Cutting the Cable
June 28, 2011 4:46 PM   Subscribe

I am thinking about canceling cable (Comcast) and switching to Netflix DVDs & streaming Amazon & Netflix. What do I need to know? Have you done this? Are you happy with your decision? I seek data & anecdata!

I pay a lot for cable. It's bundled with my high speed internet so they give me ~$10/mo for a bundle discount still pay about $60/mo for something I don't use much (although the service is good) plus $12/mo for TiVo which I also don't use much. I have 1 TV.

I love my RoKu & my streaming Netflix. I also like Amazon instant streaming. I am wondering if it isn't more cost effective to cancel my cable & TiVo. This isn't about saving money per se, although that's nice, but more about getting bang for my bucks.

Details and questions:
- I don't watch any first run USA TV comedies or dramas. What little American TV I do watch tends to be stuff like No Reservations (non-fiction).
- There is very little special event TV I watch (e.g. the Miss Universe Pageant or the World Series) that I can't watch at a friend's house or a sports bar.

- My biggest question: when do I need to worry about bandwidth caps? Comcast doesn't have a meter on my account page. I live alone and don't stream radio hardly at all. I do some web surfing but I don't play WoW or anything if that matters. I think my heaviest use would be the TV shows and movies.

- If I cancel cable and lose my bundling discount I'll probably save ~$45/mo plus I'll also cancel TiVo for ~$15/mo
-I'll add a disc my Netflix subscription for $5/mo and do Amazon unlimited streaming for ~$7/mo ($80 per year is current offer I have )
-What pitfalls might I face? What are the negatives of this?
-On the other hand, if you have done this, tell me about that, too.
Thank you!
posted by pointystick to Computers & Internet (50 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Everything's great. Occasionally I buy a DVD of something, but when I do I don't feel bad. Saving $50/month buys a lot of HBO box sets.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:51 PM on June 28, 2011

Do it. I've had this setup for many years, I love it.

With your lack of interest in first-run shows and sports, there's really no downside.
posted by jpeacock at 4:52 PM on June 28, 2011

I have done this, don't see any pitfalls which you aren't already aware of.

- There is very little special event TV I watch (e.g. the Miss Universe Pageant or the World Series) that I can't watch at a friend's house or a sports bar.

Also you may buy a 20 dollar antennae and mount it in your attic (or apartment window?.) These events tend to be on basic cable. This year was my first time watching the NBA final's in true HD (the pay-for kind is compressed, free over the air is full) which was nice.
posted by oblio_one at 4:54 PM on June 28, 2011

Yeah, totally worth it. I pay $27/month for high speed internet and can get everything I watch via hulu or amazon instant, and have nice friends who let me watch the Oscars / football with them.
posted by katopotato at 4:56 PM on June 28, 2011

I just added digital basic cable (local channels) to my high speed internet and saved $0.50. YMMV,
posted by wongcorgi at 4:56 PM on June 28, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the encouragement so far. Totally willing to bring beer to a friend's to watch special TV.
How much (I guess in hours is the best measure?) do you folks watch per week and have there been any cranky emails from ISPs? Am I being super paranoid?

wongcorgi it was only a 50 cent savings? Typo or really bad deal?
posted by pointystick at 4:58 PM on June 28, 2011

Also you may buy a 20 dollar antennae and mount it in your attic (or apartment window?.

Don't mean to hijack, but can someone recommend a specific brand for this? I have no idea who makes them or how much they cost.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:03 PM on June 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

We have Apple TV and Netflix in lieu of cable. While our savings aren't huge--we will buy shows on iTunes if we can't get them on Netflix--our watching experience is much improved. We get what we want when we want it, and no commercials.

Downside is that if the internet is down for any reason, none of it works. This rarely happens.

We've never had an issue with bandwidth caps.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:06 PM on June 28, 2011

We got rid of cable about 2 months ago and went full-time with Netflix. The first few days, I would forget and get a little longing for cable. Now it hasnt bothered us at all.

