When I quit my teaching job to pursue writing full time, we made some changes. We looked for ways to cut down our monthly expenses and financial obligations to make for some more breathing room in our now one-income budget. One of the areas we did that was in our TV/Satellite bill by switching to a less conventional option, and it's had the added side effect of bringing more simplicity and less wasted time to our lives. We get a lot of questions about our current setup, so I thought I'd let you know how it's working for us.
We were formerly with Direct TV and paying about $120 a month with no premium channels but the NFL Sunday Ticket (gotta watch my Packers on Sunday) included. When I type that number it seems ludicrous to me. Because now we pay $16 a month. Here's how:
We have a digital HD antenna which gets us all the network and local TV stations right through our TV with a better signal than we even had with the satellite, seriously.
We also have a Roku box which provides internet based streaming television on our TV. It's the same concept as Apple TV. On the box there are channels like Hulu (which we pay $8/month for the HuluPlus subscription to watch our favorite shows when we have time) and Netflix (another $8/month). There also is all kinds of other channels on the Roku like Pandora, Amazon, and Vudu for renting movies, playing music, etc. I just love that little black box.
How much was the digital antenna and the Roku box?
There was an initial one time investment of $100 for the digital antenna and $40 for the Roku box. Those paid for themselves within the first two months of saving by not paying a monthly Direct TV bill.
Are there channels you can't get?
Yes, currently some of my former favorites like Bravo and HGTV don't have Roku channnels, and don't have shows on Hulu, but I can buy all the Bravo shows a la carte on Amazon for like $3 an episode. This allows me to still binge watch my Real Housewives of (name the city), but I've found I actually enjoy those guilty pleasures more when it's not just on mindlessly in the background, but I am intentionally sitting down to watch something. You can find pretty much every episode of any show a la carte on Amazon. That's how we watch The Walking Dead. Even if we buy whole seasons of certain shows, it's still way less than $120/month and we're not obligated for that amount each month.
What about The NFL Sunday Ticket?
We've done this a couple different ways since we've made the switch. The first year, Sony had a deal with Direct T.V. where you could get it through the Playstation 3 and so we did it that way. This past year, if you bought Madden 25, it came with a code to get The Sunday Ticket again for only about $100 for the game and the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Do you miss satellite or cable?
Not one bit. Seriously. I am more surprised by this than anyone. I love TV and was very hesitant to give up our more traditional set up. I will never be one of those extremists who don't own a TV and are militant about not letting their kids watch it. I see nothing wrong with a little unwinding in front of a favorite show, but this is a small change that has made a big difference in our budget and free time, and I actually enjoy it even more now.