Thanks - I cut the cord, here's how the phone call went down - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Warning: this will likely be a long read.

The HTPC is up and running, and it's glorious. So much so that I called to cancel cable last weekend and I'm saving the monthly fees upwards of 90 - 100 bucks a month.

Their retention efforts we're paltry at best. After informing him I wanted to cancel, that their prices are too high and it's getting out of hand...

Them: "You can't get HD with an Antenna."
Me: "You can Stop telling stories right here, It's almost all HD now and in better quality than what you have been able to provide. You and I both know that"

Them: "You have to worry about reception..."
Me: "I've had to call you more about cable signal in the 6 months passed than I've ever had to. I'll take my chances with my line of site to the signal sources..."

Them: "You won't be able to get it on other TVs"
Me: "I have extenders or I'll go buy 2 more 12 dollar antennas."

Them: "How will you get content?"
Me: " Well, most of the time I'm watching TV, I'm watching what the wife has on the DVR. I don't channel surf, In fact, I can think of 2 shows that I will miss for about 2 weeks then I'll forget about them. I can stream most of that the kids watch and the rest is just not needed."
Them: "You can't record over the Air..."
Me: "You're doing it again, I CAN and DO record OTA TV."
Them: "no one will be able to support it for you..."
Me: "I built the machine, I can have it back up and running in an hour. It would take you guys at least 24 - 48 hours to have a truck rolled. Support is not an issue anymore."
Them: "you can't get live sports"
Me: "This isn't an issue for me, I didn't even know who was in the Superbowl until a could of days before the game. Still didn't watch it. Don't remember who was in it."


He then went about quietly Cancelling the service. They stated they were sorry to see us go and he would cancel upon us hanging up. He stated it would "disconnect the call by cancelling the TV."

I politely informed him that "I do not have a phone modem, I have a cable modem. Pull the trigger on that cancel and if you fail at disconnecting this call, I'll give you a feather in your cap."

He pulled the trigger, Call was not disconnected, I upgraded my Internet package with him for a warm fuzzy. Thanked him and proceeded to end the call. He asked why we had cancelled and I simply replied,

"I'd rather pay for something we'd use, like bandwidth, instead of 200 channels of something we didn't. The price was stupid and you folks decided to up my price the day my contract expired. All the while, sending me fliers saying I could still lock in my rate with instructions to go to a website that doesn't work. I'm going to use the money I save to pay down school loans and..."
Them: "If you had told me that at the beginning of the call Maybe I could have done something, but it's too late now."



I took the boxes back that day and never looked back.

I got a call the next day at 8pm and it was the cable company, making a last ditch save attempt. They offered me 50% my cable bill for 6 months if I came back to TV. I asked them how long that offer was good for and it was for the duration of the call. I told em, no thanks.

Them: "Why did you cancel your TV service with us?"
Me: went about explaining to them again, Price, etc etc etc>

Them: 'did you go with another Company?"
Me: "We're done paying for TV we don't use. We were customers of yours at this address for over 10 years and we had a total of 170 dollars in credits over that same time, All incurred in the last year. Not once, did you offer one, I had to call and go after it. We tried the contract thing and the minute it expired, you raised our rates - again. This is not how you treat long time customers. You know your rates are high otherwise you wouldn't be dangling the carrot that you are right now. If you can afford to offer me that price for 6 months, then why isn't that the price everyone pays? I'm not doing the dance and calling you guys up every 6 months to get my rate back. It's not worth it."
Them: "okay..."

As a result of hearing my end of the conversation, It hacked the wife off and she's never going back either.

The real purpose of this post is I Wanted to give you folks Kudos. I hit this place several times a day sometimes with 2 or 3 threads going here and in HDTV technical and was always met with respect. Collectively, You folks are among the most tolerant and knowledgeable I know on the interwebs. Between this and a couple of other sites, I was able to piece things together and get it up and running with little investment.

TL;DR - You guys rock.

THERE IS NO NORSICAN, THERE IS ONLY ZUUL
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post #2 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:10 AM
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Why did you lie to the cable company...you know you're not going to use the money to pay down your student loans...I see a new computer in your future.

Better living through credit cards
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post #3 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:19 AM
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That's awesome. The Mrs still likes to surf but I think she's getting tired of paying $50/month for the Premium channels that recently came off the free promo.

