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How I plan to cut the cable cord


Little different topic today–one that’s not all that related to the bulk of the posts on this blog. But, in some ways, it is. The way in which we consume media is changing–and that includes our time in front of the TV.

A few months ago, I got the itch to start making the move from the insidiousness that is cable TV (we use DISH) to going with all online/streaming content.

For us, the benefits (and math) are quite clear:

* Cost savings. The cost of cable currently is pretty steep compared to what we “get” out of the experience (we really only watch 10 channels or less). We pay just over $1,100 a year for DISH service, and I’m willing to bet that’s on the low side comparatively.

* Fewer options. We really only watch a handful of channels–ABC (my wife’s shows, NBC [Parenthood], CBS [The Good Wife], ESPN [all my sports], E [mindless TV for my wife], and a few kid-related channels).

* Less TV watching. I believe going to streaming content would also reduce our viewing habits. Less options probably means fewer hours in front of the TV. As it stands, our kids watch very little TV (a trend I want to continue) and my wife and I only watch a handful of programs live.

Now, the trick to “cutting the cord” is that it’s not easy. There is no easy way to do this (which is why many people haven’t…YET). Over the last few months, I’ve consulted with some people (including Julio Ojeda-Zapata and Meghan Wilker, both of which have great set-ups) who have already cut their cord, trying to figure out a solution that works for me and my family.

Here’s where I think I’ve landed:

* 3 Apple TVs for our home.

* Elgato tuner to grab local channels and as a DVR.

* Stream all content from our iMac.

* Use Netflix and Redbox as our primary movie platforms.

* Use Netflix to stream content for the kids (shows, movies, etc–we’re already doing this) via iPad, iMac and TV.

The cost seems to break out like this:

* Apple TVs: $200 (one-time cost)

* Netflix fees: $7.99/month ($96/year)

* Redbox: $1 per rental (average of 6 per month; $72/year)

Grand total on an annual basis: $168 (plus the $200 for the two Apple TVs I need to buy). Just a fraction of the cost of cable. With the added benefit that we’d hopefully watch LESS TV and media–not more.

The only downside to this plan is I will be giving up my sports viewing. There really is no option (as far as I can tell) to grab live sports content via the interwebs. For now, at least. So, I figure this isn’t such a bad thing anyway. I really only care about a few sporting events–Vikings games, Twins games, the major golf championships and the NCAA basketball tournament. I figure I can watch most, if not all, of those sporting events at a nearby sports bar or my brother’s house (less than a mile away).

So, that’s my plan for the foreseeable future. What about you? Have you considered cutting cable? What’s your game plan?



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