Cable Cutters.... how do you exactly save money?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by crzdcolombian, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. crzdcolombian macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2010
    So I am looking for a place and am looking at internet deals. The price for internet is basically 10-20 bucks less than having internet/cable/phone. I hear about everyone saying how they cut cable but the cable companies who you have to get internet from don't make it easy. Some phone companies that offer slow ass DSL still price gouge you and basically give you a 5 buck discount for not having a phone.

    I am in the Northeast. Is it just easier in other parts of the country. I know we make more money up here but still 60-80 bucks for just internet seems insane to pay. Only companies I can get in my area are At&t and Comcast.

    Those who cut the cord.
    1.) what service do you use
    2.) the Cost? ( I can't find any that are affordable)
    3.) general location
  2. COrocket macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2012
    I use brighthouse which is a pretty popular service in Florida. I think I pay around $40 for 10mb Internet, which seems fast enough for streaming. I can watch watchESPN at the highest setting which seems like HD quality. Similar results when streaming movies on my parents xfinity account. I've heard Internet is pricy in the northeast especially for fios so it could be the area

    I'd imagine cable companies have really had to sweeten the bundle deals with so many people ditching cable and relying only on cell phones for calling. Or maybe the cost of operating existing phone lines is way cheap compared to building ever faster internet infrastructure to compete with other companies.

    Or just move to Kansas City. Basic Google fiber internet is provided free in participating neighborhoods :rolleyes:
  3. themumu, Sep 5, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013

    themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    If you really can only get ATT and Comcast, then you obviously can only get what they offer :(

    There are very few real Internet providers where I live (Toronto, Canada), but because of certain regulations the big providers allow third party resellers to buy their services in bulk and provide them in whatever retail packages they choose. So with a few of such resellers, we can get Internet-only plans that are much more competitive than what the underlying wholesale provider offers to retail customers directly.


    - Bell (large ISP) offers 50/10Mbps (download/upload) service with a 175GB cap for $87 (they offer a $4 discount for bundling it with TV/phone service, for a reduced price of only $83)
    - Teksavvy (smaller ISP which resells Bell's services) offers the same speed with a 300GB cap for $55, no bundles required.

    But that's on the higher end. Their cheapest service can be had for $44 with Bell for 5/1Mbps and 20GB cap, or $25 with Teksavvy for 7/1Mbps and 75GB cap.

    As you can see, it's all about having some competition. Going off tangent a bit, but here in Canada various organizations and companies like Teksavvy fought very hard to make sure Bell and the like are obliged to offer their services at wholesale to enable this competition. Big ISPs received significant government assistance for building out their infrastructure back in the day, and that's how they are made to pay back.
  4. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    For cable ops, the profit margin for broadband is much, much bigger than for video. It's possible that a cable op could withstand the financial hit of a customer dropping video if he upgrades his broadband service so Netflix, et al work better.
  5. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    I had:
    $94 DirecTV bill
    $70 phone/internet bill (1.5Mbps DSL)
    ~$23 Netflix for DVDs and streaming

    I changed to:
    $9.99 Tivo TV bill
    $70 internet bill (40Mbps DSL)
    ~$4.30 Ooma phone bill (all those pesky taxes)
    $7.99 Netflix for streaming only
    $7.99 Hulu+

    Lots of change, but basically, dropped about $90 permanently. And have much faster internet and watch just as much TV. You can see my location, it will be different everywhere, of course.
  6. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    $0 WMC OTA setup plus extenders
    $75 ISP
    $4 SIP phone
    $6 Netflix (iTunes cards are often 20% off)
  7. crzdcolombian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2010
    Ok thanks for all the great replys. Seems cutting cable really isn't that cheap your all still paying almost $80 not including taxes and equipment. The way Cnet and Yahoo makes it sound is that you people are paying $30 bucks a month.

    What I did in Boston was every year I'd get someone else to sign up for the comcast double or triple play that has no contract. I'd get everything and 50mbps internet + hbo/Starz/showtime +phone(never hooked it up but cheaper some reason than the double pack) for 80-100 bucks a month.

    I just changed my parents comcast into my gfs name as they were paying
    70 bucks for direct tv and 81 (jumped to 113 this week) for internet + phone.
    Canceled Directv and got all 3 from comcast for 103 !!!! WTF How is it cheaper with internet !!!

    Sad I have to stick with Comcast because they are my only option(probably why they price gauge people). AT&T I am too far from their office so my DSL would be insanely slow.
  8. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    Yeah, most of the advantage comes when you've already got a pimped out TV package and are not gaming the system (signing up for consecutive intro packages).

