Saturday

An Experiment in Cord Cutting - Step Two

Step one of our "cord cutting" consisted of going from a land line to a wireless version of same; a small box that works on a cell network, powering out home phones. It halved our monthly phone bill, and is a no-contract option.
 
Step two moves us away from a "locked in" cable TV contract and into the realm of streaming TV, which should save considerably more money, but will be a more noticeable change. To this end, we purchased and installed a Roku 2. The Roku (and similar devices such as Apple TV) allows you to consume "streaming" TV shows and movies via services like Netflix, Hulu and SlingTV.


A so-called "smart TV" will do much the same thing without needing a separate box like the Roku. We have a regular flat screen TV, so we purchased the Roku 2. It has the same hardware as the more expensive Roku 3, but without the "voice search" feature, which would freak out Mrs. Oldgoat in any case. 

The Roku 2 and most similar devices are physically small - much smaller than, say, a DVD player - and can be installed unobtrusively. With the Roku 2, it does have a infra red remote control, so you do need clear line-of-sight to use the remote. The devices connects to your home network (wireless or wired) and to your TV to provide the streaming video. Set up is easy enough, and the image quality to good to great on the various channels we have tried so far.

In most cases, the experience of streaming a movie or TV show is similar to watching something on YouTube.

A notable exception to this is SlingTV, which is more like watching live TV. In fact, with SlingTV, you are watching a modest selection of live cable TV channels on your Roku - sort of like a gentle introduction into the world of watching stuff on one of these devices; it's similar enough to "real" TV to be pretty painless.

SlingTV is a contract-free subscription service starting at $20 per month for access to a collection of live cable TV channels.

The next step is to drop our cable TV and old land line phone service. Depending on what kind of deal we can get, we may stick with our current provider for an Internet connection.

We currently have a low/middle tier DSL connection, and the streaming video has been fine, so a fiber connection or something like that is not needed for our purposes - and we would like to save some money rather than end up paying big bucks for redundant speed.

Step 3 will be when we actually "throw the switch" and move completely to this new setup, and I will report after a couple of weeks on how that goes.

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