Cutting the (cable) Cord — It’s not an easy decision and here’s why

It’s a new era of media consumption and if the cable companies aren’t careful, they just might get left in the dust. About 10 years ago if you told someone you were cutting cable it was most likely because you were absolutely broke and needed to save money. It was usually a last resort.

Nowadays, it can be a combination of money savings and the fact that there are other alternatives. I want to cut cable not because I am broke, but  I would like to save money (we’re looking to buy a house) and it wouldn’t mean complete lacking of TV. I already subscribe to Netflix and have an Amazon Prime account (a lot of Amazon Video content comes with it).

Lately I’ve found that we flip through channels and find nothing. It’s all (well, mostly) crap and end up on some mind-numbing reality show. How will we survive without it???!!!!

What will I miss if I cut cable?

There are a few pieces of TV that we watch and absolutely love. This is going to hurt. Here we go:

  • HBO. This is huge for us. We look forward to Sunday nights because we’re either watching Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, or True Blood. The vampire show used to be good but it sucks now. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk are two of my favorites.
  • NHL Hockey. If you know us in “real life” then you are aware that we are HUGE LA Kings fans. The past few seasons have been very emotional (with the Kings winning the Stanley Cup and all), and I would hate to give up hockey every night. It’s one of the biggest things I look forward to every year. Watching Bob Miller and Jim Fox tell the stories of each game is a highlight of my day and losing them will be devastating.

Solutions? As of right now, there are none. Even if I get the NHL GameCenter or Center Ice package, they black out local games. No LA Kings hockey at my house. For HBO, I can always go to a friend or family member’s house. We will find a way to watch Game of Thrones! Same goes for the Kings. Visiting my dad/brother and listening on the radio will become more common.

It’s not the end of the world. And those are the ONLY TWO SACRIFICES we would have to make. I’ll slightly miss Dodgers baseball, NFL games, and Lakers playoffs. But not that much. To save myself over $100/month, I’m willing to try it.

What will we watch?

Disclaimer: We’re not huge TV viewers. With both of us working, raising the kid, and my wife’s roller derby adventures, we don’t have much time. Half of my work is “work from home” so any free time I have I’m on the computer. There are a few things we’ll sorely miss, but I’ll talk about those later.

We need some kids shows for little Mike and Netflix/Amazon has plenty of it. Most of what he watches is on Netflix. The new origina show on Netflix “Orange is the new Black” looks really good and we’ve never watched Breaking Bad. Netflix has old episodes. There are a handful of shows that Micelle and I are multiple seasons behind and luckily we can catch up on Netflix/Amazon. One of our favorites is The Walking Dead on AMC. Amazon struck a deal with them the past few seasons and the show was available to watch as soon as soon as each episode ended on network cable. You could have bought the entire season for around $26 or pay $1.99 per episode.

So as you can see, there is plenty of content available. And I haven’t even tried Hulu or Verizon/Redbox Instant yet.

Try calling the cable company and telling them your situation!

Cable Companies: Can this be avoided?

I tried. I spent over an hour on the phone with Verizon (including wait time) trying to figure out a solution. Our main roadblock was the sports channels. I wanted to simply lower the amount of channels to save at least $20/month. At the same time I needed to keep Fox Sports West (FSN/Prime Ticket) for hockey. I am willing to continue paying $15-20 bucks/month for HBO.

Nope! Here’s the problem…

They couldn’t’ lower my bill or the tier package and keep Fox Sports. I have to pay $100/month for a ton of channels that I never watch just to have local sports. I know it has to do with their TV deals and contracts, but DAMN. They need to rethink their long-term plans if they want to keep customers. If HBO decides to branch off without them and offer HBO GO to anyone without a cable subscription for $20/month, I’d be all over it. Take my money! Same goes for the NHL and LA Kings. I would gladly pay $149/year for NHL GameCenter if local games weren’t blacked out.

How much will I save?

If I cut cable right now and don’t add anymore TV services I would save $120/month. That’s $1,440 in a year. That’s how much my cable bill is including HBO.

I already pay $7.99/month for Netflix and $79/year for Amazon Prime. For Amazon, I pay it to get free 2-day shipping on everything I buy. I do a lot of Amazon shopping! They throw in Amazon Video as a bonus and I love it. So I won’t count Amazon in my calculations.

What if HBO GO and NHL GameCenter did what I told them to? That would cost me $32/month. So for shits & giggles, let’s add it all up and break it down:

Netflix + Amazon = $15/month. 

HBO GO (if $20) + NHL = $32/month (if possible).

That’s a total of $47 a month. Much better than $104.99, right?

To end off this article, I’ll throw the cable companies a bone.

Would I keep cable it if I didn’t need the extra money?

The short answer is yes.

The picture looks great, I rarely have signal issues, and enjoy DVR/Rewind features. I’ve been extremely happy with Verizon Fios and would love to continue being a customer. But at this point in time my family can use the extra cash and it’s just not worth it. They want to play games and keep me paying for the higher tier just to have the sports channels. No thanks.

At the time of publishing this article I have not pulled the plug just yet. I’m still trying to think of other solutions before I make the decision. That, and we have two more episodes of True Blood to watch. And Boardwalk Empire starts next month! This ain’t going to be easy.

Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!

2 Replies to “Cutting the (cable) Cord — It’s not an easy decision and here’s why”

  1. I’m not in the UK but I was paying just £20 a month for hundreds of channels and realised that I only watched two channels Sky One and SciFi. Calling them did bring the charge down to £0.99p for 6 months but I decided even at the renewed £20 it was not worth it and every year they put up the costs of cable TV. I’ve now managed to get a 6 month offer for a total of just £5 for the whole period for Sky’s NowTV. They are mostly second graded movies, but it does me when I want to watch a movie. I still miss my SCiFi programmes but Sky was clever at spilling programmes across both Sky One and SciFi channel and I disagree with paying for hundreds of channels that I do not watch. So for me it was a matter of cost and principle. As your home and family are your priority and house prices continue to rise, I would suggest that you cut. TV will be there when you need it again 🙂

    1. Wow! Didn’t see this comment. Thanks Dani for coming here.

      Sounds like you are doing just fine without cable. For now, I’ve decided to keep it. As you know I can’t get rid of my hockey channels. I’ll have to revisit this topic if the Kings start having a bad season…

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