This is a much longer post than usual, but today I want to challenge those who feel that they have 200+ channels with nothing ever on, to stand up, take charge and…
Cancel that Cable TV!
You can get almost all the programming you want without having to pay a dime if you put into practice the patience (which I’ve spoke of before in terms of not being a day one impulse shopper) and the do it yourself (DIY) attitude to try new methods that aren’t of your regular nature regarding entertainment. In order to save money on programming that you regularly enjoy you have to look at breaking your TV watching down into categories that can then be attacked separately to save you great amounts of money over time. I realize that this set up may not work for everyone, but it’s your money so cater it how you see fit. Here is how I personally break down these categories:
This is the one category that all the other categories rely entirely on to succeed. However, this is also probably the one category that won’t leave very much room to negotiate price or save money on. But that’s OK. This price whether its $20 (for the first 6 months) or $60 per month, will be the bulk of your entertainment cost, and will allow all of the following categories to succeed for you. You’re going to want high-speed cable Internet as well, Standard or boosted. (Hint: if you can afford your own modem or already have one, you can avoid modem rental fees as well!)
Everyone that loves local sports (for me its Redskin’s football despite their record this year), don’t fret. Your local channels can be accessed in many ways, usually without spending a dime. Yes TV switched from analog to digital, however that really only means that there are a couple different ways to access them. Did you know that there are local channel HDTV signals zipping past our heads every minute of every day? Well if you have an HDTV, then you can access them (depending on your location and access to the signals).
I wont go too far into how to do this today, but do some homework and look into www.antennaweb.org and see what signals you are receiving and what you will need to access them. In most cases newer HDTV’s are set to go with no purchases other than a small signal antenna that works much like the old ones did back in the old analog days. Also if calibrated properly the HDTV signals are sharper and clearer when compared to the standard Comcast coaxial cables due to the way those cables compress picture quality, but alas make sure to access any costs in setting this up because sometimes (depending on your location) it may cost a bit upfront if you need larger/stronger antennas.
Also for those without HDTV’s, before you even call Comcast to come set up your cable, try my old Philly apartment trick. Just plug any coaxial cable into your TV from the wall and see what pops up on your TV. Every apartment I lived in back then had some channels without even calling Comcast.
Start by writing down a list of channels and programs you just won’t (not can’t, because you could if need be) live without. Now go to each program’s website and investigate whether you can view their new episodes on their site. If all of your shows are viewable this way, then you’re set. If not head on over to Hulu and see which ones are viewable there. Most cable networks (USA, FX, A&E, TLC, etc.) allow for free viewing of their programs the day after they air. So if you have high-speed Internet and a laptop or computer, you’re set to watch free cable programming! Its possible that some may not have this option, in which case you should browse Netflix and see if they show up there for instant viewing.
These are the big guns of any cable package: Showtime, HBO, Starz, Encore, Cinemax, etc. They all offer great shows that unfortunately come at a cost of usually $15-$30 per month on top of your already expensive cable package. Well aside from HBO and possibly Starz (in the future), every one of these channels offers up seasons of their hit shows such as Showtime’s Dexter, Weeds, and Shameless, etc. for only $8-9 per month for the Netflix basic streaming membership. HBO is unfortunately defiant in offering their content streaming to Netflix subscribers, so for now if you must have HBO, you’re going to need that expensive cable package.
I know I sound like a broken record by now, but Netflix and Hulu are great with a wide selection of movies, and with Netflix you’re most likely to get new movies quicker than as your cable company could release them. With saving money on movies, the key is simply patience. If you wait long enough that awesome movie you just saw an ad for will pop up on Netflix or Hulu soon enough for your viewing pleasure. You may not be the day one audience, but who really cares? It’s not a race as far as I see it. (As hard as it was I saw the final Harry Potter film months after it came out on Bluray via a Christmas present, and guess what? It was as good then as I’m sure it would have been on its opening day in theaters.)
So moving along…
With all of these categories in mind I will give you a simple mathematical example as to why it may be good for you to switch. Follow along below:
DOUBLE PLAY SUBSCRIPTION:
(Based on Comcast Double Play Package of TV and Internet. Requires a 2-yr contract. Includes 80 channels, Showtime for 6 months, and High-speed Internet.)
$70 for first 12 months = $420
$90 for last 12 months = $1080
$10 for Showtime months 7-12 = $60
$24 for Showtime for 12 months = $288
Total for 2 yr. contract = $1848 (gross!)
TRIPLE PLAY SUBSCRIPTION:
(The Comcast Double Play isn’t actually available in my hometown so here are the numbers for the Comcast Triple Play, which is all I would be able to get. This is based on the HD Preferred XF package 2 yr contract since I have an HDTV. Includes 160 HD channels, Free Showtime for 3 months, $200 Visa prepaid card, Voice, and High Speed Internet.)
$140 for the first 12 months = $1680
$155 for the last 12 months = $1860
$10 for Showtime for 8 months = $80
$24 for Showtime for 12 months = $288
$30 Voice Activation Fee = $30
-$200 Visa Prepaid Card = -$200
Total for 2yr contract = $3738 (ouch!)
MY METHOD OF ENTERTAINMENT:
(Based on acquiring Comcast Economy Only Internet, with Netflix Streaming Only and free Hulu.)
$40 Internet per month for 24 months = $960
Netflix for $9 per month for 2 yrs. = $216
Hulu Free = $0
Total for 2 yr period = $1176 (much better!)
Switching to some of the suggestions above can lead to savings of anywhere from $672 to $2562 over 2 Years on your home entertainment. I can’t imagine paying that much more ever again for content.
You want to watch all this streaming content from your laptop or computer to your big TV right? Most laptops and computers now include an HDMI out port or something called a Mini-DV or DV out port. You can purchase a converter for almost any connection to turn a Mini-DV or DV to HDMI to hook into your HDTV. Don’t be afraid to research online how to make these types of connections.
Remember that it’s in researching new techniques and concepts that you can educate yourself and eventually end up saving huge amounts of money. Comcast is betting that you’re too lazy to try my method. So go out and prove them wrong! Just do your homework first.