9.08.2012

I Did It - Ditched Cable

Today I'm starting a new feature category called "I Did It"  I cannot promise the frequency of postings but when I try something new I'll let you know about it.  

So as the title, so clearly states, yes, I ditched cable.  I have been a very loyal.  Very vocal advocate.  And very much in love with Direct TV.  I had no problems.  I loved the quality of service.  I loved all the stations it provided and their pricing, I felt, was very competitive and fair.  I was with Direct TV for nearly 10-years!  

I had been reading various articles and blogs about people who had ditched cable and about the different options out there for those wanting to still get "tv" but without cable/satellite.  When I new we were planning on moving to Seattle I thought this may be the perfect opportunity to try this whole going cable free business.  We are an Apple household so my first instinct was Apple TV.  Yes I did some research and was originally gonna go this route (I must note at the time of my research Apple TV did not support Netflix or Hulu).  I talk to the Apple store people and my understanding was it sort of worked in unison with the rest of  your homes Apple Network.  For example you could view photos, listen to music and watch shows (you may have downloaded form iTunes).  This seemed a bit limited to me.  Since I was looking for something to replace tv I needed a bit more and I since I don't normally invest in content on iTunes I didn't want to be stuck with that as my main option. Since I was already a subscriber of Netflix I new I wanted to keep the streaming abilities and also include some other options.

I was also considering the Roku, which I learned included 4 different versions of their product.  The Roku supported Netflix, Hulu plus, Amazon instant (which I receive since I've been a Prime subscriber), Crackle, HBO Go and more!  Everything I read online about Roku was fantastic.  (Here's a MacWorld review of Roku) People loved the quality, the array of programming/apps included and the offered various price points due to the different levels of product.  I was sold on it.  I shared my research with T and allowed him to do his own review and see what he thought.  

Ultimately we purchased the Roku 2 XD.  I'm loving it.  And was totally surprised how teeny tiny the device is, seriously I can fit it into the palm of my hand.  The Roku came with its own, very simple and easy to use remote.  The Roku comes loaded with hundreds of different channels, and honestly I have yet to scan through everything they have to offer.  You can set up your own set of favorites so when you turn your television on and press the "home" button on the remote you'll be taken to your channel line up, thus by passing the myriad of pre-loaded channels.  I should note not all channels on Roku are subscription based, most of them are free.

I have set up my "home" screen with:
*Netflix (I pay $15.99/mo which includes streaming and 1 DVD at a time unlimited per month)
*Hulu Plus ($7.99/mo but includes current show as well as passed episodes of most network TV there is seriously a lot of TV here!  And you can set up a season pass of your fave shows which will be queued for you!)
*Amazon Instant Video (this is included with my Prime membership which I use for shipping so for me this is total bonus $79.99/year)
*Crackle (FREE lots of movies here.  Big Red loves this because they have a huge Godzilla library)
*HBO GO (FREE for current subscribers.  No more explanation gonna happen here *wink*)
*Kung Fu Theater (FREE)
*Popcorn Flix: Classic TV (FREE)
*Pandora (FREE)
*When the new MLS season starts we'll be subscribing for the season, I know with this sports channel you can pay a subscription pass for the entire season or you can pay per month.  I believe its $40 bucks for the season or $14.95/mo  **speaking of sports they offer sports channels for all the different sports NFL, NHL, MLB etc....

I received my recent issue of Wired soon after I got my Roku and was pleasantly surprised that they had an article on media streaming devices and the Roku 2 HD recieved top honors.  

So far dropping cable has been a great choice.  I went from paying $100+/mo to paying maybe $30/mo which makes me extremely happy.  I don't feel like I've been missing anything at all and yes there are networks that I don't catch but the only one I care about is AMC which I'll buy the season for specific shows via iTunes so no big deal.  Even with that cost I'll still be saving a ton of money.  I have realized that we were watching way to much TV just by the pure fact that I know what we are no longer watching but we were a few months ago and that we do not miss it at all. 

If you are thinking of dropping cable and have questions please feel free to ask.  I understand this may not be as comprehensive as it could be and I apologize.  This may be one of the best decisions I have made so far!

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