Save thousands of dollars by ditching cable TV and switching to video streaming services

I never have felt more liberated than I have in the last month because I finally cancelled my TV service from AT&T UVERSE. I was one of the original customers in my area of AT&T‘s fiber optic internet and TV service, and after long and hard thoughts, I finally decided to rip the bandage off and cancel service. And I can tell you, the feeling I get with saving money is absolutely fantastic.

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The dominance of broadcast television to cable to the YouTube and Netflix age

 

I’m a child of the 80’s and back then I remember growing up with a 21″(can’t exactly remember but it was small) tube TV that weighed more than I did. Even worse was that TV only received three major stations using an antenna that worked only half of the time. Just to receive clear signal for a TV station was a blessing in itself. Then with cable TV, all we had to do was screw a coaxial cable into the back of the TV and all of a sudden we had access to hundreds of stations with perfect reception.

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The movie Back to the Future Part II was released in 1989 and the story line was about Marty McFly traveling to the future of 2015! So yeah times have changed and technology has definitely grown the most.

Cable TV, although invented before 1950, never established its dominance until the 1990’s and 2000’s.

When cable TV reached its peak in 2000 with over 68 million customers, it wasn’t long for major networks, NBC, CBS, and ABC to lose vasts amounts of market share to new comers ESPN, Discovery Channel, HBO, Showtime and so on. Advertisement money shifted from the major networks to the specialized networks, while premium content companies like HBO developed new content through added fees.

If you wanted premium channels like HBO or Showtime, you had to pay an additional fee on top of your already expensive service, which is how HBO could pay for new shows like the Soprano’s.

With the evolution of TV programming though, we all justified the added expense of cable service through entertainment value. If you can save money by not going to movie theaters, then the cost of cable TV will pay for itself.

But times have evolved from that in a short amount of time.

With the advent of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube, we now have more options for where we get our video content. And just because the service is cheap or is free doesn’t mean it lacks in quality. You can find everything on YouTube, from professional grade content to homegrown videos that are equally entertaining. Netflix and Amazon have gotten into content creation too and has won Emmy Awards for shows like Transgender, House of Cards, and Orange is the New Black.

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The dominance shifts to where the content is. People don’t really care how they get quality content as long as they get it. Netflix is the number one source of traffic on the internet. Its dominance is unparalleled yet we still stick with cable TV because that’s what we are used to. For many, Netflix is an added cost to TV but it isn’t being used as a replacement as it should be. I’m here to tell you why you need to cancel your cable service.

The cost of cable TV service is more than the cost of your televisions

Similar to cellular providers, cable companies have a strong grip on customers and competition is slim. Time Warner, Cox, and Comcast all have different regions where they do not compete with each other, which in turn highly limits us to who we can access and allows for better control of pricing for them.

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All of the major TV providers charge roughly the same for TV packages, starting at $30 for very basic TV service and running up to over $150 for more premium packages.

I used to be on the AT&T UVERSE U450 plan where I started out at $100 a month but eventually over the years worked its way up to $150 per month. There are hidden fees when signing up for services like government taxes, accessibility fees and hardware rentals which can add up if you have more than one TV. And also similar to cellular providers, the cable providers send you a long and complicated bill which is so confusing that it would take a specialist to break down the costs.

uverse costIn the image above is the pricing breakdown, minus any additional fees for three televisions and UVERSE’s most premium U450 package. At $145 per month, the total yearly cost is $1,740. With actual fees built into the plan, the true cost is closer to $2,100 per year. That’s no small chunk of change considering this is just the cost of TV service and not the cost of the televisions.

Let’s say you bought three 49″ LG 4k televisions from Amazon.com for $700 each. After just one year of cable service you at $2,100 per year, you would match the cost of those three televisions. The only difference is, your televisions should last you ten years. So the actual cost of those three televisions is really $210 per year for ten years, where the cost of cable will be $21,000 over that same time span. Want to send a child to college? That $21k is one year of tuition at many schools(not living expenses).

The cost of cable service over 18 years is $37,800 which is about the cost of three years of tuition at the University of California – Berkeley for in state residents.

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Is having 200-300 stations really that important to you?

That example is a bit on the extreme side, because you still need to get your entertainment in.

A Netflix subscription costs $8.99 per month, Amazon Prime Video(if you subscribed solely for video) is $8.25 per month and YouTube is free.

It’s time to cancel your cable subscription

The biggest fear I had when I cancelled my cable service from UVERSE was that I was going to miss out on my favorite TV shows. After a month of saving over $160, I have actually learned that I don’t care as much as I thought I did.

