Going cable free

A month ago I made the decision to begin the process of dropping our services from Time Warner Cable and replace them with modern alternatives. Our overall TWC bill for phone, television and Internet was a approximately $204 each month. Yes, this is higher than most cable bills but here is what we got for that price:

  • Unlimited national phone service with extended features like voicemail to email
  • 50/5 Internet connection (50Mbit down and 5Mbit up) with no monthly cap
  • The extended digital tv service with all channels except for paid networks (e.g. HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, and the special sports channels)
  • 2 DVR’s that networked together so you can record up to 4 shows simultaneously and watch them from either DVR

The package above is the Signature Home service which also comes with your own special customer service number to call with no call queue and in most cases same day in-home tech service (from my experience). Prior to having Signature Home I was paying approximately $130/month and that only included 1 DVR, 15/1 Internet connection and no home phone service. When you look at it this way, $204/month isn’t such a bad deal after all for what you receive in return. Well, it isn’t a bad deal compared to other offerings from TWC.

Total yearly costs end up being roughly $2500 for TWC services. We don’t watch the news, almost never watch live TV or have the TV on just to have it on and almost never use our home phone. 50Mbit down from the Interwebs is also particularly hard to achieve. TWC offers a 30/5 package which suited my needs a little better. We use power line ethernet in our home and end up getting an average of ~30Mbit between the switches I have setup. The extra 20Mbit down was getting lost except for devices connected directly to our router. 30Mbit down is plenty fast to stream full HD over the net so that was the obvious choice to downgrade.

TWC phone service ends up being approximately $40 when purchased independently from TWC. We were paying $40 for maybe an hour a month of phone talk time? Cell phone coverage stinks in our neighborhood and the AT&T Microcell is also a poor product and unreliable so we had to keep some sort of home line around. Hello Ooma! I bought the Ooma device for $200 and we’ll pay $120/year for Ooma Premium so we can have services like voicemail to email. I can even do things TWC couldn’t, like assign custom caller ID names to numbers, make my own telemarketer blacklist, use a community telemarketer blacklist and even have a text message sent to my phone if 911 is dialed from our home number. Ooma ends up being 25% of what TWC’s phone service is…and I get more features.

The hardest part is dropping cable TV. We don’t watch live TV, local news or sports, so this was much easier for us to accomplish than the regular Joe. I compiled all of our shows with their costs and what services we would get them from in a spreadsheet.

Here is a link to that spreadsheet: http://bit.ly/AcAGn5

Since I had a package deal with TWC, it is hard to isolate precise costs for each package, but the savings ends up being approximately $1800/year the best I can figure. This being all of the above changes. I also get the added benefit of owning the shows that I purchase from iTunes. I could save a few more bucks in some cases by opting for Amazon Video but I’m pretty committed to Apple as a provider of hardware, software and media as a package deal and don’t want to deviate from that too much.

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