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post #4 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:29 AM
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Sounds like you enjoy being rude to customer service workers. You just had to show them how knowledgeable you are though, huh? You're a real hero.
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post #5 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallpas View Post

Sounds like you enjoy being rude to customer service workers. You just had to show them how knowledgeable you are though, huh? You're a real hero.

I don't think so. This tatic has kept our rate lower than it otherwise would be for sevral years now.

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post #6 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:38 AM
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I agree with Hallpas. People are simply trying to work for a living. They're not trying to swindle anyone out of their money with deception. Cable companies, maybe, but customer service reps, not really. You seem to be rude and a very intolerant person yourself Norsican.

With that said, I wish I could get rid of my cable, but I enjoy HGTV and Jersey Shore too much. It's not like I would put the extra $50 a month to good use anyway. I'd most likely just get a better internet package or buy a couple extra Blu-rays. Which equates to the same thing, paying money for a service or product that is simply there to make my life a bit more comfortable and tolerable.

Well, I guess service reps are trying to keep customers with deception, but not from their own moral standing. The calls are usually monitored, and if you don't attempt to keep customers, or make extra sales, then you could easily lose your job.
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post #7 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norsican View Post

"I'd rather pay for something we'd use, like bandwidth, instead of 200 channels of something we didn't.


What cable co?

What do you pay for internet?

How long do you think it will take before your internet service fee is raised?

Cheers, Tp

"No lawsuit ever fixed a moron."
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post #8 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norsican View Post

Them: "you can't get live sports"


And that is what kills it for me. I could easily do away and never miss a beat, except I NEED NESN. Football is all available over the air, even the ESPN and NFL network games get a local feed, but the Sox and Bruins are only available on NESN.

Yes, there are streams I could tap into, but the quality just stinks, and NHL center ice blacks out local games, so I can't even go that route.

So, right now, I pay about $100 a month, for NESN. I am an idiot.
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post #9 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallpas View Post

Sounds like you enjoy being rude to customer service workers. You just had to show them how knowledgeable you are though, huh? You're a real hero.


For one, it didn't sound like he was rude, just firm. For another, you could argue that the person on the other end of the phone deserved the talking to he got for lying about HD and OTA recording.
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post #10 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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He started nice, but once the Cust Serv Rep started lying...
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post #11 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hipsterdoofus View Post

For one, it didn't sound like he was rude, just firm. For another, you could argue that the person on the other end of the phone deserved the talking to he got for lying about HD and OTA recording.

I agree. Plus, for once, it would be nice to be able to call up and say "I've decided to cancel" and not have to argue with them for a half an hour just to be able to cancel. I don't want your service any more, and I don't feel like talking about it with you. Just do it.

Didn't sound like he was rude, but I'd probably be rude after being lied to and badgered endlessly about "But WHY do you want to cancel. We can't let you cancel until you answer our questions."

(Of course then again there's XM/Sirius that even after you cancel claims you didn't cancel but actually agreed to renew for another decade and keeps sending you bills)
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post #12 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Zon2020 View Post

I agree. Plus, for once, it would be nice to be able to call up and say "I've decided to cancel" and not have to argue with them for a half an hour just to be able to cancel. I don't want your service any more, and I don't feel like talking about it with you. Just do it.

Didn't sound like he was rude, but I'd probably be rude after being lied to and badgered endlessly about "But WHY do you want to cancel. We can't let you cancel until you answer our questions."

(Of course then again there's XM/Sirius that even after you cancel claims you didn't cancel but actually agreed to renew for another decade and keeps sending you bills)

I agree with you here. It can be frustrating to have to explain yourself to service reps or sales people. But at the end of it all, it's much easier to say "Because I simply don't want cable anymore" rather than rant to the service rep about the cable company's way of doing business. The service rep didn't choose to raise his bill or provide a link to a broken site. They simply were trying to keep a customer.

Similar to your XM/Sirius issue, I had Columbia House bill me for nearly half a year after cancelling my subscription. I ended up having to go to my bank, and have them block all withdrawal attempts from them.
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post #13 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hallpas View Post

Sounds like you enjoy being rude to customer service workers. You just had to show them how knowledgeable you are though, huh? You're a real hero.

