Cutting the Cord: Before You Cut, Some Final Considerations

When we look at the expenses of traditional cable compared to the costs of cutting the cord, the savings story is a compelling one.  And you may even find that having fewer channels of stuff you’re not watching leads to a fresh, new outlook on life in general.  But cutting the cord is not without its downsides. Here’s a list of things I didn’t know I didn’t know when I first decided to take my family to the Mosquito Coast of no cable.

No DVR. Actually, this has probably proven to be the biggest issue.  From easy time-shifting of current series to grabbing a recording of a one-time broadcast like the Grammys or Sweeney Todd: Live at Lincoln Center, the cable box (regardless of who’s providing it) and the built-in DVR was a critical piece of my family’s content consumption.  THE FIX: None yet.  I haven’t wandered down the rabbit hole of setting up a home media server and computer-based DVR yet.  For now, we’ll do without, and rely on services like Hulu to keep us semi-caught-up with network programming.

Where to Watch has replaced What to Watch. Because so much of our TV veiwing is based on time-shifting and binge-watching, deciding to watch a show involves first figuring out which service carries it. Thankfully, the Can I Stream It app makes it easier to find out where something is playing.

Pay or Wait. The biggy.  Do we wait for Hulu to carry a show and know that we’re going to be an episode or two behind?  Or do we buy the series from iTunes and see it immediately?  Depends on the show.

Different rooms, different programming.  We only get Amazon Prime in one TV, which means that we can only watch The Americans, for example, on that one TV.  On the other hand, the other TV that has the Apple TV connected to it is the only place we can watch American Horror.  It would be easier, obviously, if we simply duplicated the hardware setup on the two TVs.  But I’m not willing to spend the money to do so quite yet.

All things considered, the set-up we’ve got works.  At some point, I’m sure I’ll get bored and want to try and replace the cable box’s DVR function with some Apple mini-based set-up.  But for now, the cost savings of almost $200/month is definitely worth the inconvenience I’ve created by cutting (most of) the cord that connects our TVs with the entertainment omniverse.

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