We have two small children who love Netflix. Anything they want to watch we can see on the roku player or download for them.

Cancellinf our cable ($65.00/month) and going with the $10 Netflix deal, allowed us to upgrade to faster internet connection. So Netflix account + faster Internet= $20 saving a month.

It has been really awesome!
posted by Sweetmag at 5:11 PM on June 28, 2011

ThePinkSuperhero-- I've literally stuck a piece of cable (coaxial) in there before and it's worked as an antenna-- try that first before you spend money.
posted by sandmanwv at 5:11 PM on June 28, 2011

You know best how much cable you watch and you already have the Roku so you're in the best position to decide whether it's worth it.

As far as basic cable goes, I have Comcast and the way it's priced I might as well get the basic TV because for all practical purposes it is included with the high-speed internet. So it's likely that you will not lose *all* cable, just the non-basic channels, with non-basic being pretty much everything that is not over-the-air along with small extras like C-SPAN. However, with digital TV the bare-bones basic cable has more than it used to because it has the extra digital channels that are broadcast over the air. For instance, in my area it includes Universal Sports because the NBC affiliate broadcasts it on a digital channel, and the ABC affiliate has a channel of old reruns so that comes over the cable too. But even if you don't want that stuff (Universal Sports has mostly obscure sports, but I like watching the marathons and triathlons) the bare bones basic is still worthwhile because it saves you from getting a rabbit ears.
posted by massysett at 5:12 PM on June 28, 2011

I've been in this situation (though I'm not at the moment), and it was fine. I ended up getting cable again because there were a few things I wanted access to immediately, and it was worth it for me. I definitely don't mind using Netflix, Hulu, and now Amazon for most everything

Thanks for the encouragement so far. Totally willing to bring beer to a friend's to watch special TV.

Just be sure not to be a mooch. I've been in that situation before as well - someone keeps inviting themselves over to watch something because I paid for it and they didn't. Beer is good, but if it becomes more than a once in a while thing, definitely consider forking over the cash yourself.
posted by SNWidget at 5:14 PM on June 28, 2011

I got rid of cable months ago and don't miss it at all. I do watch some first-run U.S. comedies on network, but I watch them with an antenna or just catch them on Hulu. We use Netflix quite a bit, both through a Zbox (similar I think to Roku) and our Xbox 360. And on our computers. My daughter still watches way too much television (she's currently halfway through the complete Inspector Gadget tv show from when I was a kid!).

It has been a great decision.

I haven't had any problems with bandwidth caps (although I'm with Time Warner on the East Coast), and we suck up tons and tons of bandwidth.
posted by jeoc at 5:20 PM on June 28, 2011

A year ago I had AT&T U-Verse TV & Internet and a Netflix subscription with a Roku box for streaming Netflix Watch Instantly. I also had Amazon Prime but Amazon hadn't started their streaming service yet. I'd say I was probably laying down about $130 a month.

I decided to tighten my belt and I got rid of the TV and kept U-Verse Internet only. That is $35. I added $5 to the bill and doubled my Internet download speed. I still had the Roku with the 3 out plan. That's $15. I now have streaming with Amazon Prime but I was already paying for that separately so that's a bonus. I've also discovered a bunch of channels (private and public) for Roku which have supplemented my streaming needs. So I'm down to $55 from $130.

There is a bunch of overlap between Netflix Watch Instantly and Amazon's streaming. If you don't already have it I don't think Amazon is worth signing up for. It would probably be better to put the money towards Hulu Plus unless you really want Amazon Prime as well. However, I personally don't care for Hulu Plus but to each his own.
posted by dgeiser13 at 5:29 PM on June 28, 2011

18 months ago I moved from one part of Santa Monica to another. At the old place I had a cable/internet bundle with Time-Warner, but I hate Time-Warner so much I was determined not to give them my money again. However, they were the only option I had if I wanted cable.

