Overpriced. Inconvenient. Underutilized.
Why? Because of the three words above.
Most of what we watch is on network television. Of course, there are some that aren’t, but, for the most part, we haven’t been using cable. So, we cut the cord about a month ago. Told Time Warner to take a hike. And, they did. And gave us more of a discount just for internet.
So, we cut cable and phone and kept the internet. That’s really all we need anyway. Why? Because much of what is on can be streamed on the internet at the speeds we’ve been maintaining for the last 2 years.
How did we do it? A $21 antenna and a $60 Roku 1 box.
Since we live close enough to a major city (Syracuse), we are able to pick up NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX, CW, MyNetwork, ION, and PBS through the antenna. It’s a bit unsightly in the living room, but not terribly bad. To determine your antenna type, check out AntennaWeb and enter in your zip code, your street address, and if your antenna will be above 30′ above ground and then you will get a list of channels you can pick up digitally. All of the above networks are in our YELLOW zone – the site explains what the colored zones mean.
So, all I had to do was position the antenna on the mantel of the fireplace and connect it to the cable input in the back of the television. Extend the poles of the antenna and we’re all set.
Well, the Chromecast only works with a smartphone or a PC with Chrome Browser on it. We didn’t want to have to use the PC or a smartphone to run it. The kids wouldn’t be able to use it if we weren’t home.
Apple TV is too limited. And everything costs. Everything.
Roku was a one-time cost as we already have Amazon Prime with Unlimited Streaming from their Prime library.
Installation was as easy as plugging it into the TV via HDMI cable. connecting the power supply, and connecting it into our Wifi network and setting up a Roku account (with credit card on file for any purchases of movies or subscription channels if necessary).
The Roku, once logged in, offers hundreds of channels to pick from. Of course, we have the Amazon Prime channel. Annually, Amazon Prime is $79 now – with talk of it being raised to about $99. College Students can get this for about half that.
We also subscribe to a lot of free channels. TED, Pandora, Weather, A&E. We generally use Amazon Prime, Pandora and HuluPlus.
The thing with HuluPlus. You can use regular Hulu on a PC or Mac, but not on mobile devices or the Roku box. BTW, the Roku is no more than 5x5x1.5 inches in size. Update: you can now get a Roku ‘stick’.
So, HuluPlus. Many television networks partnered to create Hulu because they were losing marketshare to people who wanted to watch TV on the internet. Fox, ABC, and NBC are those partner networks. Not CBS. So, we need to either watch CBS through the PC (hooking it up to the TV – again, pain in the neck) or mobile devices. Or, watch on the original air date and time. The way television used to be.
We have not had any problem watching any of our network shows on the Roku other than CBS. Even Downton Abbey (my bride loves this) is on the PBS channel on the Roku. If you MUST have YouTube, you need the Roku 3. I didn’t deem it all that necessary.
Now… the phones. We’re still grandfathered on our provider’s old cell plan, so just added a phone to the plan for a total of $15 a month.
Original Cable, Internet, Amazon Prime and Home Phone ($147/month).
Current Internet with Amazon Prime, HuluPlus and extra cell phone ($72/month after $87 investment).
Annual savings: $825. Even if we added Netflix for another $96/year, it’s worth it.
Note: to run a comparison of Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast, click here.
Comment if you have any more questions.