Instead of living a passive life of sucking in whatever is available from whatever is on cable TV we took charge of our content consumption and it turned out the most difficult part was the decision itself.
The problem with cable TV is what I call bundling. Cable companies– not all are created equally– bundle services into packages; TV networks, internet service, even telephones; into a discounted monthly bill that only seems to grow.
Meanwhile, God has not given us more than 24-hours in a day, but we have more things to accomplish each day, and less money and time to get it done. Something had to give. The decision was long and laborious but the act of cutting the cord was easy. We called the cable TV company and canceled everything. That along saved a few hundred bucks of time.
Before that, though, we planned ahead. First, we did a simple inventory of what we watched on cable TV. As it turns out, what we wanted to watch was different than what we actually watched. That meant we filled in time by watching reruns of movies we’ve seen already and settled in for snacks and binge-watching Big Bang Theory, Seinfeld, Friends, and other comfort shows to go with comfort food.
See the problem?
From that simple inventory of what we thought would be worth watching, we looked around to see if those same shows turned up on free or less expensive services. As it turned out for us, they did. Then, we rummaged through Apple TV’s apps and listings to see if we could consolidate all we want to watch to one location. As that turned out, it did, too.
Apple TV has about everything any average TV viewer with a penchant for sticking it to the cable TV man could want.
What about internet access?
We could have kept the cable TV company’s internet service, but that would increase the unbundled monthly price. So, we shopped around. Fortunately, in our area, the local phone company has a similar speed package for about 25-percent less. You know where this is going, right?
We added the phone company’s internet service, tested it out for a couple of weeks and ignored cable TV entirely. It worked. We managed to find all the video programming we needed for about $130 a month less than cable TV– even while adding Disney Plus and Hulu, tossed in Plex, and got Apple TV+ thanks to our new iPhones; do you know how much video exists on YouTube?
Then we called the cable TV company. They cried. They begged. They gave us a better deal, special packages for free, upped the internet speed– promised everything but a free vacation in Hawaii– if we would stick around.
Damn. That felt good.
It’s always nice to feel wanted and needed, but it feels even better to take control.
Now, there are some caveats.
First, Apple TV navigation– compared to the familiar TV remote from the cable TV company– is cumbersome and clunky. We’re learning to use Siri. Apple’s Apple TV remote sucks, but there is one on iPhone that works better.
Second, local channels do not show up on Apple TV, so we followed the cable TV cutter trail to Amazon and picked up one of those newfangled things I grew up with. An antenna. They’re dirt cheap, come with long USB cables, and plug right into the back of widescreen TV screens. Almost all the local channels come in well and they’re digital, too.
What’s not to like?
$130 a month savings is $1,560 a year which is $15,600 over 10 years. We’ve been with the local cable TV company about 20 years, so the way Jesse and I figure it, we just saved $31,200 by taking control.
It feels so good.