I decided to go with a local ISP and see how long I could go without the cable. Well, it turns out I can go 18 months and counting. Between Hulu -- which I usually watch by connecting my laptop to the tv -- and Netflix streaming+DVD I can watch almost anything I really want; I used to watch a lot of TV, but there was actually very little I cared about. My ISP is 35 bucks a month with zero downtime (on their end, at least), and the few times I needed to talk to a CSR they were very nice and helpful. Oh, and no caps that I'm aware of, either.

The only downside has been missing Lakers home games, but there is no shortage of friends, neighbors and bars where I can catch those. I understand that all Lakers games will be shown on cable starting next season so it will be a PITA, but still not worth involving Time-Warner.

Try sandmanvw's suggestion of the coax cable first. If you feel like you need an antenna I would suggest something with a remote control if you find yourself needing to adjust it often. I ended up going to Radio Shack because they're a few blocks away and it was easy to test out a few different antennas that way.

It sounds like you're an ideal candidate to cut the cord!

On preview, I agree with dgeiser13 about Hulu+ and the Amazon Prime overlap not being worth paying for.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:42 PM on June 28, 2011

Comcast essentially gives you basic cable for free. Internet without cable is $15 more per month. Basic cable is like $18 per month, so it's really only $3 or so more per month to keep basic cable.

In Silicon Valley at least, basic cable comes with HD network channels if you have a cablecard. I ended up keeping basic cable and my TiVo. I get all the networks in HD, along with FX, Discovery and Comedy Central in SD. (I watch one or two shows on each). I didn't want to wait for shows to come out on Netflix, and I wanted to watch TV on my TV and not my computer, so I don't really use Hulu. I was able to watch the Oscars, the World Series and I'll be able to watch the Olympics next year, etc., which is worth the extra $16 per month I'm spending.

It sounds like you may be better off just cancelling, but it really depends on what you watch.
posted by cnc at 5:46 PM on June 28, 2011

I cancelled cable a year ago and could not be happier. The only thing I have to add to all the posts above mine is to not add the extra Netflix disc right away until you're sure you need it. For whatever reason, we actually watch Netflix DVDs even less than we did before, and rely more on the streaming.
posted by something something at 5:47 PM on June 28, 2011

I haven't had cable for close to six years now, and I don't miss it one bit. NETFLIX 4 LYFE.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:55 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I cancelled my cable a year ago when I bought my house. It's really one of the best things I've done. I don't get stuck sitting in front of the tv all day, I'm saving a ridiculous amount of money, etc. I haven't even bothered with getting a Netflix/Hulu/Amazon subscription yet (though I'm considering them), and I get by just fine with what's available for free online.

The only downside is the looks people give you when they ask you if you've watched something and you say "oh, I don't watch tv," or "I don't have cable," etc.
posted by litnerd at 6:20 PM on June 28, 2011

Honestly, I'm not clear why you have cable now if you aren't watching first-run TV. Most of my caveats about ditching cable would be in regard to the holes in what is available online for first-run stuff. Like certain shows not being available at all.
posted by smackfu at 6:26 PM on June 28, 2011

I studied abroad for a year where I didn't have a TV simply because I didn't have room for one in my tiny apartment. When I got back to the US, I never got it turned on again. I'm very glad I made that choice, because I now have tons of free time to get out of the house and do things.

If there's something on TV that I really want to see, I can usually arrange to go to a bar (for sports) or go to a friend's. In almost three years without TV (including the time abroad), I can only think of a couple of events that I truly miss seeing. It was weird at first, but now I just don't understand how people can want to waste that much time.
posted by philosophygeek at 6:44 PM on June 28, 2011

We canceled cable in 2001 when we moved & bought a house. Back when there were still shows we wanted to watch when they aired (RIP Veronica Mars), we did fine with rabbit ears & broadcast tv. Now, Netflix & Apple tv work just fine. My daughter likes to watch stuff occasionally on Netflix streaming, and we haven't noticed any bandwidth caps.
posted by mogget at 6:56 PM on June 28, 2011

