The Youngblood family has recently severed the cable cord. I was very apprehensive about doing it and was very worried that the replacement services wouldn’t be good enough and I would end back up in a cable situation again. So far so good and we don’t plan on going back.
Most of our devices are connected wirelessly. We only had one DVR in the livingroom and the rest of the TVs use the Spectrum app on a Roku Device. Spectrum has been the only cable provider to have an app that we can stream wirelessly to the TVs instead of having to use a box. We could have had a box at each TV and run a coax cable to it but there is a monthly fee for each box and the extra wires are ugly. AT&T has a wireless box option and charges a little more each month for each one. The streaming through Rokus has been working really well for us for 4 years.
We also use other streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and now Disney+ so we have been slowly moving that direction without knowing it. For the sake of this, we won’t include these services.
It started in August of 2017, my bill was a comfortable $144.67 for Cable, Internet and Phone. I was in some bundle that had services that I didn’t need (Phone) but the price was right. Then the bill started creepin’
Sept 2017 – $166.55
– For an unexplained reason, my bundle went up $20 and taxes, fees and charges went up $2
December 2018 – $191.58
– my bundle went up another $20, taxes, fees and charges up $2 and other charges up $2
March 2019 – $193.80
– taxes and other charges went up
August 2019 – $223.74
– Bundle is now $144.99, taxes, fees and charges are now $19.32
November 2019 – $225.43
– Other Charges went up to $16.20
In just 27 months, my bill increased $80.76 to a total of $225.43. This without any change in service or notice to me. Granted, all of this is buried in fine print somewhere and I am not saying what they are doing is illegal but it is definitely shady. I learned a long time ago that just because something is legal, that does not mean it is ethical. I would never refer to my cable company as ethical.
Attempts To Resolve
I have noticed my bill increasing for some time. I have called them three times in the last 2 years to attempt to resolve the issue.
First Call – Some time around December of last year. I got absolutely no where. Basically I do not qualify for a bundle and all advertised prices are for new customers only. There is nothing they can do. Shut down.
Second Call – Circa Summer 2019 – Again, my bill is up because I no longer qualify for a bundle and there is nothing they can do. I ask how long I have to not be a customer before I am considered a new customer and qualify for the bundles. Answer: 30 days.
Third Call – January 2020 – Success! However it is too late. I called to cancel my service and immediately they are willing to lower my bill from $225 to $133. All of the sudden they want to keep my business and I now qualify for a bundle. Unfortunately for them, I had already found my solution and only needed the internet. My bill is now $66.
After trying and failing to find a month (the 30 days needed) where I could go without TV or Internet, I finally started digging into solutions. We live toward the outside of Austin so we don’t get Google Fiber, AT&T only offers 18mb, no Grande available, and Suddenlink could only do 25mb.
In our house, we have more than 15 devices connected to the network most of the time. We require a decent internet connection and I feared a slow internet would kill our cord cutting ways. I only had one shot to convince the family that this is what we wanted and I wasn’t going mess it up. Unfortunately, I had to keep my 200mb Spectrum connection but fortunately, I was able to lower that bill for at least another 12 months.
So this brings us to a TV solution and how do we replace cable. Our main requirements for TV our pretty basic; Football, Baseball, 60 Minutes, Local News, Homicide Hunter, and the occasional Chopped when nothing else is on. The kids run on PBS and Disney+.
I looked hard at DirecTV Now which for a while offered a streaming only solution but I believe that is no longer the case. Sling advertises a lot but they do not have the local channels we watch very often. The answer we found is in YouTubeTV. We have all the channels we normally watch (except Comedy Central, Viacom is its own streaming) and the picture has been great. The DVR is unlimited and available on all of our TVs instead of just the livingroom. I have also barely seen a hiccup or buffering which was the norm in certain rooms through the Spectrum App. An another unexpected benefit we found was less commercials!! I doubt it will continue forever but shows that we record are played back with almost 0 commercials. It is almost weird to watch. We only noticed it because there was never a break to get up and make another drink. On other live networks, it just shows a “This network is showing commercials” screen. So far we are very impressed.
We went from a Cable, Phone, Internet bill that was $225 to an internet only plan plus YouTubeTv for a total of $118.99. No more phone we don’t need or use, no more cable and saving over $100/month.
What Works For You
If you are thinking about making a switch, start thinking about what you have and how you use it. Ask yourself:
- What do you really watch on live TV?
- Are those shows/networks available on a streaming service?
- If you combined streaming services, is it still cheaper than a cable bundle?
- How often are you not actually watching live TV at all?
- Are you currently in a package or bundle that may be expiring?
- Are you paying for a cable box on every TV?
- Could you replace a cable box with a Roku or Streaming device?
- Could you go without all together or for the minimum amount of time to be considered a new customer again?
- What internet options do you have in your area?
- Can you play cable and internet providers against one another?