Cutting the [Cable] Cord

by Rhett

Last week I noticed that we’d spent the entire week watching Jack Ryan on Amazon, Rick Steve’s Spain shows on Youtube, Lords and Ladles on Netflix, etc. Then on Friday, I open the Comcast bill and it’s $201! I call in a rage, as I usually do, and say, “Cancel the whole thing!” They say, “I can’t do that let me send you to Customer Retention.” Customer Retention says we can get it to you for $138 – as they always do. But this time I said, “Nope, not anymore. I want you to go ahead and cancel everything we just need internet.” Which is $59.

To add insult to injury, we’d been paying $11/month to rent the cable modem. It turns out you can buy a cable modem for $59. Comcast even has a page listing approved equipment.

https://mydeviceinfo.xfinity.com/

The plan going forward is to use Hulu, Amazon, Netflix and Youtube to bridge the gap. I did a quick googling and it looks like everything that’s popular in our house – Bravo, HGTV, etc. is available from Hulu.

Has anyone else thought about getting rid of cable?

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137 thoughts on “Cutting the [Cable] Cord

  1. We got rid of cable. We have no TV now – so I got a free trial on fubo to watch the World Series. We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu (not sure about Hulu, I may cancel). We subscribe to Showtime once a year to watch Homeland.

    The only things I missed were SYTYCD, Project Runway, and the Red Sox, and I got to watch SYTYCD this year with Hulu. I borrow my parents’ cable login to watch the Olympics or the world figure skating championships. :)

  2. Nope. We have DirecTV and no plans to get rid of it anytime soon. It’s the only way to get the Sunday ticket, and aside from that we watch enough stuff on different channels that trying to get it all via streaming would be a pain on the ass and likely cost just as much.

  3. We got rid of cable earlier this year and we don’t miss it at all. Between Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and the PBS app we have more content than we can watch. No regrets at all. Added bonus: we cancelled the landline too (it was “free” with the cable bundle but cost $30 on its own) and don’t have to deal with solicitors and political calls.

  4. I want to get rid of cable and am looking forward to the responses.
    Apparently, we “need’ access to live sports events, such as anything on a golf course on Sundays, college football, March Madness, and NFL.
    Can that be done without cable?
    Everything I watch is streaming, and if it isn’t (like The Americans in season), I can wait until it is.

  5. We have not had cable/dish/direct tv etc. for about 10 years. Once DD#1 started getting real homework in elementary school (3-4th grade), we went through the no tv until homework is done (so children rushed through it) and the one show, then homework (oh the begging and pleading for just one more). The end result was NO tv M-TH unless required for a school assignment – watching a debate, etc. Once we all adjusted, we realized we didn’t watch that much tv and other than a handful of shows, most of what we watched was on over-the-air stations or Netflix. We dropped cable.

    We seem to be getting more over-the-air stations each year (initially was 6 – abc, nbc, cbs, fox, pbs and a station in Spanish, but now is about 15). Plus, YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video, and hulu along with watching via the stations web page. We pay directly for Netflix, but Prime Video and hulu are “freebies” (yea, nothing is really free) because we chose other services that these come bundled with. Also, DD#1 was complaining about not being able to watch the newest Dr. Who series. I showed her how you can go to the stations webpage and often watch the show for a week to a month after it airs. She is so thrilled as BBC America is keeping the episodes live for at least 60 days.

    Once the DDs got the whole idea that school work comes first and the fact that most streamed content is available 24-7, we did not try to enforce or even monitor much of their viewing habits. Grades are up and your attitude around the house is good, then no intensive monitoring.., and the flip side is also true.

  6. a pain on the ass

    It is a lot more complicated with a lot more remotes and you need to know what device (the smart TV itself, Firestick, Apple TV, broadcast TV, etc.) you need to use to watch a given show.

    The other complaint is that while it’s one thing to watch a House Hunters or NCIS rerun because that’s what’s on or that’s what’s on the DVR, it’s another thing to actually look for and “summon” a rerun.

  7. We cut the cord a few years ago. I was initially against it, but now it seems crazy to me to think we paid so much for Directv for so long. We have the same setup – Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, youtube (to watch Last Week Tonight). Hulu gets us all the local stations, as well as all the sports stations we need for college football and basketball. I’m now binge watching all seasons of Below Deck, which is total trash and I have no idea what station it was even on. My elementary age kids can toggle between the systems faster than I can and have no complaints either.

  8. I keep waiting for the tipping point for us, but I’m not sure it’s here yet.

    There are a few things that keep me wanting cable instead. 1 – Live sports/Local News (incl our daily PBS news show). Now, this is changing a bit, but this has been an issue in the past when I’ve done the math. Either things weren’t available or all the different packages together added up to much the same as the cable bill in a much less convenient package. 2 – I don’t want to have to navigate a whole bunch of menus and make a choice sometimes. Sometimes I just want to put on Food Network/HGTV and watch a little bit while folding the laundry. DH loves to flip between programs. Both of those things are a real PITA on streaming, especially flipping between services. They are designed to keep you binge watching on THEIR service. And to get everything we want, we’d have to subscribe to so many different services with different interfaces. I like the ease of turning on the TV & going straight to Live TV or the DVR.

    #2 is also the reason that I listen to FM radio a lot. I have an ancient radio at work – it is background noise & requires no effort at all, but I still get to listen to mostly music that I like. It’s the same at home. We have XM Sirius because we subscribe to it for the car & it is cheap, but I really only listen to it when I’m in a situation where I have to set up the bluetooth speaker anyway – away from home, outside on the deck, etc. Get off my lawn!

    But I’m keeping an open mind.

  9. “The other complaint is that while it’s one thing to watch a House Hunters or NCIS rerun because that’s what’s on or that’s what’s on the DVR, it’s another thing to actually look for and “summon” a rerun.”

