An Adventure in Cable Cutting – 5 Months in

Geek Culture

Time Warner remote, cable box, HDMI, coax, and my scissors cutting the cableTime Warner remote, cable box, HDMI, coax, and my scissors cutting the cable

Photo by Russ Neumeier

So we’re nearly half a year into cutting the coax. For the past five months we’ve relied on over-the-air TV and video-streaming over the internet. It took four months, but we finally hit our sweet spot. We’ve gone from only video-streaming to video-streaming plus Amazon Prime to what we have today.

What do we have today? Well, we cancelled our 30-day trial of Amazon Prime – it was obvious within a couple weeks that the Amazon Prime video streaming was not going to be our solution…we tried a couple movies after searching for lots and lots of movies…and the kids defaulted to the video-streaming from the URLs for the channels they wanted to watch. So, after cancelling Amazon Prime we opted for Netflix streaming…

What a difference! The kids found shows they wanted to watch. GeekMom and GeekDad found movies we wanted to watch. We’re in our second month of streaming from Netflix and when we choose to watch something, we find something on Netflix.

Here’s where it gets interesting. When I originally announced a coax-free TV existence and mentioned we were testing out Boxee on the laptop I’d re-purposed, Boxee sent me a full unit. Full-disclosure – the Boxeee box sat unused for more than 4 months until we chose Netflix streaming. Why?

Because the shows that were available on the Boxee Box were less than what was available on the individual channels’ full-episode links, the Boxee Box collected dust. Then, after subscribing to Netflix streaming, I realized it was one of the apps on the Boxee Box, so it resurrected from the ashes. The Netflix app and the Pandora app are the two favorites and the only two apps used on the box.

But Netflix streaming on the Boxee Box has become our go-to TV fix. With the HDMI connection to the TV and the wired connection to the the internet from the Boxee Box, we’ve got what we need for TV – without jitters and buffering we suffered early on. On date-nights for GeekMom and GeekDad, if we want to watch a movie, we stream Netflix to the TV in our bedroom using standard VGA and audio cables. We have the flexibility that we enjoy for less than $10/month.

The end result: we’ve taken our Time Warner bill from more than $100/month for TV/phone/internet to just about $50/month for internet/Netflix/additional-cell-phone-line. And we don’t see a need to go back to a more expensive situation.

What about you? What have you done to cut your coax-cable costs?

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