    Comcast knows what you are doing and is motivated to bump you into extra packages. Central to that strategy is a high base price.
  9. r0k, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013

    r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I'm in an area of Michigan that only gets Comcast and Uverse. I'm too far from the fiber cabinet to get reliable Uverse so I'm stuck with Comcast. I was at $150 a month for internet and "basic cable with DVR." I now pay $40 a month (regularly $65) for internet to Comcast on a 6 month promotion. A couple of days after I cut the cord, Comcast called to offer me cable back for $5 a month for 1 year. I did not return their phone call.

    I HATED Comcast. I hated pressing "1" to begin dialing channel "10" and having the set top box switch to "On Demand" before my finger could find "0". I hated having the box reset all the time. I hated having the huge impractical the remote changing channels because the cat stepped on it or I was trying to pick it up and my finger found a button by mistake. I hated all the Comcast ads telling me how much money I was saving. I hated the fact I had 300+ channels of NOTHING. There were times I'd come home from work, scan the channels and find nothing, scan the DVR and find nothing, scan On Demand and find nothing and decide to go use Netflix or watch one of the movies on our DLNA server instead. I hated the fact that a Comcast service outage meant I also lost access to my DVR content. I remember the days of VCRs when if you taped something it was yours to do with as you pleased. The evil alliance between Big Cable and Tivo means that all that stuff we "record" isn't really ours to do with as we please. Sure the cable box has a usb port on it but Comcast has disabled saving my recordings to an external drive. Cable is basically Digital Rights Management on steroids. I hated the electrical power the Comcast boxes sucked even while on standby.

    I now use Smart TVs and "LG Smart TV Upgrader" boxes (No longer available in stores but about $50 on Amazon). The only reason I don't use Apple TV (yet) is that I find Apple DRM is only slightly less annoying than Comcast DRM. I can watch home movies and DVD rips off of a NAS box without having to leave iTunes running on one of our Macs (as I've heard AppleTV would require). And no I don't use limewire, torrent (except to get jailbroken Apple OSs) or other means of getting media. I buy my music from Amazon (to get plain old mp3 files) and my movies as DVDs which I then rip and store the DVDs down in the basement next to the buggy whips, 78 rpm records and cable boxes. I have only ever bought one blue ray and will probably never buy another.

    I now have:
    1 - Comcast Blast internet: $40
    2 - Amazon Prime $8
    3 - Netflix $8
    4 - Hulu+ $8
    5 - Ooma $13 (including $10 for optional voicemail to email and google voice support)

    I cut the At&t cord over a year ago and went from over $100 a month for 2 phone lines to $13 a month for Ooma. I cut the Comcast cord roughly 2 weeks ago and I'm so happy to be paying $110 less.

    Meanwhile I'm working on cutting my postpaid cellular cord. I'm paying close to $250 a month for 4 iphones, 2 of which are hand-me-down iPhone 4's our kids are using off-contract. I plan to switch them to Straight Talk which will cost $45 a line instead of over $60 a line.

    Total monthly savings after all is said and done:
    $110 comcast (cable+internet cost minus internet cost)
    $87 At&t landline (old landline cost minus Ooma cost)
    $30 At&t -> straight talk (2 of 4 lines) ** later this year
    less $24 for Hulu+, Netflix and Amazon prime
    $203 a month or roughly a modest car payment

    I might just maybe add Tivo back into the mix for $10 a month for OTA tv only.

    If you do decide to stick with Comcast, don't forget to call and complain and often they will find "promotion" deals for you. For me, if I can keep my internet at $40, my total comes to about $64 including netflix, hulu+ and amazon prime. If my internet creeps up to $65, at least I'm not paying the $150 I was paying before. When I called to cancel, Comcast tried to stick me with their "triple play" for $99. The problem with all these introductory rates, whether for cable, at&t, direct tv or dish is that they expire and you have to always watch out for climbing costs. My issue is I don't like most of the stuff on Comcast and it's about as bland as the free over the air stuff and actually has MORE commercials so even if I'm only saving a few bucks, it's well worth it to be rid of Comcast. I probably will not bother with Tivo. One thing I haven't noticed in this thread is using a Mac for cord-cutting. If you splurge on an Elegato Eye-TV (or similar device), you can use your Mac as a DVR and skip the Tivo contract as well.
  10. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Similar scenario here. Dropping TV will save you a crap load no matter what they try to tell you. We save about $60/month after cutting DirecTV because we added Amazon Prime Instant Video (Prime is awesome itself), Netflix (we had but it's considered in our entertainment budget) and Hulu Plus.

