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Cutting the Cable Cord…

 —  September 4, 2012 — 6 Comments

In our families recent move we decided to cut the cord on DISH Network. Cable and satellite subscriptions are expensive and vegging out on the couch eats up so much time.  We are not against TV, we will still have it as a source of entertainment…now we will be paying a lot less for it while watching less.  Here is what we are trying out…

TV Antenna
This is totally FREE (I have been thinking about making one too).  All the local networks are available in our area and in high def! If I want to DVR a show I can whip out my Mac and my Elgato EyeTV (a digital receiver for my Mac) and set the timer or break out our old school DVD recorder.

Apple TV (ATV)
For $99 you can access all your purchased iTunes content: movies, TV shows, and music. I am able to Stream video, games, and almost all other content from my iPad and iPhone using AirPlay and screen mirroring.  You can also stream music, videos, and photos from a PC or Mac.

The Roku is a steal at $99 (mine was a Christmas Gift), right now you can pick one up for $75 refurbished.  I actually like it better than my ATV (I do not own much from the iTunes store to benefit from the iCloud streaming) Roku’s Hulu and Netflix streaming seems to be better quality than my ATV. If you have been thinking about getting a Roku I highly recommend the XS model, it has an Ethernet and USB port.  The USB port is great if you have a bunch of video files (I use handbreak to rip DVDs I own to video file). I dump them on a hard-drive or a thumb-drive and watch them with the “Roku USB Media Player Channel.” This is the USB device I use, you don’t even notice it’s there.

Hulu Plus
This is a well spent $7.99. While I cannot get some of my AMC, USA, or any CBS shows I get most of my favorite shows the day after they air.

This is better for past TV seasons than it is for movies…it is actually pretty terrible if you are looking for recent movies but it is good enough for $7.99.  I added the “one DVD out at a time” for the additional $7.99.  Again, the DVD selection is better than the streaming but still not as good as Redbox…and Redbox is not as good as walking into a Blockbuster or streaming on Amazon Instant Video (Amazon app is on my iOS devices and Roku).

I have not purchased an MP3 for about a year since I went with a Spotify subscription.  This is better than Pandora and for $9.99 it completely replaces the music channels from DISH that I never listened to. I love how it streams to my ATV, album art and all.

What’s next?  Well, I will need to explore more options.  I have been thinking about Amazon Prime, I don’t think the selection is much better than Netflix but I shop on Amazon.com so much that the benefit of free next day shipping for a year is worth the $79 alone.

The Numbers For a Year…
For the 3 subscriptions I mention above plus an ATV and Roku you would spend $605.52 the first year ($403.52 the second year since you will not buy a new Roku and ATV every year). My satellite subscription was between $800-$900 a year. While I do not get 250 stations for the most part I get everything I need and I could save around $200. If there is something I crave I can just pick up a show or a season from Amazon or iTunes.

The Numbers Month by Month…
If I take the cost for the 3 subscriptions I mention above (and remove the cost of the ATV and Roku since I already own them) I will be spending $33.63 a month compared to the $75 a month I was paying for satellite.

You may want to add sports subscriptions: Roku, ATV, and our smartphones have apps that allow us to buy subscriptions to MLBtv, NBAtv, MLS Live, ESPN, and you can even purchase and stream UFC fights on the Roku!

Other than illegal Torrent downloads what are you doing to watch TV away from the satellite or cable bill? Or if you have cut the cord are you completely fasting form TV?  What are you doing differently?

Brandon Early

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I have been serving in youth ministry for nearly 20 years, am currently the Director of Student Ministries at Valley Church in Des Moines, IA, and am on a first name basis with several Best Buy and Apple employees. My wife Keri and I have been married over ten years and have three great boys. My four favorite things are Jesus, my wife, Chicago Style Pizza, and fighting off our boys with sweet ninja moves.

6 responses to Cutting the Cable Cord…

  1. I love my Apple TV! I use Handbrake’s Apple TV preset to rip my DVD’s to .mp4 files using h.264 compression. Then I import those files into my iTunes library. I have an internal hard drive solely dedicated to hold all my movies.

    Handbrake also has the ability to convert existing video files. So if you have a video file that’s not in an .mp4 container, fire up Handbrake, convert, import to iTunes and you’re in business.

    I also use MetaX to tag all my video files so they are named correctly and look nice on my ATV.

  2. I’m boring. I’ve been living on Hulu for over 3 years now. Have not had consistent access to cable. I’ve enjoyed the community as I watch a lot of sports at a local pizza place, mostly NFL games (already making plans with people to go each Sunday to eat pizza and watch the games). with a little NBA thrown in (watched and got progressively more angry at each NBA finals game, sitting at the same table).

    I’ve made the foray into Amazon Instant like you mentioned for some current TV that’s not on Hulu. Otherwise I’ve gone retro, more than half my TV watching is old TV shows on Netflix that I never watched the first time around. The first half of this year was dedicated to the Stargate franchise.

  3. I have kids…have not figured out how to easily get free Disney channel yet.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Cutting the Cord Part 2…The Apps | Youth Ministry Tech Stuff - September 6, 2012

    [...] EarlyMore PostsCutting the Cord Part 2…The Apps In a quick follow up to Monday’s Cutting the Cord post I want to key you in on the apps that I use to assist me with my streaming set-top [...]

  2. Cutting the Cord Part 3…This Just In | Youth Ministry Tech Stuff - September 7, 2012

    [...] Just In My one part blog post on getting ride of cable and dish has turned in to a trilogy (Here, here, and the post you are reading). This is a quick update on Amazon Prime. I read yesterday that [...]

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