Cord-cutter: that’s who I am. Two months and proud. My kids haven’t complained yet.
You may think that my sizable cable bill motivated this decision, however, the real reason was that I simply could not justify paying one more month for my home phone. With the exception of telemarketers who dialed me incessantly (despite my placement on the no-call list), my home phone sat silently accumulating dust until I finally unplugged it. FIOS informed me that if I chose to keep internet and cable TV but dropped my home line, my bill would actually increase. (I had the Triple Play package).
Frustrated, I shopped around online and discovered CableVision’s Cord-Cutter package. For $50 per month including taxes, I could receive high-speed internet, a router, and digital antenna. My FIOS bill cost me close to $200 per month. Do the math. At the end of the year, I would have an extra $1600 in my pocket.
Sure, cable makes channel-surfing convenient, but I can honestly say I do not miss it. I still manage to watch all my favorite shows: Downton Abbey (may it RIP), Vinyl, The Affair, Girls, Shark Tank, Real Housewives, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
I have yet to purchase any equipment, other than the antenna which Cablevision provided gratis as part of their Cord Cutters package. (You need this to watch the network channels). We bought our Apple TV about six years ago; each software update has improved the system. I mainly use its Airplay feature which allows me to stream whatever I see on my iPad, iPhone or Mac to my television. We already had a Smart TV for Netflix and a Wifi DVD player to stream Amazon Prime.
For more on what equipment you need, read my follow-up post on this topic.
But since dropping cable, friends keep asking me the same questions:
Q: How can we watch the awards shows?
A: The networks broadcast the Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys.
Q: What about “The Walking Dead”?
A: You may purchase AMC shows on iTunes per episode or season, or subscribe to Sling TV for $20 per month.
Q: I need my mindless reality TV. How can I keep up with the drama?
A: For me, reality TV means Bravo. I watch recent episodes online at BravoTV.com either on my computer or iPad or stream to my TV via Airplay to AppleTV. You can buy episodes or entire seasons of most reality TV on iTunes. Apple TV comes preloaded with CNBC and Lifetime stations. HGTV also offers full episodes online or you can subscribe to Sling TV to see them live.
Q: Where can my sports-loving family watch the games?
A: The networks broadcast live sporting events including the Masters, Superbowl, and World Series or make them available to stream online. If you wish to watch additional sports games, you may want to get ESPN from Sling TV. Google your sport of choice to see alternative viewing methods. Many sports offer specialized plans, free online streaming, or access with an antenna.
Q: My kids cannot make it a weekend without Disney, Nickelodeon, Sprout, or PBS Kids? What do I tell them?
A: Most channels offer limited recent episodes of their shows on their websites. Apple TV has channels for Disney, Disney XD, and Disney Jr., as well as PBS Kids episodes going back years. Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime are also good sources for kid shows.
Q: Can I watch the news?
A: I rarely get my news from TV anymore, but with an antenna, you receive the network news; you can get snippets of featured news stories from CNN either online or through Apple TV. If you want Fox News you can go to their website.
Q: Can I watch HBO and Showtime?
*Note: I plan on buying a Roku to get Sling TV, as Apple TV does not provide access to it. You can stream almost any of the above Q & A topics on the Roku as well.
OK, so this is my takeaway: Try it. You can always go back. Since I canceled cable, I get weekly offers to rejoin. Last time I moved, FIOS gave me a $300 gift card just for re-subscribing. But, remember, everyone’s tastes vary so you must research to determine if this works for you. Let me know how it goes. Trust me, your family will survive.