Cutting the Cord – Part 1

I’m saying goodbye to my TV service.

I’m an early adopter in many arenas of technology but I’ve been hesitant when it comes to monkeying with my flat screen HD. For a few months I’ve been pondering cutting the cord and after some input from my Twitter community and research I’m ready to make the move.

The Tipping Point

I’m a long time AT&T customer and we were one of the first to sign-up for Uverse. The speed and service have been solid but I’m tired of paying through the nose for the little TV we like to watch. For the Uverse Family (think local channels + DisneyJr) we pay $74 per month. I’ve reached the point I find that ridiculous and I can fix it. Time for a change.

Our TV tastes and the largest hurdle

  • Me: NOVA, CBS Sunday Morning, Frontline, and I usually have 1-2 dramas that I keep up with. (Currently Parenthood)
  • My Wife: Days of our Lives, Project Runaway, and a sampling of Say Yes to the dress & Big Brother type shows.
  • Toddler: Dora, Diego, Blues Clues, etc…

What you will notice is I don’t list sports. Honestly, I’m not a huge sports fan. I love Arkansas Razorback college football and basketball. I enjoy NASCAR but don’t have the time and I’ve never really learned to love the NFL/NBA beyond casual interest in the NBA playoffs when the Mavs do well. Why is this important?

Live sports is probably the single biggest hurdle to cutting the cord.

There are good options for most of the major leagues online but the coverage and options don’t near match-up to traditional TV providers. So if  you live and die sports coverage then you can probably stop reading now.

Personally I’m not paying $70 a month for any sport and that is about what this breaks down to.

The Offerings

  1. Apple TV – Slick, $99 but the major deal breakers: No Amazon Video, I hate iTunes, I don’t like being married to a platform.
  2. Google TV$99, Lots of content options, full web browser. Reviews seem like apps and interface need some maturity. Also I don’t like being married to a platform.
  3. Boxee – Too pricey, the tech doesn’t sound stable enough.
  4. Roku – Great price, tons of content, platform independent. Winner.

The Cost

Let’s get to the numbers.

  • Uverse Family  + HD = $74 per month
  • Uverse 200 + HD = ~$95 per month
  • Roku with Netflix streaming, Hulu+ = 1 time cost of $99, then $16 monthly

Yes you read that correctly. I’m saving $58 per month and get 20x the content, in HD with no commercials.

Roku offers lower price units starting at $50 but with the savings I’ll get I’d be a fool not to get the 1080HD model. Being a geek I also opted for the Wired model because WiFi performance just can’t match a wire these days.

In the interest of full disclosure we are Amazon Prime members as well so we get Amazon Instant Video for free and their catalog is sparse but growing.

So I’ve placed the order and I hope to hook up this weekend. I’ll write a follow up about setup and experience once I have everything in place.

A few final notes:

My college team offers streaming of all games for $15 per month but that is too steep for me. The only other sporting event I really love is March Madness and I enjoyed it thoroughly in 2012 via their app. Are apps and streaming services like ESPN3 putting up a walled garden that requires a cable/dish account? Sure. This post is proof why. Record labels lost this fight and TV will as well so pardon me while I exit your garden and keep my $70 a month.

Your Turn

Have you dumped your traditional TV provider?


2 responses to “Cutting the Cord – Part 1”

  1. Rob McBryde says:

    Thanks for writing the blog post I’ve been thinking about four almost two years. You just saved me more precious time. I may copy and paste this into and say, “what he said.”

    Roku #FTW!

Leave a Reply