View Full Version : Cut your cable bill

03-03-2013, 09:51 AM

Lindsey Pinto hasn’t had cable TV since 2006. The Vancouver resident was going to university at the time and got rid of the service to save money. She hasn’t missed it.
“There was no way I could afford it on top of my tuition and living expenses,” says Pinto, the communications manager at OpenMedia.ca, a grassroots organization that works for open and affordable Internet. “I called it a day and got used to living without it. Considering how expensive TV is, if you can cut costs in this economy, that’s a good place to start.”
Pinto and her fiancé now get their TV fix from online sources. “We still have a TV but it doesn’t hook up to cable; we use an HDMI cord to hook up to our computers. There’s tons of stuff available online. We’re not starved by any means.”

She says it’s a trend that’s only going to grow.
“ A lot of Canadians, especially younger Canadians, are cutting the cord and moving toward the over-the-top system where they get the type of content they want, when they want it, not necessarily with commercials, while saving money.”
Cable subscribers spend an average of $71 on cable, adding up to $852 a year, according to Centris, a research group. Add in premium viewing like HBO, and the monthly bill can creep up toward $100.

According to a 2010 study by research firm Yankee Group (http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2010/04/30/yankee-group-study-12-5-will-cut-cord-on-cable-satellite-within-a-year/50180/), one in eight consumers cancelled cable that year.

Its study “Consumers Consider Axing the Coax (http://www.yankeegroup.com/ResearchDocument.do?id=53361)” pointed to three main factors driving the trend: a new wave of HDTVs that are Internet ready, increasing pay TV prices, and the proliferation of connected consumer devices that can act like set-top boxes, such as the Nintendo (http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NTDOY) Wii and Microsoft (http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/q?s=MSFT&ql=1) Xbox 360 gaming consoles.
Research before you pull the plug
There are potential drawbacks when it comes to ditching cable. Pinto notes that Internet companies can easily increase rates or slow down connections. If your connection isn’t fast enough, videos can stop and start or appear grainy. Usage caps can be restrictive too. Using an Internet service with a low download limit can lead to outrageously expensive fees.
With those caveats in mind, there are a few alternatives to cable to consider. Pinto reminds to access only trustworthy sites and to ensure there’s no copyright infringement.
Netflix (http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NFLX&ql=0)
Besides offering flat-rate DVD and Blu-Ray disc rental by mail, it also streams movies and TV shows over the Internet. A trial month is free; from there, packages start at $7.99 per month.
Be warned: Netflix in Canada offers different programming and access than Netflix in the United States. If you’re tech savvy, there’s a way around that. As a Canadian subscriber, you can subscribe to Netflix USA by accessing a proxy tool like Hotspot Shield (http://www.hotspotshield.com/en) to assign an American IP Address to your computer.
Network sites
CBC, CTV, Discovery, HGTV, the Comedy Network, CityTV are just some sites that have shows available online. American networks do too, but often Canadians are blocked from seeing them (unless you try that Hotspot Shield trick from above).
Some shows are free, while others start at $0.99. Entire seasons run around $29.99.
The Google (http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GOOG&ql=0)owned site is best for clips of TV shows as opposed to full episodes, though some short films and music videos can be found.
Over-the-air (OTA) digital television
If you live in a big city and happen have a TV with a digital tuner as well a powerful antenna (outside your home), you can usually pick up local stations for free.
The library
The what? It doesn’t get cheaper than this, unless you have a habit of returning DVDs late. Then it can cost a fortune.

03-03-2013, 10:51 AM
Although I have thought about cable from time to time, but never wanted to spend any money for it. So, this has no impact on me, as I have a zero bill at this point. I wonder why so many people put it so high on their priority list. I spend enough time watching TV as it is. I would end up spending many more hours glued to the TV if I had cable.


03-03-2013, 11:57 AM
Wouldn't work here - not living in the country. I really do want more than just NBC, CBS, ABC. We don't do the pricey upgrades like HBO, etc and have Video on Demand - much of which is free. - and of course there's RedBox or NetFlix for other movies. Without cable - no internet either - again - not in a FIOS reception area. And since my son pays the bill anyway - then I'm not worried about it! :p For 3 T.V.'s (2 with hd hookup) with TONS of channels, and internet, runs $150. I don't think that's too horrible for all of that

03-03-2013, 06:30 PM
I do not have cable (dish here in the country); I have a good regular antenna on my rooftop and can get the digital HD programs of CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, CW, PBS etc very clear and sharp. I just cannot make/let myself spend at least $100 a month on cable tv programs. Years ago I had my computer upgraded so I can "drag" programs from computer to my big tv which is great (they're located in same room). I do have $8 instant Netflix and sometimes I rent movies from VuDu via my BluRay.

Many people do not realize that if they have a digital hd tv and are in a good reception location and have rooftop antenna they can get digital HD programs from the regular networks and they do not have to subscribe to cable to get regular networks. I have helped some of my neighbors who were upset when digital came and they thought they had to get cable/dish to see regular networks-not true--if you're in a good reception area with good antenna. For two of my little tv's, I use the old fashioned rabbit ears and can get a few channels but not as many as with rooftop antenna.

03-03-2013, 08:46 PM
I live in a condo complex and I can't get good reception without having cable. I used to have pay for it on my own but now it's included in my homeowners dues so we have to have Comcast. Since I have this, I do get a slight discount for my internet and digital phone service from Comcast too. My parents don't have cable in their Saratoga home which is where they spend the most time. They do,however,have it in their San Clemente home which they spend maybe about 2-3 months a year. I don't know why they got cable in that house. It doesn't make any sense to me.:confused:

03-03-2013, 09:47 PM
Unfortunately, there aren't any SAFE sites that allow you to stream local NHL and MLB games... so I do have to get tv access. But that includes AMC so I can watch walking dead :)

We went for 2 years without subscribing to uverse tv. We subscribed to netflix and used redbox and if there was a show we wanted to watch (namely, Walking Dead) we would go to my parents' house and watch it as a family. We still do, actually, eventhough we subscribe to tv now. But I got tired of trying to stream cardinals games audio and being a few minutes behind what was "live" on tv... and watching it is still way better than listening to it. Also considering many sources that allow you to stream games only allow you to watch "away" games because the tv networks here have exclusive rights to home games and its illegal for other sources to broadcast it unless you subscribe to certain services... $15/month for just baseball or $60/month for 200 channels... think I'll go with 200 channels.