We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Cable!

Back in March, I wrote a post about The Ultimate Set-Top Box. I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately and the fact that I just don’t watch much cable TV anymore. Sure, when I’m bored I occasionally flip through the things on my TiVo, but it wouldn’t be any huge hardship to choose something else like reading a book, playing a video game or working on a programming hobby project. So the question is … how much extra am I spending on a cable subscription that I don’t need?

I did some research. Actually, I did some digging because Frontier Communications made it very hard to find out this information. I tried going through their website via my account to see if I could change my plan. They would not allow me to deselect TV from my current plan. I could add or upgrade services, but I could not remove anything. I finally had to resort to logging into their website as a new customer and look up the currently available plans that way. Still, they didn’t make it easy because of the dizzying array of choices available. But I was able to finally select just FIOS Internet without TV, without Home Phone, at my current speed rating. Making this change would save me $30 per month. It also turns out that the next higher speed rating might save me an additional $10 per month.

As Marco Arment recently pointed out in a podcast, $40 per month can buy a lot of TV or movies on iTunes (or Amazon or Hulu or [insert your favorite video service here]). Approximately thirty dollars will buy you a full thirteen-episode season of Doctor Who in HD from Amazon Video-on-Demand. A full season of House in HD will run you about $56. iTunes runs slightly more at $37 and $60, respectively. Remember, these are HD videos that are yours to keep (so long as the DRM continues to be supported) with no commercials or other claptrap getting in the way. $40 per month is $480 per year or eight full American-style seasons in HD. So I could still have the shows that I really do want to watch, in a format that may allow me more freedom to watch when, how and on which device I want to watch it, and possibly still save me money.

Now I just need to figure out how to break the news to my daughter …


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