Cable and Internet alternatives

By , July 5, 2010 8:05 am

Recently I took a hard look at our household’s spending on phone, Internet, and cable TV. YIKES!!!!!!!!!

We have Comcast cable TV (no premium channels), Verizon FIOS Internet, and Verizon Wireless (3 cell phones) and no home phone land line – one of the cell phones stays put at the house and serves as our home phone.

Comcast Digital Starter 59.31
Comcast DVR service 9.95
Comcast franchise cost 0.22
Comcast Digital Classic 13.95 (WTF is this?)
Verizon Internet 49.99
Verizon Cell phone 1 110.00 Nationwide Talk/Text FS 1400
Verizon Cell phone 1 29.99 Smartphone data plan
Verizon Cell phone 1 12.56 taxes, surcharges, bull
Verizon Cell phone 1 total $152.55
Verizon Cell phone 2 12.95
Verizon Cell phone 3 12.95
TV subtotal 83.43
Internet subtotal 49.99
TV/Internet subtotal 133.42
Cell phone subtotal 181.13
Total: 311.87

That’s $3,742.44 per year. WTF!.

So I’m looking at alternatives. Internet is the only item that is required though I might consider a lesser service if there was one. Some options I’m considering:

  • Moving TV/Internet to a single provider to get a better bundle price. It looks like I could get the same TV/Net service I have now from Verizon or Comcast for about $110-$120. Still too much.
  • Buy a digital antenna and live with over-the-air broadcast digital TV or bottom end cable service. I could supplement the meager channel selection with Internet content. This would take some effort to get the Internet content onto my TV in a convenient manner. This could be a laptop or some streaming solution.
  • Set-top TV/Internet box. There are several set-top boxes that have some level of Internet. The Roku box is one. Tivo has one. None are ideal because they all offer some small subset of Internet content.
  • One device that is looking attractive is ths Sezmi set-top box It has a honking 1TB DVR and digital antenna. The bottom end service is $4.95 which basically just gives you digital broadcast TV and DVR. The $19.95 service gives you cable channels that come over your internet connection. There’s not a lot but the ones they have are good – SyFy, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network. The downside to this device is that you have the bogus “channel” concept for Internet access. This means I can’t just fire up a browser, download a show and watch it. It has to be on some pre-packaged Sezmi channel.
  • Pure Internet set-top – The Neuros Link is an interesting device. It seems to give pure Internet but I’m not sure if it would suffice.

What to do? I’m really pissed off with the money I’m paying for phone, TV, and Internet. Sezmi seems like the best choice especially if I could combine it with some solution that could get pure Internet on my TV.

Confused, still looking, and open to advice.

6 Responses to “Cable and Internet alternatives”

  1. Bob says:

    I’m also in the process of cutting back. For me dropping the movie channels and replacing them with the Netflix DVD and streaming service made sense. And MythTV or Media Center are good replacements for the DVR.

    Windows system with Media Center ($150 new parts, the rest in recycled system parts) Could buy new for about $450
    Monthly costs.
    Comcast basic with internet $60
    Netflix $10
    Two cell phones with 1500 min. unlimited text & web $125
    Vonage unlimited $30

  2. please buy my house so i can leave says:

    Your cell phone #1 is way too high. We have 2 At&T phones, each with 1400 minutes, and unlimited texting, free access between family members for 79.95/mo total for the two cells. Have you checked to see if your phone company gives you a corporate discount? Every time just before my plan is up, I call customer service and threaten to go to another provider if they up my rates, and they manage to keep them the same.

    As for the internet, cable TV, land line service, we bought the FIOS bundle for $99.99/mo. The problem with them is that after one year that bundle jumps to almost $200.00/mo without warning. We do not have an HD TV or DVR. And to terminate their service before June 2012 would cost us a $325 penalty fee.

    Direct TV and Dish network have better prices for TV but they don’t offer internet connection.

    A home based satellite reviever & dish offers many free or minimal cost TV options, but again no internet capability.

    Now – for internet options, the only option I am aware of:
    1.) Old fashioned dial up modems
    2.) Live in an urban location which may have free WiFi service
    3.) Get a DSL phone connection – I believe it is several times faster than an old 56K
    dial up modem, but still not the speed of cable providers. (Speak to someone who
    has one to get more accurate info.)
    4.) I will be interested in looking at Neuros Link.

  3. Spiney says:

    We have FIOS 20/5, a similar TV package to yours, and a landline and our bill is about $130. We have TiVo at $10/month instead of the FIOS DVR.

    Four cellphones on T-Mobile, two with data, all with unlimited minutes and texting is about $230.

    If you went this way, you could kill the cellphone that stays home and use the FIOS landline that comes in the bundle. You might as well take the landline, TV+internet out of the bundle is not that much cheaper than TX+internet+land line.

    Two cell phones, one with data, would run about $135 or so with unlimited everything.

  4. bumpkin says:

    Spiney – it looks to me like your monthly builds are 370 compared to my 311 and you have 1 more cell phone(4) and one more cell phone w/data service.

    If I added a cellphone with dataservice my total would be around 354.

    • Your TV/Internet/DVR – 140
    • My TV/Internet/DVR 133.42
    • ………
    • Your 4 cellphones(2 w/data) 230
    • My 3 cellphones(1 w/data) 181
    • …….
    • Your total: 370
    • My total: 311

    I think we are both in the same ballpark – a very expensive ballpark that needs to be adjusted downward.

  5. Spiney says:

    @bumpkin
    I think your math is off.

    My TV/Internet/DVR includes a landline too for the $140, letting you drop one of the cellphones so you would only be at two, one with data.

    My TV/Internet/DVR/landline – $140
    Two cell phones, unlimited everything, one with data – $230-$60-$30 = $140

    Total for TV/Internet/DVR – $280. Not a big saving, but a saving nonetheless. If you go to 1500 shared minutes plus unlimited text you can knock another $20 off., so we’re at $260.

  6. Dan says:

    My wife and I dropped our premium channels and kept basic cable and our internet service. We save $100 a month and don’t miss a thing. The kids watch their shows on PBS and Netflix and I watch ESPN on my Xbox 360. Why don’t more people do this?

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy