Feb 8th, 2012
Remember this day. It is the day that the Dobson’s quit cable. We cut the cord! We broke the shackles! We tasted freedom from ‘THE CABLE COMPANY’ for the first time since before I got my first apartment in college.
We’ll probably be signing back up in a few months or when the girls and Julie get tired of not having it, but it’s fun and exciting for the moment and I loved being able to tell the Comcast lady (who was pretty rude) that I didn’t want or need her service and was cancelling. Felt SOOOOO good.
So here is the breakdown of where we started and what we ended up with.
- (Comcast/Xfinity) Preferred digital cable package + DVR + HD channels + 12 Mb/s internet + Unlimited local phone = $180 / month
- (AT&T) 2 cell phones with family call plan + data plans + unlimited text = $150 / month
- Total: $330 / month
Where we will be by the end of the week:
- (AT&T) 3 cell phones with family call plan + 2 data plans + unlimited text + 12 Mb/s = $178 / month
- Total: $178 / month + $400 initial investment (3 month payback, $1824 savings per year)
We ditched this totally. For content, we are going with a combination of HD OTA using the antenna I posted about last year, Amazon prime streaming, the library, and some other content that I am not at liberty to state how I get… We may have to sign up for Netflix or Hulu Plus if content becomes an issue.
For distribution to the end devices (TVs, PCs, iPad, iPhones), I made a few purchases today to make this transition easier.
- A NAS with a 2 GB HD for now so I don’t have to worry about the computer being on to stream all the video (Synology DS212j).
- An HD Homerun dual tuner streaming TV box made by SiliconDust. I connect the OTA antenna to this baby and it will stream the HD video to any device on my network, including my desktop PC which I will configure as a DVR and have it record shows to the NAS above which is then accessible from XBMC running on my Apple TV. Got it???? I know, it sounds complicated… but this will give us a very similar experience when watching TV to what we had when we had cable. At least for the major networks.
I setup a third cell line on our family plan with AT&T for $9.99/month and got a non-smartphone for free with the new line of service. This new phone will have our existing home number transferred to it. I picked up the phone today and it should be switched over in a couple of days.
The one complaint Julie had with this plan was that she would miss the ‘feeling’ of having a home phone and have to run about the house looking for the cell phone when someone called. To eliminate this, I found a set of cordless home phones that have a feature called link-to-cell. You sync your cell via bluetooth with the base unit and then any calls you receive or make are through your cell phone. VERY COOL. Panasonic KX-TG7645M
The one service that is essential to us now… over the cable or home phone. So here, getting the fastest connection for the cheapest cost is what I was after. Comcast wouldn’t make me any deals and wanted $45/month for 12Mp/s. AT&T offered me a new customer deal of $24/month at the same speed for a year. Done. I figure this is probably the one service I will be switching back and forth between Comcast and AT&T if I need to in order to get the best rate. It’s pretty painless to switch and I don’t use my ISP for anything other than a pipe (no email or any other service).
Wow, big changes for the family…. I’ll keep you posted. Maybe this will force us to spend more time playing games as a family or watching only the things we really really want to see. Either way, it can’t be that bad and it’s a fun experiment. I can’t believe we don’t have cable. So pumped!! (the only major issue is what happens when football starts up again… hmmmm)
And no… there is no basement update. Still working on moulding. Grrr.
Nice setup, man.. I see you guys have the same issue we’ve got in Poland: TV just sucks. They throw tons of commercials on you, interrupting it sometimes with 10-years old movie. I like your approach – same is mine – watch whatever you like, however you like, whenever you like. The only thing that keeps me with traditional tv is news channels. Yet, I’m watching lot less tv news recently, since I started to see how biased they are.
It’s been two weeks now and the family is adapting pretty well. Overall we are watching less TV and the kids are more into the movies than shows. The move to the cell phone and the syncing to the home phones has been flawless and works great. I need to work on getting a better OTA feed before we are taking full advantage of the HD Homerun.
Not having to pay the cable company a dime feels great.
Looks great! Have you found any way to watch sports? I know my son would die without golf, basketball, baseball, hockey, football and reruns of all of the above.
OTA HD gets some football games (but I have until next Fall to worry about that), everything else I don’t really care about. You can sign up for streaming MLB games, but not sure about NHL or PGA.