Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Save Money - Ditch cable & satellite


Two years after cutting the cord, and still going strong. I went from $1440 a year to $240 a year after ditching satellite. I am enjoying a new way of watching TV without sticker shock. Initially we started with an old PC with a wireless pci card, and then added a streaming device. We are now able to stream more content than we had access to with just the dish. Yes, everything from sports, to movies, even network TV.  

Keep in mind that this is a completely new way to watch TV, and without the buy in of your family, you will be doomed from the start. So you will need to schedule a family meeting, and show how much is being wasted on TV no one is watching. I recommend using something like the following example:



Basic – Cable / Satellite
Month Year 10 Years
$80 $960 $9600
Premium – Cable/ Satellite
Month Year 10 Years
$120 $1440 $14400

Just think of the money wasted on basically nothing. Now add your high speed cable, or DSL, pay-per-view, Redbox, Netflix, HuluPlus, and Amazon Prime, along with any other online subscriptions, minus the time available to enjoy what you are paying for, and you are easily paying $200 - $250 per month, or  $24,000 - $30,000 over 10 years. I guess you could say we are now looking at real money, and like the Federal budget, we have plenty to cut if we have the will. I think if you break it down in terms of what the family has lost in cars, computers, phones, clothing, trips, and savings, you will have an easier time cutting the cord.



So now you have the support of the family
Make a list of must have TV entertainment, and be prepared to start with the big items like a Direct TV Sunday Ticket subscriptions, (which may be available a-la-cart through Google Chrome in a year). Once you have the family’s list of your list of things must watch, go through the list and ask, “When was the last time you watch X Show?”  You will be suppressed when the must watch TV has not been seen in 6+ months, or only occasionally, and never live. Anything not seen in x number of months, (the group should vote on a cut off), mark it off the list. 

Once you have a list of shows, events, and movies, check for availability online. You can always find shows on the networks website, or low cost subscriptions through Amazon, Netflix, and HuluPlus. 

Keep in mind the premium channel content is tied to a subscription through a local cable or satellite provided.

So you talked it over, made your list, and can see the savings, now what. Well, even if you are ready to make the switch, do it incrementally. If you have the full package, strip it down to the bear minimum to immediately reduce your bill. This includes additional boxes. If you already have the minimum, (basic package), go ahead and buy a streaming device to make sure it is something you want to do.

Requirements
The basic requirements for any set top box, PC, or smart TV implementation is a high-speed Internet connection through a wired or wireless router. In general, the faster your Internet connection, the better the video quality. For access to regular video streaming you will need a minimum connection of 1.5 Mbps for standard definition and 3.0 Mbps for HD content. If you are not sure, you can select the following link to test your network speed: speakeasy.net/speedtest

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