Cable TV alternatives – one year update.

It’s been over a year now since we canceled our cable TV service.   We’ve saved a lot of money and now watch all our favorite shows using a combination of free HD broadcast TV and the Internet.   We’ve been very happy with our decision and have been taking advantage of some pretty cool new services.

Here’s a quick summary of our current setup…

Our main living room TV is hooked up to a digital converter. This lets us watch all network broadcast shows (and FOX/PBS/weather) in perfect HD quality for free.   We also have a Roku device hooked up.   The Roku lets us watch approximately 20,000 free shows and movies on demand.  We tend to watch most first run movies using our Netflix subscription or if we are really impatient, the Roku device lets us instantly rent movies from Amazon’s video on demand service for $1.99 – $3.99 a movie.

Our total cost for everything was a one time $99 purchase for the Roku and $17/month charge for Netflix (which allows us to have 3 DVDs out at a time in additional to unlimited instant viewing).

We have a second HD LCD TV which we use to watch Hulu.com, Netflix Instant and Amazon videos.   In addition, we use a laptop and a $300 Netbook to watch videos in other rooms of the house.  Once in a while, we will use iTunes to buy kids shows or watch a HBO or Showtime show that isn’t on Netflix yet.

We do watch less TV then we used to, but more importantly the quality has improved.   Since we need to be more proactive and select shows from Netflix or HULU, we read a lot more reviews and tend to sit down and watch complete movies rather than just swiching around hundreds of channels.   The same goes for kids shows.  We add about 10-15 shows we select to the queue and then let our kids watch whichever ones they want.  Another nice benefit is that shows watched on the ROKU do not come with any commercials.

Site updates…

We are planning for many site updates over the coming few weeks and months.    Starting with our Showfinder guide and also many reviews of some of the new services that are coming out.   If you have any comments or suggestions for our site, please let us know.  Thanks!

11 thoughts on “Cable TV alternatives – one year update.

  1. We are doing the same thing in our household. We bought a used Mac mini for $250 so we can stream shows through Hulu, Netflix, and on TV network channels. It also allows our son to have internet and computer access in a public room of our house so we can see what he’s doing. He loves streaming cartoons on CartoonNetwork.com, Disney.com, and Nick.com. They play so many reruns on cable anyway, that it doesn’t really matter. He likes being able to choose what he wants to watch, when he wants to watch it. We’re planning on taking some of the money from not having satellite and investing in a super fast internet connection.

  2. Looking to cancel my cable subscription. I currently have an HD Tivo with a Cablecard from the cable company. If I cancel the cable subscription, how would I get the HD channels tuned to the TV without the cablecard? Anybody know? My tv has an HD Tuner, already, I believe.

    Thanks.

  3. I am making the switch this week. I agree that Netflix has given me the chance to reduce my telephone / cable / internet costs by 60% saving me almost $800 per year.

    Just this savings alone in two years would pay for a 55″ LCD TV – Yeah!!

  4. First, thank you for taking the time to put this up online. I know it was no small feat. I just want to say that the trend of using the Internet as a primary source of home entertainment caught media executives unprepared and that is a good thing for consumers, but bad for ABC, FOX and their numerous cousins. Your site is important because until now, they were always a step ahead with their forced commercials specifically enhanced to bring up your consumer appetite. I grew up in Kenya at a time when “telly” watching started at 4pm and ended at midnight! Yap. I had a life then. I am glad I grew up in an environment that forced me to go out and discover tadpoles by catching them. Now, I live in Texas and my wife and I are constantly amazed by the beautiful neighbourhoods. Problem is, there are no children playing. You never hear laughter. As excited as I am about this digital age and all it has to offer, I fear that the “demon” that was 400 cable channels has morphed into unlimited online content and we need leadership on how to control this content online and introduce our children to the wild things around them. Sorry for going on a tangent. You folks are on the right track. Thank you.

  5. I’ve recently added live streams to my investment blog (from Bloomberg and C-SPAN). Occasionally there are technical glitches, but never anything terribly frustrating. The clarity is quite remarkable.

    Per your site, I must say most who advocate cable/satellite alternatives typically do not offer so much helpful information. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for the advice! I am cancelling my Cablevision Cable Services this week! the price is out of control and I need to save money.

  7. Finally switched over today. Got many more stations than even antennaweb listed I would get and all I am using is a $60 indoor amplified antenna.

    I also use Hulu and Netflix and an online search engine called Clicker which advises where on the web to find TV shows either on free sites like tvland or on pay sites.

    So I’ll give this a month or so tryout then call Comcast and tell them to shove it.

    Thanks for your great site. It’s what got me to actually do what I had been wanting to do for so long.

    Norm

    PS
    I suppose that the only drawback is that now the girlfriend expects me to spend all the money I’m saving on her. Oh well easy come easy go.

  8. I have Roku and have been thinking about canceling cable ever since. I like the cable FOX news channel and it’s all that keeps me hanging on to the cable service. I believe that the FOX that you mentioned on your site is the broadcast version such as KTVU in SF bay area, Ca..
    If you have any ideas of how to economically receive the cable FOX news channel, I would love to hear about it.
    I enjoyed your website. Thanks.

  9. I just cancelled cable because the four G network on my T-mobile phone provides wireless hotspot here in the house. All of my favorite shows can be sent through the phone to the TV. This is cutting edge for the Android phone to do this, the Apple I-pone doesn’t. ha ha, ha, ha, ha ha…:^) big smiles at my house.

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