    Yes – this is part of what I mean by #2. It feels like a bigger commitment & it takes more effort. And I suppose I could fold my laundry in silence and contemplate the meaning of life, but why? I want to watch a few minutes of someone shopping for beach houses with totally unrealistic expectations!

  10. We still get service from Comcast, but just the “Basic Broadcast” package. It’s only $10 a month, and it basically gets us ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and Fox, plus a local news station. We watch just enough on those networks to make it worthwhile. For other things we use Amazon and Netflix.

  11. And I get my fill of HGTV at doctors’ and dentists’ offices. HGTV seems to have taken the place of cooking shows as the default station that office waiting rooms always have on.

  12. “Sometimes I just want to put on Food Network/HGTV and watch a little bit while folding the laundry. DH loves to flip between programs. Both of those things are a real PITA on streaming, especially flipping between services.”

    and

    “The other complaint is that while it’s one thing to watch a House Hunters or NCIS rerun because that’s what’s on or that’s what’s on the DVR, it’s another thing to actually look for and “summon” a rerun.”

    ^ This is me. But I don’t really get involved in the cable/streaming decision at our house because my husband is the one with very precise viewing preferences. He watches HBO and other things. I watch whatever cable news show or reality show is on when I feel like a TV break.

  13. We cut DirecTV when oldest kid was about 3 because he would get super cranky whenever he watched any TV. One day DH got so angry he ripped the TV out and put it in the attic. We’d stream Netflix on the laptop for a few years. Last year we bought a smart TV in order to watch sports – primarily soccer. We pay for FuboTV, ESPN+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Big Ten + (able to watch online streams of all games at any school). My dad still has cable and lets me use his password to watch regular ESPN free. We also bought an antenna for $25 that allows us to get local channels. Since soccer was the big draw, we went with Fubo for $35/month and get lots of soccer channels (BEIN Sports has a lot of international soccer) and HGTV. I also paid ~$5/month to stream ESPN+. We have Netflix for the kids, which is ~$12/month. Big 10+ is $15/month. It isn’t too difficult to navigate on our TV to the different apps.

    I should probably look into other services at some point to see if what we want is offered at a cheaper price. We are at ~$67/month for streaming. We cut our landline back in 2006. Our city has high-speed fiber optic internet for ~$50/month, so we don’t need Comcast for anything. Even if the price was the same as what Comcast or DirecTV cost, I wouldn’t go back due to how much I disliked their customer service.

    I haven’t really checked out shows on YouTube. I’ll have to look into that.

  14. Guys, Hulu does live tv. I can put on HGTV or CNN, or the local news and mindlessly watch whatever the corporate station has decided should be on at 8:30pm on a Tuesday. But I can also search for HHI and watch 8 episodes of Season 106 commercial free.

  15. The other complaint is that while it’s one thing to watch a House Hunters or NCIS rerun because that’s what’s on or that’s what’s on the DVR, it’s another thing to actually look for and “summon” a rerun.

    Yes. It’s so easy to just look at the DVR and pick something to watch. I don’t want to have to deal with going into different streaming services and finding shows, and remembering which shows are on which service, etc. I do watch some stuff on Amazon because it’s free with Prime.

  16. We get basic cable so DH can watch sports (Sounders and Seahawks) in high definition. We also subscribe to Amazon Prime and Netflix.

  17. Ivy – We get most of your #1 with an antennae only.

    Regarding live sports – no real sports fan here – I find SO with golf on regularly and I often flip past the pro and college sports (football now) in season. I have lived with a true sports fan and this would not have been enough, so I think it depends on your level of fan.

    Our TV lets us stay logged into Netflix and Prime Video and the fancier dvd remote seems to handle it all, so no switching. Hulu is new to us and I haven’t really tried to watch it on the TV yet.

  18. We’ve thought about upgrading our cable package so we get ESPN, etc. so we can watch more soccer – but it doesn’t seem worth the price. Is there a live streaming option in high def for sports? This is what keeps us hooked on cable.

  19. “remembering which shows are on which service, etc.”

    I’m thinking that we need some sort of flow chart next to the remotes, reminding us which shows are NOT on Netflix.
    And not being able to flip around different programs is a major feature in my eyes, not a bug.

  20. I don’t want to have to navigate a whole bunch of menus and make a choice sometimes. Sometimes I just want to put on Food Network/HGTV and watch a little bit while folding the laundry. DH loves to flip between programs. Both of those things are a real PITA on streaming, especially flipping between services.

    This. Actually this is DH. We cut the cable for about a year, maybe 8 years ago. Then we just got it back. When DH wants to crash and wants to watch TV, he wants it to be available NOW. We already get irritated by trying to figure out which streaming service has season 4 of Vera or whatever. (Again, justwatch.com is really helpful for that).

    Add to that the fact that Comcast will jack up your Internet charge to over $100 per month if that’s your only service, and yes, I’ve argued and negotiated. No dice. And according to my Nextdoor group, that’s pretty common. So we keep Comcast for now. We also have the phone service, which we never ever use, because it was cheaper than not having the phone service. The whole thing is stupid.

  21. seattlesoccermom – I think most of the MLS games are on ESPN+, which is about $5/month. I’ve thought about paying more for the English Premier League, which I think is on NBCSN, but we get enough games on Fubo. Everything is high definition.

  22. Of course these services refuse to give you any pricing until you’ve actually signed up. Digging around on The Google it looks like for Hulu with LiveTV – the starting price is $39.99/mo, but once I add unlimited screens and remove commercials, I’m going to paying the same amount that I pay to AT&T for Uverse anyway. And I lose a few channels that we watch or have to add other apps to watch them (like local PBS & MLB Network). And I’d probably still want HBO, so I’d get HBO Go.

