How I got rid of cable TV thanks to the internet

I was a cable holdout for a long time, but about 4 months ago I finally decided to take the plunge and cut the cord. I was tired of paying $160+ a month for Comcast’s TV/Internet/Phone bundle. Especially when I was only actually watching around 8 of the 200 or so channels I got on the service on a regular basis.

The first thing I did was buy a Roku. If you’ve never heard of it, Roku is quite possibly the niftiest gadget you can have in your home entertainment setup. It’s a tiny box (a little larger than a deck of playing cards) that connects to your TV and your WiFi network. It supports Netflix, Hulu Plus, and a host of other streaming channels. There’s also a channel for the Plex media server, which allows you to stream video from your computer to your television.

Since the most basic Roku is priced at a very reasonable $49.95 and there’s no subscription required (other than to Netflix and Hulu if you want to use them on it), I decided to get one and see how I liked it. As it turned out, I liked it a whole lot. I had previously been using my PS3 to stream from Netflix and Hulu, but the Roku seemed to have a more reliable connection, a better interface, and additional free options, like the Crackle movie channel, Pandora internet radio, and, of course, Plex.

As great as that was, there’s still something to be said for live TV, though. Something I hadn’t realized (or had forgotten since the switchover from analog to digital happened and my old analog TV with the rabbit ears in my spare room couldn’t pick anything up anymore) was that broadcast channels were still available over the air. You just have to have a digital convertor box for an analog TV set. So, why not mount an antenna on my roof, and connect it to the existing coaxial cables that Comcast was using?

It was right around that time that I decided I was really going to do this. I made a call to Comcast and told them I was cancelling cable TV. The following day, I returned all of their equipment.

I did a little research and finally decided on the C2 Clearstream2 Antenna from Antennas Direct to pick up local stations. The installation was easy. Hooking it into the cable box was easy. Getting my digital TV’s to find the channels was easy, once I found the right menu.

A second Roku for the living room television rounded things out nicely. I’ve now been living without cable TV for 4 months, and to be honest, I don’t miss it at all. If there’s a show I really want to watch that isn’t on a local channel, it’s usually available on iTunes or Amazon. Even at $20 a pop for the current season, it’s still cheaper than the $60 a month I was paying to Comcast for the TV portion of the bundle, and I can watch it whenever I want, as many times as I want.

The only downside is that iTunes uses DRM on all of their videos that prevents me from streaming it to my TV via the Plex channel. Of course, there are ways around that little problem… like the iSkySoft software, for instance.

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15 Comments to "How I got rid of cable TV thanks to the internet"

  1. ComcastMark says:

    I am sorry to learn that you’re no longer a Comcast customer. If you decide to come back, please feel free to contact me. I am here to help.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

    • Scott H says:

      Comcast Mark – what a complete Comcast putz. Exactly the kind of remarks you would expect from a cable company…

      To the author:

      Thanks for this excellent post. I just started researching how to get rid of Time Warner. Your article was most helpful. I intend to post my experience everywhere. Hopefully, we can bring the cable fat cats down! They’ve gouged consumers far too long.

      Thanks again!

  2. […] was great until I decided to get rid of Comcast’s cable service a few months back. At that point, my bill dropped more than $60, but it was still over $100 with […]

  3. Henry H. says:

    Help! I hate Comcast for all the reasons stated and then some. I have the 3 int/ phone/tv. I want to get an antenna, & a new phone/internet provider. You state in par. 6 you hooked the antenna into the cable box (?) What box is this??? This lost me as I thought you had to turn in all cable equip. to Comcast. Can anyone help me with tv/int/phone as I so want to leave Comcast. I will have to hire the antenna install on the roof, but believe I can do the int. and phone myself. Thank you so much and I love your helpful post. HH

    • Nikki Blight says:

      The cable box I’m referring to is the one on the outside of my house, where the old cable line comes in from the pole. Usually it’s nothing more complex than a plastic box mounted to the wall with a cable splitter inside.

      All I did was disconnect the pole cable from that splitter, and connect the cable from my roof antenna to the splitter where the pole cable had been.

      As for phone service, I switched over to Ooma. See this post for info:

      I’m still with Comcast for internet because they’re really the only provider in my area at the moment (though we’re supposed to be getting fiber service in the next couple of years, at which point I will definitely switch).

