Well, I’ve finally done it! I divorced my cable company. It wasn’t easy. We’ve been together for 35 years. But it makes me angry, and a little ashamed, to admit: My Comcast (Xfinity) bill for last month was $262.65.
My service included basic service: 2 boxes, a phone line which I’ve never used, high speed internet, and an occasional movie rental. I was paying for endless hours of Kardashians and other programing I don’t even watch. I was sick of the terrible customer service, the ridiculous hidden fees, and all the other headaches and hassles that come with a cable TV subscription but I stayed a prisoner in a loveless relationship.
I know it sounds easy to cancel a service I’m paying too much but a lot of thought has gone into this. I’ve been considering cutting the cord on cable TV for years; I’ve just stayed for the sake of the children and it’s hard to say good-bye. I didn’t know how to get rid of cable without missing out on my favorite TV shows, movies, and live sporting events (I would never see my son, son-in-law or grandson during football or basketball season if they couldn’t watch the “game.”) I kept searching online for information and guides on cable TV alternatives, but they were all very technical and hard to follow.
Today about 19% of American TV households live without cable, according to market research firm GfK.
How did I finally do it? No, I didn’t go cold turkey. We gradually grew more and more apart until divorce was inevitable. Here are some of the things that came between us.
If you’re looking for a great mix of movies and television, Netflix should be high on your list. I started using Netflix a few years ago. I never thought of it as a potential replacement for my cable service. I liked the idea of having it when I traveled. I could watch it on my own devices not having to use the germ-ridden hotel remotes. (Why I don’t like using remote controls in hotel rooms is another story.)
I got hooked on binge watching whole seasons of shows like NCIS and Murder She Wrote. Over time I began watching it even when I was at home. I am not alone in choosing Netflix. It accounts for more than a third of downstream Internet traffic in North America during peak hours. Netflix is home to a plethora of movies as well as its fair share of television content and its own original content.
HD access to Netflix starts at $8.99 per month which allows streaming to up to two screens simultaneously (or up to four with 4K resolution support for $11.99).
Second to Netflix is Amazon Prime Instant Video, another popular destination for television, movies and original content. A subscription is bundled in as part of my Amazon Prime (alongside several other perks.) I’ve had Amazon Prime for years. I use the devil out of free shipping but I have only recently started using Prime Instant Video.
Amazon and Netflix are arguably neck and neck in terms of original content. Both offer great shows that you can’t find anywhere else (take that, cable). Last year an Amazon original, Transparent, took home two Golden Globe Awards. I don’t find a lot of duplication on the two services.
At $99 per year (which works out to $8.25 each month), Amazon is the great value considering you get Prime Instant Video, Prime shipping benefits (free two-day shipping and cheap overnight shipping on eligible items), access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (great for readers) and Prime Music.
Hulu Plus sells for $7.99 per month service with a heavy slant towards television shows. Here, you’ll get current season episodes of multiple prime-time TV shows which usually arrive anywhere from one to eight days after they air on TV (depending on the network. There’s also a selection of movies although most are B-rated flicks that aren’t overly appealing.
Do note, however, that you’ll still be subjected to annoying commercials (despite being a paying customer).
I’ve reduced my expenses to a little over $75 a month.
Comcast Hi-speed internet $59.00 (I had to keep this at least for now. I’m a blogger after all.)
Amazon Prime 8.25 (I actually consider this free as it is a bonus with Amazon free shipping)
I am free. And I have almost $200 dollars more a month to play with. I can just consider that my alimony.