    I notice that a lot of you that cut the cord are just using other people’s cable passwords anyway. We are the ones supplying the cable password to our millennial siblings. :)

    I’m happy for this topic because it was a good reminder to check into things again while I have a slow morning.

  23. Getting rid of cable? Weren’t you the leader of the pack trying to convince me I was stupid never to get it in the first place? Welcome to the neighborhood, hehehe

  24. so we can watch more soccer

    Do you speak Spanish? The broadcast Spanish channels around here carry a lot of soccer.

  25. PlayStation Vue was very similar in pricing. And yes – then there is the jacked up internet bill if you don’t have a bundled package.

  26. I wish there were a comparison site so I could price compare with all the options. A robust internet package from Fios or Xfinity, plus landline and basic broadcast, plus sports access from online platforms. On the plus side for cable, I like having the bundle phone no to give to charities and the town and hoover up solicitations. My mobile gets very little spam as a result. But mostly, one remote is all DH can handle. I dont get paid 125 K per annum to be on call to manage multiple sources.

  27. We got rid of cable too. We also own our own modem. I need to renew my internet, which is basically the same process.

  28. I was stupid never to get it in the first place

    That might have been Milo. My only objection was your claim that you didn’t have a TV when you were watching your shows on a laptop or tablet.

  29. As to the cost, I don’t really care about that. I just want to be done with Comcast.

    Is their business model really that they agree to charge you $134 and if you don’t call and complain 6 months or a year from now they will jack it up to $200 and wait till you notice? At least all the other services just charge you $xx.xx a month.

  30. We have an upstairs TV, which we never watch anymore because reasons. But it only has an attic antenna. It’s amazing all the bizarre little channels that are on broadcast. Reminds me of the early days of UHF.

  31. Is their business model really that they agree to charge you $134 and if you don’t call and complain 6 months or a year from now they will jack it up to $200 and wait till you notice?

    All of the cable/internet companies use that model.

    I just went through all the channels we watch on a regular or occasional basis, and there are about 35. Some of the channels aren’t available at all via streaming, and adding up all the costs for the rest, which would require multiple streaming services and individual subs, isn’t much less than we’re paying for DirecTV and would be a huge hassle to deal with.

  32. It’s amazing all the bizarre little channels that are on broadcast.

    Especially with all the sub-channels.

  33. From the prices I can find, it sounds like I could save 30 to 50 dollars a month to have exactly what I want/need, even allowing for the small upfront equipment cost to get a roku or other gateway device for each of our two TVs/large dedicated display screens. The real issue is the number of new service subscriptions required to replace what I now have, and as a sports viewer the need for a tablet as second screen because real time channel switching with rewind may not be straightforward. Not worth the effort.

  34. “Do you speak Spanish? The broadcast Spanish channels around here carry a lot of soccer.”

    That might be a good way to learn Spanish.

  35. “I wish there were a comparison site so I could price compare with all the options.”

    ITA, but I think it’s part of the cable companies’ marketing strategy to not have such a site. They want to be able to maximize what they can charge by individual customer, so if you’re willing to call every year to ask for a better deal, they’ll give you a better deal than the customer on autopay who doesn’t call every year.

  36. That might be a good way to learn Spanish.

    “¡GOOOOOOOOOOL!” It’s surprisingly easy!

  37. “The only things I missed were SYTYCD”

    That’s on ABC, so if you have access to their over the air broadcast, you can get that for free with an antenna.

  38. “Apparently, we “need’ access to live sports events, such as anything on a golf course on Sundays, college football, March Madness, and NFL.
    Can that be done without cable?”

    A lot of that is on network TV, so available for free with an antenna if you have a decent signal. But increasingly, some of that stuff, is only on cable channels.

  39. We have FiOS. In many ways it’s better than Cox. We are supposed to get a Verizon wireless+FiOS discount, but the wireless bill is in my name and the FiOS bill is in DH’s name so they cant’ link the accounts (really? It’s the same last name and billing address… plus we both listed as account holders on each service). That’s my only large complaint. DH has a note in his phone every 2 years to call Verizon to get our current deal renewed. I find that annoying so I’m glad he’ll do it! :)

    We have 1-2 shows we’ll watch on Netflix and Amazon. As a reverse from most people, we are provided with streaming service logins from my BIL. We reciprocate and let him use our FiOS login to access channels that aren’t on streaming services. I guess it balances out.

    We have talked about cutting the cord. But we haven’t actually tried. Last time I did the math it wasn’t worth the hassle.

  40. DD wouldn’t miss it if we cut the cable. She watches mostly K-dramas on her laptop or Kindle, and now that she’s gotten pretty good at the language, she’s not limited to what’s subtitled.

    Occasionally she’ll want to share a show, and will use the Chromecast to show it on the big TV.

  41. “Last year we bought a smart TV in order to watch sports – primarily soccer. We pay for FuboTV, ESPN+, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Big Ten + (able to watch online streams of all games at any school).”

    How’s the smart TV worked for you? What brand?

    We’ve been disappointed with the smart TVs we’ve bought (both Vizios). During most evenings, they apparently weren’t able to cache enough data, and when we watched videos they’d often stopped while the TVs downloaded data.

    We recently bought a Firestick for $20, which does what the smart TVs did (other than the actual video and sound), but much better. If we buy another TV soon, I’d be leaning toward a dumb TV and Firestick over a smart TV.

  42. Aside from what service you have, what device(s) do you watch on? Regardless of what you watch it on, do you call it watching TV?