They asked, he told the truth .. simple as that .. perhaps his honest feedback will in some small way get thru to the CATV cartel ..

Oddball: Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

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post #14 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I realize you guys can't read into my intent and tone so I expected there'd be a bit of premature vitriol.

I'm currently a Contact Center Planning/Process Analyst in the medical field. I work with numbers and systems. I don't answer calls, I don't take escalations, I work with the Systems the agents and their supervisors use.


So, In no particular order:

I've worked at this very Cable company in their call center(albeit years ago). I know their tactics. they will try to get me to see a perceived "value" in their product. I'd already reached a point where any preceived "value" had diminished beyond reproach. I was prepared to offer counter arguments to the retention rep. I have friends still working there. I know how to play this game and play it well. I don't want to sit on the phone and debate pixels with a retention rep. I want to cancel my TV and be done with it. (Surprisingly enough, they didn't play the "it's cheaper with the bundle" card.) I LIKE this cable company. Their Internet is Superior to anything out here and it works.

Had he not offered any retention attempts, it would have been left with that. I would have cancelled and still upped my internet package. Potentially, He got Paid as a result of "convincing" me upgrading the internet even though I still cancelled TV at the end of the day. At the beginning of the Call, I was clear and concise. "I want to cancel my Cable TV subscription"

I want to make this point perfectly clear to those of you who saw the rep as a victim:

He is spreading disinformation, Intentionally or not, he DID try to "swindle" me out of money by outright lying to me not once, but twice... I was polite and called them "stories." I didn't ask to speak to a supervisor and request that they pull that call record and potentially get him fired. I countered attempts in a polite tone. (That's right, the tone you read the OP in was incorrect) If he truly thought his statements were true, He is now armed with better information and can potentially counter the next guy.

The phone call the following day was outreach. I took a survey the day before which likely prompted them to call me in the first place. They call because they have "access" to other deals - the good ones. I wasn't going to waste my time, but the call went on much longer than I indicated. They wanted to know what "they" did do lose my business. It was a good call overall, until they asked if I went to a competitor. At that point, I was firm, but not impolite. I'm notoriously blunt about stuff. If you ask a Question, I'll likely give you the answer. If you don't want to hear it, Don't ask me.

What irks me is they give you these deals to get you to come back, then raise the rates again. You gotta call em, Threaten to leave if they don't change it back ad infinum. It's akin to your sister going back to the wife-beating husband of hers saying "BUT HE LOVES ME, HE SAID HE WILL CHANGE! I LOVE HIM!" the day after she showed up at your door with a busted lip and black eye. You just gotta roll your eyes and wash your hands of it at some point. Also, a general rule that I've learned to follow. You don't want the deal that has a time limit on it. It's meant to get you to feel pressure and make a snap decision. Snap decisions are not generally good ones for you.

Simply put I was objective about the entire process. Knowing what ordinance they were going to use I was armed with knowledge to counteract those attempts. I likely frustrated the rep, but that's okay, he lied and he got an internet upgrade and got away with it. Had one of my former employees answered the phone, they would have known better than to prompt me for a discussion on the matter.

The lady with outreach got some good info from me which included my desire for TRUE Ala Carte Pricing and the likelihood of me removing their phone service in the coming months as well. (it's an election year)


I WANT them to know what they are up against and so should many here. If enough of us relay this information to them, they gotta take notice. Right now, they are trucking along with an old business model and expecting it to last. The party is going to change. Younger generations are comfortable with locating content online and cable subscriber-ships will continue to go down as the older generations die off or are convinced otherwise. Once rights owners figure out there is a market segment out there they aren't reaching, more advertising dollars will shift to the web content and will revenue will go down for cable TV companies and your rates go up.


I'm not going to name the Cable company outright. It wouldn't be hard to figure out. But I pay 64 bucks for 25 down. I don't expect it to change anytime soon as a result of me removing Cable TV and indicating I was contemplating Cancelling the land-line. I've shown my hand and they know I'm not bluffing.

THERE IS NO NORSICAN, THERE IS ONLY ZUUL
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post #15 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:27 AM
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What about Snooki? Oh the humanity!

I recently reconnected the cord for a bundled speed upgrade with Verizon FiOS. I am on the hook for two years; but will cut the cord again once my term is up and before they rape me.

