February 21, 2013

saying good-bye to an old friend.

I know that title sounds serious, it's totally not. You see, my old friend, or should I call it my addiction because frankly it was both, is our DVR. Yesterday, Mike took our old friend Mr. DVR/HIGH DEF cable box back to Comcast.  We down graded our services to basic cable and high speed internet.

I know you're thinking, WTF? Are you wanting to live in the stone ages? How are you living without a DVR? I thought the same thing last year when Mike initially introduced this idea to me. I thought he was a savage, or worse, wanting to become a hipster. You know the type, "We don't own a TV." No offense to those of you that read and don't use a TV and aren't hipsters - I'm making generalizations and maybe that was rude, but frankly I can't image NOT having a TV. Yes, I'd survive, but I wouldn't feel it was living. At least not living to the standards I want to. *spoiled*

About a month ago Mike signed us up for Netflix. We got a free trial run which I really loved. I used that free month to the fullest extent, at least in my eyes I did. Watching 5 seasons of Supernatural (season 3-7), not stop until I reached the end. It took some time, and a lot of commitment and I finished the series, only to be left with how I was going to get the newest Season 8 episodes not available on Netflix. I found the first three of season 8 on Hulu. Praise! Watched them, then realized that I had little to no way to get episodes 4-9. I'm only slightly ashamed to say I downloaded those bitches, off the internet and while I had to suffer though Spanish, German and some other language subtitles it was totally worth it to get caught up with episodes 10 and 11 that were on our Comcast On Demand. I was finally caught up and watched the last episode on my DVR to be live with the show.

Through all this I started to think about TV differently. Mike has already been thinking all this it just took me a while to leg go of the security blanket that is our DVR.  We went ahead and did the free week of HuluPlus and realized there were a TON of movies on this, as well as getting your shows most likely NEXT DAY. Truth be told with a DVR we watched MOST of our TV next day. The only days we were sitting down to watch a show as it happened, was on Thursdays. We still DVRed the NBC line up on Thursday, but that was usually to be sure we didn't miss anything if cooking dinner ran over (prime time here is 7 PM).

The more I thought about Mike's proposal to drop the DVR services and HD box, the more it made sense. For about a month I had barely touched the cable unless I was watching a DVR recording, or was bored as hell and watching Diners, Drive-In's and Dives [I can only tolerate Guy on that show because I've learned to tune him out]. I would channel surf before dinner, or when I should have probably been working out or reading a book or doing something more constructive.

I started realizing dropping the box wasn't a punishment but maybe even a way to free myself from my addiction that is TV.

Mike took the research approach he always does with big decisions or purchases and started comparing. Pros and Cons lists, and even spreadsheets were made. He made a list of all the shows we loved to watch. Our MUST HAVES. The "I can't do without this show" list. It wasn't very large. Between the two of us there were maybe 20 shows. Ones we watch together, ones he loves to watch alone and ones I love to watch alone. 20 Shows. Seriously, hardly reason to be too worried. And after looking through them, we realized there were very few that weren't network TV shows. In our list there were maybe 4 shows that might be a bit harder to come across brand new [The Walking Dead, Mad Men, Portlandia and possibly one more show]. It was harder to find AMC and IFC live feeds, and/or day after streaming. This was almost a deal breaker - If there are 2 shows we watch live, it's usually The Walking Dead and Portlandia (and Supernatural for me). We don't like to wait a day, due to spoilers and/or just really wanting a great laugh (Portlandia).

Mike did some more research and found a solution for this. And worse case, if we are saving money with cable I think I can stay off the internet for a day - away from any Walking Dead spoilers. I HATE spoilers. I rarely even want to watch "next weeks previews" for most of my shows because I LOVE to be surprised.

Like I said, Mike took our box over to the cable company yesterday and dropped him off. He will be missed. Pausing a show to pee, or make a snack is my favorite. I will still be able to do that, just not with live TV.

We are now set up for Netflix ($7.99 / month) and HuluPlus ($7.99/month), We have our regular cable bill and internet bill which has dropped in price by $80+. That's $80.00 in our budget for savings, trips, ANYTHING!

