December 17, 2012

Cutting the Cable

I've been a subscriber of AT&T's Uverse service for the last 3 years. Back when I signed up, it was an upgrade from Dish Network. It seemed like a good deal at first. We didn't have anything better to do, and we watched a lot of television.

Over the last year we have been watching less and less tv. I turned on the dvr the other day and we had a ton of stuff built up that we had to catch up on. It was starting to feel more like a to-do list than a form of entertainment.

When I looked at our Uverse bill it made me sick. We were paying a lot and not using much of anything the services provided. I decided to cancel. The process was simple. I had our service turned off in a matter of minutes. Instantaneously our dvr was inoperable. All the shows we had built up on there were unwatchable. It was a clean break; a great way to end it.

We have Netflix streaming service which we use a ton for our daughter to watch cartoons. We watch movies on there sometimes too. We still wanted to be able to watch network tv shows. My wife enjoys Glee and Grey's Anatomy, and we both like Modern Family and a couple others. I dug out our over the air antenna and hooked it up. We have a great signal for all the local channels in HD.

The day I cancelled Uverse I also ordered an Apple TV. We had used a PS3 to stream Netflix, but if we were going to use it a lot more I wanted something else. The PS3 is fine for occasionally watching, but it is clunky. The Apple TV is fast and well… still sort of clunky to use the interface.

We also decided to sign up for Hulu+ and try it out for a little while. Our dvr had half a season of the shows we like to watch and we wanted access to those shows so we could catch up. Hulu+ offers a week free trial which expires for us tomorrow. We will try it out for a couple months and see how much we use it. In the first week we used it a ton.

So far I really like the new setup. I haven't missed cable at all. So often we just turned on Food Network, ESPN, or one of the thousand other channels to provide moving pictures in the background while we played with our daughter. I didn't want to pay as much as we were for that.

We are keeping our AT&T internet service. I am curious to see how much we will use now that all our entertainment has to come over the internet. There are caps on monthly usage. I wonder how close we will get. I doubt it will be a problem.

A couple days after I had initially cancelled, I called AT&T to get some clarification on sending back my hardware. They immediately offered me half off for 6 months if I signed back up for the services I had. I wish I would have done that 6 months ago. I was tempted for 1/10th of a second. A few more months would mean I'd have NFL Network to the end of football season. And I'd have ESPN for college basketball. However, I stood strong and declined their offer. I am glad I did.

When I first turned our OTA antenna I was amazed to see how great the HD looked. It is noticeably more “HD-ier” than the Uverse was. Better quality picture on a free service! Crazy huh?

So far most of our tv watching is between Netflix and Hulu. Between those two services there is plenty to keep us entertained for a long time. We watch the news and some sporting events on the antenna. There are a few tv series that I am planning to either buy on iTunes, or just go get the Blu-rays. It just depends on what is cheaper. Once I watch them I will have no use for keeping them, so with the Blu-rays I could at least sell them when I am done.

I'm so glad we cut the cable. I wish I would have done it a few months ago. There is this feeling I was going to “miss out” on stuff, and it kept me from pulling the trigger on canceling. The truth is I'm going to miss out on stuff whether I have cable or not, and I'd rather keep my money. I'm sure something is going to come along that I want to watch and I won't be able to.1 I'll just have to deal with that when it gets here.

There are some rumors floating around that Apple might open up the Apple TV to apps. This might allow for some ala carte type programming options. I'm definitely excited to see what they announce there.

If you are thinking about doing it… just do it. Snip. Snip. Cut the cable.

  1. I'm going to go crazy when Breaking Bad comes back on in the summer.  ↩

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