I just cut the cord on our cable.
We’ve paid Charter around $150 per month for years, to get their high(er) speed internet, cable TV, and HBO.
Charter’s on demand service stinks, and Charter isn’t a supported provider on Apple TV for HBO Go, meaning we haven’t really gotten what we pay for from HBO.
Today, I cancelled our TV service and now my Charter bill will be $59 per month for internet. I will sign up for HBO Now for $15 per month, and be able to watch all HBO content from Apple TV.
I also signed up for 3 months of Sling TV, for $20 per month — and the 3 months up front comes with a half priced Roku 3, which I’m really excited to try after reading The Wirecutter review.
Considering we have Amazon Prime, I was tempted to go with the Fire Stick, but a couple of Roku features took me over the top. Roku merges content from the apps I’m subscribed to so I can search everything from one device. Also, the remote has a headphone jack so my wife and I can watch shows without bothering each other if one of us is asleep.
I also like that the Roku is agnostic to services, and between that and the Apple TV, I should be in good hands as various companies continue to compete in this sphere. The Apple TV alone isn’t ideal because I don’t have a good way to take advantage of Amazon Prime, and the Roku seemingly has just as good (and less intrusive) support for Prime as the Amazon Fire TV.
Between internet, Prime, regular TV, Netflix, and HBO, I was paying nearly $170. Now, I’ll get basically the same stuff for $113. And we can easily cancel any of these services or add future ones.
It seems Charter is aware of their problem, too. They pitched me hard for a new service where you pick any ten channels, get internet, and HBO, for (I think) $86. It would be tempting but for the fact that their HBO on demand still stinks (as does their entire cable and on demand interface) and the full HBO app isn’t available on Apple TV.
I’m sure I won’t get away with doing media this way for cheaper forever. Internet pricing will go up as ISPs still don’t have real competition. And the al a carte model will be more expensive as I inevitably get tempted in the future by other channels’ future subscription offers.
But for now, I get more flexibility, a better interface for watching TV, and it’s way cheaper. That’s a win.