Let’s face it; the price of cable, phone, and internet is getting to be almost as expensive as a car payment. And with the price of everything else necessary to live off of, shaving a few dollars a month would help immensely for even those who aren’t on a budget. For the light internet users, data on a cell phone may be just right, or for those that are media streamers the need for an internet provider is a necessity. But what about that pesky bundle all the big companies try to ram down your throat? Are they worth it? And what will the cable/phone company do to keep you in their evil clutches when you wake up and realize you don’t need what they offer?
I recently had a change in jobs with lower pay but a better commute, and had to cut cost where I could. This was in order to be able to put a little aside for the “Oh Shit” fund, as I call it. You know what I mean, “Oh shit, the car needs to be fixed”, Oh, shit the water heater busted!, the emergency fund. And if you don’t have one, start Googling and looking into ways to manage your money, trust me, you’ll need it.
After reviewing my expenses, I noticed for the lowest package for basic cable with an HD receiver I was paying over a hundred dollars ($100) a month! This did not include a phone, or internet, I had this with a different company. I also noticed that after the big merger between AT&T and Direct TV my package prices went up, again, on both services, but the channels got cut in half. I was not a happy camper. So, to cut cost I started looking into ways to watch the movies and shows I normally watch without having to have cable. Turns out, it’s easier than you think, but we’ll get to that in a moment. After reworking the finances I called the cable provider up and told them I want to cancel my service. The representative was very nice, but you could tell it was scripted. She did everything they could to attempt me to stay with them, even knock off fifty ($50) bucks from my bill. I told her thank-you, but since the change in channel lineups, in order for me to have the channels I had with the bare minimum package, like Travel Channel and SyFy, I would have to move to another package, and spend more than the fifty bucks you just knocked off. She couldn’t say anything to contradict this, and I guess it wasn’t in the script yet. So, I finally cut the cord.
After canceling my service it felt like I broke out of jail! The sense of freedom was so overwhelming I didn’t know what to do with all this extra free time on my hands. It was like quitting smoking, you never realize how much time and money it takes from you until you don’t do it anymore. I kept my phone and internet, which is reasonably priced. My internet is slow, but where I live I am lucky to even get service, (we’re so far out there, Google Maps can’t even find my house). So, I put my research to the test to find ways to watch my movies and shows without cable, and at half the cost. Turns out, it worked pretty well, and still going strong after six months.
It is no secret that many news broadcasts now offer streaming services; Fox News has been doing it for years. Now many local television stations are doing the same. For those that are binge news watchers, check your local station’s websites for streaming services. Also there are a several options to view local stations with a simple HDMI device like a Chromecast or Roku. Not sure about Amazon Fire Stick or Apple TV, haven’t tried them.
Another plus is that many of the local stations are getting tired of the big Cable Companies fees and restrictions, so they stream many of their popular series shows on their websites. You can watch ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Dairies’ and other popular shows on the CW, NBC, and CBS. So don’t worry about missing out, you won’t.
Everyone knows about the big three streaming providers. I have Netflix, and I love it! But there are days when it is just not enough. After a few days of poking and prodding around the internet to find a way to watch movies for free, legally, I found a few that tickled my fancy. One of my favorites is something semi-new to the streaming community called Shudder. It’s a streaming horror flick channel that plays all the gory, hack-n-slash, b-rated horror films your little black heart could desire! The best part is, it’s around the same price as Netflix, if not a little cheaper.
Another great find, and one I am about to try out is Playstation Vue. I have heard some good and bad things about this service, but from what I can tell, it is exactly what many cord cutters are looking for, myself included. This is cable without all the filler channels, at a third of the price. For forty bucks a month you get most of the same channels as a high priced cable package. For instance, many local channels are included, along with, the Travel Channel, History, SyFy, National Geographic, Chiller, ESPN, and Fox News, just to name a few. Again, I haven’t tried the service yet, and hopefully by the time this gets published I will, and have more input. But for the price, and all that is offered, you can’t beat it.
Other things you can consider are Sling TV, which requires a top set box, or streaming device like a Fire Stick, Chromecast, and it offers similar tier programming. TiVo is similar, and the options are limitless. But the best way to stream anything to your television short of buying a new SmartTv, would be to buy a Chromecast as most current devices offer the ‘Cast to Screen’ option. And yes, Google now allows screen mirroring on most devices.
For instance, I get a better WiFi connection through my phone than straight from the Chromecast. So, I pop on Netflix, or a local channel and “Cast” it to the television. The only downside is it is a battery drainer, and the screen has to stay on. If the phone goes into “sleep mode”, the Chromecast will show the lock screen of your phone. But it’s a cheap alternative to buying a whole new television.
With all these options, and thousands more floating around the world-wide web, unless the cable companies drop their prices and offer better service, it will soon be a thing of the past. They will soon be supplying something that is no longer in high demand. While they attempt to force people into having a cable provider, as many channel websites require a provider login, we have, of course, found ways around that too. But that’s a story for another day.
Tags: The Muggle Experience