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Thread: Cable TV alternatives

  1. #1
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    Cable TV alternatives

    They just raised my bill by 25%, so I am thinking of dumping it.
    My wife requires TLC, so I have to get either $60 DirectTVNow or $20 Philo and either $35 HuluTV or YouTubeTV. Add in $35 DSL and it is about half what I am paying after the price increase.
    I'd be giving up phone service, but only have it now because the triple package is cheaper than just TV and internet.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    I guess the cable company figures that if they can raise prices faster than they chase customers away, they can increase their profits.

  2. #2
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    Wade, I urge caution with streaming via DSL unless you're really close to the CO and have the maximum available speed attainable at your address. You usually can by Internet only from your cable provider which will provide substantially better performance than DSL in almost every market.

    I also caution you about YouTubeTV...it's primarily focused at mobile devices and has extremely limited support for actual TVs via a very short list of interface devices. Streaming requires either a SmartTV with the appropriate apps to support the streaming services you want to use or an external box, such as Roku, AppleTV or a DVD BlueRay player that has streaming app capabilities.

    One other option to consider is drop your cable TV to just "Local Only" for OTA stations and use one of the streaming services for the TLC. That's what I did a few months ago and it cut our $212 monthly bill from Verizon FiOS to nearly half since no set top box rentals are required for Local TV (reduces a lot of cost) and they can no longer charge some of the over-the-top fees that come with the "cable" bundles, such as the regional sports fee and the broadcast programing fee.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Wade, I urge caution with streaming via DSL unless you're really close to the CO and have the maximum available speed attainable at your address. You usually can by Internet only from your cable provider which will provide substantially better performance than DSL in almost every market.

    I also caution you about YouTubeTV...it's primarily focused at mobile devices and has extremely limited support for actual TVs via a very short list of interface devices. Streaming requires either a SmartTV with the appropriate apps to support the streaming services you want to use or an external box, such as Roku, AppleTV or a DVD BlueRay player that has streaming app capabilities.

    One other option to consider is drop your cable TV to just "Local Only" for OTA stations and use one of the streaming services for the TLC. That's what I did a few months ago and it cut our $212 monthly bill from Verizon FiOS to nearly half since no set top box rentals are required for Local TV (reduces a lot of cost) and they can no longer charge some of the over-the-top fees that come with the "cable" bundles, such as the regional sports fee and the broadcast programing fee.
    I am 30 miles from the TV transmitters, with plenty of hills in the way. My reception would be pretty marginal even with a roof top antenna.

    The phone company claims they can offer 25Mbps for $35; which is the same as what I am getting now from cable. Stuff I watch using Amazon Firestick seems fine.
    The cable company says they offer 100Mbps for $40, but if I drop them for everything else, I am not sure how well that will work out.

  4. #4
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    Call the cable company and ask to be disconnected. They'll make a deal with you to keep your business.
    My wife does it all the time.
    Never, under any circumstances, combine a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night

  5. #5
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    25 mbps on DSL is pretty unusual and almost always requires very short distance between the DSLAM and the customer home...they may be able to sell you that speed, but whether or not you be able to actually achieve it where you live is the real question. Wire size in the infrastructure also affects DSL performance. All speeds are "up to" type specifications with the carriers. There's no guarantee you'll get that 25 mpbs or even close to it in some cases.

    My reference to "Local Only" was not referring to actually using an OTA (Over The Air) antenna. All cable providers (or similar) are required to provide access to "basic" TV without a set top box to customer who want that. It's the equivalent of OTA...so whatever the local market is for you in your area of NY state is what would come in. On my FiOS account, that's only costing about $13 a month of my $124 a month including taxes. I still have a "triple play" and get discounts because of it, but it's half what I was paying for a more cable-like bundle that required set top boxes and their added costs. It's worth asking about as one option. And Myk is correct...part of the conversation with your current provider should revolve around your intention to leave them for lower costs. Sometimes the "retention" folks will come up with a very attractive deal. (but not always, so be prepared to follow through with the threat. And do ask about unbundled Internet only service...it's likely going to be more satisfying than DSL, especially for streaming.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    And Myk is correct...part of the conversation with your current provider should revolve around your intention to leave them for lower costs. Sometimes the "retention" folks will come up with a very attractive deal. (but not always, so be prepared to follow through with the threat. And do ask about unbundled Internet only service...it's likely going to be more satisfying than DSL, especially for streaming.
    A few years ago I threatened to quit when they raised me from 90 to 150. They went to 120. Then up to 140 and now up to 175.
    However my neighbor threatened to quit last month and they told him not to slam the door on his way out. And he quit.
    I am just looking at my options.
    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    It's a big leap, but I dumped it all 10 years ago and never looked back. I'm lucky that my wife is on the same page and is a voracious reader. We used to pay Dish $75 a month for 10gb of satellite internet. I changed my "grandfathered-in" unlimited data plan that doesn't allow tethering to an unliimited data plan that does allow tethering. I write this from a tether-to-computer connection.

