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Television The Almighty Buck Entertainment

Is TV Over the 'Net Really Cheaper Than Cable? 285

Posted by Soulskill
from the depends-on-your-morals dept.
jfruh writes "More and more people are joining the ranks of 'cord-cutters' — those who cancel their cable TV subscriptions and get their televisied entertainment either for free over the airwaves or over the Internet. But, assuming you're going to do things legally, is this really a cheaper option? It depends on what you watch. Brian Proffitt contemplated this move, and he walks you through the calculations he made to figure out the prices of cutting the cord. He weighed the costs of various a la carte and all-you-can-eat Internet streaming services, and took into account the fact that Internet service on its own is often pricier than it would be if bundled with cable TV."
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Is TV Over the 'Net Really Cheaper Than Cable?

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  • by wierd_w (1375923) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:34PM (#40796785)

    My ISP still gives me the "all you can eat" unlimited transfer per month. They are a DSL offering, bundled with landline telephone.

    I cut the cord years ago. I work secnd shift, and the only thing on cable that late is porn, informercials, and shit like ancient aliens.

    Streaming let's me pick what I want to watch, at the times I want to watch it. For me, the choice is clear.

  • I did the math... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Foundling (1856832) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:43PM (#40796869)
    ...and got a divide by zero error. I kept cable internet and dropped cable TV service for a year. I reconnected last night. 1000 channels including HD service. Searching for "Nova" returned no instances of the PBS show; if I want to watch my favorite show, I still need to buy it from iTunes and download it. Jury is still out on the other reason I dropped cable TV; I want to watch WWE Summer Slam in HD, live when it broadcasts (not three months later on DVD). It's not showing up in the listing yet; I'll try again two weeks prior to the event. Haven't tried to find a 2012 BBC Top Gear; had to 'torrent last winter's shows because they won't even sell those to us yanks. The funny thing is, Comcast never asked why I dropped TV service in the first place.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:45PM (#40796887) Journal

    ^^^ This is my story, exactly. It's not the same kind of entertainment, but it is good entertainment for ridiculously cheaper. And as a 4th year cord-cutter, I've become spoiled by the idea of watching ENTIRE shows that I've never seen before and didn't program in advance.

    It's rather surprising how annoying it is to watch a half show when you are used to entire episodes on demand...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:46PM (#40796895)

    You cant really assume that Cable and Internet are interchangable.

    For me, Internet can replace cable, while cable can never replace the internet.

    If I consider it mandatory to have internet, and I get more TV than cable for from Hulu & netflix, then its a no brainer to ditch cable.

    said and done, $55/month covers cable, internet, TV entertainment, and phone (Magicjack+).

  • Cheaper to own (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:48PM (#40796917)
    I already need high speed internet so that's not really an additional expense since it wasn't through a cable company, none in my area. I did the math and I figured I could get somewhere between 50 and 75 movies and 20 and 25 TV series seasons on DVD or download for what my cable was costing. This is far more than I actually watch. Throw in Netflix Streaming which sucks for selection as in not much current but a ton of old and obscure which I like and I really have no need for satellite or cable. The Dish/AMC fight was the end for me. I already buy Walking Dead on Blu-Ray and they cut AMC anyway so I see no need to have Dish. Direct is almost as bad. I may be a season behind but most of the stuff I watch I'll own and I tend to watch stuff multiple times. Most of the stuff on Netflix is HD where as cable is all highly compressed HD which looks like crap. Alot of it is blown up cropped as well. If they offer Ala Carte streaming I'll consider buying AMC and a few of the movie channels, things like HBO for Game of Thrones and Newsroom. At this stage I have zero interest in ever having cable again.
  • Not about price (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @06:51PM (#40796939)

    I'm sorry to say that it isn't about price. It's a philosophical issue to me - to subscribe to a 'push' service or a 'pull' service. I choose 'pull' where I have control on what garbage can or cannot enter my life.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:05PM (#40797065)

    If children are involved, you can stream as low as 300 kbit/s (like I do) and they won't care. That's about equal to VHS or youtube-360p in quality.

    I watch about 2 hours a day... 8 on weekends. So that's 16+2*5 == 26 per week or 111 for the month. 250GB/111 hours == 5 Mbit/s. Most streams don't come anywhere near that amount so I'd not worry about going over the limit. And just to be sure I'd watch everything in SD (which is what comcast cable serves anyway).

  • Re:My story.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by na1led (1030470) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:10PM (#40797107)
    Same here, I even subscribed to Amazon Prime because I saved money on shipping. With the simplicity of using a Roku, and the ability to watch your shows on your Laptop or iPod/Android, it's a wonder Cable Providers still have subscribers.
  • Re:My story.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adisakp (705706) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:11PM (#40797121) Journal
    I'm saving about $70 a month with netflix and basic internet over basic internet + expanded basic HD cable (without any premium channels).

    The drawback is that most of the stuff on netflix is a little older. However, it's so much easier to watch stuff on demand, I actually end up using it more.
  • by ZephyrQ (96951) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:13PM (#40797133)

    My daughter summed it up best in a tweet to her friends: (paraphrase)

    "wow, now the television doesn't tell me what I want to watch, I tell *it* what I want to watch". Unfortunately, she skewed my Netflix preferences so now I have a bunch of 'one-tree-hormoneville' shows suggested to me...

