We recently cancelled our cable TV subscription after years of paying Comcast for the “Limited Basic” service. That package gave us mostly the local channels plus a few other ones that we never watched anyway. My wife and I are not that big into watching TV but we do enjoy a couple of shows that happen to be on the 4 broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX). After cutting the cord, we are using an over the air digital antenna like this one here and get most of the channels that we had before with Comcast and a even a couple of extra PBS stations as well. They are all crystal clear in high definition. I built an HTPC (a home theater PC) running Windows Media Center and it works great with the digital antenna to record all programs in HD, allowing us to enjoy a TiVo-like on-demand skip-the-commercials experience without any recurring monthly charges.
I am going to have a separate article that will discuss HTPC together with an HDTV antenna in more detail later. What I wanted to mention was something that came as an unexpected surprise after we cancelled the cable TV. We expected our monthly bill to go down a bit, of course, but something else disappeared as well. Here is our bill for the cable TV plus the Internet:
And here is the same bill right after dropping the cable TV:
Obviously the XFINITY Internet price is 10 bucks lower than before, but that’s because Comcast puts me on different promotions when I call every 6 months to re-negotiate the monthly charges. But something else is missing as well – Taxes, Surcharges and Fees! Apparently you only have to pay those on the cable TV portion of the bill while having just the internet service removes those charges completely. In a place where an item selling for 99 cents ends up costing you $1.05 or so because of taxes, actually paying $34.99 for something that costs $34.99 is somehow refreshing. Yes, $2.03 per month is not a life changing amount by a long shot, but this is a nice bonus on top of the $22.10 we no longer have to pay. Somehow it makes it all just that much cleaner and simpler which works very well with my never-ending need to continually optimize our lifestyle and expenses.