Cheaper Cable TV Alternatives
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Our Cable Price Increases
As we received our cable bill the other week, we saw an extra sheet was included. Time Warner was informing us that due to infrastructure costs, there were going to higher prices with our future bills. The good news is that I noticed that the increases were pretty small and they stated they would still honor promotional deals until they expired.
It still got me thinking, though, about what we would do if cable television got too expensive and we canceled it. Could we find a comparable substitute for our entertainment needs? I decided to look into and see what was out there.
Time Warner Cable's Advertised Deals
After we announced a few months back that TWC gave us a bad deal, we called customer service and asked to cancel our service. We were then given a much more competitive deal and were able to get internet and cable TV at a much more reasonable price. Until the promotion ends, we'll probably keep the service and we'll re-evaluate it when it is over.
I went ahead and checked TWC's prices in our area to get an idea of what they're offering. If you have Time Warner in your area, please check to see your local deals and offers. It may be higher or lower that what I found online.
- Broadcast Cable – $18.19/month
- Basic Cable – $64.99
- Digital Cable – $76.95/month
- Digital Cable (part of a bundle) –$73.00/month
The good thing I've noticed with Time Warner Cable is that the two times we've needed a technician to come in, they were scheduled promptly. If anyone has Comcast deals, could you please share the current rates? I'll include them in the post with the next update along with a hat tip.
I've never had satellite service growing up because of the location of my family's town house. We couldn't get a signal. I've asked others how they feel about their service and it's as wide ranging as people who use cable companies. DirecTV is a big company in satellite, so I have to include them with the comparisons. Here are the DirecTV deals in our area right now:
- Choice – $29.99/month
- Choice Extra – $34.99/month
- Choice Ultimate – $39.99/month
- Premier – $85.99/month
If you're a DirecTV customer, can you share your feedback on their customer service?
I don't really know there difference between them and DirecTv, so I'm relying on your experiences to make this a rounded out review. The prices I got are from dish Network's own page, please check to make sure you get the current deals and rates.
- America's Top 120 Channels – $24.99/month
- America's Top 120+ Channels – $29.99/month
- America's Top 200 Channels – $39.99/month
- America's Top 250 Channels – $49.99/month
- America's Everything Pak – $84.99/month
If you're a dish Network customer, can you share your feedback on their customer service too?
A very popular choice for people who are looking for cable alternatives is Netflix. We received a Netflix trial a few months back and fell in love with the service. The trial gave us 2 DVDs at a time with unlimited streaming. Once it was over we went ahead and switched it to 1 DVD and unlimited streaming. We use the PS3 and my laptop to watch our movies and I have to say the service has been great.
- Unlimited Streaming(No DVDs) – $7.99/month
- 1 DVD out at a time with unlimited streaming – $9.99/month
- 2 DVDs out at a time with unlimited streaming – $13.99/month
- 3 DVDs out at a time with unlimited streaming – $16.99/month
- 4 DVDs out at a time with unlimited streaming – $23.99/month
Unlike Hulu, Netflix doesn't include ads on their streaming videos. The DVDs do have some ads, but you can just get your food ready while they run. While I don't consider it a huge disadvantage, some of the movies and shows I want to watch on Netflix aren't available streaming.
- Plus- $7.99/month
With the Plus, members can get subscription service with the full current season of many TV shows, access to to content on their electronics such as computers, iPod Touch, and TV. Hulu offers less ads for their shows, but they are still included with a paid subscription.
Thoughts on Cable Bills
If we did dump our cable, I think having Netflix and the free version of Hulu would cover all the big highlights. We're loving the documentaries and old shows on Netflix and most of the shows we really love are on Hulu.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Have you noticed increase in your cable bill? Was it a reasonable change or was it ridiculously high? Have you downgraded the cable and/or internet to improve your cash flow for either building some savings or paying off your debts?
If you're off cable, what differences have you've noticed with your schedule? Are you enjoying or do you feel like you're missing out? Do you use Netflix or Hulu? Do you think they're viable alternatives?
Photo Credit: Wonderlane
Last year I cut my cable for 8 months and saved over $80/month which I put towards savings goals and paying off debt. I’m seriously thinking about doing it again….or at least downgrading.
My wife watches all the pointless reality shows on Oxygen, MTV, etc. which is one of two reasons we have cable. The other is HBO. If we could get HBO online, I would never turn my tv to a non-broadcast network channel again.
I got rid of the cable tv over a year ago. It was single handedly one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made. No more taking crap from the local cable company, I signed up for netflix (1 dvd per month) and made an account on Hulu. I don’t get to see everything that I was watching before I made the switch, but I personally like watching less tv, and not having it makes it harder to watch it frequently.
Thanks for the feedback Jeff; that’s definitely a possibility we’re think about if cable jumped in price.
We cut our cable 2 years ago and get our DVDs from the library. This worked out well for us and we don’t watch much TV anymore. Michelle watches her shows for free on the internet – Hulu, ABC, TNT, etc..
We get our internet from Clear, WiMAX. The speed is ok, but latency is not great. I’ll probably switch back to cable internet when the discount runs out.
My wife actually works for the local cable company and they are struggling nationwide.
One of the best tips my wife gives all of our friends is to just call and threaten to switch to AT&T or cancel altogether saying you will watch TV online.
If you do this, it is not uncommon for them to offer to lower your rate by 25-50%. Sometimes they will throw in freebies too, like HBO.
Give it a try!
Time Warner is raising their prices on us, so we’re looking into making some cuts. We have Netflix and have Hulu Desktop on our computer. I’m trying to convince this mister to give up on cable but he’s so convinced he can’t get his ESPN fix without it
Good job with this article, Elle. I like how you broke everything down in a nice and easy to understand manner. I think Dish Network is the best way to save, but that’s just my opinion.
I ditched cable about 8 months ago. I have Instant NetFlix and Hulu Plus for a grand total of
15.98. I watch them on my PS3 in the living room or on a Roku in my bedroom. I don’t miss cable at all between the two of them. I do miss watching NHL games but I catch it on NBC when it’s on. I figure I’ve saved $640 in the 8 months since dropping cable.