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November 25, 2013

Comments

John Tutolo

The companies I hate most:
Verizon
Comcast
AT&T

Don't pay them because their prices are unreasonable and absurd.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24528383

Bob C.

It's easy to "say" that you'll cut the cord; much more difficult to do. Comcast has been gouging us for the "triple play" of cable, internet and phone. The price rose up to the $220 range and I finally decided that enough was enough. Called Comcast and told them that we were dropping the phone and HBO. Well, they offered to drop the price to $179 (including taxes). For 6 months.

8 months later, the price was back up and i called again to threaten them with AT&T UVerse. That did the trick and the bait and switch was back: $179 again for the same service. I'm not sure if or when we'll get off of this merry-go-round. I will say that, with little girls at home, we don't go out much and the service acts as our 'entertainment'. It works for us, the internet is smoking fast and we like the On Demand. Only the land line is unnecessary, but it's essentially free.

I'd suggest calling Verizon and threatening to pull the plug. Get the retention department on the line and it can save you a lot of money.

StarHalo

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon through a Roku box - $19 a month

Small over-the-air antenna (PBS cartoons all day for the kids) - $10

Android smartphone through Virgin (unlimited data) - $35 a month

Jerry

You probably need to ask yourself:
1. Do you really need premium cable, versus a smaller package?
2. Do you really need a landline phone if you have a smart phone?

One thing you can do is simply do some homework. Contact other competitors (e.g. satellite) to get prices. Be sure to get the non-promotion prices...what it will cost you when the promotion is over. If it's lower than Verizon, then, contact Verizon and ask for their best offer with the same type package. If the price is higher than competitors, tell Verizon they simply aren't competitive and you are going to switch. They will most likely meet the competitive price so they won't lose you. I do this every time my electricity contract is up. In fact, I just renewed with my electricity provider when their cheapest rate was 50% higher than competitors. After letting them know the competitor's rates, they finally matched the cheapest one.

If the packages are confusing, call them and have them spell it out for you. Have THEM work for you.

Remember, YOU are the customer. THEY often forget that. But they need to keep their subscriber number up. Also remember, it's a game. But YOU are in position to win every time. All you have to do your homework to win.

Bob C.

OK Star Halo, then what about the internet? On Demand? Yes, theoretically you can cobble together bits and pieces and do just fine. But it's tougher with a wife and kids who like to see what they like to see. And me too.

Brandon

I keep my landline for several reasons - power outages often take out cell towers but rarely take out landlines, and landlines have better audio quality and much less lag time. I hate talking cell to cell where you're constantly talking over each other. And for long distance, I have used for many years a company known as TCI (Total Call International) - its only something like 2.9 cents/minute out of state and 4.4 in-state. My long distance bills are rarely over $5-$10/month, local landline being around $35.

I pay about $32/month for Dish Network's Welcome Pak + some add-ons + an additional receiver. My Charter internet is $39.99/month, soon to be $49.99

So altogether I pay about $120/month for everything. Oh, and I have a tracfone so my cell bill is under $10/month. If I want additional tv content I watch it online.

A. Black

The first year after we dropped cable we bought a Bose Wave system and a Yamaha Microcomponent system with the savings and within another year the savings got us several internet radios, a Tecsun PL-660, an iHome, an expanded music collection plus some electronics that we gave as gifts amd some others that it turns out we don't really use much. Also we stopped sitting around so much and started exercising every day since there was no TV to distract us. Also there is now a whole world of radio that we have discovered that we really never knew about before.

Paul

My God you are paying way too much.

I'm in Seattle and I pay around $55 for cable and high speed Internet. Every few months or so I call Comcast and ask, point blank, for any promotions for existing customers. They almost always have one. If they don't, hang up, wait and call again, and repeat. You will get a customer service rep who will help you.

The $55 above is a promotion. I get expanded cable which has CNN, etc, and I get their mid tier high speed Internet, around 20 Mbps. I have it marked in my calendar to call them a week before this promo expires. If they can extend it, great. If not, I will go back to basic cable and lower speed (but still fast enough) Internet for about the same price till I find a promo again.