I bought a wireless 1byone HD antenna from Amazon.com for $29.99 which gives me access to CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. Those stations are as clear as I would get through UVERSE, and I live in a suburb of San Diego which gets worse reception than if I were to live downtown. I also get reception to about 10 other channels, but I honestly have no interest in them.

I still pay for WiFi and that means I can watch all of the YouTube videos I want, and can consume all of the Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos I want too. I don’t consider Amazon Prime videos an added fee, because I have always used it for free two-day shipping. My only added video content cost is Netflix, which I actually pay $11.99 per month so I can stream 4k videos to my newer televisions.

In addition to that, I also share my Netflix account with three others so the cost is shared. The cost for one year of Netflix is just $144, which is less than one month of service from AT&T. The logic is right there in front of you and it is time to cut the cable company.

NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox all broadcast their channels for free, and all you need to do is buy a cheap and compatible antenna to access them. With those stations you will have access to local and world news in addition to all of the other shows those networks put on. You even get access to Nascar, NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB and college sports.

Then with Netflix you can get your award winning content while also having access to thousands of movies. You can buy a Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV if you want to stream the video to your televisions. Or you can access Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime TV from your tablets or smartphones. There’s more versatility with these services and best of all you aren’t bombarded with advertisements.

Just Do It

Just cancel your cable service. You can always get it back if you really do miss it. I know I just gave one example of how much cable can cost, and your experience may or may not be similar. Regardless, take the time to break down the actual cost of your cable and do know over time the fees are exorbitant.

Check how far you are from Digital TV Antenna stations before choosing an antenna using this app:

Digital TV Antennas – Google Play Store LINK

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App description:

Aiming your HDTV antenna it’s easy and free!

This application helps you discover digital TV towers (DTV) close to you and it helps you find the bearing from your location so that you can point you antenna to catch those stations. It works based on a list of antennas broadcasting digital TV over-the-air (OTA) in the United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal, Colombia and Uruguay.

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In the US it can also display the FCC calculated broadcast area over the map!

Here is a list of antennas you can use to get local stations:

1byone Amplified HDTV Antenna – $29.99 – LINK

 

  • FREE FOR LIFE – Never Pay Your Cable or Satellite For Television Again! 1byone antenna can pull in all of your local news, weather, sitcoms, kids and sports programs absolutely FREE. Just connect it to your television and let the antenna do all the work.
  • Slim and High Performance – Extremely soft design and lightweight. You can hide it behind the TV, lay flat on table; stick it high on window (stand moisture weather or exposed to sunshine). It’ll pull in hundreds of crystal clear digital & HD shows!
  • 10FT LONG CABLE – Makes it easier for you to place it in your house to get the best reception, especially for customers whose televisions are quite far away from windows.

1byone Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna for UHF/VHF/FM – $49.99 – LINK

  • VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: Please refer to the product description to learn the working instructions that will guide you to use this product efficiently to obtain HD channels. Never Pay Your Cable or Satellite For Television Again! 1byone antenna can pull in all of your local news, weather, sitcoms, kids and sports programming absolutely FREE! Just plug it in and connect to your television and let the antenna do all the work.
  • Built-in high gain and low noise amplifier. It delivers full 1080p HD to any digital-ready TV. The handsome thin flat design accommodates any home decor.
  • 10-foot coaxial cable makes it easier for you to place it at the best position in your house to get the best reception, especially for customers whose televisions are quite far away from windows.
  • Channel reception will vary depending on what’s being broadcast in your area, how far away you are from broadcast towers, and your surroundings (i.e. obstructions between you and the towers).

Mediasonic Homeworx HW110AN Super Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna – $6.27 – LINK

 

  • Receive free digital broadcast High Definition TV signals.
  • 25 Miles Range
  • Super Thin design allows you to place it almost anywhere and no power required
  • Universal suction-cup stand included
  • Frequency Range: VHF 170 – 230MHz, UHF 470-860MHz

Mohu Leaf 50 Amplified Indoor HDTV Antenna – $68.99 – LINK

 

 

  • 50-mile range to access Over-the-Air TV channels without a cable or satellite subscription (NOTE: Enables access to free channels only – does not enable access to paid channels such as ESPN/Fox News)
  • CleanPeak Filter technology filters out cellular and FM signals, resulting in a clearer picture and allowing access to more channels
  • Multi-directional and Reversible: No “pointing” needed and comes with included 16 ft. high performance cable
  • DISCLAIMER: Channel reception varies based on what is broadcast in your area, your distance from broadcast towers, and any geographical obstructions between you and the towers. Before you buy, visit http://dtv.gov/maps to see what channels are available in your area
  • Comes with 1 Year warranty. Email us at [email protected] for help setting up your product. You can also visit www.gomohu.com or call 1-855-4GOMOHU (855-446-6648).
  • 50-mile range to access Over-the-Air TV channels without a cable or satellite subscription. Modeled after a discrete mud flap antenna designed for the U.S. Military
  • Reversible and paintable to match decor and CleanPeak Filter technology filters out cellular and FM signals, resulting in a clearer picture and allowing access to more channels.

