Why I Won't Cut the Cord

By on April 8th, 2015 in General

We cut the cord years ago—where we live, over the air signals are good enough for the broadcast networks, and combining Netflix & Hulu Plus gave us more than enough viewing options. Even subscribing to both of those, we cut our TV bill by a little more than 80 percent. Throw in Amazon Prime, and we’re still saving money month to month.David J. Loehr

A few years ago I considered canceling the cable port of our Comcast XFINITY subscription but for a variety of reason chose not to.

We have an XFINITY bundle that includes HD cable and high-speed access to the Internet. The XFINITY TV package does not include premium content like HBO or Showtime but we do get HGTV, FoodNetwork and the SciFi channel. Mostly we watch those three channels and a number of shows on the broadcast networks. With one or two exceptions we never watch live TV, preferring to time shift via an older generation TiVo HD.

I don't remember when we cancelled our Netflix DVD subscription but it was a while ago. We bought an Apple TV and started working our way through the catalog of movies and syndicated TV shows. We don't get the latest movies but we weren't finding time to watch the DVD anyway. However, I did notice that movies we wanted to watch on DVD were released on iTunes only a short time later. To me it made sense to cancel the Netflix DVD subscription and use the money save to rent (or sometimes purchase) movies on iTunes when we had the time to watch the. However, once we switched to Netflix streaming and iTunes rentals I noticed that we were routinely over the 250GB limit of the XFINITY bandwidth cap. It seems that Comcast is not enforcing this.

Once I realized that our TV habits had changed I approached my wife about canceling the XFINITY TV service and going full streaming with Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes as our sole source of video content; all streamed via the Apple TV. I worked out a spreadsheet showing how much we would save. Our monthly spend for internet and TV is $167.18. That's $2006/year. That's quite expensive but justifiable. Here's why.

I live in an area of New Jersey that is mid-way between New York City and Philadelphia but just beyond the transmission range for the stations in those cities. That means that even though the TV networks in New York and Philadelphia are transmitting at full strength, residents of my area will not receive a usable HDTV signal. Of course Hulu is one solution to this. Another solution is an iTunes subscription to the show we want to watch. It can be expensive depending on the number of shows we want to watch.

Even if we eliminated certain shows, if we just reduced our TV watching, cutting the cable cord means I will have no access to live sports.

Formula 1 racing is my spectator sport of choice. I get an adrenaline rush watching finely tuned and superbly engineered automobiles driven around a race circuit at ridiculously high-speed. The NBC Sports Network, a cable only channel, now holds the US broadcast rights to Formula 1. If we cut the cable I would have to give this up. I am stuck subscribing to cable is I want to watch anything live on the major broadcast networks. There is no alternative. The cord remains.