    We have an upstairs (family room) and downstairs (living room) flat screen TVs. Both are attached to external speakers and dvd players as SO used to buy more dvds when kids were little and we didn’t have streaming services. SO only watches on a TV. DDs, unless they are watching with us or have friends over, tend to watch on their laptop or tablet (in a pinch on the phone). At standard local news times, if I am going to watch/listen, I tend to use the TV as it takes the least effort to “turn on”. Other times it is about 70% TV and 30% another device. For me, if I am going to take the time to actually watch something, I want to be in my comfy chair.

    In our house, regardless of device being used, SO says “watching TV”, the DD’s tend to be extremely specific as to source – TV = over the air, but otherwise it’s “I’m watching youtube or Netflix”, and now that I ask the question I don’t know what I say!

  43. Aside from what service you have, what device(s) do you watch on? Regardless of what you watch it on, do you call it watching TV?

    We primarily watch on a TV. DD watches some stuff on her laptop. When we”re watching football on Sundays, I’ll stream a second channel on my laptop to watch at the same time. And we always call it watching TV.

  44. I say watching TV regardless of device. But I rarely watch TV on my phone or tablet or computer. When I do, I sometimes revert to saying what I’m watching specifically. Such as I’m watching “XYZ show” if asked.

    Before we had our blu ray player, we had to hook a computer up to our TV to watch online shows. Now we can navigate through the blu ray and it’s nice to NOT have to think about one more device.

  45. Finn, did your daughter study Korean in school, or did she just pick it up watching the shows?

  46. DH & I almost exclusively watch on a traditional TV. Even when we travel, we bring a cord to hook up the laptop to a large TV.

    DS almost exclusively watches things on an iPad, even though he can watch all his YouTube and Netflix stuff via the PS4 on the big TV. He watches the big TV for movies, live sports and for shows he watches with us (Survivor, Amazing Race and The Goldbergs). When he’s watching stuff on his iPad, he calls it “watching videos”. But I don’t really see any difference.

  47. We have Netflix that gets watched on both our family TV and my computer. Lego Robotics practice conflicts with my evening phone conferences, so DD usually gets screen time then. We don’t have/haven’t had cable. Minecraft and youtube are the other popular uses of screen time by the boys. There are some over-the-air channels but not many and service isn’t great, due to our proximity to ocean and mountains.

    The main downside of Netflix is that it no longer has any of the PBS shows I liked for preschoolers, like Thomas, Clifford, Dinosaur Train, etc. This post motivated me to check for Blue’s Clues. It appears to be available somewhere on the web, so maybe I’ll check that out for DD tonight- DH and I have middle school conferences and DD will be home with her brothers, so basically unsupervised.

  48. When he’s watching stuff on his iPad, he calls it “watching videos”

    I’m really surprised how much great content is on youtube. I’m also surprised how well their “you might like to watch this” function works. It really keeps you from getting stuck in that cable rerun trap.

  49. RMS, DD’s school doesn’t offer Korean classes. She started picking it up watching shows, then found some online classes and took those. I like to think that I influenced her by suggesting that if she understood the language, she would no longer be limited to watching subtitled K-dramas.

    But what I think has helped her the most is that she has some Korean friends, and she speaks Korean with them and learns from them.

    Last summer, she volunteered at the zoo for a couple of weeks as a junior leader for their day camp for young kids, and there were a few Korean kids, so she also had a chance to practice with them.

  50. “how well their “you might like to watch this” function works.”

    I’ve found that function loops backs and repeats a lot of videos.

  51. I’ve found that function loops backs and repeats a lot of videos.

    Are you watching them through youtube on your Vizio TV?

  52. We are paying a lot of money to several different providers because it is one of the few categories of our budget that we just pay without exploring alternatives. We did save a little $ when we finally dropped Verizon at home, but our deal with Optimum will expire some time later this year. We use our a bunch of services from Optimum, so DH doesn’t want to think about dropping them. We need a decent internet connection for the Peloton, and he doesn’t want to mess with that set up. DD spends so much time on Netflix and You Tube. I don’t think she would care about regular TV. She just wants a very powerful internet connection and she dreams about unlimited data because we don’t have that on our cell plan.

  53. “Are you watching them through youtube on your Vizio TV?”

    Using the Firestick.

    I also watch (really just have it on) a lot of youtube on my work computer while working.

  54. We cut Comcast cable and went to cell phones only, Comcast highest speed Internet, plus Hulu, HBO and Netflix. All in, $80/month vs the former $200+/month with Comcast cable, Internet and phone.

    Waiting in a very crowded airport and getting grumpier by the second. Grrrr. Whoever designed this place had no respect for introverts or personal space.

  55. Using the Firestick.

    Ah, with Vizio the suggestion screen updates every time you choose something so it’s always including new videos. Maybe only 20% of the videos change with every refresh but there is enough new suggestions to keep one occupied.

  56. Do you guys bring down/up giant piles of laundry to fold in the living room? I fold in the laundry room – too much of a PITA to load into a basket and bring someplace else to fold. I have everyone’s baskets in/around the laundry room so I can just load the appropriate person’s stuff into the appropriate basket.

  57. L, our laundry room is right off the family room, so I just drag the laundry a few yards into the family room and watch TV while I fold.

  58. Our laundry room is our basement and we have a small house, so it’s easy to bring the laundry to the only room with a TV.

    We have a small TV in our bedroom room and when we need to do a lot in there, I’ll turn it on. We really just use it as another DVR to increase our storage.

  59. Finn, that’s so cool about your daughter teaching herself Korean. You should spend some time posting about her, since we have gotten her brother safely off to college.

  60. Do you guys bring down/up giant piles of laundry to fold in the living room?

    Our laundry room is right off the family room so it is very convenient to fold in front of the TV if you want. But now that everyone does their own, I’ve found the most efficient way to fold my clothes is in the bedroom right next to my dresser and closet. I fold and put right in the drawer, or on a hanger and right into the closet.

