ditching cable and streaming TV
I get questions every so often from people who are interested in ditching cable, so I figured I’d put this down in one place once and for all.
When I moved last fall, I chose not to bring my cable package with me. Since having kids, my personal TV-watching time has decreased, but I couldn’t give up television entirely because, yes, I let my kids watch TV sometimes (!) and because my dad (aka my daycare) appreciates being able to watch TV throughout the day. So here’s what we do in my house:
- I switched to Verizon as my Internet provider (about $56 a month for the enhanced Internet package to accommodate streaming.)
- I have a Roku, which ranges from $39.99-$99.99 on Amazon.
- I also have an Apple TV in my upstairs bedroom, though I actually prefer the Roku.
- I have Amazon Prime Instant Video through my Amazon Prime/Amazon Mom account ($99/year, so $8.25/month).
- There are some shows/movies that require purchase, so I try to be discerning. For example, Season 2 of Yo Gabba Gabba is free on Amazon Prime, but you have to purchase other episodes or seasons. I finally broke down and purchased Season 4 for my own sanity.
- I have Hulu Plus for new episodes and full seasons of current TV shows and some movies ($7.99/month).
- I have Netflix for movies, older seasons of TV shows and Netflix Original Series, like House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Orange is the New Black ($7.99/month).
- If you can do without the Netflix Originals, this is a platform you could probably forego as there is quite a bit of overlap with Amazon and Hulu.
- I just signed up for Sling TV, which allows you to stream live TV on cable networks like Disney Channel, ABC Family (because I love Pretty Little Liars), AMC, ESPN, TBS, HGTV, Food Network and more ($20/month). You can also add HBO for an additional $15 a month.
- I signed up for Sling essentially just to be able to watch the Mad Men series finale live but it’s looking like it may become an integral part of our TV routine.
- I purchased a AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna for $24.99, which attaches to the wall behind the TV and gets me two networks (NBC and Fox)… and their weird digital channels (my Fox station has a digital channel that has all 1970’s sitcoms).
- This has been great for my avid Dateline viewing and some live events like awards shows that are on NBC or Fox.
So, for a $65-75 starting investment (Roku Stick + digital antenna), you can take the first step of saying goodbye to cable. Yes, I am still paying about $100 a month for my Internet and various streaming channels, but it’s less than I was paying for cable + Internet previously and I essentially have on-demand access to just about any TV show or movie imaginable. And, it keeps both my toddler and my dad happy. Annnnnd, most of these channels have mobile apps as well so you can stream on your phone or tablet.
By the way, if you don’t already have an Amazon Prime membership, I highly recommend, if only for the free two-day shipping. I Prime everything, including toilet paper (TMI?).