Back in September of 2013 I decided to cut the cord. No cable TV, no satellite. Just internet. At the time I thought of it as a temporary state. A money saving measure. It was an experiment. I’d see how long I was ok without TV, and when money flowed a little more freely, I would get my cable back.
More than a year later, the great cord-cutting experiment is my lifestyle. I have serious doubts that I’ll ever have cable again. Comcast regularly tries to tempt me with deals that make it sound like for only an extra $9 per month I can keep my current internet service and add basic cable plus HBO. And I keep saying no. Because I know that the $9 per month will quickly expand into a much higher number. There will be an equipment rental fee for the cable box. There will be taxes and other fees. There will be the looming temptation of DVR service and high definition picture. There will be the higher electric bill that comes with having a cable box. And the reality is I just don’t need it. I’m doing just fine without cable.
Before I cut the cord, I was spending about $150 per month for my combined cable and internet service. Now I spend $66.95 per month for my internet service. That’s it. No taxes. No fees. No equipment rental. I know how much that bill will be, always, and it never bothers me to pay for that mid-range high speed internet, because it works well for me and I use it a lot. I still have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu+ and Amazon Prime (all things I was paying for before I cut the cord). And I did pay $50 for a lifetime subscription to PlayOn and PlayLater (which makes it easy for me to watch CBS shows on my TV through my Roku box—I’ll never understand why CBS won’t play nice with Hulu!).
Live sports and award shows were the most worrisome point for me when I cut the cord. But I’ve found that I can stream lots of games broadcast on ESPN3 through my Roku. And many other events (e.g. the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards) stream live on the web, so it’s just a matter of connecting my laptop computer to the TV for those rare occasions. Not a big deal. I sometimes toy with the idea of adding an antenna to try to pull in over the air broadcasts on the major networks, but I don’t think it’ll be necessary.
I think the future is going to move in my favor. HBO has announced that they are going to start offering a stand-alone streaming subscription (no cable required!) in the near future. And while I don’t feel a need to have HBO in my life, this excites me because other major players will follow. My dream is to have a streaming subscription to ESPN and to the Big Ten Network…but right now these things are only available with an accompanying cable subscription. But it’s starting to look like there is a possibility that someday my dream will come true.
I admit that I’ve had some weak points. I paid about $25 each for season subscriptions to Doctor Who and The Walking Dead through Amazon. I visited with friends and with my favorite brewpub to get a look at a few Penn State football games that I couldn’t stream. But compared to the $83 per month I’m saving by not having cable, I’ve come out way ahead. It’s no longer just an experiment. It’s a lifestyle.