When I was a kid, it seemed like our television bill was never more than twenty dollars.
Then, sometime between starting college and graduating college, the price of television skyrocketed.
I now get about six hundred channels, the vast majority of which I never watch, and the cost is around a hundred dollars a month.
Bundle in high speed internet and my bill is around $150 a month. A hundred and fifty dollars a month for cable television and internet service… it’s absolutely insane if it weren’t so commonplace!
One of the things I’ve investigated is whether or not we can cancel the television service and figure out a way to replace it with something cheaper. Unfortunately, we still keep cable television service because we found that un bundling it from internet made the internet service so much more expensive that the cost savings were nearly insignificant.
If you are only paying for television, or your decoupling the two won’t kill all savings, you might be able to benefit from my research.
Buy an Antenna
All of your local stations broadcast a signal through the air that you can pick up if you buy the proper antenna. The best sit to find an antenna and where to point it is AntennaWeb, a site setup by the Consumer Electronics Association and the National Association of Broadcasters.
You simply enter in your address, some local information, and they’ll tell you exactly what you need and where to point it. The best part is that you can get High Definition content without paying the HD price (and if you’re a fan of sports, you’ll realize that this gets you most of your local sports programming).
Hulu & Netflix
With an antenna, you get most of everything live. You can set up a DVR with the antenna to record programs but those DVRs are typically very expensive. If you don’t want to do that, the next best option is patience and an internet connection.
Hulu, or the associated station’s website, will get you current season TV shows on delay (for example, House on FOX is delayed ten days) whereas Netflix instant streaming will get you older season’s episodes. The library at Netflix for prior season’s TV episodes is quite large and you could entertain yourself for quite some time.
Here’s the trickiest part about going without television service – sporting events. It’s possible to watch football online if you’re technically savvy and willing to do a little work. If you aren’t willing to do that, the only other option is to go to your local bar, the plan for every sports fan who lives out of their team’s market.
I live south of Baltimore, Maryland but I’m a New York Jets fan so on Sundays I visit my neighborhood bar to catch the game. My bar tab, which is directly related to the Jets’ performance, probably negates any savings though.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for you to find an alternative to that ghastly cable bill.