Comcast does have a bandwidth cap of 250gb/month, although I don't know how seriously they take it. You certainly could hit that if you streamed a lot of video.
posted by The Lamplighter at 7:01 PM on June 28, 2011

We ditched cable about four months ago - I wish we had done it sooner! Just DO it! You can always go back to giving away your $ if you find you really miss (evil) Comcast.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:05 PM on June 28, 2011

I just did this last month. So far, no regrets. Check your bill, though; those jackasses at Time Warner charged me a $30 cancellation fee. I complained and got it removed.
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:10 PM on June 28, 2011

My Googling suggests that Comcast does have a Usage Meter on its Customer Central page (but I could be wrong). Some of the hits I got on Google suggested that the Usage Meter sometimes goes away if your modem is not properly provisioned, but can be restored if you call and complain.
posted by forthright at 7:28 PM on June 28, 2011

I ditched my cable & TV some time ago, and now happily get along with a combination of Amazon streaming, free Hulu/other network streaming, and Netflix. The only frustration has been that the streaming video does not necessarily stream (arrrgh, PBS).
posted by thomas j wise at 7:54 PM on June 28, 2011

I also dropped cable and don't miss it (though I do find myself constantly looking to where the cable box used to be to see the time).

Vis-a-vis bandwidth caps, I checked my family's recently watched Netflix for the month and it's 12 movies plus maybe 60 TV episodes of varying lengths (about half hour-long dramas and half 1/2-hour sitcoms) and I'm still way under the 250GB cap.
posted by camcgee at 8:10 PM on June 28, 2011

We have homemade antenna (from instructions on YouTube) from a board and wire coat hangers. It works great and we are very happy with the combination of the antenna and netflix.
posted by HMSSM at 8:16 PM on June 28, 2011

We hooked up our main computer to our flat screen TV and use Windows Media Center.  In conjuction with basic cable (12 channels, local and Discovery networks) Netflix and Hulu we occasionally order and instant movie from Amazon.  Windows Media Center has a built in DVR so we record basic TV shows as desired.  We purchased a SIIG wireless keyboard ($30 on Newegg) that is small, very compatible and works all over the house (built in trackpad), including the upstairs closet!!  We also splurged on a WMC branded remote which comes in handy too ($15).  We networked the PS3 and another computer and media can be shared in 3 rooms.  Works great!  A slight investment in the beginning but overall it was well worth it and would never go back.  $50 a month for Comcast (Internet and basic cable) and Netflix.
posted by Pork n Beans at 8:41 PM on June 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't have cable. There aren't really any negatives for me. I have a pair of rabbit ears and I get maybe a dozen channels so if I can watch Jeopardy and/or have something on in the background while I draw and that's pretty much it.

Actually the only negative for me is I can't watch Ninja Warrior when it first airs on G4 but a slight amount of determination and resourcefulness make it quite possible to watch it if I want, and frankly the amount I would pay for cable is not worth the one show to me.

I have a PS3 with Netflix which can also stream things from my computer and with the PS3 Media Server software it's pretty great.

The chief difference for me - and I did have cable when I lived with other people but do not miss it enough to do something about it - is that there are no times when I decide to just sit in front of the TV and see what's on and waste an evening like that. I make the choice about what I want to watch and then I watch it and do something else when I'm done. It's really easy to get sucked into just staring at the damn thing all day if you let yourself and that is not something that happens anymore - or if it does, it happens on my terms and not the television's. It may seem like a small thing, but changing the relationship with my television from one of a passive viewer to an active decision-maker has been something I've found to work a lot better with the way I live and the way I want to live. It also means that anything I watch is something I made the decision to seek out as opposed to being just good enough 'cause it's on. Hence I don't watch Cops anymore and I'd like to think that's a net win for me.

