Canceling your tv

KJ: What’s that you say? Cancel your television service? That’s unheard of!…at least in our family. Even with how busy we are with friends, family, and work, we always find time to wind down at the end of our day with some nice recordings, so we’ve never really thought that canceling our TV could be a viable, money saving option…until recently.

So, we’ve got a lot going on right now with work, planning an incredible trip, and planning our next move, that we’ve decided to cut out TV from our lives for about a month. It’s less about saving the $70+ per month – so hard to determine what the true cost is per month when you have it bundled with internet and get a discount for getting them both at the same time – than it is about being practical. With a lot of things we’ll need to take care of in the new home and a well-timed vacation thereafter, it just doesn’t make sense for us to fork out some unnecessary cash when we don’t need to. As such, starting in a couple weeks, we’ll be canceling our TV for a month!

AJ: For whatever reason I have always loved TV. In addition to the 20+ shows we record at any given point, we watch Wheel of Fortune together almost every night, and I end my evenings with HGTV, Food Network, or Snooki and JWOWW (don’t judge me!). The thought of going without TV even for one night takes me to a dark place, but practically speaking, I think I’ll survive. I realize this is neither food nor water, but there’s a certain level of comfort that comes from winding down a grueling work day with Pat Sajak that I’ll have to fill with my own thoughts.

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The alternatives
More and more these days, I’ve run into people who have taken the plunge and canceled their tv service. Here are a few ways they’ve managed to make it work:
Netflix – in the market for a movie and want to stream it instantly to your phone, iPad, Xbox, PS3, or Nintendo Wii? There’s really not much of an easier way to do this. We used to have a subscription, but we found when they were increasing the cost on the service we were already hardly taking enough advantage of, we decided to cut ties. We’ve missed it here and there, but we certainly haven’t been any worse off without it. Now might be time for us to pick this old habit back up. At only $7.99 per month for their instant streaming service, it’s a much cheaper alternative than renting movies regularly or getting Pay-Per-View on TV. Plus, they have TONS of tv series available online too…sounds like it’s time for another “Friends” marathon!
Hulu – Hulu is another online media streaming service that focuses mostly on television shows. They have quite a wide variety of shows and options…you just have to learn the nuances of how to find the shows you want to watch. For $7.99 per month, you can watch unlimited shows. Depending on their agreement with the networks, you may have access to a limited number of episodes each season, and you may have a delay after it airs before you can watch it. The latter is less of an issue for us since we almost never watch live tv and are always just watching what we had recorded. Still, at $16 per month for both Netflix and Hulu, it’s a way cheaper option than cable!
Roku – The Roku box is a system that basically aggregates a mix of free resources (a lot out there) and paid subscription services all in one location. It allows you to access your Hulu account, Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon Instant Video accounts, but it also has access to over 700+ other channels of content ranging from sports to movies. I haven’t personally used one before, so please share your experiences if you’ve had the chance to use one!
Apple TV – Apple TV is a similar setup as the Roku box, but you can also access iTunes movies and television shows. We’ve thought about this with its ability to sync to our portable devices, but I’ve tended to steer away from movies and TV on iTunes since the costs are usually much higher than I would want to pay. The main downside is for those of us that want to avoid a per show cost and instead watch mindless television marathons on Food Network, The Cooking Channel, HGTV, the History Channel, USA…

    Do you have the willpower to cancel your television?
    How about trying it out for a month..how bad could it be?
    Tell us about your experiences with Netflix, Hulu, Roku, or Apple TV

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4 thoughts on “Canceling your tv

  1. I have the Roku box and I love it! I was telling my friends I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pay for cable again. I’ll say the only time I miss having cable is to watch college football games.

    • Thanks for sharing, Cornelia! We have heard a similar response from a lot of people we have talked to about the Roku box. It’s great for watching general TV, but it can be a challenge to get those college football games. With our cable that we have currently, we find that even with that we don’t always get the games we want to watch anyways.

  2. We were all about cancelling cable, but still need a good internet connection. Having trouble finding a good internet service provider in our area (Grapevine). It seems that our current ISP (Verizon) has caught onto this game and raises our current monthly ISP charge from $30 to $90, if we cancel cable. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Yikes! That’s a big price increase. The only suggestion I have is to check Comcast, Charter, TimeWarner Cable, AT&T, and do some comparison shopping to see what’s available in your area and if you can negotiate on the price to keep it low. You should be able to keep it in the $30-50 range even as a stand-alone service (depending on how fast of a connection you are looking for). Also, it wouldn’t hurt to contact Verizon to talk to them about moving providers and they may back down on their price spike for their internet service.

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