Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ditching Armstrong Cable and Cutting the Cord in the Ellwood City, PA Area

image from pixabay http://pixabay.com/en/apple-watch-tv-tv-screen-monitor-589640/


You know what I hate?  High costs and paying bills.  Okay, that phrase names just about everybody in the world I know.  The one thing that really frustrated me over the past few months was the cost of cable television services.  The cost for my local provider Armstrong Cable was quickly approaching $130 per month for just cable, note approaching not the actual cost it might have been a little less might have been a little more (this included the DVR fee and two converter boxes for additional televisions), and considering that price represented a significant increase from 2009 when the price was raised to $51.49 for Basic service, it was simply too much money for television.

My goal was simple.  At $130 per month, it was costing $1560 a year for cable representing $4.27 per day.  So my next step was to become one of the growing number of cord cutters by getting rid of Armstrong Cable.  While the bundled services for the company can provide some savings, the prices are all guaranteed for year and would likely continue to grow, and I want something more permanent.

I was already signed up for Netflix, like many people, which costs $7.99 per month.  That was good for a number of streaming options, but lacked a lot of current television shows.  Therefore, Hulu Plus was a good option for shows like “Castle,” “Gotham,” “The Flash,” and more and also cost $7.99 per month.  The kids wanted Disney Channel, and the only real viable (read LEGAL) streaming option was SlingTV priced at $20 per month.

The total comes in at $35.98 per month, $431.76 per year and $1.18 per day.  Of course, there is a lot of content available via NBC.com, ABC.com, and CBS.com, which are free to stream.  CBS offers a pay subscription for $7.99 but I passed on that offer.  I like “The Big Bang Theory” but I can see new episodes for free on the website and reruns through TBS on SlingTV.

The next step was making sure the TV experience could be replicated in the living room and not just viewed on my tablet.  That meant some technical hocus pocus.  What it really involved was attaching an HDMI cable from my trusty laptop to the television.  Poof, done in three minutes.

With game consoles and DVD players that already had apps for Hulu Plus and Netflix, I was done.  All I had to do was sit back and perfect the system.  The other televisions in the kids rooms were equipped with similar equipment, which meant the speed of the internet connection was going to be taxed if everyone was streaming video, but so far with everyone streaming at a single time it has not been an issue.  I did opt to connect a network cable to the laptop for optimal speed, but I already had the cable anyway.


Two weeks in, I can safely say it has not been a big deal and everyone has been okay with the switch.  Now my next issue is going to involve an antenna of some sort for OTA, or over-the-air television, for some extra options.  I have to evaluate my options here in the Ellwood City, PA area, but so far so good. 

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