  4. Chris Walker says:

    Comcast and Time Warner are both atrocious, as is the business model of the cable/satellite industry as a whole. The only way they are going to change is enough people cut the cord and get rid of cable and satellite altogether. They need to learn that we don’t want to watch TV on their schedule, buy hundreds of channels we don’t want, and pay prices that continue to grow while quality of product stagnates at best. I am so passionate about this issue that I have been running the website as a resource to teach people about all of the different options out there. I hope everyone will find it a useful resource.

    • Sara Randall says:

      That is a great site. One thing frustrates me though. I have been researching this for days, and I cannot make sense of how to ditch the cable co. I need to get internet service that will allow me not to have to sweat data use. I have no idea how much data I use. There must be a way to get internet without the cable company. It is not cable tv I have a prob with, it is the provider and their attitude. My bill went up over $130 suddenly, no explanation, and I receive no bill. I have to call each month and pay what they say or they will simply disconnect cable tv, internet access and phone, and they change the due date to sooner in order to add on late fees, but the bill info is not available until the day it is due, and after that, it is late and subject to disconnect. I call tech bc the billing dept will not answer, the call disconnects, but cannot get them to transfer me during the day like the night shift swears they will. I cannot get them to arrange to send me a bill. They were emailing it but without telling me that, and I cannot access the email they set up to do it. This. Is. Nuts. Monopoly gone not just haywire but downright crooked. PLEASE tell us how to get internet access, how much data we would need, what the letter abbreviations really mean to us as users (mpbs & GB are all very well, but how do they affect me & web access or ability to watch videos on youtube at the very least), as yes, some of us are guessing. I have no idea how much data would be needed to watch an hour long show online, or a 5 min video, or to surf for 2 hours, or log onto facebook, and that is what keeps me from ditching the cable co. and with it, cable. Until now. $270 my … foot, let’s call it. That is robbery. Most of the country is well over $100 less. And I have not watched anything extra, have no premium service, and made no long dist calls, or anything they could conceivably add to the bill. So, they simply raised it. “I see you do not take advantage of our…” and they meant, I am not a good little irresponsibly rabid consumer, so there’s a tax for that. Where do I get internet service that lets me watch tv on my computer?? Please. 🙂 Because without that info, and with cable co.s charging nearly as much for web alone as they do for tv, web, & phone bundled, all of the other info is just a lovely theory. You need the web to do it, and you need either a 2 year contract with the phone co. or to keep cable to access the web. That’s what I am finding. What am I missing? Bc we have not cut out cable if we have kept the actual problem, the cable company. Thanks very much.

      • Sara Randall says:

        Oh, I should have said, I know of the antennas thanks to you and your kind, but mostly your site. I just can’t see how a gal functions without web access, or how to get it, and that antenna is going to get me weather reports but not the current temperature on an Arizona summer day, and not allow me to communicate. As the people talking about this often refer to online tv sources like Hulu or Netflix, writers must be assuming we know how to access them without the cable co. Please give us less credit and explain. Thank you very much.

  5. Danielle says:

    It’s funny, we tried to get rid of cable but they said if we did that they’d raise our rates without cable. We don’t even need it lol.

    • Nikki Blight says:

      That’s probably because when you bundle services, they discount them. In my case, I was paying about $180 a month for TV/Internet/Phone. On my bill, it was broken down as $45 for phone, $45 for internet, and $90 for TV.

      I now pay about $70 for just Internet from Comcast (because I literally have no other option for broadband in my area)… but I’m only paying around $5 a month for phone through Ooma, and $8 for Netflix, so overall, my combined bill has dropped drastically.

  6. Edward A.Vaccaro says:

    I am on Social Security at age 77 and this Comcast bill has become larger than what my small check can afford. My wife is ill and TV is her only connection to the outside world.

    Comast has threatened to turn me off monthly and I scrap the pennies just so my wife can enjoy what life we both have left.

  7. Brian says:

    Yeah, Comcast also just upped the rate on all internet modems and additional TV boxes in January 2015.
    The same little wallet size box used to get tv in my bedroom the raised the monthly rental rate 33%! And the internet modem up 25% ! All at the same time!
    Comcast is one of the most hated companies in the industry. I can’t wait for the time where the companies in the background will come together and devise a simple system that puts Cable out of business! They will simply provide the high speed internet connections and everything including phone and TV will work form the web. And being they will be the only company heading this march, they can be the Wa,mart of this industry and not have to charge an arm and a leg like Comcast does. They will get everyone to switch and leave Comcast holding their genitals.

    • Sara Randall says:

      Hi. Would you please run for President? Of this country, or become the Pres. of that company. Either way is fine. Thank you. 🙂

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Nikki Blight – Web/PHP Developer