Cutting the Cable

Cutting the Cable

We finally did it. We no longer count ourselves as customers of the mighty-mighty Comcast. This week saw the end of one of the more amazing cable deals we’ve ever had. A year ago, right after getting our new TV, Randy called up Comcast to find out what the minimum we’d have to pay to start getting some HD channels. Maybe the cleaning lady answered the phone, but they proceeded to offer us HBO, Showtime, a DVR, and all the HD tier for only $30 per month. It was $7 more than our current plan, so Comcast presented us with the perfect example of a no-brainer. Bring it on.

The deal ended on Wednesday, so Randy called up again to see if they might present yet another promotion. Best deal was the digital tier, 180 or so channels for $60+/month. Not good enough. Given the current economic climate and the uncertainty it presents us, we opted to drop the service entirely.

And so, we find ourselves in a brave new world, depending entirely upon internet content, Netflix, true broadcast channels, and our existing DVD library. Turns out, with the exception of major league sports programming (MLB, NFL, etc.), most of everything we already watch on a regular basis, we can access through the internet or through broadcast, which already transmits in HD. And it seems we have joined a trend. See this link.
We have already downgraded our phone service to the most basic offered, and would cut it entirely if we didn’t have DSL from Verizon, but it looks like the big V gives you a discount on your DSL if you have phone service, so there’s nothing to be gained there.
We’re going to give this a go for a while and see if we might need to upgrade our internet connection, or jump the DSL ship if FIOS ever arrives. Verizon has put the fiber infrastructure in place. It just hasn’t yet strung up the actual fiber in Jenkintown.
Losing Comcast is a liberating experience. It’s largely a boneheaded company that just doesn’t get it, nor does it much care. Judging by the looks of that new tower they put up in Philly, they don’t apparently have to.
People complain all the time about the cost of cable television, forgetting that life will go on without it. When they tell me they have cable bills of well over $100 per month, I’m reminded of a quote from a source I now forget: “It’s morally irresponsible to allow fools to keep their money.” I balked at paying more than $40, so we’ll see how things go around here.

In the meantime, Comcast did in fact come by and cut the signal completely to our house. After they shut off our digital signal, we discovered that we could still get the lower tier channels. Until today, that is. They actually sent someone out to climb the poll to shut it off there as well. We’re a little surprised by this, because when we first received cable service over five years ago, the technician told us that we could also get HBO and Showtime, at least until someone came out and shut that off as well.

No one ever came. We received the signal for the next three or four years until Comcast shunted the channels up into their digital tiers. When we decided to downgrade from a $44/month service to a $22/month service, the technician actually revealed to us that if we disconnected the box (required with this level of service at a cost of $5/month), and plugged the cable directly into our TV, we could get CNN. We not only got CNN, but we got the all the channels we thought we’d be losing with the downgraded service. Comcast’s tuner was acting as a filter.


And so, the experiment begins. So far, we’ve already watched quite a bit of Netlix and some Hulu. Cecelia’s doing fine.

In fact, here’s some new video of her latest antics. Behold, the Days of the Week Dance:
We’re off to New England for the holidays. Merry, merry to you all.

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