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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Cutting the Cord


My years of cable TV are coming to an end. The combination of rising cable service prices and completely lackluster programming options led me to make the move.

It’s not that hard to do. I called up Comcast and asked to be disconnected. My rep said, sure, then went through the script to try to prevent me from leaving.

Why do you want to end the service? Um.. ever-increasing rates, too many PBS stations, way too many shopping and religious channels, Comcast is a cruddy company, and so on.

Maybe you need more channels, how about an upgrade to 40 channels? Uh, no thanks. It costs more and doesn’t solve the problem.

Can we interest you in internet service for streaming? Uh... no. I have internet service.

If the lack of quality programming is the issue, how about an upgrade to the all digital 130 channel package? Um.. no. That would cost more than what I’m cancelling for costing too much.

Okay, we’ll cancel it. You’ll have to go to Greenfield as the final step. To drop of your converter box. Or you could take it to UPS, in Greenfield, located next to the Comcast office. I’ll mail it.

And that was it.

My earliest cable experiences were in upstate NY as a kid, when we used it to get better reception of major stations compared to the TV antenna. Nice, solid, clean reception of about 20 channels in and around NY state.

In high school, paid cable movie channels became popular. Remember when HBO began and showed about 3 b-movies a month, over and over and over? Sometimes a breast or two would be shown after midnight!

There followed the explosion of cable offerings and specialty channels. MTV playing music videos all day long. A station that just did news! (CNN). Weather all the time!

Regular broadcast TV has struggled to maintain pace. Some of the best shows aren’t coming from TV anymore. They are being custom created for streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, and again, HBO. YouTube could keep one busy for a lifetime and it is free.

That said, the decision to cut the cord wasn’t entirely easy. I do like having a Weather Channel and C-Span available. There are times of national news that having access to a regular TV channel might be useful. And I’m abandoning local access TV via the cable, which weighs on me as a supporter of community media.

I’ll be replacing the cable with at least one streaming service - Netflix, for now. And I’ll need to track down ways to watch the other programming I like, probably on websites. The CBS site will let me watch current episodes of Big Bang Theory. C-Span has an archive. I’ll live.

I do have a question for others - has anyone tried a digital TV antenna in Brattleboro? Does it pick up anything?

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Antenna

I'm just off Stage Rd in Guilford and I have a Mohu Sky 60 outdoor antenna. I get NBC, ABC and a few different PBS stations.

 
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I don't have a digital

I don't have a digital antenna but I gave up cable about 7 years ago. I have Roku, Hulu and Netflix. I pay about $22.00 a month and really have more TV than I can watch.I get the local PBS channel on Roku and Hulu shows any of the few TV series I'm interested in the day after they are on. Lots of movies, documentaries, concerts, TED, honestly I don't know why anyone has cable anymore. You can get a much more diverse selection of viewing - hand picked by you for the most part. For a fraction of what cable costs. Seems like a win/win.

 
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I am all about the Roku. We

I am all about the Roku. We have two, and we use Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Planet earth. Oh, and when they run a special, HBO. Love my Roku!!

 
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the box

So you turn some subscriptions on and off depending on what they are offering? Hadn't thought that far into this. Do they just suspend your account for a while, or do you start and restart accounts?

Does Roku let you watch YouTube? My DVD player lets us get some paid services through it, but there are some severe limitations. (I can watch Vimeo, but not YouTube, for example).

 
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You can get the youtube

You can get the youtube channel - which I have. Some of the Roku channels are paid subscriptions but dozens and dozens are free.For instance, sometimes there's a series on netflix that I might want to watch so i sign up for netflix for as long as the series is going and then I halt it.Same thing with hulu - or any of the paid ones. It just gives so much more variety than cable does. I just signed up for the Sundance Doc channle - $6.00 a month and about a kazillion really good films- both full lenghth and shorts. I don't know how long I'll keep it - maybe for the winter but even with that addition I'm paying less than $30 for really good TV. I got my Roku modem about 3 years ago -it was less than $25. They have upgraded ones now that do all kinds of magical things :-) for a little more than that price. I'm fine with this one.
I'm not sure I could take any more magic in my life....
Also, with Roku you can tie in the indieflicks channel via the library and have access to even more independent films for free.

 
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Cord Cutting

There's a web site cordcutternews.com and a Facebook group Cord Cutting Tech Support...lots of good info.

 

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