    AND my son has his pick of whatever anime he could ever desire.

    It takes a little time to adjust (you can't just plop in front of the tv and turn it on for 'whatever'), but everyone I show it to loves it. And I save US$60 a month!

    Other than the quality of my OTA channels going down (a problem I had for awhile with DTV as well), I haven't missed my sat/cable stuff.

    However, it DID take me over a week of arguing with the satellite company to get it disconnected. (go ahead...ask me about it...please...).

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:22PM (#40797191)

    Not communism. Ad-supported entertainment broadcast over AM, FM, and ATSC:

    - 40+ TV channels through my antenna (CM4228)
    - supplemented by free Hulu so I can watch Syfy

    And yes it's VASTLY cheaper than the ~$900/year that Comcast wants to charge to hookup two sets. (Another alternative is Dish TV which only costs $23/month for two sets... still much less than comsucks.) I've been watching lots of old movies, retro-shows like Dragnet, Cheers, and 24 hours news via RT. Also PBS World which airs lots of documentaries..... ya know, like History and Discovery used to do. ;-)

  • by SomeJoel (1061138) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:46PM (#40797399)

    If children are involved, you can stream as low as 300 kbit/s (like I do) and they won't care. That's about equal to VHS or youtube-360p in quality.

    I watch about 2 hours a day... 8 on weekends. So that's 16+2*5 == 26 per week or 111 for the month. 250GB/111 hours == 5 Mbit/s. Most streams don't come anywhere near that amount so I'd not worry about going over the limit. And just to be sure I'd watch everything in SD (which is what comcast cable serves anyway).

    All you'd do with your internet connection is watch TV?

  • by Ichijo (607641) on Friday July 27, 2012 @07:49PM (#40797419) Homepage Journal

    My CM4228 sits right next to the window, aimed towards the nearest major city 55 miles away. It was a piece of cake to setup & then run the cord under the rug to the TV.

    I have the smaller 2-bay version of that antenna [amazon.com], and I do basically the same thing as you. It's awesome. Now I get about 10 digital channels where I used to receive only one with my indoor Terk amplified antenna.

  • False choice (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Friday July 27, 2012 @08:47PM (#40797875) Journal

    > ...and took into account the fact that Internet service on its own is often pricier than it would be if bundled with cable TV."

    I have to have internet anyway. The fact that I can get internet microscopically cheaper if I buy a bunch of services I don't use, isn't really a choice if I don't use the services.

    And so, if I can get internet for $33 instead of $44 if I add $70 worth of TV services the great majority of which I do not watch, how the heck is this in any way a better deal?

    Working it the other way. I have internet and a conventional TV antenna. What I can't get through these two mediums, I don't need to watch. There, fixed it for you.

    To summarize: (1) Most of us are going to have internet anyway, so whether it can be bundled with cable is immaterial. (2) The great overwhelming majority of what I feel like watching is available either over the air (just like in the old days) or over the internet. (3) Whatever I can't watch via (2), I don't need to watch. (3a) It's JUST TV. It's not, like BREATHING. Talk to your kids; find out what drugs they're into this week, take the dog for a walk; find out what your neighborhood actually looks like, READ A BOOK.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:12PM (#40798039)

    ++ to that.

    I put a huge DB8 antenna inside the peak of the attic in my two story suburban home, using a piece of 2" PVC conduit as a mast. I used good quality rg6 cable (I chose belden 7915a tri shield, it terminates like normal dual shield cable) and compression fittings (snap n seal SNS6). You just need a coax stripper tool and a compression tool to install the fittings.

    My home has all of the cable connections home run to a single location with convenient access to A/C power there, so I ran the cable from the antenna there and then installed a morotola BSA-S1 distribution amplifier between the cable and the splitters that distribute the signal to my televisions. Some folks will install a preamp right at the antenna, especially if there is a long run between the antenna and the distribution amplifier, but I found that I did not need it.

    Check out antennaweb and tvfool to see what kind of OTA reception you can expect to get in you area.

  • by EdIII (1114411) on Friday July 27, 2012 @09:41PM (#40798279)

    What I admit is that there is no way on fucking Earth I would every pay for it ever again.

    Just one simple realization.

    I'm paying over $100 per month for a company to sell my ass like meat to the advertisers.

    If I am going to bend over and get fucked on a regular basis, I'm sure as hell not going to smile and hand over my money while they do it. All that "quality" programming infected with commercial advertisements everywhere is not anywhere near the definition of a reacharound.

    Add to this the further realization that these companies are suing with twisted logic like skipping commercials is theft & copyright infringement (both). So that the same time they want me to be a paying customer each month, they hate me and treat me like a dirty criminal and lobby for laws to progressively eliminate any semblance of choice and free will in my home.

    I wish I figured that out sooner instead of spending nearly 10 years paying exorbitant fees to these ass clowns.

    Cut the cord nearly 10 years ago now and I don't care how expensive they make the Internet. I'm only going to spend up to $100 per month on it, and it will include everything. Period. Otherwise, I will just go without.

    Hard drives are getting bigger all the time. I can download 1 or 2 shows and just arrange get togethers with friends on the weekends to sync up hard drives. Say hello to the sneakernets again.

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