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Saturday, November 24, 2012

We pulled the plug on DirecTV! Here's how we did it

hottipscentral.com
11/22/2012, Day one of life without DirecTV:

Over the past couple of years, I've gotten fed up with the increasing costs of satellite TV. After getting married in 2008 and renting a house for awhile, we also tried Comcast, for six months. It’s the same with all the cable, satellite providers, you want HD and DVR with more than one TV, all the fees will add up.
I've never paid for “premium” channels and was always satisfied with the “expanded basic” package. Every time our bill would go over $100 per month, I would call, cut some service or complain our rate was too high and we would get a break for a short time. A couple of months ago our bill went over $100 again and I cut our service back to the bare minimum, losing the NFL channel in the process. Even with that, one HD DVR box and two non HD boxes for the bedroom TVs, our bill was still about $90.00! That’s it, I was fed up and started looking for alternatives.
A friend at work was telling me a few weeks ago that he and his wife rarely watch their satellite TV any more because they had “Roku”. I really don’t keep up with all the new tech these days and had never heard of Roku. He explained that it is a simple video streaming box that you hook up to your TV and are then able to watch a ton of free stuff as well as Netflix or Hulu Plus through your TV in HD (as long as you have good internet service). He said there is so much content available on there that they really don’t watch anything else.
Well, I went home and started researching this “Roku”, which you can buy the basic version which works fine for only $50.00 I went down to Best Buy and and picked up the $79 box with 1080i a couple weeks ago and brought it home. It was simple to hook up to our TV and home Wifi and we were watching all kinds of stuff in no time. A Netflix account is only $8 per month as well as Hulu Plus, so I did a free trial with both. Finding the content and layout much better on Netflix, I then canceled Hulu Plus.There is a huge amount of free content (television programs and movies) as well as on demand movies from Amazon and many other providers.
Roku worked out great for us, so last weekend I took the next step by going and picking up a TiVo Premiere HD DVR box and a local “rabbit ears” antenna to pick up local channels. In the Salt Lake City area we have about 16 local TV channels to choose from that are free. With a $15.00 per month mandatory subscription to TiVo you get an on screen guide and ability to record and schedule any over-the-air TV broadcasts. Unfortunately, you can’t record content from the Roku box, but that’s really not an issue as Roku is “on demand” streaming and you can stop and pick up where you left off anytime while on it. I also ordered two more $50 Roku boxes for the bedroom TVs.
So last night I got everything set up, unbelievably the picture from the local channels viewed with the antenna is better than seeing it through the DirecTV box! I got the Rokus working on the other TVs and now all I need is a couple rabbit ear antennas for them. I then made “the call” to cancel DirecTV. After listening to their spiel for a half hour as they tried drastic measures to keep us, the last offer was 60 channels for about $29 per month (but the $10 HD DVR rental and $12 for the two non HD boxes still bring the monthly charge to well over $50). So I finally agreed to “suspend” my account for six months at no charge. I can keep all the equipment and restart my service at any time during that six months.
Here’s the bottom line, before we were at $90 per month for satellite and $50 for internet, totaling $140. After, we have the TiVo service at $15, Netflix at $8 along with the $50 internet which totals $72. So going forward, we save about $70 per month.

Total upfront costs for the extra equipment were the TiVo Premiere HDVR for $150, one $79 Roku 1080i box and two $49 regular HD Rokus and the cost of three rabbit ear antennas for about $60. The other piece you will need, if you want the TiVo connected through your WiFi is a Tivo network adapter. Otherwise you will need a cable to your router or computer (or hook a phone line to it). Note: Best Buy will rip you off on this item, charging over $90 for it. You can order one through Amazon for $60, maybe less if you look around! There are two types, Wireless N and Wireless G. So, our total equipment costs are about $450 and we should save enough to offset that in six or seven months. I’m also considering shopping for a deal from a new internet provider.
So far this has been working well. The only thing I will miss is not having ESPN or the NFL channel and TNN. Part of the NASCAR season is on these channels as well as Monday Night and Thursday Night Football. I also watch a lot of the Fox News Channel (O’Reilly) and will not have it. Although I can watch the previous day’s stories at the Fox News channel on Roku! Since the NASCAR season ended Sunday and the Packers are not scheduled on ESPN or the NFL channel for the rest of the season, this is a perfect time to try this. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Good bye DirecTV!

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2 comments:

  1. You went out of your way to save money but lost alot of great service. Kudos to you but still if you every want to go back just call.

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    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, we did lose content, as I said, I will miss ESPN, NFL Network and a few other stations and we were happy with the service. The problem, not only with DirecTV but all of the providers is the ever increasing costs. It's been long overdue and customers need an a la carte menu to pay for the channels they watch!

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