Wednesday, August 12, 2020

"Cutting the Cord" ~ 1-1/2 Years later

In February 2019, I dropped my Spectrum cable TV ~ this was also known as:

"Cutting the cord"

The bottom line, up front, is that I am still pleased with that choice!

"Waiting for the other shoe to drop" describes me holding my breath at the 18 month mark of cable-free TV...

TV Devices

I am still using Roku on all my TVs. I actually purchased a Roku TV. My 42-inch plasma TV was 15 years old, and finally died. A new 55-inch replacement 4K LED was around $300. My new TV had Roku built in, and that saved me the $40 price of a Roku stick.

I I have not tried Amazon's Fire TV Stick. I've seen it pop up on sale from time to time, but I was never motivated to try it out.

Picture Quality

Picture quality is usually very very good. Perhaps 2-3 times a week the picture becomes scrambled and "pixelated" for a few minutes. But I attribute that to poor Internet WiFi connections. the picture clears up within a minute or two.

I have three LED TVs in the house. They all give great picture quality through Roku.
  • I have a 19" LED TV in my office (for the occasional new break). It uses a Roku device that looks an old hock, and the remote requires a direct line of sight. The remote controls the power on/off and the TV volume. 
  • I have a 32" LED TV in the bedroom. It connects through a Roku stick in an HDMI port in the back. The remote also controls the power on/off and the TV volume. I have to use the TV remote, though, to set the 30-minute timer when I go to sleep.
  • I have a 55" ROKU TV (also LED) in the living room. It actually uses the SAME remote as both of my other Roku devices. (The sound is really poor, so I route sound through my home theater system; I have to use the home theater remote to control the volume.)

Program choices

I have 86 channels installed on my Roku system! Again, I have more hours of potential TV programs than could ever have to watch them!

Favorites: There are many channels that I haven't opened in weeks! I confess to spending most of my time watching these channels:
  • The Spectrum streaming app...
    • I mainly watch the weather report on Bay News 9, and occasionally slip over to a few of the local channels (CBS, etc.). During the season I would watch The Curse of Oak Island on the History channel.
    • My cost: $25/month
  • YouTube app...
    • This is the plugin into that connects the the whole library of short and diversified videos. Perhaps my ADD is showing through because I find myself skipping past videos more than 15 minutes long. I enjoy the techie how-to-do-it videos for WordPress, business suggestions, video creation and editing, and Windows 10. Sometimes I'll watch a news snippet or a political commentary.
    • My cost: free
    • NOTE: THE YOUTUBE APP I've loaded and watching is NOT the same as the YouTube TV channel that costs $60/month.
  • Amazon Video
    • I go here to watch the occasional full-length movie or binge on TV shows. This is where I downloaded Idiocracy when my son came to visit. my cost for that one movie was $2.99.
    • My cost: free (included with Amazon Prime; also included is Amazon Music)
  • I still miss Fox News, but not as much as I did a year ago.
  • Perhaps once a week I will glance over the other channels that I have downloaded. I will even launch one or two of them to see what's there.
FYI: Here are lessons I've learned:
  • If I load a channel on one TV, it is available on my other two TVs
  • How the channels are arranged is different on each Roku device. In other words, I rearrange my channels so my most interest channels are at the top in my living room, and the news channels are at the top in my office TV.
  • I have an account at that I open on my PC. The website lists all the channels I am subscribed to. And, from my PC, I can add and remove channels. When I add a channel via the Roku website then that channel is available on all my TVs. 
  • Getting a new router helped with the Internet connections to my TVs.

My TV Habits Have Changed

I have discovered that my habits have changed! I tend to spend less time in front of the TV!

When I wake up in the morning, and from time to time during the day, I will open the Spectrum app to watch the weather, especially the weather radar. Spectrum runs that every 10 minutes, and any follow-on news programming is watched accidentally.

From time to time during the day, I may turn on the TV then go to a music channel. That's mostly because the house gets too quiet.

In the evening, after dinner, I will binge on YouTube videos for a couple of hours.

That's it! Obviously the quality of the sound (audio) is very important to me. The video does not matter as much because I'm not "glued" to the screen. And the content? I remember something from 50 years ago where someone describe TV a "giant wasteland." I remember an Earl Nightingale quote that went something like this: "watching someone else make a great living."

My Savings From "Cutting the Cord"

How much have I saved?  $100 per month for 18 months = $1,800!

What have I lost? Fox News & DVR recording

What have I lost that I still miss? Fox News and Fox Business News.

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