We did it. After neglecting my children to accomplish some serious research on the topic, and discussing the options with my husband. After a few charts and countless articles read, I think we're ready to cut the cable and move on to a more advanced way of using our television.
Our TV is used for a select few (very important) programs: Mad Men, Downton Abbey (among other BBC shows), Modern Family and a few kids shows like Peppa Pig, Charlie & Lola, Curious George and Mickey Mouse. We watch the Today Show in the morning for news and weather and after the kids are in bed, I tend to decompress to reruns of Seinfeld or Friends. That's about it. I do enjoy watching movies but my husband and I seldom watch TV together. One or both of us is usually working on other projects.
That said, we're not the kind of people that NEVER watch TV so this is a move that needs to be thought through. Articles I found particularly helpful, here, here, and here and some other tutorials on how to decide what system is best, here were really what got me going. We don't have Wii, XBox or BluRay so some options weren't available to us. We wanted to keep costs down. We do however already own several Apple products so AppleTV made more sense to us.
Through this process, I have found this decision is very personal to each household. It all comes down to what you watch, where, and how often. How important are these shows to you and can they be found elsewhere.
For us, we were spending $160.00 a month for Comcast (Internet, Cable, Phone) but we don't use a land line and the cable was often a source of frustration. So many channels, still nothing to watch. OnDemand is the most pathetic "perk" ever offered. There's nothing there worth watching and if there is, you have to pay extra for it. Our cable was going out a lot too, so there were many calls made to talk through the technical difficulties. It was just a bunch of waste. And it's hard to swallow the big bill each month amid all the frustrations.
Many friends had already switched and after hearing their feedback, and doing the math, we found that we could save $50.00 a month but cutting out cable, getting AppleTV with Netflix and iTunes to supplement.
Here's what we did:
1. Purchase a Digital Antenna = $30.00 (to get basic HD channels)
2. Purchase AppleTV = $100.00 (the source for Netflix, youtube among others)
That's it for the upfront costs
3. Cut cable and phone from our bundle but keep internet = $80.00 /m
4. Sign up for Netflix = $8.00 /m
* Netflix offers a free 1 month trial. You can't see a list of what they offer on their site without signing up. Many of our favorite kids shows aren't on Netflix but they have enough to replace some them. We can also purchase other favorites on iTunes or search youtube for full episodes.
The one downfall to this plan is we no longer have DVR. I think it's something we'll learn to live without. If it's on Netflix, we'll be able to get to it when needed. But for those times when we aren't home and need to record... there's the negative.
Another possible negative is that Apple will upgrade their product as they often do and we'll need to repurchase. We bought our AppleTV from Best Buy and opted for the $15 upgrade charge. It lasts for two years so if something breaks or if they upgrade, we can trade it in for free.
After one week, I feel like we're really doing well with this transition. It's been good for us. Less sitting in front of the TV channel flipping (something I've mastered over the years). More importantly, less TV in general which is something I continually strive for with our kids.
- On the left we listed the shows we watch.
- The top columns:
How to get our basic channels: Digital Antenna or Basic Cable (through Comcast) - each option offers the same thing but buying a Digital Antenna is a small upfront cost with no monthly charge as opposed to a higher monthly bill.
How would we find our favorite shows: Netflix (had the most for us), Hulu Plus, iTunes (is our best supplement), Amazon Instant Video... there are many others.
How do we connect to these: Again, there are countless other options but AppleTV and TiVo were the ones I narrowed down to.TiVo offers DVR, but costs so much more, we decided to cut the cost and try to adjust our habits.