This blog is a travel guide, not a road map. It documents my adventures in audio/video entertainment and what I’ve learned along the way. I hope you find it helpful.
In October of 2008 Comcast offered me a very reasonably priced Triple Play bundle. We were satisfied with price and performance — until the promotion ended. Fortunately, by the time the promotion ended, we were ready to move on from cable altogether.
We discovered an alternative in February of 2010 when we lost power, cable, and internet for more than a week. A generator powered my home, but cable and internet were out for the duration. I hooked an inexpensive antenna to the tv in my bedroom for entertainment and news. To my surprise, the image quality was very good and there were a lot of channels. When cable service was restored, I kept the tv in my bedroom on the antenna and started researching broadcast television. While I was doing this, Comcast was busy transitioning to digital. This process made a lot of channels unavailable to our directly connected televisions. It was worse for the analog sets, but HDTV channels were moving out of reach of my digital sets as well.
When my initial promotion ran out, I was able to negotiate a new six month discount for cable plus internet. I provided my own telephone service by installing an OOMA voip hub (which cost me $205 but had no monthly fees) and replaced premium Comcast channels with a Netflix subscription ($8.99/month). I used the six month reprieve to experiment with broadcast television reception. When the promotion ran out, we switched to Fairpoint for internet access and cut the cable.
The transition wasn’t painless. Biggest complaint was the loss of the DVR. We hadn’t been recording much, but we did pause and rewind a lot. So I added DVRs — lots of DVRs. For ~$1000, I purchased five DTVPal dual tuner DVRs. Our cable savings paid for these DVRs in less than ten months. Another $300 put Insignia Blu-Ray/Netflix players on each TV. At this point I felt like our system was better than Comcast’s. I increased my list of channels by replacing the DB8 with an XG91 and a Y5-7-13 for another hundred dollars.
All of this investment has long since been offset by cable savings. These days, when I sit down to watch a football game, the beer is on Comcast.