Cutting the Cord

Although we aren’t millennials, we are pretty savvy tech users.  But we don’t love paying $155 for internet and tv.  So we’ve decided to research cutting the cable tv cord.  Our San Francisco kids motivated us when we visited in January.  No tv. No big cable bills. All online viewing.

Because of our viewing habits, we had mixed results, but the information is worth sharing.  Here’s what we did:

  • Called our internet provider to see what the best price would be for the fastest internet.  The answer was $59 for 100 Mbps
  • Thought about transferring for a better introductory price with a different internet provider, but decided to stay put with the one we already have– our Atlantic Broadband internet service is terrific.
  • Researched options for the television portion:
  1. DirecTV Now with AT&T.  Similar to a cable company, this service costs $35 and up per month but could be only $10 a month with our AT&T wireless service.  This service reportedly has some transmission problems.  Will want to keep it on our radar to see if it improves.
  2. Sling tv: well rated, provides lots of options, scalable, not one size fits all.  No contract required. 7-day free trial. Free Roku unless you have something else.  We have Apple TV so that would be our delivery service.  Offers an add-on news package for $5, and additional sports package should we be interested.
  3. Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes for movies and series like The Crown; we already have these, so they are above and beyond the current cable lineup and price.
  4. HULU at $35 a month this new service is worth looking at; however, since we don’t live in a big city like LA or NY, several local channels are missing from the lineup.

We went with the 7 day trial with Sling.  Glad we had the opportunity. Here’s what we found:

  • ESPN 1,2, and 3 are included in the Sling basic $20 (orange) package.  Good news.
  • For college sports and ensuring regional (Patriots and Red Sox ) games, we would need to think about adding the sports package for $5.
  • They do not offer NESN.
  • They do not offer CBS, which is problematic because we watch Colbert nightly and love CBS Sunday morning.  We could go with CBS online purchase for $6/ month, but that would be another $6.99!
  • To get news channels we like, such as MSNBC, we would need to add the Sling upgrade (blue) package for $20 more, plus the news package for $5.  So that brought us to $45 for Sling.
  • We are now at two-thirds of our current cable bill, with no CBS and a need for a new Smart tv upstairs.

We decided to go with Sling, and have had it for two months now.  While it is sometimes glitchy with Apple TV, it mostly meets our needs.  Some local shows and sports blackouts are frustrating, and the interface is cumbersome.  We will keep evaluating and watching for new services to emerge as more folks cut the cord.   It is definitely feasible– you just need to do your research!

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