Media Streaming devices to stream direct from your Android or iOS devices

Amazon Fire TV Stick – $39.99 – LINK

  • Fire TV Stick connects to your TV’s HDMI port. It’s an easy way to enjoy over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, and Hulu, plus games, music, and more
  • Cutting the cord? Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HGTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.
  • 4x the storage and 2x the memory of Chromecast plus a dual-core processor and 1 GB of memory
  • No more buffering, ASAP learns what Amazon movies and shows you like so they start instantly
  • Never miss out. Bring Fire TV Stick with you to watch your favorites away from home, even in hotels and dorm rooms.
  • Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, including original programming like Transparent, plus over 1 million songs with Prime Music

Google Chromecast – $35 – LINK

chromecast_colorsChromecast is a media streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. Simply use your mobile device and the TV you already own to cast your favorite TV shows, movies, music, sports, games and more. Chromecast works with iPhone®, iPad®, Android phone and tablet, Mac® and Windows® laptop, and Chromebook.

Amazon Fire TV – $99.99 – LINK

  • All-new Amazon Fire TV now supports 4K Ultra HD for true-to-life picture quality. Watch high-definition 1080p streams on Amazon Video, Netflix, Hulu and more, even without a 4K TV.
  • Now with Alexa, use your Fire TV Voice Remote to check sports scores or the weather, play music, and more – instantly
  • Enjoy over 250,000 TV episodes and movies on Netflix, Amazon Video, HBO GO, and Showtime Anytime, plus games, music, and apps
  • Cutting the cord? Watch the best of live TV on NBC News, NBA, and Sling TV, which includes ESPN, CNN, HGTV, AMC, A&E, Cartoon Network, and more.
  • Say it. Watch it. Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
  • Now with 75% more processing power, a dedicated graphics engine, better Wi-Fi support, 2 GB of memory, 8 GB of storage and expandable storage of up to 128 GB
  • With over 800 games – the most games of any other streaming media player – there is something for the entire family, including Minecraft, Lego Star Wars, and Pac-Man 256
  • Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, including original programming like Transparent, plus over 1 million songs with Prime Music

Netflix – LINK

netflix_screenNetflix is the world’s leading subscription service for watching TV episodes and movies on your phone. This Netflix mobile application delivers the best experience anywhere, anytime.

Get the free app as a part of your Netflix membership and you can instantly watch thousands of TV episodes & movies on your phone.

 

  • niqueco

    An Android app for checking out which stations transmit around you is a must if you decide to cancel you cable service. I’m a TV enthusiast and I’ve created a free one. I’ve took the FCC information and created this:

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ar.com.lichtmaier.antenas

    It’s specially intended for aiming your antena toward the nearby transmitters.

  • True North

    Or just ask a neighbor or friend with a smart phone to visit you 🙂

  • Timothy Anderson

    I think HDHomeRun is worthy of mention here. There are different models, but one of them allows you to plug your HD antenna to your HDHomeRun. HDHomeRun then has a couple of tuners and makes them available on your local network. Smart devices such as Android TV already know how to see these tuners on your network automatically. You can also download an application of your choice on your computer to be a DVR, almost all of these recognize HDHomeRun tuners on your local network. You can then see your signals from your antenna on you tablet, laptop, etc., using their app.

  • Patrick Holloway

    Definitely recommend an amplified antennae. Antennae+laptop to TV+wireless keyboard+high-speed internet+VPN=anything and everything you want/need to watch at your fingertips.

    Chromecast is a bonus too.

  • notsofastnow

    Welcome to the streaming party, Android Guy! I cut the cable nearly a year ago and haven’t missed it a bit. I can’t get air reception where I live, but that’s okay because I don’t pine away for crummy cable broadcasts with their constant commercial interruptions. At this point, I wouldn’t accept cable even if it were given to me. I get far better and cheaper entertainment options via streaming, most of them ad-free.