Thursday, May 7, 2015


It’s been about three weeks since we changed the way we receive electronic entertainment, news, and phone calls in our home.  There have been a few adjustments and some interesting discoveries.  Here is a breakdown of the experience thus far.

After investing in a powered HD Antenna ($40) from Costco, we sat down to see what we could find over the free airwaves.  I was surprised to discover quite a number of stations that were broadcasting in our area.  There were the usual major networks but I was pleased to see that we also found about 20 other channels that were receivable.  One glitch: For some reason, CBS (KUTV) doesn’t have a good signal so I will have to look into that when there are a few seconds to spare.

While there are lots of channels, the downside is that many of them are pretty lame.  I guess that isn’t much different than cable, is it?

Thanks to our digitally savvy children, we are familiar with the plusses and minuses of Netflix.  It has been connected to the Wii for a few years so we could show movies when the grandkids come for sleepovers.  Now that it is our main source of viewing, it is clear that we will have to be somewhat selective in the things we allow.  BUT, there are quite a number of shows and movies that I’m sure we will enjoy.  Maybe, one-day, we will even get our own subscription so we aren’t listed as OLD PEOPLE when the user screen comes up! ;-)

We haven’t made the investment to try out HULU or any of the other offerings so I can’t make a judgment there.  We miss on-demand options so there’s a good chance we might try one of these types of services.   There is also the possibility of purchasing an over-the-air DVR to record shows that we get for free.  That’s somewhere in the future – or not, depending on finances.

Jenny did let us have access to her VUDU site for movies they buy so that should be a nice addition.

Most of what we have done has required very little expertise on our part.  The TV was already prepared (it’s not smart but it’s not really dumb either) so we have some experience with that part.  Our DVD player is now our connection to the Internet and a software upgrade (free) gave us access to everything.  At some later time, desires and finances permitting, we might consider a ROKU or other device but for now we are OK. We do plan to get a small Smart TV for the apartment sometime soon.

There are times when we miss the TV in the upstairs but maybe it is for the best…for right now.

The Modem connection was simple (the hardest part being getting Comcast to recognize the unit) and has shown no signs of slowing things down (despite what Comcast said about modems that were not theirs).

(Let me rant for a moment about ALL Internet service providers.  Why do they insist on advertising speeds they know they will never deliver?  Our connection is rated to 50mbps but, even when we were fully invested in Comcast and I checked at the early morning hours, we never had greater than 20mbps on site.  Our average is somewhere in the 15-17mbps range.  Sure, there are lots of people sharing the bandwidth and it degrades the speed with each user, but shouldn’t the provider TRY to be a little more honest in their advertising.  In the time we have supposedly had 50mbps speeds from the provider, I have NEVER recorded a number even close to that strata.  Just saying!!)

Our Comcast bill used to be $200 per month with phone, Internet, and TV.  Most of the TV was useless junk we never watched.  There was a DVR on the system so it was nice to pause shows, record games, and use some of the other options available.  But it wasn’t worth $200 to have all those things.

Now we only receive Internet from Comcast for $66 (and as soon as someone comes who can provide reliable service, they will be gone).  We don’t have a bunch of garbage channels that we pay for and have to block so kids can’t find them.  And, we have changed our home phone to an existing cell account ($0) and included it in our family plan (jury’s still out on how that is going to fare – Teresa hates carrying her phone and she has the home number).  So far, we are feeling pretty good about the adjustments we have made.
South Korea has cut the cord -- North is still on Comcast

It hasn’t been as hard as we imagined making the change.  There are things we miss but we REALLY don’t miss the cost.  And what we miss is easily replaced in another way if we decide to add.  The trick will be to avoid adding back so much that we are back to the same place (just paying it out to several places instead of one provider).

As we move forward I will report on any changes or glitches we encounter.  Good luck if you decide to follow and save a buck or two.

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