For phone service I use Ooma. If you were an early adopter like me, after the $200 equipment purchase, it's totally free. If you buy it now from Costco or amazon, you pay a few bucks in taxes every month, and you get unlimited calling within the US.

Angelo

The thing I want the most is reliable, fast internet. I could wean myself off the cable----I got it for my kid and that was important for a few years, but now he's on his I-Pad way more than he watches TV. I need great internet and as far as a home phone goes----I do like the idea that a home phone gets 911 directly to your house while they can't pinpoint you as easily calling them from a cell phone.

Brandon

Plus if you live in a city you can easily get for free all the major networks over the air plus some decent sub-channels. And usually with picture quality better than HD cable or satellite. Then if you want to be really cheap you can mooch off your neighbor's wireless internet and make your phone calls with Skype or Google Talk.

Gordon C

Raising the kid on Netflix. The occasional foray into commercial OTA TV makes us wonder why we ever tolerated commercials. Cancelled satellite more than two years ago and have not looked back. Missed live sports a little bit at first but, like someone above, we started doing more things with free time. We have a land line, mid tier DSL, and VZN cell service. The land line is about to go as the kid can dial our cell phones (when they type your pass code on the smart phone correctly, it is time..). We were just forced to take ATT Uverse (really just "dSL2") in a back office upgrade so we had a year of 40 USD DSL for 14 USD a month. It was nice. Now that the promo rate is gone we will kill the land line.

Gordon C

Oh, I figure just by axing the sat we have saved more than $2000 in the two plus years since. Nice.

Ken K. in NJ

Sorry, still hooked to Comcast Cable. We have a mid-tier plan that's about $75 per month including all the annoying extra taxes. Roku, Prime, Netflix (all of which we also have) just isn't enough to cut the cable cord. We find we still need local TV news and locally produced shows, some football and Mets/Yankees baseball, on demand via Comcast, Network TV as it airs, several movie channels and so on.

Our internet and landline is thru Verizon. We still find the landline useful, and our internet has been on some sort of promotional rate of $29.99 per month for about 3 years now (I guess they forgot about us).

Not to say I'm happy about all this, but until we can replace all the creature comforts of our current set up, we are OK with it.

Gordon C

Ken K,
We have ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, 2 PBS plus local UHF as antenna fodder. We get the local news and network football. Still, once we cut satellite we found the time to do other things where we didn't even particularly want even the above channels. The kid drives TV until bedtime and then I will watch some limited Netflix. For us TV is no longer a destination except during weather that keeps us indoors. Even then, a DVD/BluRay is as likely as any other input choice.

We could run a separate thread on how bad local news has become. Here, market G leads with murder in market A or a drug bust in market S. There is no crime worth noting in market G. Equally interesting market S leads with crime in market G. Everyone goes to weather at about 22 minutes after the hour. However, by then I have hit an app for actual weather never having turned the TV on.

StarHalo

Bob, the combo I described is the one I've been using over the past year, with wife and kids; the kids are fine with all-day cartoons, and anything else they'd want to see is on the online services (Amazon has a few seasons of Spongebob for free, Netflix has roughly a year's worth of Sesame Street, etc.) My wife prefers the online content to anything over the air - Breaking Bad, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy are way better than what the networks are doing. And I like my nightly talk shows; Daily Show, Colbert, Leno, Fallon, and those are all day-after on Hulu, all free.

I've found that I don't actually sit and watch most sports programming on TV, it's usually on in the background while I'm doing something else. So MLB.com's $3/mo audio-only package is perfect, I get any game live like a local radio broadcast, and carry on doing something else just as before. Football games are free over TuneIn if you look up your team's stations.

It is a big change, and there's a lot of anxiety when it comes to cutting that live cable connection, but when you think about how much cable content you *don't* watch that you're still paying for, it just makes more sense to dump it.

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