To be clear, for me this isn't about making judgments on passive television-watching, incidentally; it's about what works for me and what doesn't. I know others who do this regularly with no ill effect and I am maybe even a little envious but I don't think I could be one of them. I'm not better than they are or anything, it's just a quirk of my makeup. There's kind of this narrative about TV being inherently bad for you that I don't buy; I just try to be conscious of how I incorporate the thing in my life.

Other things that may happen are you'll be kind of less able to relate to conversations about annoying commercials, and if a show captures the nation's attention but not yours, then your sphere of knowledge may seem a little odd to some people. I was recently discussing the movie Bridesmaids with a friend and I told her I thought the guy from 30 Rock was pretty good in it. She was slightly puzzled for a while until she realized I was talking about Jon Hamm and then she looked at me like I had nine heads. So, you know. Mind how you go.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:32 PM on June 28, 2011

We use a combination of rabbit ear antenna I picked up at the second hand store, Roku box and Netflix and normal free Hulu. Between the stuff you can download and the DVD's they send you we've never felt like we have missed a show. We have never had any problem with our ISP at all and we watch Netflix every night for an hour or so, we are currently working our way through a few older TV series.

Like Famous Monster I much prefer it to cable as its ready to watch when we're ready to watch and also I find when I am around cable access I just sit and flip channels even if there is nothing I want to watch I stay in front of the TV. With just having Netflix I find I get up when what I wanted to watch is done. Which was an advantage I didn't see when we stopped the cable.
posted by wwax at 9:49 PM on June 28, 2011

Get it done!

You're lucky, living in the States. Many more options than up here in Canadia.

Are you aware that you'll get an HD signal for many of the local channels just by jamming a cheap antenna (or coathanger, as previously mentioned) into the TV?Depends on your location, of course, and how many stupid buildings/geographical features there are between you and the broadcast tower. Always worth a try, though.

Between the antenna and the legitimate digital services we definitely pay real legitimate money for, having cable seems like a sucker's deal.

If I'm ever visiting the parents and the TV happens to be on, I'm shocked at how little there is to watch on the ~400 channels. You'll be just fine.
posted by TangoCharlie at 12:22 AM on June 29, 2011

Nuts, must have skimmed over the previous antenna-mentions. Sorry for the redundancy.
posted by TangoCharlie at 12:23 AM on June 29, 2011

Good - Immense selection, with Hulu you get a lot of the Criterion collection, with Netflix, you get pretty much every "Made For SciFi" movie. Hulu has Chef Ramsey shouting at people, Netflix has Arrested Development. Something for everyone!

Bad - No Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, no recent TV episodes of popular shows (Futurama, GoT)

Good - Tons of toddler and preschooler programming, including Sesame Street, Thomas the Steam Engine, and Yo Gabba Gabba

Bad - No sports. MLB Live won't show your home-team games live, and is expensive.

Good - Dr. Who, Red Dwarf, Blackadder, Top Gear, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica

Bad - No live news or evening Newscast, local news.

Best - Really cheep.

In total, the benefits of nuking the $60/month cable bill seem to be worth it. We've got the Roku box, and it's been a lot of fun. I wish the NFL and MLB would get with the program and offer Roku stations, tho. I'd pay for it, and watch the ads.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:33 AM on June 29, 2011

I've pretty much got the set-up that you are asking about: Comcast as ISP + streaming Netflix + UHF antenna for local braodcast HD TV.

Works great and I really don't feel I'm missing out on anything.

The bandwidth caps are not a problem if you are streaming. The quality of the Netflix stream is not that high so I don't think you would ever approach the 250gb monthly cap.

In fact, the most bandwidth usage around here relates to downloads of games on Steam and from other sources.
posted by mygoditsbob at 5:34 AM on June 29, 2011

If you're not too attached to the Roku and can get a PC that can handle streaming video (nothing too fancy..but maybe something with HDMI out if you have a nice HD TV), then a Windows 7 box running WMC (Windows Media Center) is a fantastic option for the cable-less...I've never looked back! You could even spring for a digital tuner to pick up any FTA (free-to-air) channels via a digital antenna.

