit” people when Game of Thrones and Homeland start back up
Exactly Melissa. And your antenna will bring back So You Think You Can Dance into your life (my wife loves that show too). Congrats on ditching cable and learning to love it!
We have been without cable for 6 years! We have an Apple TV and Roku and stream from Netflix, PlayOn, Amazon prime and Hulu Plus. We love not paying $100/month…and we can watch what we want! We are a season behind on MadMen and Game of Thrones, but we’re ok with that! Great article!!
That is awesome Diann! I don’t mind being behind on some shows either. It keeps a lot more money in my pocket. How do you like PlayOn by the way? I’ve heard mixed reviews.
There are a ton of better options than paying over $100 a month for cable content. I have been without it for 4 years now and can’t imagine why I ever waited that long in the first place. These companies have to learn that they need to deliver us the type of content we want, in the way we want it, at the times that we want it, for the price we are willing to pay for it… or we will find others methods of getting what we want. I am so happy with my experience since I decided to cut the cord and get rid of cable that I have started a website designed to help others do the same. http://getridofcable.net/streaming-media/cord-cutting-process/