We used to have cable and now we don’t. Not that Time-Warner is suffering any, they still get our Internet business, just not our TV-viewing business. That has been given over to Amazon Prime, which we already had. This means our monthly bill is going down by about $40 a month. We didn’t have the most expensive cable package in the world, but a little extra money isn’t bad. Besides, I’m allergic to monthly payments.
The decision was pretty easy to make. It was a bit like giving up your heavy coat when you live on the equator–we just didn’t use it a whole lot. My wife and I don’t watch much TV, and the kids have other technological toys that keep them busy when they want an electronic diversion. Amazon Prime gives us plenty of selection when we do want to watch something, like when on the elliptical machine.
So cord cut and cable replaced by Amazon Prime. We had a blue-ray player that streamed Amazon video, but it was clunky with a mediocre UI at best. That wasn’t going to do it. After a little research, I figured that the best streaming device around was the Roku 3*. Turns out the Roku is great with a fast and useful UI for Amazon.
There are also a lot of other channels–as Roku calls them–with free or paid programming. PBS is a useful free channel and we installed a channel to enable video streaming from our network storage device.
The trick feature of using being able to plug earphones into the remote is pretty cool as well. It makes private viewing very easy to do.
Okay, we’ve got a great streaming device and Amazon Prime. So what’s the experience like? Not too bad. Amazon Prime has a decent library of movies and TV shows, but isn’t that great with having the latest stuff. For us it works well, but it’s not for everybody. Netflix and Hulu Plus are other options for newer movies and TV shows respectively.
Then my wife found an item on our cable bill for leasing our cable modem. I hadn’t given it much thought, but the price just went up recently and we suspected our current modem was starting to get flaky. Rather than going to the trouble of convincing Time-Warner that our modem was misbehaving, we decided to save $4 a month and get our own cable modem.
That led me to getting a Motorola SB6121 SURFboard modem. Well, technically it’s an ARRIS/Motorola device, but I won’t get into the complicated subject of the three companies that use the name ‘Motorola’. I used to work for Motorola and still have a fondness for the company and people, so buying a Motorola product felt good. It also happens to be a really good cable modem.
Anyhow, getting your own cable modem and setting it up is a pretty simple affair if you are familiar with ethernet networking. The hardest part was waiting on hold to give a Time-Warner technician the modem’s MAC address so he could activate it.
So there we go. Cable cut and using our very own cable modem. $44 a month saved and it hasn’t been especially missed. As far as how this relates to writing? Well, writing isn’t the most lucrative business around so a tip on saving some money each month might not go amiss .