  61. If you guys are looking for a soothing (verging on soporific) show to watch while folding laundry or trying to doze off, I recommend Escape to the Country and Escape to the Continent, both on Netflix. They’re kind of the English version of some of those HGTV shows. Our perky host shows a middle-aged couple three or four possible houses in either the British countryside, or on the European continent. It has all the usual appeal of such shows, including pretty scenery, marginally useful information, and a chance to roll your eyes at some of the ridiculous amenities the shoppers want.

  62. Laundry “room” means washer and dryer are in the garage, which is right off the master. I tend to fold on my bed. As everyone does their own clothes, a load is less than a 10 min task.

  63. Risley – Don’t fly through Charlotte! Each time I have been there it has been standing room only, every where. I don’t normally feel too claustrophobic, but I was never more than 6 inches away from another person.

  64. Our laundry is upstairs, so a flight of stairs and 35 feet-ish away from the TV. (we only have one TV in the house, in the playroom, usually watch on that.)

  65. I only fold my own clothes. Everyone else’s clothes simply get taken out of the dryer, brought upstairs, and then either dumped in a heap outside their room (in DS’ and DD’s case) or on their side of the bed (in DH’s case), for them to deal with. I think I’m the only family member who actually folds clothes prior to putting them away; everyone else just sort of stuffs them haphazardly into a drawer.

  66. I listen to the radio as I fold clothes in the laundry room. I should probably win a prize, maybe a whole cookie, for having the most TVs of any totebagger. We have seven.

  67. Laundry outside master in our new place. Love this! About a load/day or every other day for the 2 of us and mostly DH does it (incl folding and putting away) but if not, we do it together, before bed. I put my workout stuff outside the bedroom door right away and all yoga towels on stairs to go into car, so usually end up with little to put away. Of course this means I often wear the same (clean!) workout or yoga stuff all week until I finally get up the desire to put that stuff away and take out something else.

  68. xfinity screwed me on the modem/router issue. Having an old house they wouldn’t/couldn’t connect the TV in the living room without running some lines, but that guy couldn’t do it and I would have to hire someone. They then upsold me to the “wireless” unit, which wouldn’t take my router. So, I wound up paying for both. Then, because of rescheduling due to weather, I had a hard time returning the items (>1 month from purchase). Tried to sell the modem online (Amazon), but person returned it AND I got a cease and desist email from the manufacturer. Wound up unloading it on Facebook Marketplace at a loss. In hindsight, the xfinity guy probably wanted the upsell and could’ve done what I wanted, but I didn’t push.

  69. We say, i am watching the xxx game or watching sports/watching tv if it is live. That applies to live broadcasts through an Ipad, desktop, laptop, even a phone. The only TV we watch in real time are sporting events and associated commentary, news, and new episodes of GOT/Westworld, etc. We don’t usually watch non premium scripted tv live, we always DVR to clear the commercials. If it on DVR or a streaming service, we refer to it as watching a show or movie, or watching youTube, even if we stream/cast it to an actual TV instead of a mobile device or computer.

    So I can understand Saac’s linguistic distinction between TV and not TV. My grandkids have access to more kid programming than my kids ever did and they watch it on large screens, and they don’t have “TV” at their house.

  70. Okay, I’m not actually doing this, but I just went to the ladies’ room in this airport and the stall was by far the quietest, most peaceful area in the building. And it did make me wonder if I just just stay in there until my flight boards…

  71. “I’m really surprised how much great content is on youtube.”

    Most of the You Tube in our house is in the watching other people play video games or bros having silly contests and joking around (aka Dude Perfect) genre.

    I do watch tutorial videos on You Tube though – everything from how to change the battery in your key fob to applying makeup to tying a scarf to chopping a mango.

  72. DS does his own laundry, and I’m pretty sure he is usually watching You Tube on his iPad while folding/putting away!

    I take DH & I’s laundry into our room & fold it on the bed before putting it away.

  73. “Waiting in a very crowded airport and getting grumpier by the second. Grrrr. Whoever designed this place had no respect for introverts or personal space.”

    Austin? I wonder if it was better before the construction because I found it unbelievably crowded when I was there earlier this year.

  74. We keep cable mainly so that DH can watch hockey.

    I am increasingly finding the whole streaming model to be really really annoying though. I end up paying for shows on Amazon because I can’t figure out where else to find it. We subscribe to Netflix but increasingly, they are all about their content. It seems to me that one ends up paying just as much money to subscribe to all these different providers, or else purchasing content on Amazon.

  75. Okay, so I’m in a better mood. Managed to get a presentation done and then taught the 80s-something woman beside me how to copy/paste texts so she could update all her people about her husband’s medical condition before she leaves for the UK for 2 weeks.

    (She and I bonded over the fact that when the next gen helps with our phones, they simply snatch the device from us and do it themselves vs teaching us. I didn’t do that, and she’s not thrilled she can actually copy/paste herself now).

    But I’m still ordering a drink the second I get to my seat on the plane.

  76. We got rid of cable at the start of the year. I made sure HGTV shows were available on Netflix, cut my cable in Dec 30, and it turns out the HGTV contract with Netflix ended Dec 31. So, directvNow was offering a promotion for a free AppleTV with three months pre-paid, but no contract, so we gave it a try. We can cancel at any time. I like the AppleTV. I get the apps for ABC and NBC free, and pay for CBS. On the apps you can watch multiple seasons of shows that are no longer airing, like The Good Wife and Samantha Who. I also subscribe to Netflix, and we have video through Amazon Prime. I may drop DirectvNow eventually, but I use it for HGTV and college football.

  77. We looked into cutting the cable in April, when our cable provider stopped carrying analog channels. We had one combo DVR/cable box in our family room, and 4 other TVs that were used to watch the analog channels.

