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The New Home Entertainment - Free yourself of the Cables that BIND you!

The New Home Entertainment - Free yourself of the Cables that BIND you!

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 lately?  Television.

The New Home Entertainment - Free yourself of the Cables that BIND you!

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 antenna. 

CUT CABLE!! - Free yourself of the Cables that BIND you!

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 cutters. Almost.

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 the ROKU.  We now have three of them, one in my office, one in the bedroom, and one in the living room. 

CUT CABLE TV!- Free yourself of the Cables that BIND you!

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 :-)

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