How we cut satellite and cable forever – and how you can too!

Every day in America, hundreds of people are cutting the cord to cable and satellite tevevision. Some do it to save money; some because TV is no longer a hobby, and others because they’ve figured out you really don’t need cable or satellite be a dedicated TV watcher.

This isn’t exactly an original idea, but Daniel and I have adopted it and it’s wonderful. About a year and a half ago, we gave up our subscription service to Dish Network, and we’ll never go back. We cut our TV bill down from around $45 a month to $7, and we’ve never missed a show.

We invested in a Roku Player for around $70. If you’re unfamiliar with Roku, it’s a small box that hooks up to your TV and has several “channels,” including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, and Pandora (music). We pay a $7 per month subscription to Netflix, which is where we watch 90% of our TV. The $7 covers instant streaming, where there are thousands of movie and televisions shows to choose from. Some newer television shows are updated quickly; others are updated after the season, and of course there are hundreds of “classic” shows on there as well.

If you don’t want to invest in a Roku, Netflix by itself is also available on many newer model Blu-Ray players, on X-Box, Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii. All of these allow you to instantly steam to your TV.

We’ve been able to watch shows that we always wanted to watch, but never had the time for. We’ve spent the past year working our way through 13 seasons of King of the Hill, for example.

We invested about $30 for an indoor HDTV antenna, which we use to get all of the local channels and major networks – NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, PBS, and even a couple of locally-ran non-network channels. This is where we watch The Office, The Simpsons, and a couple of other shows here and there.

We also use the basic Hulu service. While all Hulu shows aren’t technically available on your TV, we easily get around this by simply connecting our laptop to our television using a DVI to HDMI converter. In theory, you can do this with most laptops, but the converter you need will depend on your particular computer. We also use the “laptop to TV” method for shows that are only available through their network’s website.

Something new we want that’s not on Netflix or Hulu? Then we use Amazon Instant – we mostly use this service for new movies we want to “rent.” Just last week we “rented” Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol for a night. You can generally rent movies for around $2.99 to $4.99 – depending on if you want the HD version or not.

We also subscribe to Amazon Prime – actually this we didn’t get for TV, but for the amazing shipping deals (but that’s another post). But since we have it anyways – Amazon Prime has “Instant Video,” which also gives us an amazingly full library of free movies and TV shows we can watch.

The “catch” to all of this is having a high speed Internet connection. We usually get a download speed of around 15 mbps and an upload speed of around 5 mpbs (that’s megabytes per second), which has worked fine for just about everything we’ve wanted to do.

Television is always evolving. Daniel and I grew up in the C-Band Satellite era, but clearly those have fell by the wayside, just like VCRs and cabinet TVs. Whatever the next thing is, we’ll never go back to satellite or cable. In the past 18 months, we’ve saved over $500 (accounting for our original investments).

Have you considered cutting cable or satellite? Do you think you could do it? I’d love to hear your comments below.


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