With WMC you can get addins to do the following (not a full list of course):

- Stream Netflix
- Stream Hulu with an addin that seamlessly switches to the Hulu Desktop
- Stream Amazon (the unbox addins are clunky, but getting there)
- Easily switch to Boxee or XBMC
- Possibly get Justin.TV working (haven't tried this yet...but this is where you'd get certain live sports and shows not on FTA)
- Transcode DVDs and BluRay to disk (thank you Netflix!)
- Stream internet radio from a plethora of stations
- Switch to legacy console emulators (usb game controllers are a must) for a oldschool game of Mario 3 or anything the PC can handle.
- Add an Xbox360 (if any are available on other TVs) as an extender
- Browse the web
- Download media from other sources such as p2p, usenet, etc (haven't gotten into this, but have seen it in action...honestly there's enough above this to keep me occupied as is)
posted by samsara at 6:40 AM on June 29, 2011 [3 favorites]

OTOH, my HTPC has been nothing but a pain in the ass and a money sink and I wish I just bought a Roku or similar for a quarter of the price. The HTPC has all the troubles of a computer but I am much less tolerant of them when I just want to watch a show.
posted by smackfu at 6:52 AM on June 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's an adjustment at first, definitely, but I would not go back. I love not having a Comcast bill (internet is not through them, so it's a little different - if they were my internet and I could get basic cable for ~$5/month as someone above suggested, I'd do it, but ~$60 a month isn't worth it).

You can get at least major networks with a $20 antenna, and it's worth it. It's hard not to be able to press the pause button though, or record something to watch later. And you won't have a viewing guide anymore.

Overall, you will need to be a lot more active in choosing what is available to you to watch, which is a pain if you are a person who likes to put on something as background while you clean the house or whatever. I am sure you know how to get episodes of current shows online, but again you need to be more proactive.

You may also miss cable news, especially when there is a big event - it's nice to be able to choose your network and/or compare coverage between networks, and I am not a huge news person but I do miss that sometimes. And NFL Network, ESPN, etc.

All of that said, with Netflix and some Roku channels (explore some of their other channels, there's some interesting stuff there) and the antenna, I am happy. I am sure if you cancel the cable and hate it (I'd give it 6 months though), Comcast will give you a nice deal to bring you back into the fold.
posted by mrs. taters at 6:55 AM on June 29, 2011

OTOH, my HTPC has been nothing but a pain in the ass and a money sink and I wish I just bought a Roku or similar for a quarter of the price.

Actually this is true..In hindsight I neglected to mention my HTPC went through quite a few wipe/reloads until I had the software/OS configuration that I was perfectly happy with....but even then I'll often forget to switch back to it when on the PS3, and just Netflix stream/Bluray from the console instead. Regardless tho...on demand streaming beats having to pay to watch broadcast Cable/Dish any day.
posted by samsara at 7:02 AM on June 29, 2011

Oh god, I'm trying to convince my fiancée to cut the DirecTV line, but I don't think it'll happen. If you're the kind of person who uses the TV to fill a void like she does, you might not be so happy. I myself turn on the TV usually with the intention of watching something specific, so dropping service would be like finding $80 in my coat pocket every month.
posted by spamguy at 7:57 AM on June 29, 2011

One more thing about OTA programming: Most of the channels here have multiple sub-channels with additional programming, e.g., my local NBC affiliate (channel 4) also has an all-California channel on 4.2, WB (ch. 5) has a pretty neat line-up of 70s-80s re-runs on 5.2 and 5.3. If you speak Spanish or want religious programming, some stations even go all the way to x.9. YMMV by location, of course.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:06 AM on June 29, 2011

We gave up cable sometime around 2003, and I only vary rarely miss it. (Cooking shows, really.) We watch Netflix (DSL* + Wii) probably 5 nights a week; occasionally there's buffering problems, but not often, and we've never had any bandwidth cap issues.

