Ditch your TV cable bill?

January 2, 2012 by Karl

TV fax machine berry berry

Learn how to save money using an internet based device that allows you to ditch your TV cable bill, using your current broadband internet service.

It is no secret that paid TV service is not the same as it was 20 years ago.  It used to be that Cable and Satellite were your only choices.  Now the phone company is getting in on the deal too.  What most people haven’t realized yet is that it’s all the same thing.  The TV cable coming into your house is capable of internet service, TV service, and phone service, all through the same line.  The same is true with the new fiber optic service being pushed by major players in the phone industry.  The only thing that makes them different, is the box that is in the house, which distributes signal to either the phone, the TV, or the computer.  These companies are all pushing to sell “package” services, that group all three services into one convenient monthly bill.  What they are really doing is taking the same “data” service, and selling it three times to the home owner!  The only thing they need to do in order to make this possible is place a box in your house  (which they usually provide for free) which divides the data into three different wires in your house to go to the three different devices.

YOU NO LONGER NEED TO BE CHARGED THREE TIMES!  Let me say this again in another way.  Stop paying for anything other than internet service!  For more information about free phone service, please look at my post link.

First a disclaimer.  I have a rooftop antenna that I use for local TV.  We also have a dedicated computer hooked up to our TV for watching content available on the internet.  I have given this post a 3 blueberry rating, because I have not proven this method on my own yet.  We don’t need an excuse to watch any more TV than we do in this house (which is very rare anyway).  If you read this article and purchase either of the devices I have mentioned, I would love to hear a report about it in one of the comments below.

Now that I have that off of my chest, let me explain how this can work for your TV.  There are devices you can purchase that tie right into your internet connection, which act like a tv cable converter.  These devices vary in range in price from about $50 and up.  Here is the one I would purchase if I was going to do this: Roku 2.  There is also one put out by Apple TV which costs a bit more.  I don’t have experience with either, so I am relying on reviews I have read from others to make my choice.

This device can either use your wireless internet signal, or plug directly into your internet router to provide an HDMI output to plug into your computer.  This device will allow you to watch Netflix streamed movies directly to your TV, watch over 300 channels, and all without a monthly bill!  I may even get one to cut the computer out of the loop (and it will give us a better quality picture than we currently have through the computer).

“Stay tuned”,  to Frugalberry.com to see how this one turns out!

Update January 12, 2012

I broke down and purchased the Roku 2.  I decided to give a complete review on the device to see if the claims are true.

The connection and setup were a snap.  It does not come with an HD cable in the box, but I plugged in the supplied AV cable, and the power cable, and once I had the proper input selected on the TV, the setup screen was instantly visible.  I could have run an ethernet cable to the box, but I wanted to see how it worked through the wireless setup.

There is a LOT of content available with this device, some good, some bad.  The video and sound quality are fantastic.  I truly cannot believe that the video and sound are so good for a box about the size of a hockey puck.

There is NO parental control on this device.  My 9-year-old daughter is right at the age where she wants to go exploring, and this device offers no roadblocks to stop her.  Most of the content in the different movie channels are rated R.  I have decided that if it becomes a problem, I will disconnect the device and lock it up.  It’s so small that this is a minor inconvenience.

The netflix plan that I have is one of the old plans that no longer exists, but I am grandfathered into it.  It gives me 2 movies a month, and 5 hours of watch instant movies.  It turns out that with this plan, I cannot stream movies to my Roku 2.  I setup my netflix account with no problems, and could browse through my instant queue in the Roku 2, but when it came to watching any of it, a popup window came up informing me that my account would not allow streaming to this device.  Needless to say, I was very disappointed.  Upgrading my netflix account will cost me another $3 per month.  Not a back breaker, but not what I wanted either.

Overall, what this device does is amazing.  It is very different from cable, where you surf through channels that are constantly streaming live content.  With the Roku 2, each channel is a menu where you select the specific episode or movie that you want to watch.  Most of the free content is interrupted at timed intervals to display ads, sometimes in mid sentence.  This industry is still in its infancy stage, so the ads are few and the content tends to repeat.  I will keep my three blueberry rating of this device.  It can definitely save you money on your cable bill, but that expense may simply be replaced with the cost of other paid services through the device, depending on your watching interests.

 


6 Comments »

  1. Erik Synnestvedt says:

    I’m a big fan of Apple TV. That’s what we use to stream video content to our TV. We do pay for “basic” cable along with comcast internet service… but only to get the $15 multi-service discount (a discount which is slightly higher than the cost of the basic cable itself).

  2. Kayla says:

    WE have a Roku, it’s great for watching netflix and other free internet channels. We used to use an HDMI cable hooked up to our PC, but it was getting annoying walking back and forth every time we wanted to pause or watch something else. We paid $90 for the little Roku wifi box and a free lifetime membership to PlayOn (a bunch of free “cable” channels like HGTV, ESPN, Disney, NBC, ABC, etc.). NEVER paying for anything but internet again! (oh, and our home phone, MagicJack, runs through that, too!)

  3. renee says:

    Hi I dont understand how this works. Will my kids be able to turn the channel and watch what they want on the tv ? How is it different from cable that we have now besides the price which kills me to pay every month I am very interested can someone help thanks !!

    • Karl says:

      Renee,

      It functions a little bit differently than a regular TV, but you can select which “channel” you want to watch with the remote that comes with it. It’s hard to explain in just a few words. There are hundreds of different channels you can use. Some of them are free, some of them you need to pay for. You can choose which ones you want as part of your service. If you are hooked on the cable channels you have, you may not find them on the Roku. A lot of them are off the wall channels.

      Overall, if you are serious about cutting the cable bill out of your life, this will help you do it. You won’t find any of the local over the air channels here though.

      I hope this helps.

      Karl

  4. Steve says:

    I’ve been using a ROKU2 for about a year now. I’m hooked. It offers so much quality entertainment. And to be able to watch an entire season, like 24, Revenge or Parenthood, back to back episodes, so nice.
    But, if you are hooked into cable news channels, you’ll need the internet. The offerings I see on Roku are largely selections that are at least a year old.

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