09 October 2008

Forget Cable and Satellite

With all of the hype over the Federal requirement for all OTA (Over-The-Air) transmissions and TV sets to be purely digital it seems more than appropriate that I write this.
Sometime in the near future TV as we know it is going to change, and change more drastically than just these digital OTA signals. What I am telling you is that now is the time to start changing over, and, at the same time, especially in these harder economic times, severely decrease your TV bill or eliminate it all together.

1. Get an HD antenna. Hook one of these up to your existing cable lines in your house, and either purchase a new HDTV, or, the signal converter boxes for your TV. Often times you are able to pick up more than just your local stations over the air. There are people in my area who are able to pick up both Comedy Central and ESPN, for FREE.

2. Sign up for Netflix. Netflix is pretty inexpensive and for $16.99 a month you can have 3 DVDs out at a time, and have unlimited rentals per month.

3. Get a ROKU. If you're a Netflix member you have the option of streaming movies right to your PC over the internet. For $99.99 you can buy a ROKU, a box that allows you to stream DVD quality movies from your Netflix subscription straight to your TV. If you don't want a lot of obscure or old films from Netflix, you can downgrade to their $8.99/mo. plan which allows 1 DVD out at a time, unlimited rentals, and the capability to stream unlimited videos to your computer/ROKU.

4. Get an Apple TV. Sure they are $299.99, which is a little pricey, but their content is cheap, sometimes as cheap, if you buy a season pass, some shows are as low as $0.90 an hour, which is less than what I pay per hour for cable. You also open up access to Youtube which is full of content.

5. If DVR is your thing, you can have that too. Sony and LG offer great models that are, depending on where you purchase them from, anywhere from $200-$400 online. They allow you to record multiple shows at once, record a show while you watch a show, and pause/fast-forward/rewind live TV. They also offer you access to a FREE on-screen TV guide.

6. Get Verizon DSL. You can get 3mbps, sometimes 6mbps, if you call and ask them for a higher data rate for $29.99 a month.

So, if you are currently paying, like I am $150 a month for your cable and internet, which is $1800 a year, you can decrease your costs a lot... here's the breakdown:

One-Time Costs:
- ROKU $99
- DVR $300
- AppleTV $300
-------------------
Total Cost $700

Monthly Costs:
- 5 TV shows on AppleTV (4 episodes each @1.10 on season pass) $22
- Netflix Subscription $8.99
- DSL $29.99
-------------
Total Monthly Cost $61

- First Year Cost: $1432 (Savings of $568)
- Every year After: $732 (Savings of $1068)

1 comment:

Gunnery Sergeant Chimichanga said...

Excellent article.

Caveat - don't skimp on your bandwidth. My brother got a ROKU, and he's been consistently exceeding his bandwidth to the point where the cable company is threatening to start charging him a commercial rate. Check with your ISP to find out what your bandwidth limits are.