How do you end the high cost of cable? We truly have become a people and society of consumption and instant gratification. Don't believe it, how else would you explain over $100 a month for 100+ channels that you will never watch, HD and DVR, and On-Demand? The price we pay to be entertained, for the instant gratification that feeds possibly the lowest common denominator of what makes us human. Ah well, with a few simple and not so costly tips you will still have your entertainment and enjoy the luxury of costly entertainment on demand for a fraction of the cost. What do they say? Slash your cable bill? Hell, save yourself the cash, and the headache of timely poor customer service.
Needless to say with the rising cost of living let's face it, there are some things that some of us cannot live without... or refuse to live without. After spending hundreds of dollars on media and entertainment, I have found myself getting more and more annoyed with the rising costs of services such as Comcast/ Xfinity, DirectTV, and the Dish, not to mention the questionable marketing and customer management tactics and outright dysfunctional customer service. Yes, I have had the pleasure of dealing with all of them and let me tell you, you wonder where they get most of these customer reps from.
Making a simple change from a triple play bundle down to the basic cable and internet package was a pain in the ass. Not only did they add two additional modems (that I did not need), they also charged me for what they are now calling an 'Internet Blast' package, of which had nothing to do with the bundle I had selected. My first bill was a major headache, after going over it with a fine tooth comb Comcast/Xfinity charged me for 2 modems, an internet blast package ($10 more expensive), 3 digital adapters, and for an HD service that I never requested. Yep, it was ridiculous... Took two days, four customer service reps, and three threats to cancel the service. Thank goodness they did not know that AT&T U-verse has yet to enter my area. Finally, on the night of the second day of Comcast/Xfinity hell, and after having two reps hangup on me after requesting that they change my account back to the basic cable/ internet package. I called back, requested a manager, and discovered that they added me into a double play, which was $30+ more than what I wanted. The manager and threats made a big difference. So I made a decision that limit the amount of money I would pay to these dysfunctional companies.
How to Save Money by Avoiding High Cable Costs
This is the deal, if you have children or babysit, then you understand that a DVR is a lifesaver. So what do you do when your cable bill goes from $99 to $165? You cut services or switch, and chances are the first thing to go will be the HD service and DVR package, leaving you short of all of your favorite channels and if you don't have another choice in your area then you are at the mercy of a major cable company.
- Try to bundle your cable and internet, and chances are you can go down to the very basic cable package and if you are only using the internet to search the web, and download music then you should be good without the Comcast internet blast.
- Buy your own internet modem, stop paying renting fees. You can buy a good modem at Amazon for less than $70 which breaks down to $5.84 a month. If you are with Comcast/Xfinity you're probably paying $7.99-8.99 a month that's between $96 a year not to mention that in order to get the bundled advertised rate for the first year (12-months) you have to sign a two-year contract.
- Choose between one of these services: Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime
Sit back and watch the savings build.
Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Fire
After cutting your cable bill down to the very basic, look into purchasing one of these streaming media devices, personally, I use two of the following and highly recommend these devices for number of reasons and of them all, the fact that my 4-year old niece can operate these devices makes them extremely user-friendly and a lot less complicated then the cable remote.
In my honest opinion...
Apple TV - (Buy the Apple TV 3 w/ FREE BONUS SUPPORT OFFER)
Roku - (Roku 3 Streaming Media Player)
Varies in price between $50 - $100, possibly a better more affordable option to Apple TV.
Amazon Fire TV - (Amazon Fire TV)
$99 Just launched this April 2014
Chromecast - (Buy the Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player)
$35 Possibly the cheapest option, and good for the price
Netflix Streaming Media
Possibly the best option offering a wider selection of entertainment choices of movies, past television seasons, and DVD choices.
Cost: $7.99, currently scheduled to go up to $8.99 for Streaming Media (for the sake of this article there is also a DVD or Blu-Ray plan that offers a free trial)
Free Trial: 30-day free trial membership (Click here to learn more)
Compatibility: Compatible with Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Chromecast
Netflix is a good service for the price and the selection of movies and shows it's a good deal, especially when you are able to watch what you want on demand without commercial interruption. Not to mention the ability to create kid-friendly accounts and apply a DVD by mail plan to your account. Adding the DVD plan can get a bit expensive, but it's all about your preference. I would say take advantage of the 30-day free trial membership in order to see if this service is right for you.
Hulu Plus Streaming Media
The best option offering a decent selection of entertainment choices of current US and international television series and seasons, and movies.
Cost: $7.99, currently the cheapest of the three regarding streaming media. There is also a free Hulu version, with limited selections.
Free Trial: 7-day free trial membership (Click here to learn more)
Commercials: Limited commercial interruption
Compatibility: Compatible with Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast
Hulu Plus is a good choice to replace local broadcast stations, networks such as ABC, Fox, PBS, Nickelodeon, NBC, Disney, MTV, USA, SyFy, Lifetime, Comedy Central, and much more. The best option out there to keep updated on your favorite network shows and most current seasons. There are movies included in the service, but the selection is not as popular as Netflix, however, if you enjoy documentaries then Hulu Plus will be more than a viable option. Hulu Plus does have a free version with extremely limited choices, and limited accessibility. You can access the free version on your computer, tablet, or smart phone but it's not compatible with streaming media devices.
A second best all-inclusive option offering a better than decent selection of entertainment choices as it has many of the same titles and selections as Hulu Plus and Netflix.
Cost: $99 for an annual membership, breaks down to $8.25 a month, currently the second cheapest of the three regarding streaming media.
Free Trial: 30-day free trial membership (Click here to learn more)
Compatibility: Compatible with Roku, and Amazon Fire TV
Amazon Prime seems like a reasonable and good choice. I will call the a good second to Netflix, primarily because I favorite the Apple TV which currently does not offer Amazon Prime, and from what I have found, through experience, the movie selection is a little more limited when compared to Netflix. Netflix has a wider selection of current and popular movies than Amazon Prime. However, Amazon Prime does offer additional services such as free two-day shipping, additional discounts on products, access to Amazon Prime Pantry, and Kindle Owner's lending library.
Not sure about a $99 annual Prime membership, try a
Ultimately, it boils down to your needs and what you are looking for. If you are looking for save money, this is the best option to escape the high costs of cable while maintaining some level of entertainment standard. Here is something else to consider, most streaming media devices offer HBO Go for you Game of Thrones, Veep, Silicon Valley, and True Blood fans. The only device that I'm aware of at the moment offering Showtime Anytime is Amazon Fire TV, so this is something to consider for you Ray Donovan, Shameless, Californication, and House of Lies fan. My personal setup is the basic Comcast with internet and Showtime ain't currently on the Apple TV that I prefer to utilize, so I stuck the guest bedroom with the Roku. However, I cannot complain about having a bill under $100 a month. Here is the kicker, Netflix is doing good and Hulu Plus... well, it's killing me. After you watch all of the shows and realize that the networks are killing all of the good shows, Hulu Plus tends to get passed up for channels like Crackle and B-flicks on Netflix. So choose wisely... You can survive off of one alone and the weather is changing, so why stay stuck infront of the tv?