Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is Cable Worth the Cost?

This is a question we've been pondering since we started working hard to save money.  I called about 6 months ago and got our cable bill lowered by about $25 (by cutting off the premium channels we were paying a discounted rate of $5/month for, and by getting their current deal which cut our internet bill in half).  The promo that cut our internet bill in half was only for 6 months, so that is about to come to an end.  I need to call and see if there are any new promos available (really, I should have already called a couple of times).

However, for the last few months I've been really wondering if it's even worth it to have cable.  We currently use Netflix on one of their lowest plans.  We pay about $10 a month and get 1 DVD out at a time and unlimited streaming movies.  We use the streaming a lot more than we watch the DVDs, it's just easier.  Lately, I've been looking at a similar option for watching current television seasons that is also available on our bedroom DVD player - Hulu Plus.  Not every show we would want to watch is available there, but most of them are.  The biggest thing I noticed that was missing was an HBO show that we don't get to see anymore since we gave up premium channels (it was the only reason we got the premium channels in the first place).

Hulu Plus has a free One Week Trial, and I haven't tried it yet simply because it is only available on our bedroom TV.  The Tivo in our living room doesn't get Hulu (but it does get Netflix).  Hulu Plus does have commercials, so it's not like it's a huge improvement over regular television, actually that would be a downgrade, since we currently are able to fast-forward through commercials with Tivo.  However, it's only $8/month as opposed to what we currently pay for cable (around $50/month).  Of course, we'd have to spend some money to get something in our living room that would access it.  I'm currently looking at the Roku system. which would give us access to not just Hulu but also Netflix and Amazon VOD (all except the Hulu is available on our current Tivo).  I just counted up my Amazon gift cards (that I've earned through Swagbucks) and found that I have just enough to buy the lowest end model ($70!) if I chose to do so.

So, what are your thoughts? Is cable worth the cost?


  1. We just ditched our cable bill too. The pros: saving about $900/yr for switching to PlayOn, HuluPlus, & Netflix. Also going to try Sezmi, which will give us access to local shows and some additional cable shows. I miss the news & my husband misses the sports.

  2. Holly nailed it. We dumped Satellite. The only thing we miss at all is news and sports. But we can get a lot of sports on the networks (just using an antenna) and ESPN3. We're saving a lot of cash so for us it seems worth it. I think programming will only get better going forward. Too bad cable and satellite still resist a la carte programming!

  3. By the way, we also have a Roku and think it's great. We bought the top end one (XD|S, $99) because we use a dual band wireless router. The XD ($79) would be fine for a lot of people. The HD model is slightly cheaper but the extra features of the XD probably justify the added $10 or so. We also have an internet-ready TV (Vizio) which is ok - does the job, but not as nice as the Roku. And we have a TiVo - it's the most awkward to use and we've been waiting 6 months and counting for Hulu Plus on it.

  4. They've said that Hulu Plus will only be available on the Tivo Premier. With 2 Tivos in our house already I can't justify buying another one just for Hulu (we currently have an old one that doesn't do HD and a newer HD dual tuner one).

    I hadn't heard of some of the options that Holly mentioned, so I'll have to check them out. It looks like the Roku has a lot of optins beyond just Netflix and Hulu, so that's a plus too.