Every so often I get the "looked at me like I had nine heads" expression when I'm somewhat clueless about something on TV -- either right now or that I never got into.

"With just having Netflix I find I get up when what I wanted to watch is done." - Alas, I don't always have this experience, which I guess is a testament to the selection of shows/movies. Plus, there's always the experience of getting sucked into a show that's got five or six years worth of episodes. [Just this year: Rockford Files! Numb3rs!] Goodbye weekend.

One drawback with our particular setup is that it's challenging to watch some things that stream on the internet, but aren't on Netflix, like Daily Show or South Park, and that use Flash video. Damn you, Wii. At some point we'll get a TV that has the same connectors as our computer, and that should help. :)

Go for it!

* DSL was cheaper than cable, and I hate Comcast. Not that I like Qwest any better, but they already had wires going into our house. Supposedly it's slower, but I find it good enough most of the time.
posted by epersonae at 8:36 AM on June 29, 2011

This thread convinced me that the comcast cable tv had to go and I just killed it and got the upgraded internet (actually cost less than plain broadband because of some package they were running, plus I get to keep basic cable for a safety net). As far as shows, I think I'm covered. Madmen = amazon VOD (and some new deal with netflix?). regular tv shows = HD antenna/huluplus. movies = huluplus/netflix. What about man vs wild, tosh.0, {your favorite show}... how do I get those without spending money on VOD? the roku XD-S will let you play video from an SD card (so bittorrent is an option), but isn't there a better/legal/free option?
posted by kookywon at 10:22 AM on June 29, 2011

What about man vs wild, tosh.0, {your favorite show}

The beauty of Netflix is you can get many of these shipped to you while you stream other shows in between.
posted by samsara at 10:58 AM on June 29, 2011

(sorry for the derail everyone) samsara: I meant watching the new tosh.0 that just showed on Tuesday night. If I didn't have cable, how would I get that before it was released on DVD. Netflix doesn't have it right away, does it?
posted by kookywon at 11:28 AM on June 29, 2011

Like thinkingwoman, we're an Apple TV/Netflix house. I haven't had cable since 1999 and don't miss it at all. The only first-run show we have to have Right Now is Doctor Who, and we buy that through iTunes, which shows up the next day. We have no kids and don't care about sports. According to my mother our big peril is that we don't have news, but we get our news online.

We also have a rule that if we don't watch a DVD in about two weeks, we send it back, which means we do cycle through stuff instead of letting it sit unwatched, which is a peril of Netflix.
posted by immlass at 11:45 AM on June 29, 2011

Netflix doesn't have it right away, does it?

Ah no, unfortunately. And definitely not a derail..this is important info for anyone canceling broadcast TV. You may have some luck with streaming sites such as or similar. Some are hit or miss for live TV as its basically a shady practice where someone is "slingboxing" to the world. The only away around the big network's hold on their shows other than that is to stream directly from the network's web (NBC, ABC, etc offer this next day for a lot of their shows) or visit the internet underground that lives via p2p and usenet (Giganews + altbinz + that I would know anything about these things).

posted by samsara at 12:37 PM on June 29, 2011

"how do I get those without spending money on VOD?"

Some developers have created private channels for Roku which allow you to stream online content to your Roku. I've also read about solutions which allow you to stream video from your PC to your Roku. I have a MeMail account.
posted by dgeiser13 at 1:25 PM on June 29, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for all the responses, feedback, and experiences. I appreciate it so much! I will be cutting my cable (or going to basic) soon and you folks have given me so much to think about as far as options.

I don't anticipate needing to watch cable more than a few times a year - SNWidget, definitely have thought about NOT mooching and would offer cash for sure :)

I also found out that if I sign into Comcast with my email I can access the bandwidth meter. I am so far using MUCH less than I though t& for shows that aren't super special, I change my Netflix streaming to merely "good" quality.
posted by pointystick at 8:27 PM on June 29, 2011

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