Hi y’all! This blog harkens back to the early days of
this forum … when I pulled out my soapbox and blogged about whatever crossed my
mind! What’s been crossing my mind
How many of you all out there hate
your cable TV company? Yea, that’s what
I thought. Holy crap, has there ever
been such a MONOPOLY in American history?
Their service sucks, they keep raising rates, and man … even though you
pay hundreds of bucks a month to them … you STILL have to sit through seemingly
endless COMMERCIALS in your favorite shows, and receive the worst customer care
in the world. Worst part? We’d all choose a different option … but
there are no different options. Comcast
owns the cable to your house, and no one else can access it. Sounds like “Ma Bell” before IT was broken up
by our government as a monopoly … but Ma Bell was NEVER as bad as the cable
companies. Her rates didn’t go up
practically every month, and her customer-service people were the best
(remember “hello, operator speaking”?).
It seems inevitable that Comcast and the other cable monopolies will
eventually be labeled as the monopolies they are and broken-up. But what do we do until then?
My solution has two parts.
Part one: Get a nice, big
Choose one according to where
you live. Folks in urban areas won’t
need nearly as high-powered an antenna as those in rural areas. To find out just EXACTLY what stations
broadcast for FREE in your area (there are more than ever), go to http://www.tvfool.com/. In the Nashville area, I get about 25
channels. HD quality is actually BETTER
than cable on most stations as they are not trying to cram so much crap down a
single coax cable! I bought my antenna
from Crutchfield… the last great audio/video company with EXCELLENT customer service. I put it in the attic right next to where our
cable line entered the house, and simply plugged ITS output in where the cable
was coming in, and now IT fed all our televisions. Now we got all the “major” networks, PBS, and
a host of indie networks, all complete with their extra digital streams,
totally free. Yep, we became cable
Part Two: Roku, Apple TV, and Magic Jack. This is where it kinda sucks … because you
STILL need an internet connection. In
our case the only real option for internet with acceptable speed is … you
guessed it … the cable company. In my
case, I chose Comcast “Business Class” internet, which has a whole different “team”
than the regular home division. Better reliability,
better install folks, better customer service.
For my home business phone lines, I
went with Magic Jacks … and
they have both been rock solid for nearly two years now. That’s phone service on two lines for $30 a
YEAR! For TV / video-on-demand, I tried
every streaming box I could get my hands on, and for us the clear winner was
We now have three of them, one in my office, one in the bedroom, and one
in the living room.
For $16/month (the
cost of Netflix & Hulu), we now have EVERYTHING we could ever want, when
combined with what we get for free over the air. I might mention that we also have one Apple TV box, which works SOOO cool,
but it doesn’t have nearly the channels as the Roku.
Okay, so let’s get to the best part:
the savings breakdown:
With the cable company: TV (that got
the channels I wanted), internet, and 2 phone lines was $225/month by the time
they add the seemingly endless and very cryptic fees and taxes on.
Now, the same services cost $92/month
($70 for Biz Class internet, $8 for Hulu, $8 for Netflix, and about $6 for the
magic Jacks … although I actually bought 5-years of service on them at once).
So what can I do with an extra $133 a
month? Buy guitar goodies, of course :-)