Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cutting the cord

I was an early adopter for satellite TV. I got fed up with Charter in 1995 or 96 and signed up with DirecTV/USSB. The receiver cost around $500 but it was worth it to not have to deal with cable anymore. I stayed with them for quite a while.
In 2004, I wanted to get a DVR so I called DirecTV to see what it would cost to upgrade. I didn't like the deal they offered so I checked with Dish Network and they offered me a better deal. When I called DirecTV to cancel, all of a sudden they had a better deal available. I told them "Too late."
Over the years the prices crept up. When I got a HD TV I added the HD package. I also upgraded to the top 250 package to get Versus (to watch the Tour de France). Eventually I was paying $87/month, without any premium movie channels. I cut back to the Top 120 for $51. I then found out that it didn't include Fox Sports Midwest so i added it back for an extra $5.
$56/month still seemed like too much so I started looking around for options. Dish did not have a better deal available. U-verse is not available in my area. Cable still seems to be more expensive than satellite. DirecTV wanted to mess around with a 2 year commitment that was cheap the first year and whatever they felt like charging for the second year.
I was starting to get frustrated that I would not find a cheaper option. Then I talked to someone who did not have cable or satellite and just had Netflix. After looking into it I decided to switch.
My wife does not watch much TV so she did not have an opinion. My kids were concerned about the shows that they wouldn't be able to watch any more, but they were sold once the saw all the things that they could watch. My 11 year old was nostalgic about watching Rugrats again.
The sticking point for me was watching the Rams. Now that I've watched football using a DVR, I can't go back to watching it live. I can get all of the local stations using a cheap antenna so that's not an issue. And I discovered that I have everything that I need to use my computer as a DVR. It came with a tuner card, and I can use my XBox the show it on my TV via Windows Media Center.
Baseball will be an issue next year, but I am hopeful that there will be a solution. I will detail the issues in a future post.
I officially canceled Dish Network on Sept 5. Of course, all of a sudden they had a new deal available. They same package I had but for $36 instead of $56. If they had offered that when I had first asked, they probably could have kept me as a customer. Of course, by then it was too late. I was quite happy to be able to turn them down.