Monday, June 13, 2011

These geeks say goodbye to 20th century media

Well, we've done it.  We finally cut the umbilical cord. We've been discussing it for several months, but hubby decided it was time. 

We canceled cable.


We eliminated our home phone.

There were several reasons for these decisions.

Financial savings was a big factor -- spending that much on TV when we both work full-time is just silly.  And we just DVR'd everything we wanted to watch anyway.  And the kids?  Sure, they have shows they like.  But it was getting ridiculous the amount of money Comcast wanted just so that my kids could watch Phineas and Ferb or iCarly.

Second factor -- Comcast.  IMHO, Comcast has the worst customer service ever for a major company. (If you don't believe me, just Google "I Hate Comcast" -- and you'll see how much customers are yelling, ranting, and begging for better customer service!) But, instead of improving customer service they just kept jacking up their prices every year.  Grrrr...

So... we should just go with another cable company, right?  NOT.  When my new awesomely cool neighborhood was built a little over ten years ago, Comcast got a monopoly contract with the subdivision.  Sounds unfair, illegal, even unAmerican?  Well, it is.  The State of Michigan even eventually agreed that it was an unfair and illegal practice.  But, now that Comcast is established with almost every household in the neighborhood, no other cable company wants to spend the money to lay the cables.  GAH!

We have been plotting ways to get rid of Comcast for several years now, but the dollars never added up.  Finally, this year they did.  The only catch is that we still are getting our Internet service through Comcast, but that is significantly less money going to a company I despise than before.

So, is this household of geeks just going without TV? Giggle...say that to my hubby and he might start to twitch. 

No, we are not getting rid of the TV.  Instead, we have re-subscribed to Netflix (we had canceled our account because we rarely had time to watch movies), and have subscribed to Hulu Plus.  These two additions are under $20 a month.  Much less than the $80+ we were spending to have cable!  Between Netflix streaming TV shows and Hulu Plus shows, we are now able to watch about 95% of the shows we watched when we had cable.  And -- we can stream whenever we want.  Including all those kids shows.  Plus, we've hooked up the retro-cool bunny ears so we still have all the "regular" channels -- in beautiful HD.  Best of both worlds, huh?

We are now as cool as the Jetsons.

Plus, my geeky hubby is planning to wire our big screen TV to the computer so that we can view the shows that are only available over the Internet.  He is devising his wiring layout as we speak.  Wiring is always a fun adventure with a room full of geeks (don't worry -- we'll invite more geeks if it requires drilling through walls or floors).

Oh!  But I haven't talked about the phone yet. A few years back, we moved from a traditional "land line" to an IP (Internet) phone.  We used Vonage and have been very happy with their service, with the exception of some interesting voicemail-to-text transcriptions.  Vonage was much cheaper than a land line, with one monthly fee that covered everything (all calls, call waiting, etc, etc.).  However, with both of us working full time and having cell phones, the home phone is just... well... redundant.  (I don't like talking on the home phone much anyway.) We only had two reasons to keep it:  1) a single contact number that everyone already has, and 2) our house security alarm system used that connection for communicating with the security management company.  (Random aside:  If you have your house broken into once, just once, and the costs of a security system seem negligible compared to your peace of mind.)  As for the first concern -- geek hubby had a two prong attack:
  • Sign up for Google Voice, which allows you to pick a new phone number, and route it to multiple other numbers.  Hubby signed us up, and both cell phones now get called from a single number. Booyah!
  • Only give this new number to "the chosen few."  Despite being on the National No-Call List, our now-defunct home phone got so many telemarketers it made my teeth grind.  I answered NO 800 or 877 numbers on the phone.  We now have a "clean slate."  We can stay under the radar, at least for a while!

Drew knows what its like to answer the phone, and realize it's another telemarketer.
 As for the security alarm, we spoke to them, and it turns out that they do not need a phone line to communicate with our system.  They can do it through the Internet now!  So, we are going need to switch over some equipment, but then we'll be free of all that 20th century media. long as you don't count the TV and the bunny ears. 


kisatrtle said...

We are. Lose behind you. I swear my kids only watch netflix now

Kristal said...

Never heard of Hula TV, but we are working towards switching to Netflix. Biggest problem is our TV is OLD so we can't run it through it.

kt moxie said...

Hey Kristal... If you happen to have an Xbox 360 or a Wii, then either of these will already run Netflix. We are actually running Netflix through the Xbox.

Diann said...

Well Kristin, welcome to the world of no land line. We haven't had a "house" phone for about 5 years now and haven't once missed it. And as far as Comcast, couldn't agree more! But, you are not going to believe it, WOW actually has come into Gibraltar and laid all new cables and will be up in running very soon. Cya Comcast! And if WOW gives us the same headache, it will be no more cable here either. We both have been watching Hula and individual network stations online for years. Fortunately, Lia could care less about TV. She watches Wiggles DVD's and that is it.

Missus Wookie said...

Yeah - we have the free channels but no cable/sat tv. Internet yep we have the same through the telephone wires but have dropped to low usage land line. Amazing how things have changed - including the shape of tvs and aerials ;)

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