When I first set up my home office, I made sure that the desk was turned in such a way that I could watch the big tv that was in the adjacent living room. If something was interesting and I wanted to watch, I could just look to the side of the monitor and see what was playing. But recently, as part of a furniture rearranging, I started to think about how much TV I actually watch, and what ‘type’ of programming that is.
Basically, my TV watching breaks down into these categories:
- Live. News and sports. I catch CNN and CNBC during the day, and watch college football and soccer programs from around the world, though not with the religious fervor I once did.
- Programs. We watch very few programs. Battlestar Galactica (ending next week) and 30 Rock (though usually on Hulu).
- Movies. I love movies. I have three movie channel packages (HBO, Cinemax and Starz) which not only gives me some great films now and then but also access to the On Demand library (which we probably use more often than making time for shows).
- Ambient. Sometimes I just have the TV on to add noise. I watch CurrentTV and whatever movie happens to be playing. The other night I actually watched a full episode of CSI, just for the heck of it.
Cutting the cable will do away with ambient TV watching. I won’t just go to the TV to ’see what is on’ or to have background noise. That can be somewhat replaced by Internet programming and our FTA satellite (though that is a very limited selection). Live programming, such as sports and news, will also be drastically affected. I can get CNN online, sometimes, but CNBC does not appear to be online with any live regularity, unless I want to watch CNBC India. Sports will also take a hit, though that can be ‘dealt with’ via a wide variety of ‘grey area’ websites that allow you to stream live football over the Internet.
Programs and movies are two that can be easily replaced by the Internet. I think we can use Hulu and Boxee for the network shows, and I’m considering getting a Netflix account that will not only send us first run DVDs but also allow some streaming content to come into the house.
We will likely lose the ‘HD picture’ quality that we’ve become accustom to, but to be honest, with our TV now nearly 7 years old and with Comcast degrading their HD signal more and more, it’s not as awe-inspiring as it once was. Maybe I’ve gotten used to the HD picture or maybe it’s not there anymore. With a PS3 or some other Blue-ray solution we’ll still get some HD content in the house from time to time (but I should probably get a new TV).
So with the above factors, I’m considering the switch to be basically a ‘wash’. I’ll lose some features I currently have but replace a few features with free substitutes via the Internet.
So what’s the financial upside: Pretty interesting.
Our current cable bill is $152 per month (Internet is a extra and we will not drop that).
- $60 Basic Service
- $20.90 Digital Plus
- $5 Digital Sports
- $15.95 HDTV
- $34 for Movie Channels
- $7.50 for HD boxes.
- $10.56 in taxes.
That works out to $1828 a year for cable TV service, which sounds like a lot. I would guess we watch / have on the TV for 2 hours a day, so say 60 hours a month. Basically we’re paying $2.50 per hour watched for TV service. Cheaper than going to a movie at the theater, but not entirely sure if this is really needed.
To switch out I’d have to pay
- $10 per month extra to Comcast for Internet but no TV service
- $9 per month to Netflix for movies.
- $500 for a new computer to hook up to one of the TV’s upstairs so I can do Internet over that TV.
$728 over the first year.
That’s still a savings of $1,100 over the course of the first year alone.
Will have to debate if that is worth it.