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post #16 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:36 AM
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my promo offers just ended so i called to eliminate the higher tier and hbo. the guys response was to give me a dvr for 10 extra dollars a month. huh? who wrote that script?

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post #17 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:38 AM
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Bravo sir! If there were a lot more consumers like you the cable industry would be headed for a better place. Thanks for putting the effort into cutting the cord.
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post #18 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobyken View Post

Why did you lie to the cable company...you know you're not going to use the money to pay down your student loans...I see a new computer in your future.


I'll be honest with you because I like you...

The thought HAD crossed my mind.

THERE IS NO NORSICAN, THERE IS ONLY ZUUL
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post #19 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:45 AM
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I've pretty much run out of threats to quit to get a lower price. Last time I disconnected the premiums, it was a couple weeks and then Uverse called me to give them to me for free for a year. The year's about up!

And it isn't just the youth, I probably have kids your age. How do you think I learned where to find on-line content???

But the Mrs isn't as tech savvy as I and likes to channel surf. I am slowly trying to break her of that.

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post #20 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

I've pretty much run out of threats to quit to get a lower price. Last time I disconnected the premiums, it was a couple weeks and then I was on them for free for a year. The year's about up!

And it isn't just the youth, I probably have kids your age. How do you think I learned where to find on-line content???

But the Mrs isn't as tech savvy as I and likes to channel surf. I am slowly trying to break her of that.



Get her a DVR and a hobby. That's what happened at my house. the DVR made it possible for her to do other things and watch TV later.

The ONE stipulation I was given (by the boss) on the HTPC was the ability to RECORD American Idol.

easy peasy.

THERE IS NO NORSICAN, THERE IS ONLY ZUUL
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post #21 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norsican View Post

Get her a DVR and a hobby. That's what happened at my house. the DVR made it possible for her to do other things and watch TV later.

The ONE stipulation I was given (by the boss) on the HTPC was the ability to RECORD American Idol.

easy peasy.

We have a DVR. She likes to surf the Premiums, just about got her convinced of the superiority of the HTPC for movies and even shows on HBO and Sho. Then there's Damages. Not on Uverse but rather DirectTV only. We watch it anyhow. But there's also live things like CNN that she watches that are pay only. I'm thinking an SDHDHR Prime will be the solution eventually. I just need to convince her to make the switch. The thing is we will be paying for content to get the cable/satellite only channels but I want to integrate it into the HTPC.

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post #22 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:00 AM
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Yep, they always seem to try to blur the lines as to what you can and can't do with your cable, or your antennae. I remember reps telling me I couldn't get any extended basic channels with a clear QAM tuner, which at that time was untrue, you couldn't record them, etc.
They are given a script to follow and they get paid to make sales or retain customers.
I also wish they'd cut the crap, tell you what it's REALLY going to cost, fees and taxes included, give you the promo price permanently rather then to get you to sign up and hope you get stupid in 6 months and just keep paying the higher rate.
I signed up for the better triple play HD package with a free HD box, BUT a modem/phone that now costs me 7 bucks a month, and my net that I already had simply because even after the promo prices die I have a much better TV package and my phone will be cheaper with free US long distance or I wouldn't have traded up.
Here they wont allow customer to buy their own combo phone modem, BUT you can own just the modem, which I did for over 10 years. However in the state across the river customers are allowed to buy that same modem and it's the exact same company. They need to standardize rates and allow everyone to get the perks and not pick and choose just because they can get away with it. If it wasn't for Dish and Direct TV stealing customers you can bet they wouldn't even offer these promo deals, and now trying to force everyone to use a box is just another money grab on their parts.
OH and I recently got a HD HomeRun Prime, best move I ever made for now, even with them playing games on the price of one cable card per month.
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post #23 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:03 AM
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You only cut the cord completely when you cancel internet.

Otherwise, you are just shifting from one medium to another.

Many companies are making it really sweet to get all 3 services. For example, FiOS internet by it self is about $60. FiOS triple play is $65.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #24 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:07 AM
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I cancelled cable two years ago. What is funny is that we have the cable hookups located every-so-many houses in the front yards in our neighborhood. One hookup happens to be in our frontyard. That hookup had been unlocked for five years when we had cable - even though other people around us, who used the same hookup, didn't have cable. However, when we called to cancel cable and told them that we were going OTA, they immediately came out and put a lock on the cable hookup! I find it funny because I think they were like, "They aren't going to cancel cable and go OTA, they are trying to STEAL cable. Lets put a lock on the hookup and we will get them back in a couple of months." Yeah - good luck with that.
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post #25 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:09 AM
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Wow, that's great that you can get away without cableTV/satellite TV! Most people are too spoiled to give up watching first run 1080i cableTV shows, CNN, ESPN (and other sports channels), MTV, etc.

