In Rochester, we don't have a lot of choices for cable and if you want it, you're really going to have to pay for it! Just look at the numbers:
Time Warner Cable
Watch & Surf Bundle (Cable TV, High Speed Online) = $84.90/month for 12 months = $1018.80/year
Cable TV (200 channels) = $59.95/month for 12 months = $719.40/year
Connections Premium with Digital Phone Basic (Satellite Cable, High Speed Internet, calling plan) = $104.97/month for 12 months = $1259.64/year
Classic Silver 200 (220 channels) = $47.99/month for 12 months = $575.88/year
The worst part is for all of these “deals” the quoted prices were only for 12 months. Who knows what they would want to charge after these grace periods. Also, on top of these stated per month charges, there were additional taxes and fees which pushed the prices higher.
After I got my cable bill earlier this year, I decided that I had had enough. It was just too difficult to justify spending $575 - $1259/year anymore on cable TV so I decided to look into the alternatives and I am so glad that I did.
Fortunately, technology makes it so much easier to give up cable. Here’s a few of the alternatives to cable that still lets you watch your favorites shows.
Let me start out by saying – I love Netflix. Netflix is a service that charges a set monthly fee to rent DVDs. You set up a queue of movies and television shows that you would like to rent online and they are sent to you by mail. You can keep them as long as you want and when you return them in the postage paid envelope, the next DVD on your list is sent to you. Netflix has more than 100,000 titles to choose from and the process is so easy.
Netflix also has a really nice feature that allows you to watch any of 17,000 movies or television shows over the Internet on your television. This is in addition to the DVDs that are sent to you by mail. You have to have a device to watch these on your TV such as Xbox 360, LG Network TV or Blu-ray player, Samsung Network Blu-ray player, or a TiVo HD DVR. If you already have one of these devices or are looking to buy a new tv or Blu-ray player – look for the Netflix option.
Why this choice rocked for us – I bought my boyfriend a LG Blu-ray player for Christmas so we could watch streaming shows from Netflix on our television. We were able to watch shows like Heroes, The Office, Dead Like Me, The Life of Mammals, 30 Rock, Dexter, MythBusters, and Tudors whenever we wanted on our own time. We also watched all of the newest released movies on DVD that we received through the mail.
Netflix (3 DVDs at a time) - $17.99/month = $215.88/year
Savings: We saved more than $32/month or $384/year by getting rid of cable and using Netflix instead.
Watch TV on your computer
There are many websites/computer programs out there where you can watch television shows for free on your computer. Here’s a list of just a few of them and some of the shows they have to offer.
www.hulu.com – We watch Comedy Shows (The Daily Show with John Stewart, The Colbert Report, Saturday Night Live), many Food Networks shows (Good Eats, Unwrapped, Ace of Cakes, Everyday Italian, 30-Minute Meals)
iTunes – iTunes lets you download episodes of your favorite shows for free such as ESPN shows, MSNBC shows, and Discovery Channel shows.
Network Channel Websites - Many network channels have their own websites that allow you to watch full episodes for free right from your computer. Check out these websites just to name a few – www.comedycentral.com, www.scyfy.com (SciFi Network), www.bravo.com, www.eonline.com.
Savings: 100% - Many shows are free on the networks website for the price of watching a few commercials.
Buy the Boxed Set
If there’s a show on a premium network that you simply have to see, buy the boxed set when it comes out on DVD. That way you can watch it whenever you want and it will certainly be less expensive than adding a premium channel to your cable bill every month.
Savings: Season Three of Big Love is $38.99 on www.amazon.com. Adding HBO to your cable package every month will cost you $120/year. You save $81.01.
I know many of you have heard this suggestion before and I was skeptical too at first. Fortunately, libraries are stocking more and more DVDs and our local library has hundreds of movies that you can borrow for free including many new releases. If we wanted the experience of searching the shelves for a movie, we always found something worth watching at the library.
Savings: 100% - Movies at the library are free!
I hope I’ve convinced some of you to drop cable and save money. If you have any tips and tricks to save some money on cable or movies, let me know.