    ATT sends me a text when I've used 16gb, stating that if I exceed 22gb, they may reduce my speeds in high congestion areas. I have to laugh at that, because my county is 29k people. I've been to ball games that have more people in the stadium than reside in my entire county.

    Down side to streaming TV on the phone - you have to connect the phone to the TV or I bet there may be a Bluetooth attachment out there? If you have a SmartTV you can connect it to your phone's hotspot depending on your phone's plan.

    Good luck!

    Drop the TV and it's costs, buy more tools.
    -Lud

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Justin Ludwig View Post
    Down side to streaming TV on the phone - you have to connect the phone to the TV or I bet there may be a Bluetooth attachment out there? If you have a SmartTV you can connect it to your phone's hotspot depending on your phone's plan..
    There are various products that connect phones/tablets to TVs and some of the more current SmartTVs have a native app available to do so. Correspondingly, you can also connect SmartTVs to your tethering WiFi and stream directly to the TV. The phone is only acting as a "hot spot" for the TV in that case. While most of the devices in our home are wired connections for best performance, my younger daughter's SmartTV in her room currently utilizes WiFi for streaming because it's in an area that's difficult to get a wire to and I haven't tackled that task yet.
    ----

    Wade, it's becoming increasingly common to get the "don't let the door hit you on the way out" response when threatening to cancel. I was only suggesting that if you do make that statement, be prepared to execute on it or it's meaningless. And a few months down the road, you'll likely get offers to come back...nature of the beast.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  9. #9
    Funny thing, right after I got home yesterday, someone from Spectrum comes to the door wanting me to switch. Well they've already lost my business forever, the last time I tried them out, the installer just no-showed, never called, never did anything. So I called to just cancel the whole thing but eventually relented and let them send someone else same day since I had taken the day off work just for them. The guy showed up, installed, and it turned out that they were not able to provide the speeds they had promised, not even close. And they were even more expensive than the service I was trying to replace which was giving me better service. They totally misrepresented what they could do so I sent them packing. And this guy, unfortunately, didn't seem all that surprised by any of it.

    How you can work for a company that you know lies to their customers, I will never know.

  10. #10
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    None of them seem to want to deal. They are all more setup to churn accounts. Bonuses for creating "new" accounts it seems. You have to bounce between satellite, cable, and FIOS if you can get it. Every year or two when out of contract, switch.

    As to cord cutting, unless you really want to downsize selection/access, trying to piecemeal various services rarely works out I think. You end up not saving much and lose a lot of channels in the process. If you are not a TV watcher, then go for it.

    Me, I like cable TV, all premium channels, Netflix, Hulu, and don't forget Amazon Fire TV if you have a Prime account. I get all that at 300MB speeds for around $180 a month, including phone/internet. Worth it to me.

  11. #11
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    I cut mine. I don't miss a thing. I just have ota tv and it's just fine. I'm 50 miles from the nearest station but get 20 channels. Along with all that comes with the internet we do just fine.

    once you get your so on board all goes well.

  12. #12
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    Turns out the phone company doesn't even offer DSL here. They told me on chat they did, but they don't. So my only option is satellite, which I really don't want.

    That changes my conversation with the cable company from "I'll quit if you don't lower my price" to "how much is just internet".

  13. #13
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    Internet only from your cableco and then a streaming service that has the content you want will hopefully save you a bit over time. TLS seems to be available via DirectTVNow, ATT's streaming service.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
    I have an antenna, and it is 70 miles from the nearest transmitter. Since the change to digital, we get many more channels. The wife scanned recently and got 47 channels. They do NOT always work, but most do, just occasionally the wind seems to blow some channels away. Evenings are better than daytime.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Andrew View Post
    I have an antenna, and it is 70 miles from the nearest transmitter. Since the change to digital, we get many more channels. The wife scanned recently and got 47 channels. They do NOT always work, but most do, just occasionally the wind seems to blow some channels away. Evenings are better than daytime.
    What kind of antenna? No one for a mile in either direction from me has one, so I assumed it wasn't possible.

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