    The cable company offered a second cable box for free for a year, so we got that and put it in our master BR, which satisfied DW. She rarely watches any TV other than that one and the one in the family room, and now she can watch all the cable channels in the MBR in HD.

    I got an antenna and connected it to the TV in our kitchen, but it only catches 2 of about 7 stations broadcasting over the air. That TV has the Firestick, so it’s mostly used to watch YouTube videos while I’m doing stuff in the kitchen. The other 2 TVs, old CRT models, no longer get used, and will probably get listed for free on Craigslist soon.

    Like for RMS, changing to internet access only would only drop the price slightly, not enough to cover subscriptions to multiple services like Hulu and Netflix. For us, that’s in part because we’re grandfathered into an old plan, and any changes to the basic plan would force us into the new plan pricing. We looked into getting internet access from the local Telco, but got no solidly positive recommendations from the few people we know who’ve used them.

    When our 2nd cable box is no longer free, I think I’ll return it, and upgrade our DVR line item, currently $12.99/mo, with the multiple DVR line, listed as up to 4 DVRs for 19.99/mo, and at least one of the old TVs will be replaced by a new dumb TV/Firestick combo.

  78. I’m also surprised how well their “you might like to watch this” function works.

    As long as someone isn’t also watching a ton of Captain Sparkles and Everything Wrong With . . . on the same login and messing up your history (watching via Roku so it’s linked to my specific account). Although it can be interesting when YouTube tries to reconcile the various things watched in making suggestions.

  79. Ivy – yes. Love the town, don’t love the airport. Sorry AustinMom!

    Lauren – I would gladly have retreated to a lounge but couldn’t find one. Granted, I got so bothered fighting through crowds that I gave up looking….

    Now happily reading in a seat Rhett would approve of. Aahhhhh

  80. A good YouTube channel to hatewatch for anyone outdoorsy is the Wooded Beardsman. His thing is wilderness living / wilderness survival but he is not, shall we say, starting from a point of expertise. I think that may originally have showed up in our recommends as YouTube’s way of reconciling the Townsends channel videos (18th century cooking, fieldcraft, etc.) and the various bearded-dudes-joking-together series.

  81. Risley you crack me up!

    My D watches Friends on Netflix reruns a lot, often in the background. When I asked her what was so captivating about Friends, she said the humor is “wholesome”. Not like the YouTube stars she likes, who used to be racist but are now just simply tasteless. Okay.

    I used to keep the TV on in hotel rooms when I used to travel for business. At home I keep music or radio on as a background unless I’m reading or on the computer. As I’ve gotten older it’s become harder to read with TV in the background.

  82. On Amazon, I notice they are pushing these new services, for example, a service that just has BBC content that you can subscribe to. Has anyone here subscribed to one of these? Also our Roku has lots of channels you can subscribe to, but I can’t figure that out either. So on Roku, we just watch Netflix or Amazon or YouTube (my daughter mainly). Is there something else amazing out there?

    The other thing is, most of what we watch besides hockey from the cableand YouTube is purchased content from Amazon (Food Network shows mainly), rented content from Amaxon (movies) and political comedy shows like Trevor Noah or Saturday Night Live from the cable. Is there a way to get the political comedy shows on the TV besides cable? The networks seem to only post snippetized shows, which makes me crazy (5 minutes of the monologue, 5 minutes of the comedy skit, etc). I can’t figure out how to stream shows like this to the TV in their entirety. So we watch on cable instead.

    Also, a lot of shows are gone from the network site before I get around to watching them. The recent series by Marcus Samuelsson is an example. I really wanted to see it, but it is now gone from the PBS site, so I guess I will have to pay for it on Amazon.

    The whole setup is so byzantine.

  83. Is there a way to get the political comedy shows on the TV besides cable?

    What shows? If you google the show name and Hulu it will tell you if it’s available there.

  84. In other news the more money you have those 10% stock market moves make for some big numbers.

  85. MM, we’re subscribed to Britbox via Amazon. We use it to watch Mock the Week (comic look at week’s news, no holds barred of course since they’re Brits), different seasons of Escape to the Country / Continent than are on Netflix, we were watching the Rowan Atkinson version of Maigret, we’ve watched Upstart Crow (sitcom about Shakespeare). It certainly doesn’t have all the BBC stuff but evidently it has enough to keep us subscribed.

  86. Oh, and of course we remain subscribed to the Great Courses Plus because Extreme Weather and The Black Death are comfort viewing for me. (I probably don’t want to know what that says about me. Or maybe it’s just my weird way of getting perspective and practicing gratitude!)

  87. “What shows? If you google the show name and Hulu it will tell you if it’s available there.”
    So does that mean I would have to subscribe to Hulu too?

  88. So for those of you who do not use cable, how many streaming services do you subscribe to?

  89. As long as we’re talking about streaming, I’ve been meaning to recommend to the Totebag A Very Secret Service (A La Service de France) on Netflix — a comedy with mid-century vibe, looking at the bureaucracy of the French secret service during the build up to the Algerian War. That makes it sound more serious than it is — it’s really funny. Very cynical and outrageous. The scene in the first or second episode when expense accounts are being reviewed is gold.

  90. Mooshi, does the cable to which you subscribe for hockey not also have Food Channel or Comedy Central?

    Our cable provider also has a bunch of shows available On Demand.

  91. And is Hulu better than Netflix or just different?

    It’s different in that it lets you watch everything that’s on the channels it offers – NBC, ABC, HGTV, Bravo, etc.* And it’s owned by those networks so it offers a lot more content.

    * it is one day delayed so if Modern Family is Wednesday you’ll have to wait to Thursday to watch it on Hulu.

