Cutting the Cord

As of last Sunday, we are officially cord cutters! We are no longer paying for DirecTV. I wanted to write this post today to document how we're feeling after the first week without access to 1000 channels so I could compare a year from now. I also wanted to document the amount we're spending in place of DirecTV. Plus, a few other tidbits that along the way.

The New Style

Without DirecTV, we still have access to an abundance of entertainment. The TV in our living room has an Apple TV hooked up to it where we have access to Netflix, Hulu and Plex. I've also got an Amazon Video account, although we haven't used it just yet.

I've been a Netflix user for so long, I can't remember not having it. Access to amazing shows like Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black, oh and they also have some movies, wink, makes it an absolute no brainer.

We're new to Hulu, but so far we're really enjoying it. Chris and I have been watching Broolyn nine-nine, plus we've caught up a few network shows the day after they air. We opted for the no-commercials subscription, and it's been fantastic!

Plex is something that I absolutely love. First it allows us access to all our DVDs, which I burned on to a network drive, from home or even on the road. Plus, we use the Plex Pass subscription and have a couple friends who we share libraries with. While we don't use it all that often, it's great to have and costs next to nothing.

Amazon Video. -sigh- We have it because it is part of Amazon Prime. But, since there isn't an AppleTV app for it, it makes it difficult for us to use it. OK, not “difficult”, but it's not the now normal user flow we're used to. So, yeah, we have it. No, we haven't used it very much.

Calculating the Spend

When talking our costs for TV watching, I was trying to figure out if I should include the cost for internet access. Because, obviously, without internet, a Netflix account is pretty useless. But, I work from home. If we shut off our Netflix account tomorrow, we would still pay the exact same amount for internet. So, I'm not going to include it.

The same goes for Amazon Video. That is an add-on feature for being an Amazon Prime user, which I have been for the past 7 years. Amazon Video has exactly ZERO effect on weather or not I have a Prime account. So again, I'm not including that either.

Spending Before

Prior to making the decision to cut the cord, our expenses for TV, in round numbers, looked something like this:

  • $147 – DirectTV
  • $8 – Netflix
  • $3 – Plex

For a total of ~$158/month.

Spending After

We signed up for Hulu when we left DirecTV, so our new costs look like:

  • $11 – Netflix (they raised our rate this month after 2 years at the discounted rate)
  • $3 – Plex
  • $12 – Hulu

For a total of ~$26/month.

That's a savings of $132/month. Booya!

Some Up Front Costs

Our out of pocket expenses have really been pretty minimal. And, based on our monthly savings, they'll have paid for themselves in less than a month.

I bought an HDTV Antenna in order to watch our local TV stations. When I hooked it up to the TV in the living room, it didn't work. I then hooked it up to the TV in our bedroom and it works great! Like, better than I expected, great.

I believe the antenna didn't work on the other TV because it needs a converter box. I've purchased this one, but it doesn't arrive until Wednesday. I'm hoping this does the trick, because it also includes the ability to record shows. This would be super handy for one reason specifically; Jeopardy! Our family watches Jeopardy! every night during dinner. If we miss a night, we'll watch the previous night's episode and the current episode the following night during dinner. Shoutting out responses with the family is one of my favorite things.

Other Goodies

When I first posted on Facebook that we were getting ready to cut the cord, so many people came out of the woodwork to offer up suggestions. I wanted to share a couple that I've found handy.

  • The Ultimate Cord Cutter's Guide
    This article has a lot of info I already knew, but it covers a lot more than what I'm doing. If you've got specific shows/networks you're looking for, this article may be helpful to you, too.
  • AntennaWeb
    Thinking of getting an antenna? This site can help you figure out the best placement for it to give you the best results.
  • How to watch live tv on your Apple TV
    I didn't go this route because I didn't want the upfront costs. But, seems really interesting.
  • ReelGood App
    I'm loving this app. You tell it what movies you've seen and what you want to see and what streaming services you have, and it'll tell you which movies on your watchlist are available and on what service. No need to go searching around on each and every service.

Early Results

I wasn't sure how well it was going to go over with the entire family, but a quick straw poll last night and I'm happy to report that nobody is missing it! Huzzah!

We're still in the honeymoon phase at this point, so I'm curious to see how things go after a month or two. If there's any drastic fallout, I'll be sure to report back.

Too Little, Too Late

A note to DirecTV, if somebody at your company happens to read this…

When I called in to cancel, the service rep was trying everything he could to get me to stay. I expected that. He offered me an immediate $50/month discount with no change to my current programming. When I declined, he asked what he could do to keep me, but in the end I had already made up my mind. Although, I might have been swayed to stay had it not been for something he said after he first looked at my account. “OH! You are on one of our most expensive plans. We don't even offer that one any more.” To me this came off as him saying “You have been overpaying for the past 4 years.” It just didn't sit right with me, so in the end, I went ahead and cancelled.

So far, I'm not missing it.

2 Comments

  1. John McCormick on August 28, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    We stopped direct TV almost a year ago. I had an opportunity the other day to flip through channels on a friends TV. It was the same 150,000 channels with nothing on. I paid the guy from Mr. Antenna to place an antenna on the garage roof and adjust it for maximum effectiveness. Also bought a DVR box from Channel Master (@ Fry’s) The total bill has been paid for twice over in the money we saved thus far. Next step is to cut the internet access bill. You can install your own outdoor antenna with relative ease and a little planning. You will need a clear path to black mountain. You can find the exact location of the towers on Black mountain on the net and figure the azimuth from your little bit of heaven without much difficulty. The Channel Master box will help pull in extra channels and also bring in internet channels. It will not deliver Netflix.
    Google earth 36.00’30.69″N 115’00,21.82″W

    • John on August 28, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      That’s very cool. I’m really curious how the digital recorder that comes with the antenna we ordered is going to work out. We don’t need it for much, so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Fingers crossed!

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