A life without TV… sorta.

$270.00 a month.  Ouch.  That’s how much we were paying for the total Premium Platinum Super-Duper Mega HD package from Time Warner Cable.  Internet, Digital Phone, and TV with all the trimmings – life was good.  That is, until it was time to plunk down the cash on a regular basis.  Once things got a bit tight and we were considering our future beyond the scope of “the next coupla weeks”, it became clear we needed to trim our expenses and this was a biggie.

After a lot of number crunching, consideration, research, and chewing on eraserheads, we have whittled it down to $75/month (soon to be $55).  Good heavens – what could we get with that much?  Turns out, a lot.  Our Time Warner bill is now $60, which came about by cancelling the television portion of our service altogether, including the extra line, two DVRs, and all the HD and premium channels associated with it.

Instead, we plunked down $15/month for NetFlix 2-disc option with Watch Instantly.  We also bought one of these:


It’s a Roku box (http://www.roku.com).  It connects to our NetFlix Instant Watch queue either with an ethernet line or wirelessly and broadcasts it to our television with remarkable quality.  All it cost us was $100 on the barrelhead.  No other fees or subscriptions (other than NetFlix).  NetFlix’s policy is roughly, “However many discs you can have out at a time, you can have that many simultaneous streams.”  Because we have the 2-disc plan, we can have two Rokus working at the same time in different rooms.

The selection of Watch Instantly stuff on Netflix has been really impressive, too.  Academy-Award winning films, great Foreign films selection including hard-to-find Japanese and Korean horror, television series like South Park Seasons 1-9, Mythbusters, Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, Quantum Leap, The A-Team, Dead Like Me, etc.  We really will never run out of stuff to watch here and we’re doing it at a huge cost savings.

I also mentioned “soon to be $55” earlier.  That’s where this comes into play:  http://www.ooma.com/.


It’s a higher initial cost ($250, roughly), but then it’s free home phone service.  Period.  For the life of the product/company, which will hopefully be a while.  There’s a premium plan to it available which allows for multiple lines, blacklisting numbers and so forth, but we’ll probably pass on all that.  Whatever pitfalls we’d have with VOIP will be well worth the sacrifice, especially since we’ve had digital phone for this long now anyway.

I’ll fully admit that it’s putting all of our eggs in one broadband basket, but if it’s viable for even a few years, then it’ll be well worth it – especially since things will be looking especially tight over the next 2-3 years while Mickey goes back to school.


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