Saturday, May 1, 2021

Finally cutting the cord and saving pennies

As I mentioned before, I spent a year analyzing my TV usage, and calculating to see if I could stream what I watched instead of paying for cable, and doing so for a better price,

In late 2009, I concluded I couldn't. But it was close. So, I decided I'd wait a year and try again. So, for all of 2010, I kept cable and we watched TV, time-shifting/on-demand watching via TiVo most of the time. Then, toward the end of the year, I pulled out my trusty spreadsheet and updated it with all the shows I watched on cable, and figured out how much it would cost me to stream that same content.

Now, at the time, that would be by purchasing the shows from Amazon or from Apple's iTunes store. But, as I was watching on-demand anyway -- watching a recording from TiVo is no different than on-demand -- that wasn't a problem.

After crunching the numbers, calculating what we paid for Internet and Cable during the year, then figuring how much just Internet would have been, plus adding the cost of buying the shows -- except for those that were on Hulu -- I got my answer. I would have saved $63/month.

That surprised me. I figured it would be close again, maybe saving $5-10/month. But $63/month? I didn't see that coming. I decided I would start streaming. But how?

Well, if I wanted to watch via iTunes, I would need an Apple TV. And, at the time, if I wanted to watch via Amazon, I could use TiVo and wait for the downloads, or stream with a new device, such as a Roku. I decided on a Roku. And I decided I'd buy a Roku after Christmas and start streaming.

Oh, I did buy an Apple TV, too, but that was before Christmas. My wife wanted to listen to her music from iTunes on her computer, and asked for better speakers for her laptop. Instead, I got an Apple TV (second generation) so she could listen through the big sound system connected to the TV. She loved it. Good husband.

I got the Roku XD|S device and hooked it up next to the Apple TV. With Roku, I could get Hulu Plus, which was the paid service that was for streaming devices, but didn't carry all the shows. I also had a computer running Windows Media Edition to watch regular free Hulu, that carried all the other stuff.

Yeah, that meant that we had four different devices to watch TV: Roku, Apple TV, Windows Media PC, and TiVo (which was still connected to cable, but would connect to antenna for local channels). That was a lot, and not what I wanted, but for $63/month, I'll put up with a lot. 

After college football season ended, I dropped cable, connected TiVo to an antenna, and started living the streaming life.

Again, not ideal, but it would get better.

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