We will still get to watch ALL our favorite shows, with little or no effort. Just fire up the PS3 and cue up Hulu or Netflix. We also discovered being able to go to Amazon for entertainment but haven't decided if we want to do that just yet. Summer is coming and frankly most shows stop at that time. I always thought about that issue every summer. Why am I paying THIS MUCH and not watching TV or using the internet because I'm outdoors!

Mike had read and article about all this and they stated "Get ready to consume entertainment in a whole different way!" (I'm paraphrasing, obviously). But dude, think about that. It's true.

I can now sit down whenever I have time, to watch all the shows I love. Be it a lazy Sunday. Right before dinner, after I've worked out. And never again do I have to worry about my DVR being full, and/or a show messing with another show's recording. I hated that.

I know this choice isn't for everyone, but for us it seems like a great idea! I'm just happy I have a super tech savvy husband that has hooked all this up!!! We are officially a basic cable / internet streaming home.

God Bless the Internet. And tech savvy people everywhere!

Our Favorite Shows: (Not all but most)
The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Community, Parks & Rec, The Office, Supernatural, Arrow, Grimm, Hart of Dixie, Mad Men, True Blood, Work-a-holics, and Portlanida (there are other small shows we each watch but these were our main kickers. I'm sure I forgot at least one).
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Anonymous said...

Oh, I love just love cheesy as hell Hart of Dixie. Don't forget Southland!

Anonymous said...

Interesting idea. I just dropped all of the premium stations except HBO and am saving $30 a month. I can't wait to hear how it goes and if you go back or not. I love hart of dixie as well. One of my other addictions is Game of Thrones.

Michael Henderson said...

Its sad that the only two shows that I watch with out you are Green Lantern TAS and Young Justice. Both of which are ending this season.

Cathy said...

We've never had cable. People look at us like we have 8 heads. We do have an apple TV though and that connects us to Netflix and iTunes. We watch 99% of our TV shows through Netflix. There's just soooo much to watch on there I can't justify spending money on a cable package.

Carolyn said...

I love this! Jake and I have talked about this, and while I don't think we're ready to give up our DVR crutches (yup... we have two!) I love the idea! Good work friend!

Lora said...

Until right now I didn't even know what a dvr was! I guess it's like a vcr in your cable box? Comcast makes it available to us, but I've never thought to wonder what it was. I'm such a techtard!

Lora said...

Until right now I didn't even know what a dvr was! I guess it's like a vcr in your cable box? Comcast makes it available to us, but I've never thought to wonder what it was. I'm such a techtard!

Christina said...

I considered dropping cable last month when our bill (bundled with phone and internet) went up to $190/month! I called and complained and they dropped it to $140. I TiVo everything and never, ever watch tv shows the day air, so Hulu would definitely work for me. I'm still considering it. I really want to get rid of our house phone because it's all telemarketers (it's actually cheaper to bundle with the phone then to just have cable and internet, isn't that stupid?). Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Michael Henderson said...

You can get one of those magic jacks, and pay something like 9.99 a month, Hulu and Netflix are 7.99 each a month. All you need is high speed internet. If you have HDTVs, you can plug the cable from the wall directly to the television, and have it scan for channels. It will pick up NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC and a few others all in High def.

Allyson said...

I don't know if Shana told you, but this is what we've been doing since before Neal was deployed the last time. And it works really well. The Roku with Hulu Plus + Netflix hits all of my addictions except HGTV and CNN. Interestingly, when Neal randomly plugged our TV in a few weeks ago, we mysteriously have cable. I guess they didn't get "all" the channels canceled. So we have 2 or 3 random cable channels. Fortunately, one is HGTV. But I don't so much miss cable. I love, love, love our Roku.

Natalie said...

I'm about to drop a bomb on you. Are you ready. We have never had a DVR. Ever.
Ready for the second part. We no longer have cable.
The kids get a little annoyed at times, but honestly no one was ever watching it. Most of the stuff I like is on prime time with the exception of 3 or 4 shows and with Hulu/Netflix/Amazon, I can watch what I really like.

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