Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 17, 2017

Cutting the cord

I have been contemplating this for quite some time – the only thing really holding me back was sports. As I dug deeper into Sling TV, however, I discovered that not only does the Orange package have ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3, they also had the Pac-12 Network as an add on.

So, I did the math, $25/month instead of $130/month. Seemed like a no brainer. But I did a little more reading and discovered that the Orange package only allows one stream at a time; so if I were to be watching a game, my wife would not be able to watch one of her shows. Given that our time in front of the television is usually spent separate, this was untenable. So, I looked into the Blue package from Sling, but did not entirely like the channel lineup.

I was ready to basically just continue on with potentially reduced programming on DISH. But the Flex Pack did not have the ability to add on a sports package to get Pac-12 or ESPN, so even then, I was really only going to be able to reduce my DISH bill by a little bit.

More reading.

This is when I found the Orange + Blue feature which would allow multiple streams at once and include the channel lineup I liked best. So I talked to my wife, we looked at the channels and there was one missing she needed – the Hallmark Channel – and one missing that I needed – Pac-12 Networks. Those were both available with $5.00 add-on packages. In total, this would leave my new ‘cable’ bill at $49.98/month; a significant drop from $130/month.

I carry Netflix, Hulu and MLB Network already, so, to me, those are ‘sunk costs’ I would incure under any cable program.

My next step? Testing out the stream. I bought the low end streaming device from Roku for $29.99. I went with this because we have an older TV that is not a smart television, nor does it have 4K capacity for viewing, so there was no need for the higher end devices. The great part is that this is not a monthly fee for the box and remote; it is a one time, now I own it situation. The stream at my home is fantastic and we were able to carry on our normal routine even without accessing DISH.

So, the decision was made. I called and cancelled DISH Network today. Because we live in a populated area and have high definition televisions, we can easily plug in an antenna and get all of the local programming we need (which is not much). Most of what I watch is available on a very few channels – or through one of the streaming services.

At the end of the day, we will be saving $80 per month. To me, that is not a major savings, exactly, but it is enough that between now and the time I retire that equates to $19,200. If I were a single guy? I could cut that down in half!

The times are definitely changing. Cable reinvented television when I was a kid. I remember watching one or two channels and the different world I saw when we got cable. But now? I had 250 channels and I watched about three; ESPN, HGTV and occasionally some oddball channels like TBS or TNT. I can still get all of those without having to pay for a litany of channels which, if they were cars, would be rusting away in the corner of a yard.

I am not sure that this is the route for everyone, but it sure is for me, and more people are going this route. If you’re interested in Sling TV, click on their ad on this page, they are very easy to use, no contracts, and you can change programming at any point by logging in and making the changes. There are other streaming services beside Sling, but it is the one with Pac-12 Networks, so that was the deciding factor for me.

If you don't want to cut the cord - but want to switch, DISH Network treated me very well even when cancelling. I also have a link to the side of the page if you want to switch!

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