I also tried "cutting the cord" back in 1999 when OTA ATSC was brand new. However, after a few months I REALLY started to miss the other 70% of my TV watching experience.

Some people download/stream premium cable TV shows. However, they're almost always "poor-man's HD". If you're used to bit-perfect ATSC OTA quality local TV HD channels, you probably would want to wait for them to be available in bluray format a year or so later.

Can your HTPC Media Center / DVR Do this??

SageTV: Unrestricted full-quality 12 tuner HD Premium Cable recording, including "On Demand" in HD + OTA ATSC + DVB-S2 + Blu-ray/HD-DVD serving 5 clients.
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post #26 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

You only cut the cord completely when you cancel internet.

Otherwise, you are just shifting from one medium to another.

Many companies are making it really sweet to get all 3 services. For example, FiOS internet by it self is about $60. FiOS triple play is $65.

If that is true, then there is no reason not to pay an extra $5 for cable service. I know I would. But my internet costs $50 a month, and my BASIC cable costs $85 a month. Yeah you get a discount if it is paid together, but it was still $118 a month for both services bundled together, not $5 extra.

Cable companies - give me Basic cable and high speed internet for $55 a month, and you got yourself a deal. But please, no introductory rate offers - only permenant offers. Also, satellite TV need not apply . . .
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post #27 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:16 AM
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Pretty good point, MKANET. I'd like to pay only for the cable networks without having to pay for the OTA locals that are compressed but I can't do that. The cable networks alone shouldn't cost so much and I shouldn't have to bundle them with others I don't watch. There's maybe 5 or possibly 10. The rest are filler material. I want a la carte HD at maybe a few bucks per channel. That would be a nice reasonable $25 or so rather than the $80 or so for those now.

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post #28 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:34 AM
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I haven't cut the cord completely, but I've trimmed my cable bill considerably ever since switching to an HTPC. I currently pay $51/month for the FIOS ExtremeHD TV package and another $24 for equipment rentals (two cablecards for my S3 Tivo, one cablecard each for my InfiniTV 4 and HDHomeRun Prime, and one HD set top box). I get the FIOS Triple Play package for $119/month, which includes the HD package, phone service, and wideband internet (20/5 speeds). I pay more for my wireless phone service than I do for my TV, internet, and landline phone combined.

I discontinued all of my premium channels, turned in the rest of my cable boxes, and sold my other S3 Tivo. I'm in the process of getting the wife accustomed to using a remote PC networked to the HDHR Prime. My hope is to eventually wean her off both the Tivo and the set top box, which will save me another $16/month in equipment rentals. I get the few shows I used to watch on HBO and Showtime via torrent sites.

I still can't believe someone actually used Jersey Shore as an excuse to keep their cable service.
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post #29 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:36 AM
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I like this.

If I didn't have a wife that loved live sports more than I do and also wanted to ability to numb the kids' mind with whatever crap is on Disney at any given time then I, too, would cut that cord.
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post #30 of 140 Old 02-22-2012, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKANET View Post

Wow, that's great that you can get away without cableTV/satellite TV! Most people are too spoiled to give up watching first run 1080i cableTV shows, CNN, ESPN (and other sports channels), MTV, etc.

I also tried "cutting the cord" back in 1999 when OTA ATSC was brand new. However, after a few months I REALLY started to miss the other 70% of my TV watching experience.

I don't call it "spoiled." There is nearly nothing other than sports and local news that we watch on "network" TV. Nearly all of our viewing is things like Food Network, USA, BBCA, and the Discovery networks, and I couldn't do without the 30+ sports networks I get with DirecTV.

Our HTPC is there to provide access to MORE content that we might actually want to watch, not less.

I suppose if you primarily like watching network sitcoms and reality shows, and movies, going OTA plus Netflix might work. But especially if you're a sports junkie, it doesn't.
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