A couple of months ago, I wrote about how you can kill your cable box DVR monthly fees. For me, the biggest thing about cutting the cord isn’t necessarily losing the cable television*, it’s the time-shifting of network television shows.
On a basic level, it seems pretty silly to pay a bunch of money each month for what should be solved by one-time costs of a hard drive and a television antenna.
Fortunately a commenter on that last post mentioned TabloTV DVR. I had looked at it a long time ago (perhaps before it was actually released), but had forgotten about it.
It’s something that I’m considering again though.
Most people are probably wondering what the heck I’m writing about. TabloTV is the device that can bridge a high-definition antenna and a hard drive and give you DVR. The 4-tuner version is under $300 and the 2-tuner version is under $200. I don’t watch a lot of television, but there are some nights when three shows I follow are on at the same time. Other nights, it’s zero. For me it’s worth spending the extra money for the 4-tuners.
Of course it requires that you have an HD antenna set up. It also requires that you buy a hard drive to store all the shows. Then you need something on your televisions to connect to the network with your shows. This can be an Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku, etc. I happen to meet that requirement on my two televisions already.
In fact, there happens to be a big ChromeCast deal today. Amazon will give you a $10 gift card when you buy it for $30.
If you are starting from scratch, you can probably put together a set-up, my favorite antenna, TabloTV, a harddrive, and a couple of Chromecasts for under $500. I’d estimate the average basic cable television bill at around $60. It would pay for itself in about 8 months… and after that you’d save significant money, $720 a year.
There are times when you can make a switch and save money without losing any functionality. The Ooma Telo free home phone service is a perfect example of this. In this case, you are going to lose access to cable channels… so it’s not an even trade. However, it’s not as bad as cutting the cord and losing access to record your own television shows.
What do you think? Is this a smart plan, or does it stretch frugality a little too far? Let me know in the comments.
* Actually I’ve become quite enthralled by Pretty Little Liars in it’s last season. I wouldn’t say that I passively watched it while working when my wife had it on, but it wasn’t something that I put the laptop away for.