In our families recent move we decided to cut the cord on DISH Network. Cable and satellite subscriptions are expensive and vegging out on the couch eats up so much time. We are not against TV, we will still have it as a source of entertainment…now we will be paying a lot less for it while watching less. Here is what we are trying out…
This is totally FREE (I have been thinking about making one too). All the local networks are available in our area and in high def! If I want to DVR a show I can whip out my Mac and my Elgato EyeTV (a digital receiver for my Mac) and set the timer or break out our old school DVD recorder.
Apple TV (ATV)
For $99 you can access all your purchased iTunes content: movies, TV shows, and music. I am able to Stream video, games, and almost all other content from my iPad and iPhone using AirPlay and screen mirroring. You can also stream music, videos, and photos from a PC or Mac.
The Roku is a steal at $99 (mine was a Christmas Gift), right now you can pick one up for $75 refurbished. I actually like it better than my ATV (I do not own much from the iTunes store to benefit from the iCloud streaming) Roku’s Hulu and Netflix streaming seems to be better quality than my ATV. If you have been thinking about getting a Roku I highly recommend the XS model, it has an Ethernet and USB port. The USB port is great if you have a bunch of video files (I use handbreak to rip DVDs I own to video file). I dump them on a hard-drive or a thumb-drive and watch them with the “Roku USB Media Player Channel.” This is the USB device I use, you don’t even notice it’s there.
This is a well spent $7.99. While I cannot get some of my AMC, USA, or any CBS shows I get most of my favorite shows the day after they air.
This is better for past TV seasons than it is for movies…it is actually pretty terrible if you are looking for recent movies but it is good enough for $7.99. I added the “one DVD out at a time” for the additional $7.99. Again, the DVD selection is better than the streaming but still not as good as Redbox…and Redbox is not as good as walking into a Blockbuster or streaming on Amazon Instant Video (Amazon app is on my iOS devices and Roku).
I have not purchased an MP3 for about a year since I went with a Spotify subscription. This is better than Pandora and for $9.99 it completely replaces the music channels from DISH that I never listened to. I love how it streams to my ATV, album art and all.
What’s next? Well, I will need to explore more options. I have been thinking about Amazon Prime, I don’t think the selection is much better than Netflix but I shop on Amazon.com so much that the benefit of free next day shipping for a year is worth the $79 alone.
The Numbers For a Year…
For the 3 subscriptions I mention above plus an ATV and Roku you would spend $605.52 the first year ($403.52 the second year since you will not buy a new Roku and ATV every year). My satellite subscription was between $800-$900 a year. While I do not get 250 stations for the most part I get everything I need and I could save around $200. If there is something I crave I can just pick up a show or a season from Amazon or iTunes.
The Numbers Month by Month…
If I take the cost for the 3 subscriptions I mention above (and remove the cost of the ATV and Roku since I already own them) I will be spending $33.63 a month compared to the $75 a month I was paying for satellite.
You may want to add sports subscriptions: Roku, ATV, and our smartphones have apps that allow us to buy subscriptions to MLBtv, NBAtv, MLS Live, ESPN, and you can even purchase and stream UFC fights on the Roku!
Other than illegal Torrent downloads what are you doing to watch TV away from the satellite or cable bill? Or if you have cut the cord are you completely fasting form TV? What are you doing differently?