Trying to Cut the Cable TV Cord

I have too many cable TV channels. I never thought I would say that, but with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, we don’t watch as much cable TV.

Easy solution. Call Time Warner Cable / Spectrum (TWCS) and downgrade some channels. Cutting out all of the premium channels and converting to basic cable should save me at least $100/month, right?

Wrong.

The TWCS rep seemed very excited to tell me that I would save almost $300/year if I downgraded my service to basic cable and ditched the whole house DVR service. When she quoted me the actual rate, it wasn’t much more than $20/month savings. Apparently, the great deals you get when you sign up aren’t available when you downgrade.

I laughed and asked her if she could hear the words she was saying. Paying almost the same rate for basic service as I do for the premium service doesn’t work for me.

My TWCS TV service has been problematic since day one, anyway. I lost count of the number of techs (including the line techs in the big trucks) who came out to work on my service, only to tell me that the signal comes in too strong when it gets cold and overwhelms the boxes. The techs are very nice guys who really tried to fix my problem, but I don’t want to call them out for multiple visits every winter to adjust my signal. Not fun for any of us.

Since I already have Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, I went searching for a live TV option.

My first idea was to try an antenna. I went to Best Buy and bought a Mohu Leaf indoor HDTV antenna that is supposed to be good for 30 miles. If positioned perfectly, it worked OK, but I couldn’t manage to get CBS or Fox. I think I need an amplified version and/or an outdoor/attic mounted antenna instead.

My second idea was to try a live TV streaming service like SlingTV (currently $20 – $40 per month + addon services) or PlayStation Vue (currently $39.99 – $74.99 per month). Both look promising, but neither had the channel lineup I want. While checking out those services, I learned about a new service by DirecTV called DirecTV Now (currently $35 – $70 per month).

Out of the three services, Vue and DTV Now look like the best fit for me. Vue seems to have better technology (you can record shows and stream on five devices) but DTV Now (no recording and streams to two devices) has more of the channels I actually want. DTV Now also has a great pricing promotion available until 1/9/17 – $35/mo for about 100 channels.

DirecTV Now Plans

I decided to sign up for DirecTV Now. I even added HBO for $5/month, so after the 7-day trial period, my rate will be $40/month for 100+ channels and HBO. If I subscribe separately to CBS All Access (CBS is not currently offered on DTV Now), then I’m up to about $47/month vs. the top package for PlayStation Vue.

DTV Now offered an option to prepay for three months and receive an Apple TV device, but I skipped that option since I already have a Roku. Unfortunately, I found out that DTV Now is not available on the Roku yet. It’s not available for my Samsung Smart TV yet either.

Roku service is supposed to be added in Q1 2017, but I haven’t read about an exact date.

I did find a tweet stating that the Roku app will be ready in a few weeks, but that didn’t come directly from Roku.

My next step is to stream DTV Now through a laptop connected to the TV until the Roku app is available.

** Update 05/05/17: I bought an Amazon Fire TV stick and like it better than my Roku player. DTV works great on the Fire stick.

**

Even with the increased internet cost when I cancel my TWCS cable TV and telephone services, I think I’ll still save close to $100/month by ditching those services for internet only + DTV Now + CBS All Access. I’m not including the cost of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon in this equation because I already pay for those.

I also might investigate the option of installing an antenna in my attic. I need to determine if my existing cable wiring can support cable internet and an over the air antenna. This could be a great backup for when the internet and/or streaming services experience problems.

Just thought I’d share my experience so far for anyone who might be considering cutting the cord. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know.

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