This is what we’re saying to our cable provider today. After years of eye-wateringly high bills, we’re loading up the DVRs to return and cutting the cable. I suppose this is a result of the decluttering that’s been happening around here, but it’s also born of the increasing frustration with a service that is just worth what it costs. More times than not, I will skim the guide through 300 channels and not find a single thing I want to watch. Meanwhile, Netflix has been our solid go-to choice for entertainment, rarely letting us down and often luring us into watching things we’d never have chosen on our own. (That algorithm is sneaky, man.)
Add to this the outrageous cost of the cable services–with 3 DVRs in the household it gets just annoying to see charges to rent the equipment AND to provide service to it. If I’m renting the equipment, don’t I obviously want service? Why is that even a separate charge? I also get seriously peeved with the loyalty discounts that you have to call annually to secure. If you forget one January? WHAM. 20% right back onto your bill.
So, we explored the options–it took about four minutes of googling–and figured out that the best choice was grabbing a couple of Rokus and adding Hulu to the lineup. The Rokus were $90 each but we own them while the DVRs were rented to us at $10/month. (Did I mention our cable company was no longer offering new replacements when the equipment turned faulty? Nope, you had to upgrade to a much more expensive version that carried with it a hefty increase in the service fee.)
And the Hulu package is absolutely worth it considering the fact that we have every single program we wanted with the exception of NBA and we can always grab a season pass for that. (This is something we had to do last year because our cable company didn’t offer the games my husband wanted to watch. Apparently they’re not big Spurs fans.)
So, how much is all this fancy new streaming costing us? Well, we’re ditching our dinosaur landline that we almost never used at the same time and increasing the internet to the fastest to accommodate the heavier streaming load. Altogether, the entertainment/connection costs are going down about a hundred bucks. PER MONTH.
As a side benefit there’s much less clutter hanging around without the big DVRs and the landline phones. No cables to mess with, just a wee Roku box and a tiny little remote that looks like something Playskool might have made in the 197os. I LOVE it. It’s the simplest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. Our DVR remote required a PhD to decipher. This has giant purple nav buttons so you can’t really make a mistake. And when the Roku screen gets tired of waiting for you? It cycles through to an aquarium so you can watch the fish swimming around. It’s charming.
Another weird little benefit I hadn’t anticipated is how liberating it feels to get on board with newer tech. It was freeing to ditch the alarm clock and the landline and instead figure out the Do Not Disturb settings on my cell. (It’s also much nicer to wake up to a Bach cello concerto than the local traffic report.) And cutting commercial intrusion down to a bare minimum in your life is BLISS. One of the things that has always struck me in looking at Victorian photographs of big cities is how advertising had begun to inundate the streets; there are signs EVERYWHERE, demanding attention, contributing visual noise to already crowded conditions.
We’ve lived with those intrusions for so long, we don’t even hardly register them. I moved to a town where billboards are forbidden and other signage is tightly controlled. I don’t even realize how much that contributes to my relaxation until I travel and am blasted with ads for everything. Limiting the advertising in my home by switching to streaming is having a similar effect, as is ditching the landline which had become infested with spam callers. Now if I could just figure out a way to block ringless voicemail, I’d be all set…