Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Goodbye Cable TV...Almost

I've been working for the past few weeks to prepare for the severing of relationships with our current cable TV provider -- signing up for Hulu, building a HTPC (Home Theater Personal Computer, for the uninitiated), etc.  Last night, I completed the last few steps -- powered down the TiVo and removed the CableCARDs in it.  Then, this morning, I called to cancel my account.

Except I didn't do it.

As I had expected, I was passed over to the "retentions" department and I was given a few options to entice me to stay.  What I wasn't expecting, however, were the plans that didn't have any promotional pricing, and pretty reasonable prices at that.  I ended up scaling us back to the "bare bones minimum" plan that only gives us the network channels plus a smattering of basic cable channels (Discovery being the only one he listed that we watch with any frequency).  This plan is about $21/mo (probably $25 after taxes), which compared to the $98 we had been paying before (plus the $13/month going to TiVo, which is also going to get cancelled in favor of the HTPC), is still a pretty reasonable savings -- about $86 per month, or just over $1000 a year!

I'm not viewing this as "caving in" to their attempts to retain me as a paying customer, and part of me was expecting this to be the end outcome anyway, for the following reasons:

  • While I have managed to locate online alternatives to almost all of our shows, the ones we like from Discovery do not really seem to be online anywhere, other than paying per episode from Amazon.  Plus, Discovery can be one of those great put-it-on-and-forget-about-it channels, for example when I'm sick on the couch.
  • Part of my plan had included getting the network stations "OTA" (over the air) with an antenna.  Unfortunately, I don't yet have an antenna in place, nor do I have the structured cabling installed yet to get the signal from it to the TV.  Since this new cable plan has no commitment period, this can act, if nothing else, as a stop-gap until we can get the antenna set up.
So, we shall see how this works....

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