The time has come to rearrange my budget. Looking for ways to save money, I decided to move most of my websites to WordPress. So I’m having an Internet Moving Day. I have signed up for a Personal account for two of my websites, and copied the content of this blog, which has not been used much lately to a free account. I will probably transfer my last one as well. Bye, bye, Hostgator. And Bye, Bye, GoDaddy. Saving about a quarter to a third of my cost.
Woohoo. We finally cut the cord with Comcast. Well, actually, we shaved the cord. That means we cut back our cable package drastically. We went from $190 a month to just over $100 a month, so we are now saving about $80 each month.
We prepared for this eventful day by setting up TiVo so we can still record shows, and last week I set up a TiVo mini in the living room.
So the beginning of last week I disconnected my fancy cable boxes, trotted on down to Comcast, and told them “Give me limited basic only”. I would then told that my package with now cost me $109 with blast Internet (100 mbs) and limited basic cable and no box rental. They would prorate the few days that we were still on the old package. But that was okay.
It went surprisingly easy. I had expected some static from Comcast. But then the fun begin. That was when I tried to set up the TiVo mini. I needed something called a Moca network to do it. And I needed to get some Moca adapters. I could not make heads or tails of the instructions on how to connect the cords and spent hours on the phone with TiVo and Comcast figuring out how to do it. But on Friday I got it finally got it done, and it is working just great. I was exhausted.
I’m rather proud of myself. Yes we are missing a few of our favorite channels by cutting or shaving the cord, but most of the programming I can find through streaming Hulu or Netflix. I think the minor inconvenience of missing a few channels is quite worth the $90 a month savings that we will be getting.
We are finally going to give Comcast back their cable boxes, strip down to basic cable, and start using a TiVo instead of renting a box. I am able to stream most of the shows I watch on Netflix and Hulu already, but there are a few I can’t. For that I must go to the Internet.
Disable My Cable and Cord Cutters News both have listings of channels for almost anything you could want. But I decided to make my own listing of channels I actually use, using some of the information I learned from them. This should make it easier for me when I want to watch something. I thought about doing this as a tag cloud, but I only found two WordPress plugins that would do what I want. I like the 3D effect, but I prefer the static look. So here I simply did a link list, using different fonts and colors for each channel. I think it is easier to use, but more time consuming to make.
3D WP Tag Cloud-M is the WP plugin I used to made the 3D tag cloud. This goes in the sidebar. Under the Widget Options I set the Menu Type to Static and did nothing else to the settings here. I did not make any other settings anywhere else. You have the option of several different clouds with this plugin, but I only used one. I think the 3D effect is rather cool, but not as practical as my list.
For everything else, I am using my Roku for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Sling, and an assortment of oddball channels, like Daily Motion. There are a number of other channels I could gave added here, but they all had only clips and not full episodes. Most of the channels I have listed have both.
I still can’t find out how to get Weather Channel with live streaming other than severe weather events, Northwest Cable News or the USA channel. If anyone knows a source, let me know.
We reached a decision on cord cutting, or actually, cord shaving, because were not actually cutting out cable altogether.
We have decided to keep the Internet service and cut back to a limited basic package with Comcast. We also plan to keep the TiVo box as our cable box to eliminate the equipment rental. Yes, I know TiVo has a monthly service fee, but it’s not as much as the Comcast box. Plus, this gives us combined searches that pull in both cable channels and streaming channels when we went to watch a specific show.
We should be able to get almost everything we usually watch using streaming channels on my Roku or TiVo and programs directly from the Internet.
I found some wonderful resources for doing the latter on disable my cable and cord cutters news. Disable My Cable has a wonderful online channel tuner with links directly to where you can watch programs. Cord Cutters News has quite a list of places where you can watch shows online. There’s a fair amount of overlap but each one has things that are unique. I make my own list, which I turned into a tag cloud in the side panel. This has the channels that I actually watch. I’ll tell you how I did that in a separate post.
I think we have a game plan. With it done we should save about $80 a month. Now comes the part where I disconnect my cable box, take them over to Comcast, and tell them to scale me back to limited basic cable and Internet. Wish me luck.
Public Domain image from License: CC0 Public Domain
We have been trying to cut our Cable bill to a more manageable amount. But what to leave out. We have our favorite channels which all seem to be in the upper tier, and that is without the Premium channels, like HBO. Pricey.
There are several possibilities that we have come up with. We are finally out from under our contract and can do what we want. We have already peeled away the phone service from the triple play. Comcast responded by jacking up our overall rate by taking away any promotional pricing. This only makes us angry and more determined to cut out more things.
We have determined that we can get almost all the programming we like by using Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. However this leaves out the live network channels for the news and other things. So our best options in that case are to keep a bare bones cable package for the networks, or we get an HD Antenna to pull in Over The Air signals.
We have tried the Mohu Leaf Plus Antenna with the 50 mile range and got 31 channels. Other than the network channels, most of these are very local junk channels with little real content other than moldy oldies like “I Dream Of Genie”. Now I love that show, but stuff that old is rediculous. The signal is also not that good with stuff cutting out, since we are about 50+ miles from Portland. There is little point in getting a more powerful antenna, because it doesn’t seem to add much for us in our location. So we will likely have to settle for the bare bones Cable package.
But even that is not optimum, since it doesn’t have the Weather Channel or Northwest Cable News. And I have found no alternatives for those. I keep looking.
I have found some wonderful resources from Disable My Cable and Cord Cutters News. There is advice on how to, reviews of equipment, and where to find content you like from non-Cable sources, like OTA and Netflix. This is where I learned about different Antennas and online channels.
Other places we can cut costs are by buying some of our own equipment. I am currently testing the TiVo box, which eliminates the need to rent a cable box. Yes there is a monthly fee, but it is cheaper than Comcast. Another thing that makes it attractive is that Comcast will take away our fancy Cable box if we downgrade to bare bones Basic cable and give us a box that does not have a DVR. Such lovely people.
A TiVo is a DVR, so we can still record if we go that route. One other really cool feature is that it pulls in listings for some streaming content from basic channel like Netflix, etc. so all I have to do is make a search of a show I want and I find where it is, whether that is on Comcast, Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime. Not too shabby. We do like it, and so far, think we will keep it. We may or may not get a satellite TiVo box in time. This will give us the opportunity to peel away more service from Comcast.
The other service we have been testing out is Sling. This is a streaming channel from Dish Network that gives some of the basic popular channels, like ESPN, CNN, HGTV, and Disney for a really cheap price $20). Plus there are a few addon packages for more sports, kids, and news. They are supposed to be getting AMC, which I believe will bring with it BBC America (Dr Who). The drawbacks are that it doesn’t have the main broadcast channels, nor can you record or view on more than one device. Plus, I have a lot of buffering on the channels, but I think this us my equipment and not the service. Still, my opinion of the service, so far is positive.
We have been considering cutting out Comcasts modem and eliminating that rental, too. But this may not be wise as I would get less tech support if I have problems in the future. I have all but eliminated this option.
So now, if we keep the TiVo and Sling and use my Roku or TiVo for streaming, and
So if we decide to keep the equipment and the Sling on top of the other streaming services we already have and peel our cable back to the bare bones Basic Cable, we well still nearly cut our bill in half and retain almost everything we like to watch. I still won’t have the Weather Channel, but I think I can cope.
This is the Tardis Quilt I have been working on. I’m about 2/3 done with the front. I think it will be too long, though so I may have to leave off the last row. We will see. Yes, Michael. It has been that long since I have updated this blog.