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Why we ditched TV service

Nov 16, 2015   //   by wvanbusk   //   Technology  //  Comments Off on Why we ditched TV service

We finally got a BIG screen TV in our living room after having almost no TV for a decade. How did we get to this point?

magnavox  antenna

This was actually a big step for us. We have been  small screeners for a some time. We last had a 27″ analog tube set (that was big & heavy anyway) that went dead back in 2004 and we just did not replace it. At the time we also ditched the cable TV service for a while and used Qwest DSL for internet. Later we got a 20″ lcd panel in the guest-office room with roof antenna which has sufficed us for the last 10 years. We did switch the roof antenna to a digital style after a branch fell on the old antenna, turning it into recycled aluminum. Then we switched back to Comcast internet and basic TV when our DSL, which was way too far from from the dsl switch, did not cut it anymore for serious VPN telecommuting.  We would get cozy on the little day bed in there and watch Football and episodes of X-Files, House and Bones. When Comcast dropped analog and shipped out their dumb little set top boxes and all the local HD channels went away, we dropped the basic cable $20/mo and added a second digital antenna on the same local signal to keep the HD TV content flowing and used Comcast just for internet. We also replaced the $5/mo rented docsis 2 modem with a docsis 3 from the thrift store ($15).

vizio 20     pana qwest  netflixdantenna

We were also subscribed to Netflix and mostly watched DVDs on our basement home theatre. Then Netflix doubled the cost, because of the streaming increased, so we went to just 3 DVDs a week. When Amazon Prime added streaming video to their plan and we had watched most of what interested us on Netflix, we cancelled Netflix and just streamed Amazon Prime and watched broadcast HDTV. We made some other cost saving changes in 2010, including dropping the Phone Service  $60/mo in favor of Google Voice, Talk and Chat with an Obi 100 digital to analog converter for our wired phone network. Dropped Verizon $70/mo for our two feature phones and got two prepaid smart phones on PagePlus $21/mo, a Verizon mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). These changes cut our monthly communication bill by $100/month.

d630 obi100pageplus    comcast

So the past couple of years we have primary just watched streaming video on our laptops in the living room while on the couches. We used computer speakers for improved sound and set the laptop on a bowl on top of the coffee table and binged on TV series we had missed. We re-watched every episode and season of several favorites, including all the Star Trek series. We also kept up with The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Rachel Maddow, and  a couple of FOX shows on their web sites. We had pretty much stopped going in the spare room to watch broadcast TV or in the basement to watch video disks.

primeboston  flex2

In 2015 things got different fast. First we got new Lenovo Ultrabooks. Then we got a NAS box. Then we got a second dd-wrt wireless router. The old Boston computer speakers developed a bad volume control which was replaced by Logitech 5500 thx 5.1 surround system for 15 at a local estate sale. We were watching some new cable TV series where the next season cost $30 to watch online, but we could check it out at the library, so we played dvds on the laptop. The living room was getting cluttered with external usb devices to play DVDs, backup ultrabooks, wires for external speakers, laptop power supplies, etc. I felt like we should do something. Summer was over and we had not taken a big vacation, so we spent the surplus on a 55″ 4K TV to put in the living room and act as a central location for watching videos.