  92. how many streaming services do you subscribe to?

    4 – Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and CBS. And we sign up for HBO and Showtime as needed for Billions and Westworld.

  93. I think a lot of us have Amazon Prime Video because it’s thrown in when you get and Amazon Prime account.

  94. Netflix has some Disney content through 2019, so if your tastes run toward repeated viewings of Moana, Pocahontas, Mickey and Friends, and Princess Sofia, I recommend Netflix over Hulu.

  95. Cable seems much simpler after reading all this. We need to replace the smaller tv. it is getting a bit of a yellow cast, For less than 300 dollars I am thinking of a Roku enabled one from Costco.

    Speaking of the market, i am glad that the next two vacations are paid for. Those new windows and carpet will have to wait a bit.

  96. Austin airport is getting ready to open its new section. I was headed the wrong way when someone told me they renumbered all the gates (sometime between August and now) and I noticed some areas closed off this past trip that I didn’t notice before. I agree the restrooms are about the most secluded spot.

    It can be really busy or almost dead. I have flown and/or been picking up/dropping off others roughly twice a month over the last 5 months. One time I was backed up in the line to pick-up at baggage claim for 25 minutes, on the other end, we drove right up to the departure drop-off and I only had 3 people in front of my at “regular” security.

  97. Finn – we got a Sony Bravia. It clocks occasionally but only really notice when watching HGTV.

  98. MM – we have Hulu for live sports and Netflix for shows, movies, documentaries. HBO for all GoT etc, which I don’t watch but DH does (and DS in our account). The girls use our Netflix account. And our dog sitter binges Dexter in our Hulu account!

    Rhett – we need to turn HBO off and on as it goes unused of those series aren’t on. Will let DH know this is an option. No rules about it?

  99. Austin – smallish city with big city levels of visitors. Understandable (now that I’m the comfort of my own home!)

    Had a great few days in your friendly town.

  100. I liked Escape to the Country/Continent. I watched a few series of Mary Berry in the Great Houses of Britain. And Lords and Ladles was good too. Any other such shows that people would recommend ?. I do all streaming. At our house we have ATT. The internet bandwidth was previously the issue with so many people using their devices but now that’s been resolved.

  101. In other news the more money you have those 10% stock market moves make for some big numbers.

    Boy howdy.

  102. Through our Roku, we subscribe to: Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, Britbox, Acorn, YogaDownload, Twitch (it’s mostly gaming stuff that I don’t understand, but they have RiffTrax on 24/7), PBS, Youtube, Filmstruck, and Shout Factory. Of those, Twitch, Youtube, and Shout Factory are free. Amazon is sunk money through Prime. The rest run around $5 – $7 per month apiece. Yeah. It’s a lot of money, and that’s in addition to the cable. We don’t watch Hulu enough to justify the cost, but every time I cancel it something turns up that I really want to see so I re-subscribe.

    Acorn has a really good six-part mini-series called Mystery Road showing right now. It’s original content, and it’s Australian. Stars Judy Davis. A little bit dark, but fascinating.

  103. Finn, yes, we get those now through cable. I was more wondering how we would get those if we ditched cable. Also, one of the problems with cable/DVR is that you have to watch on the connected TV. I like to watch Food Network in the kitchn on the big computer, but I can’t access the stuff stored on the DVR that way. Our cable company (Optimum) has an app for watching some stuff on a computer but it is HORRIBLE and utterly bugridden.

  104. We have Amazon Prime of course, but there isn’t that much on it that I want to see. It is the same problem with Netflix. That is why I end up spending so much money renting movies on Amazon. Really, perhaps the best solution is to keep cable and ditch Netflix. It has really declined over time.

  105. Also, one of the problems with cable/DVR is that you have to watch on the connected TV

    Huh. Comcast lets you stream your DVR’ed stuff anywhere. It’s not really stored on the DVR anymore, I don’t think. It’s stored in the cloud. I can stream stuff we recorded in Denver to my phone, and from my phone Chromecast it to the TV in California.

  106. Rhett – we need to turn HBO off and on as it goes unused of those series aren’t on. Will let DH know this is an option. No rules about it?

    Nope you can turn it on and off by the month. I assume the vast majority of people never bother to turn it off so they are flexible.

  107. If you like artsy movies, or foreign movies, or just klassy movies, check out Filmstruck.

  108. In the house I can watch Fios content, including any station, in real time on my Ipad or phone in the kitchen or anywhere on the first floor, where we don’t have a TV. DVR’d content anywhere in the US there is wifi, with casting to the firestick for hotels. The only hassle I find is the financial dealing with the cable company, as many have reported. The actual product and range of offerings are excellent. And we get most of our movies rentals “free” with some sort of loyalty points. I download lots of Amazon prime video content to the Ipad and it is available on the plane or in the hotel worldwide.

  109. We like to watch older movies, from the 80’s or 90’s, but many of those are completely unavailable to stream. For example, I would like to find Valley Girl, which I think DD would love, but it doesn’t seem to be available on Netflix or Amazon. Last of the Mohicans is available to stream on Amazon, but does not seem to be the original theatrical release – there are a lot of complaints in the comments. You can get it on Netflix only on DVD. In general, Netflix has far better content by DVD then by streaming.

  110. None of this is all that complicated or time consuming compared to many other aspects of daily living. It comes down to how much you want to take full advantage of choices, convenience, and value. I still have Netflix and Amazon downloads on my iPad from this past summer that I haven’t watched. I watched a few episodes on the plane, but the rest may have expired by now.

    This reminds me of something I read recently that’s similar to what we say around here that we shouldn’t say we can’t afford something but that we choose to spend our money in other ways. It’s similar for time and being too busy. I shouldn’t say I don’t have time for something, but rather that I choose to spend my time in other ways.