    Not paying that $90 DirecTV bill is so gratifying.

    I have 12Mbps CenturyLink VDSL (but they've been giving us 15Mbps, awesome). I will NEVER go back to crap cable. Terrible shared tech.
  11. jbachandouris macrumors 601


    Aug 18, 2009
    Upstate NY
    Although I really need to, I haven't cut my cord. I have triple play, yet rarely use the phone. I guess my biggest wants are DVR and BBCA.

    Disney plays so many re-runs that its almost worth disappointing the kids. I've already added Netflix.

    So TiVo is $10/month? How much for the box?
  12. crzdcolombian thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2010
    JAT seriously you hit god mode. This is what I always hear or it makes stuff sounds like on yahoo and CNet. Sadly in my area it's comcast or nothing.

    They did offer me a deal they said I could for 99 dollars get their economy triple play. Tho my internet was going to drop from 50mbps to 3 !!! Haha

    I am going to call them tomorrow and say I just want internet from them. It's my mom is crazy and wants a home line for some insane reason when everyone and their 2 year old owns a cell phone.
  13. mslide, Sep 8, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013

    mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Cutting the cord definitely saved us money. We were paying about $130 / month for internet and TV through comcast. We had one of the more basic digital TV package. Cutting the cord left me with paying $65 / month for internet. It's a 20'ish mb/s internet deal. I own my own modem so that helped a little but yes, you wind up paying a lot for internet unless you try to get them down (which didn't work for me). We subscribe to netflix and hulu plus so that's $16 / month. That means we save about $50 / month but knock off a few extra bucks from that because we tend to buy one iTunes season pass per year with an occasional episode here and there. There was also the one-time fee of an OTA antenna and a couple Apple TVs, which have long since paid for themselves.

    For us, it wasn't only about saving money. We were always glued to the TV even when there was nothing we wanted to watch. It was just as much about us changing our viewing habits and cutting down on TV as it was saving money. Now, we only watch TV when we know what we want to watch.

    What's kind of funny is that we discovered all of our current favorite TV shows after cutting the cord. We pretty much stopped watching what we used to watch and found new, favorite shows. Cutting the cord was one of the best things we've done for ourselves. Even if it only saved us $10 / month, I'd still do it. Save a little bit here and there and it adds up to a lot of savings.
  14. spork183 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2006
    Where do you find 40Mbps DSL? Best I can get in No. California is 6, via ATT. My comcast is running 55down, so I'm in no hurry to go back to dsl, but I have NO other choices. DSL at 40 would be a nice option.
  15. *Batman* Suspended


    Oct 2, 2012
    Gotham City
    I pay $55 per month for cable Internet services and that gives 30Mbps down. I get my content from Netflix for $7.99 per month and sometimes buy content from iTunes. I also subscribe to various podcasts, which are free of course. Between all of that, I have plenty to keep me entertained.

    I don't care all too much for news and sports which works out since that stuff isn't as available this way.
  16. BenTrovato macrumors 68030


    Jun 29, 2012
    No one splits internet with their neighbours? We save a boat load. Top of the link package, no bandwidth cap. Can't understand why more people don't do it.
  17. JAT, Sep 8, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013

    JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    I find it at my house. :D
    It's Centurylink.

    I also have Comcast as an option, considered going to 105Mbps this year when they dropped the price, but the 40 really is doing enough for me, so it wasn't worth the extra cost.

    Just tested, nobody else in the house must be streaming right now. When I first got this, it was rated A and faster than 97%.


    Um, I think that is illegal.
  18. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    I'm of mixed feelings on this. Conversationally, home lines make zero sense anymore. OTOH, that once in 5 year 911 event was easier when every room in the house had means of contact - how confident can you be that the cell will charged and in your possession?
  19. Mac_Max, Sep 8, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2013

    Mac_Max macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    I'm paying ~$40 per month.

    $29.95/month for Time Warner Cable Modem. Rated 15MBps down, 1 up. I regularly see 20 down, 1.75 up.
    $9.95/month for Hulu.

    Add on the couple bucks in hidden fees I'm ignoring in the TWC bill.

    I have no use for a landline and most of the shows I like are on network TV + Comedy Central. The price for Cable in LA seems to have come down a bit since I cut the cord, years ago, due to digital cable no longer being an up-sell. Back then they still offered "analog" cable as their standard service and could turn on your "digital" cable with a phone call and an agreement to pay $30/month more. What a racket that was.

