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. Direct tv with AT&T.  Not really any different than a cable company, this service is satellite tv and costs $50 and up per month with a 2-year contract and no options for cancelling.  This didn’t seem to be much better than a cable provider, so we didn’t go with this service.
  2. Sling tv: well rated, provides lots of options, scaleable, 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 and House of Cards: we already have these, so they are above and beyond the current cable lineup and price.

We went with the 7 day trial with Sling.  Glad we had the opportunity, because we were able to see the limitations of the service (for us).  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 was really a deal breaker because we watch Colbert nightly and love CBS Sunday morning.  We could go with CBS online purchase for $6/ month, but that would be one more thing!   And negotiating through various apps to do it, seemed to be just too hard, especially if we have company unfamiliar with the services.
  • 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 no capability for guests who visit to use  our non-Smart tv in the guest room.  Since my mom visits several weeks a year, we would need to buy a new tv for that location.  

All in all, Sling is a great option. We are going to keep our eyes on the service to see if they change in the coming months, particularly regarding which news channels they offer with the orange package, and whether CBS ever comes in to their plan.   Cutting the cord is definitely feasible– you just need to do your research!


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