  111. We have Spectrum (aka Time Warner) basic level, fastest internet available + sports package = $215/mo. I want to throw up every time I get my bill. I’m more open to cutting back and then subscribing to the other services but NFW DW will go for the multiple remote thing. I agree with Meme that the potential savings, to the degree there is any IMO, is not worth the hassle of changing/learning new. Also, DS3 streams stuff, mostly sports, on the account. I also pay for Netflix, which at least 2 of my kids also use, which I tend to watch on my laptop. DS1 subscribes to Hulu and DW has used his account on our cheapo master bedroom smart tv for some series.

  112. After catching up on this whole thread, my response is simple: I keep cable (FiOs) so I don’t have to deal with the complexity of figuring out what is where and for how long and how to watch it. The cost is ridiculous, even without any premium channels (we have 5 TVs and two DVRs). But at this point in my life, that convenience is worth it to me.

    Also, I have problems bingeing Netflix, which for some reason I don’t have watching things I have DVR’d. So it’s probably for the best.

    My biggest pet peeve is how the shows come and go — I’ll see something on Netflix, decide to watch it, and when I get around to it, it’s gone. That unpredictability is probably a good bit of the reason why I don’t seriously consider cutting cable. Also, I like being able to program the DVR to record entire series — I didn’t even realize a new Dr. Who was starting until it showed up on the DVR. One less brain cell needed for administrivia.

  113. “Netflix has some Disney content through 2019, so if your tastes run toward repeated viewings of Moana, Pocahontas, Mickey and Friends, and Princess Sofia, I recommend Netflix over Hulu.”

    Netflix also has all the Star Wars Disney content including the Clone Wars series which DS has watched probably 10 times. But I read the other day that Disney is going to ditch Netflix and start their own streaming service. I’m surprised they aren’t on Hulu if ABC and ESPN are investing in Hulu. Maybe Hulu will just get bigger with a Disney add on. Who knows.

    And Harry Potter is on HBO Go.

  114. Ok – apparently Harry Potter is no long on HBOGo, but that was what we were using our HBO account to watch for awhile!

  115. I can barely use DVDs anymore, since they’re such a pain to load (I know! I’m being ridiculous) but libraries often have a good selection. It’s worth checking. C’mon, the catalog is online and everything.

  116. @Rocky: Our library has a subscription to Acorn, so we get to see all those British shows that aren’t on PBS or BBCA or Netflix. I am looking forward to Season 20 of Midsomer Murders now that I have finished 1-19. :-)

    And you will be happy to know that DD is now using the library’s DVD collection as much as she is Netflix — there is always at least one DVD on the coffee table (current resident is The Handmaid’s Tale).

  117. we have been without cable for about 2 years now. We just cancelled it when we remodeled our house. We have Prime and Netflix. The most important is that we have a Sling subscription for all those games DH watches.

    Sling used to be better, but they don’t have CBS and ABC anymore. I subscribed to CBS separately through ROKU as we watch a lot of CBS shows, We typically don’t watch many ABC shows so we haven’t missed it. One thing I like about Sling is that I can easily add or drop certain packages that have shows that I need to watch. For example, we like to watch Berlin Station on Cinemax and will sign up for it for a month and binge watch all the episodes.

    I want to watch some shows that are only on HULU, I might consider getting a subscription during holidays and binge watching. Same for HBO.

  118. RMS – I never thought of the library. Sadly, I don’t think our DVD player has worked in eons.

  119. How do you subscribe to something through Roku? I have never been able to figure it out. When we got the Roku, we were already signed up with Amazon and Netflix, so it was just a matter of logging in. Same for YouTube. But I never understood the model of subscribing to something THROUGH Roku

  120. MM, if you have a Roku or something similar attached to your non-cable-connected screens, there should be a channel (an app, really) for your cable provider that you can add, sign into with your cable login, and then watch live tv or on-demand shows from. There are also separate apps for a number of cable channels, so if you watch a lot of say National Geographic Wild you can add the National Geographic Wild channel to your Roku, sign in with your cable login, and watch shows from that channel. Basically, if you want something more like the channel-flipping experience use the cable provider app, if you have a few favorite channels you want to watch content from use their specific apps. Or mix and match. Quality of the apps varies.

  121. honolulu, the Roku is on the TV in the living room. There is an app from the cable provider (Optimum) that I can load onto my computer in the kitchen, and I have. It lets me stream live content and also some TV shows from sites like FoodNetwork. It is utterly bug-ridden, freezes all the time, often has the content mislabelled, and worst of all, makes me endure really long and really loud ads which actually get longer the more you use the app. After being subjected to a 15 minute advertisement, I gave up on it.

  122. I just picked up the Roku enabled TV from Costco. I’ll report back next week after I get it up and running.

  123. @Meme – Please do report back. We were thinking about changing out our 2nd TV to a smart TV.

  124. “We were thinking about changing out our 2nd TV to a smart TV.”

    How are you using that 2nd TV now?

    If it’s a dumb TV that’s working fine as a dumb TV, I suggest you consider getting something like a Firestick to use with it. It might give you enough of the smart capability to obviate the need to get a smart TV, or delay it for a few years.

  125. We have two TVs. The bigger one is connected to the Roku, where we have Sling, Amazon Prime (where we also pay for HBO), Hulu, Netflix, and PBS (where we get “special access” for being a $5/mo supporter). Some of those bills we split with my parents, because they don’t care that you are on two devices. The smaller TV is connected to the old-timey cable box, which gets us broadcast channels. We could also get those with an antenna, but our internet package with those channels costs less than internet alone. Yes, we have 4 remotes, but it works for us. (We have two TVs set up so we can watch two football games at once, but we tend to just leave that setup all the time.)

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