Cutting the Cord

Cable TV, 100+ channels of goodness. Learn about current events. Watch the nightly news. Stare in awe as high-flying athletes shoot hoops, ski down mountains, hit a little ball of choice, drive in a circle or whatever your sport of choice might be. After work, it’s tempting to sit down and let your brain take the easy path. Six o’clock news. Sports Center. Or, watch your sitcom/series of choice. Walking Dead anyone? But when How I Met Your Mother and Mad Men came to an end, I decided it was time.

Since then, cutting the cord has been on my to do list. I procrastinated. Finally, I decided to write the task or resolution down in my journal. And once written down, you have to do it. And I finally did. I suppose I’ve been making excuses. I had a lot of them. It’s part of the package. I have to sit on the phone with Comcast for over an hour (I timed it), etc., And what about the Walking Dead? I admit doing this took baby steps.

First, I dumped my current cable provider and went with an unbundled package. Cable. Separate charge. High speed internet. Separate charge. Resist the bundle. All in all, I probably saved about 60 bucks a month off the top, give or take. Yes, you can call Comcast every 12 months, tell them your leaving, and most likely get a deal to stay for two years, locked in. But I didn’t want to do that anymore. Once you start auto billing anything, it becomes really hard to say no to it.

Next, I wrote down everything I wanted to watch. I do have some guilty pleasures. I’m not one of those everything on TV is bad types. And I like Jimmy Fallon. I want to watch the big sporting event: NCAA Tourney, Super Bowl, World Series, Olympics, etc., Plus, I enjoy the local news. The Internet is great for big news, but local television still rules the hometown market. It’s good to know what’s going on in your community. So, I purchased this adapter that works with the XBOX One. I don’t play many video games. The 80+ hour Bioware epic is a bit much. I played Halo. Worked through the latest EA Star Wars game. I think I died every 30 seconds. I’m terrible with first person shooters. Give me Mario and Contra. The old stuff I can still work over.

But I have a game machine, mostly I tell the television to turn on and off with it. Every now and then I have to yell, but it works well most of the time. The USB adapter plugs into any TV antenna. With the adapter and XBOX, I get the full channel guide, the ability to record and playback for a half-hour (not full DVR but it works well enough) and free over the air television. The government went HD awhile back and the picture is incredible. By the naked eye, I believe I get a better picture from broadcast TV than Comcast or any Satellite provider. Nice job Uncle Sam. In cost, the adapter ran me about 40 dollars. If you need a nice antenna too, I’d add at least two more 20 dollar bills, but the device came with an antenna that did a fairly good job. And if you don’t have an XBOX, that will run you about 250 to 400 dollars give or take the deal of the day and type you’re wanting. Also, I leverage an Amazon Prime Subscription for streaming videos. I don’t find much on it but every now and then I get lucky.

So, what’s the verdict? I’m not sure the savings have come pouring in. I did bump up my internet speed, which probably needed to happen anyway. I’ve been on the quest to find the perfect router of late. I finally found it and depending on how it works over the next few months I might write a review on it. I’ve only had it a few weeks but I like it that much. Also, I rent more movies now. Instead of watching television, I watch real movies. Spotlight. The Big Short. Creed. It’s Academy Award season. And it’s better than mindless television. All in all, I’d say I’m going to eventually save money (I’m debating the MLB package, add 100 dollars here for baseball fans). Still, cutting the cord isn’t a slam deck four months into it.

But what I did get back is time. I’m no longer in the television matrix. I read books. Play board games (I’ve rediscovered the Game of Life, oh the memories). Write stories. Run. Talk to old friends. Network. Yes, there is so much to do in this world. And only so much time to do it.


The XBOX Television Tuner. There is also a bundle in the XBOX store that includes a high end antenna.

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