Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cutting the cable

For a variety of reasons, but primarily economic, my wife and I made the decision to cut the cable. We were spending well over $100 a month for internet, phone and video services from the local provider. With the changes in taxes and health care premiums, it was rapidly becoming a luxury we couldn't afford.

So, how did we do it?

First, we signed up for a 20MB internet service from the other local provider. I decided to move my business after Insight Communications wanted to raise my monthly cost for dropping a service from our bundle. I'm sorry, but spending $10 more a month for less service was not a winning proposition for me. Second, we went with MagicJack for our home phone services. We decided to port our number, and our ongoing costs will be in the $30 - $40 a year range. Third, we already had a Netflix streaming account and Bluray player and gaming console that provide access to that service. We will most likely supplement that with either a Hulu Plus account or an Amazon Prime account. Finally, I bought an antenna to provide access to the over-the-air broadcast channels. In the Greater Cincinnati area, I am able to pull in 21 channels. Granted, the majority of them are public television of some sort, but I get all the Big 4 networks.

I did have one bit of luck in that when we built, I had the house fairly well wired. There is an A/V and networking distribution panel in my basement that feeds the rest of the house. This is where my internet service primary router is located, so I was able to put my MagicJack Plus device down there and connect it to the supply feed for all my phone jacks. We didn't have to make any changes with regards to phone placement or anything like that. Also, my best antenna reception came from the 2nd story of my house (for very obvious reasons). The antenna that I purchased (an RCA ANT1650R digital flat antenna) included an amplifier. I was able to take the feed from the amp and run it into a splitter. One leg from the splitter went straight to my TV upstairs. The second leg I connected to the CATV port installed in the wall. The other end of this connection was down in the wiring closet in the basement, so I was able to run that feed back up to my living room connection. One antenna, located upstairs in my bedroom, is able to drive both of my televisions.

All told, I had upfront costs of around $175 for the MagicJack Plus, the antenna and a few other ancillary items. My monthly costs are going to be around 1/3 of what I was previously paying for service, and my ROI is less than 2 months.

The only thing I thin I'm going to miss is ESPN. If they ever offer WatchESPN access as part of an ESPN Insider subscription, or through some other subscription model, you can just about guarantee I'd pick that up.

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)

1 comment:

  1. You're not the first to do this... And good ideas, thanks!