    I doubt it's illegal unless you're tapping into the Cable/Phone/Fiber network before the modem. On the other hand it's probably against your ISP's TOS and if they find out they'll terminate your service. That said, when I was in Minnesota it was pretty popular for apartments to have wifi for the tenants. I'm pretty sure the management had an agreement with their ISP to cover that arrangement.
  20. rusty2192 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2008
    We saved about $30/month just by dropping cable. We had already dropped to the most basic plan but kept the DVR. We have since dropped Time Warner (felt great saying screw you) and switched to Windstream DSL ($29.99/month for 24Mbps for 2 years, then up to $49.99 gauranteed for life, no contract) and OTA tv. We were already paying for Netflix and amazon prime for shipping, so those made no difference. After 2 years we will reevaluate and see if there are any cheaper options.

    Life will be easier now that we acquired my brother's account info to tap into his WatchESPN.
  21. foodog macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    TiVo's can be very cheap to VERY expensive for the devices. You can usually pick up a refurbished on from them for less than 100.00.

    New customers are getting 15.00 a month prices. They are pretty easy to upgrade if you are fairly computer savvy.... or pay for a already formatted drive. No DVR on the planet is better functionality wise... and my oldest, still in service TiVo is 7 years old.


    I don't think it is illegal, it is against the TOS for sure though.
  22. Scrub175 macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2012
    Port St Lucie FL
    Followed this and another similar thread. I'm very interested in this and am about to make it happen. I did have a thought/question though... I could entirely cut cable if I paid for hotspot (still on unlimited data) on my iPhone 5. I live alone and don't need internet at home when I'm not there. My usage would be appletv, Netflix, streaming, and Xbox. What hazard am I missing aside from potential throttling (although I don't think Verizon throttles)? Again I would pay for the hotspot on my unlimited data plan.

    OP thank you for starting this discussion.
  23. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    I have written up a modest "Guide to Cable Cutting" that I hope is helpful. Check it out at

    So far I haven't addressed the ability to record shows because we rely on streaming for so much content, but as we were leaving for church this morning, we had to walk out on the middle of the interview with President Obama and I realized that the ability to simply hit "record" is something we need. I'll have to look around for something that doesn't involve a $15 a month fee simply to be able to record live TV and watch it later (other than a DVDR or VCR).

    I'll probably be starting by looking at EyeTV or HDhomerun combined with software on one of our Macs to capture shows for viewing later. For now, we are enjoying keeping that extra money in our pockets and we are unwilling (for now) to fork it over to Tivo, no matter how nice their service might be.

  24. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Used my 5 for a couple hours of hotspot yesterday during long car rides. Kids in the backseat actually stop fighting when they can all surf! 10 days into this month and I'm already over 3GB.

    Anyway, I'm thinking "hotspot" is a reference to the phone turning into a small heater. Long term, it would not surprise me if using it in this manner shortened the life of the phone. It got real hot in just a few minutes and stayed that way the whole time. This isn't a real deterrent, but it may be worth Applecare with this usage.

    Verizon doesn't throttle afaik.

    To some comments above, I got in on Tivo's brief "antenna-only" bargain price of $10. It no longer exists for new subscribers, so sorry if people were looking for that after reading my first post. Tivo is really catering to cable customers these days, trying to get them to not switch off cable, but just switch off the crappy cable DVR, the Tivo boxes take cable cards. It is always $15/month now. Which isn't too bad, for a while it was $20.

    I also have EyeTV and a couple tuners. Works ok, but I got tired of fighting with their software and teaching everyone to use computers instead of specialty boxes. And trying to figure out how to set up parental security when your "TV" is a computer. If you set up automated conversions like other people discuss, this can be a great method, I just never quite got that far. Also, Tivo is much better at figuring out when TV shows are moved, they update their guide better than TV Guide, which EyeTV partners with.
  25. JAT, Sep 16, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013

    JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Missed this before. Try an Ooma. It has proven to be a consistent company. You pay the same taxes you paid before, mine are under $4.50/month. The device is $130 at Costco right now, can often be found refurb for $99 on (although I don't know what the quality is of their refurbs) You can port your phone number just like when you switch cell phone companies. Most people have no idea that I don't have a "phone line" anymore.

    The only thing missing is the electric power that comes through the phone line, which means an old style corded phone will still work when the power goes out. I solved that with a UPS dedicated to all the devices that make the Ooma work at my house. But the reality is that in an emergency, my cell is all I use. We had a 4 day electric outage this year, cell was all I really used, none of us were home when it started, so the UPS battery was dead when I got there. (yes, 4 DAY)

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