Netflix, Roku and Cut Cable, Oh My!, Part 4

It Slices! It Dices! It Cuts Cable Cords In Two!!!

Thanks to the one two punch of Netflix Online and Roku, I’m pretty confident that my kids would survive a cut cable cord without too much screaming.  So where does this leave cable in our household?

For now, it hasn’t been cut, but don’t confuse being uncut with being safe.  We’re currently looking into many options ranging from cutting to going with an alternative service like DirecTV.  (Any DirecTV reps out there who want a technologically savvy daddy blogger to do a review on your service? )

My original conclusion, meanwhile, has been revised.  Previously, I determined that we would save about $15 per month if we cut cable.  However, I soon realized that that relied on two erroneous assumptions.

The first was that we would buy $15 in DVDs every month.  We really don’t buy many DVD movies because we tend to watch them once or twice and then add them to the stack.  Kids movies get a bit more play, but there’s only so many times you can let your child watch a show before you go insane.  Now, we tend to rent our DVDs via Netflix or our local library.  DVD purchases happen pretty much only if a deal is extremely good or for a Chanukah or Birthday present.  Our total DVD purchase budget is probably closer to $30 per year than $15 per month.  This increases the Cut Cable savings to $27.50 per month.

The second assumption was that we would frequent Amazon VOD.  Apart from having Mythbusters episodes, I just can’t see spending a lot of money on this service when I get essentially the same thing "for free" with my paid for Netflix subscription.  (Yeah, I know Netflix isn’t free, but you know what I mean.  I don’t have to pay $1.99 just to see another episode of Heroes.  It’s right there.)

The only thing I might pay for is the aforementioned Mythbusters.  (TechyDad want big boom!)  At $1.99 per episode and an average of 25 episodes per season, I’d only be paying about $24, or $2 per month, for this Amazon VOD.  This is far short of the $26 a month I initially assumed and raises the Cut Cable savings to $51.50 a month.

I’ve also re-thought my setup.  I don’t need to invest in a media streaming setup.  I just need to manage our existing DVDs better.  So I’ve used EMDB to catalog all of my DVDs.  I plan on making a list out of it and laminating it for the kids to refer to.  This way they’ll be able to point to an item on the list and have B or I put it in rather than wondering just what we have to watch.

The only tripping point at the moment is how we would hook our existing TVs up to receive over the air broadcasts (do we need to buy any equipment for this?) and what DVR to buy to replace our cable company issued one.  TiVo is a possibility, of course, but the monthly fee ($129 per year) would eat into our Cut Cable savings.  Still, even after TiVo, we would have over $40 left per month in savings.  The first six months of savings would pay off the purchase price of TiVo.  After that (and possibly a few months paying off equipment to receive digital OTA signals), we’d be in pure savings mode.

Alternatively, we could switch from Time Warner Cable to DirecTV.  The one year locked in rate would save us $28 per month over cable.  Either way, money talks, especially in this economy.  Unless things radically change, I don’t think our current cable connection has much of a life left in our household.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary 3 month preview of Netflix for review purposes.  However, after my preview period, I intend to remain on as a paying Netflix member.  As stated, I won the Roku box during an online giveaway.  The reviews expressed above are my own and were not altered in any way by Netflix, Roku or anyone else.


  • Patti

    We have watched almost all of the mythbusters right off of Netflix watch it now… you really don’t need the amazon service.

  • TechyDad

    I’ve added the Mythbusters to my Instant Queue. However, Netflix just has the “best of” collections, not full season discs. Amazon has the full season videos available for purchase including episodes from the current season. I wish that Discovery Channel give Netflix access to the episodes like NBC gives Netflix access to the Heroes episodes. (That is, the episode goes streaming the day after airing and all previous season episodes are available to be streamed.)

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