Cutting the Cord
How is discontinuing cable or satellite service like being born? In both cases we get what we are given, but the similarity ends there. What we get through the umbilical cord is what we need, and what we get from the cable or satellite provider is what they want us to have, not necessarily what we want or need.
Remember the security of the womb? Probably not, but you can imagine that it was warm and cozy. Leaving was not something you chose. You were kicked out. As much as cable may not give us what we need it is comfortable. Turn to your favorite channel and there is your program (unless the owner of that channel and your company are having a dispute and your provider has dropped that channel from your line-up).
For those who like to record and watch later with the option of skipping over commercials there is the DVR. You can come home at the end of an exhausting day and watch your favorite soap opera. (I know that there are people who do that.)
Still, out of say 523 channels there are only five that you watch and you can’t just get those; you have to choose from among a number of packages to get the packages that have those five channels. All of that programming costs you a fortune.
In our case a niece told us about internet TV. She cancelled her cable, got an Amazon Fire TV stick, and subscribed to the cheapest Sling TV. The Amazon Fire stick was under $40.00 and her Sling package costs $20.00 a month. Additionally, she can cancel the service at any time, turn it on at any time and have no hook-up fee.
Our phone, internet and DISH are bundled. I put the bill under my CCTV and was startled to find that we paid more for DISH than we did for phone and internet service; $122.00/month for DISH. Ready to cut the cord, I asked L if she had any questions. “How will I record my programs?” L always asks troubling questions. I was ready to sell the house and move onto a boat to live at one point and she asked where she would plant her flower garden.
Recording is a big question it turns out. A downside to going to internet TV is that the process is streaming. You have to have another gadget to record.
At that point I binge watched about four hours of YouTube videos about how to cut the cord and get what you want. At the end I needed a drink, my head hurt, and everything that I had learned was a jumble.
After a couple of nights of sleep I started to sort it all out. I can save 82.00 a month by going to the Sling package that is just above basic, adding HBO, keeping NetFlix which we have now and enjoying Amazon movies with Amazon Prime which we already have, and cancelling the Roku provided through DISH.
The problem is that in order to record we will have to buy either TiVo OTA Roamio, or Tablo OTA DVR. (OTA means over the air. It’s wireless) Both let you record several programs at once, stream programs, and by buying a lifetime subscription have up to a terabyte of storage. The two companies work a little differently in the way that this happens. TiVo is device oriented. You buy one device for one T.V. and if you want to use it on a second T.V. you have to buy a TiVo mini to link. When you add a TiVo mini you reduce the number of programs that you can record at once by one. The subscription for storage is for the device. Streaming requires another subscription.
Tablo, by contrast, lets you record up to (I believe) four programs at once (as does the TiVo) and add multiple T.V.s phones and tablets for viewing without reducing the number of channels that you can record at once. The lifetime subscription is in your name, not the devices. If you are really clever and willing to run wires and antennas you can get by cheaper with the TiVo, but you get less and you need serious geek skills. For comparable service the Tablo may be a little cheaper. They are, at least, comparable. With either device you can subscribe by the month, but the lifetime subscription is the way to go.
How much are we talking about for another Amazon Fire TV stick for the T.V. in the living room and the Tablo lifetime subscription (or Tivo) machines and storage? It’s a little more than half a grand. But, in 7 months I would recover the cost of buying the Tablo through cutting the cord, and afterward I would be paying about $40.00 a month instead of $122.00. One thing that I can see happening is “service creep”. You may decide that you need Hulu or some other service, and then something else, and pretty soon you’ve lost your savings.
I’m letting all of this marinate. I may have overlooked something else.
I have to run it all by L again. She is the real T.V. watcher. She may have another flower garden question.
There is always a way