Sunday, February 16, 2014

No More Cable (From February 9 2009)

For the past week I have been living an alternate lifestyle.  I decided to ditch our Cable TV service. We have been toying with the idea for a bit now however when this month’s bill came in, we were charged $145.97 for basic HD cable and basic cable internet service. We were paying $99 for our tv service and $39.99 for the internet service of 12 Mbps. 

Our lifestyle doesn’t particularly lead to much TV watching. We enjoy watching our DVR’d shows such as The Office, House, Nip Tuck, Survivor  and her favorite America’s Next Top Model however we recently discovered X-Box 360 can stream Netflix directly to the console. Going through the Netflix library, all of our shows were available for direct download to the X-Box 360 so we decided to purchase the lowest possible monthly Netflix subscription which allows for 1 DVD at a time and 6 instant downloads at a time. 

With that we were on our way to dumping our Cable TV plan. Since we rarely watched live TV, why bother paying for it? We can rent the DVDs or buy them if we wish or even better, watch TV online. We recently discovered the joy of Hulu, Joost and Veoh, not to mention ABC, CBS and NBC releasing their content on the websites as well. This sealed the deal for me. So I called Comcast and told them our intentions; remove our cable TV service and increase our internet bandwidth to 40Mbps. First off we had to go through a “service manager” who wanted to know why we would want to cut out fundamental service. When I explained to him that we would be increasing our internet bill but removing our TV package he still had a hard time figuring out the math. In the end we ended up saving $50 a month by increasing our internet and dumping our cable TV yet no decrease in content consumption. 

Technically what we did. 

So obviously now that we have Netflix on the Xbox 360, movie quality depends on quickness of download rate. Because of this we increased our internet bandwith to 40Mbps download and 15Mbps upload. We had to purchase a Motorolla Surfboard  to handle the larger bandwidth but we kept our Linksys wireless router . I did some testing on internet speed using (, a website that tests up and download speeds to servers all over the world. Here is what I found. 

With the wireless connection we get a 21Mb download max. 
Wired directly into the router or the modem we get a 39 - 41Mbps download max. 

This will allow for Blue-Ray downloads when they become available on Netflix downloads. 

Game play on the Wii and X-Box 360 is noticeably faster. 

So with the speed tests complete, we can observe that the obvious slowest component in the chain in the wireless part of the router. Makes sense because wireless connections are notorious for slow RF data transmission due to their low power output. 

So there you have it, we officially live an alternate lifestyle. We don’t have cable TV, and I feel more connected than ever. It’s pretty cool. 

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