A little over a week ago I got our Direct TV bill in my email inbox. I negotiated with them about 6 months ago for about the fourth time to get our bill lowered. Last week it went back up to regular cost. I about had a heart attack. The mere thought of negotiating with them yet again made my brain ache… I was done. I couldn’t do it again.
I sent out the all call on Facebook. It was time to rid our home of the satellite dish once and for all. But could we do it? I’m not a major TV junkie but I do like my shows. 2 Broke Girls, Mike and Molly and Castle on Monday nights. The occasional Criminal Minds on Wednesday nights. Parenthood whenever I remembered it was on. Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal on Thursday nights. I couldn’t live without the shows I really, really love to watch. But, I was willing to wait an extra day to watch them if it meant saving us some $$.
My Facebook pals did not let me down. Within a matter of an hour or two I had tons of responses from people just like me. People looking to save some money but still have worthy TV to watch. People with kids who know how to get them through this transition. I did my research on Hulu Plus and Amazon. We had Netflix before and were more than happy to get that back up and running. A friend suggested a streaming device like Roku. So I did some research on streaming devices. I took inventory of what we already had available to us. The Blu-Ray in our bedroom streams Netflix and Hulu. The other Blu-Rays in the house only stream Netflix. The one in our bedroom is there because it doesn’t play discs well anymore so moving it to the big TV downstairs was simply not an option.
Saturday morning I woke up with my mind made up. Today was the day that Direct TV would lose control over my TV watching life. I talked with the boys about the change. They were really bummed until I mentioned Netflix. They LOVED when we had Netflix. I also talked to them about the money. They are old enough to understand that concept. When I explained that we would be saving about $1000 a year by dropping Direct TV they offered to take the dish off the side of the house for me!
I made the call to Direct TV. The representative on the phone tried to lure me in with $10 off each month and free pay channels. I asked him if he could get me down to the $16 a month Netflix and Hulu were going to cost me. He started my disconnect immediately. After hanging up the phone with him I moved from room to room and disconnected the receivers from each of the TV’s to go back to the company.
We headed to Best Buy next to get a Roku streamer for the living room. The boys don’t need more than Netflix in the basement and we were set for our bedroom. I took it home and hooked it up and the rest is history.
We streamed a movie on Netflix for popcorn and movie night on Saturday. The boys have been loving watching “old” episodes of some of their favorite cartoons. They also like that they can watch a show when they want, not when it happens to be on TV. Even I haven’t had the withdrawals I anticipated. I am alone in my living from around 8pm each evening until I go to bed – usually midnightish… I often have the TV on. What I realized is that often it’s on for background noise and nothing else. Tonight I watched last nights episode of Castle. It was a great episode and I was fine with seeing it tonight and not last night. Really everything but Big Bang Theory is easily accessible to me. Big Bang? Well that I’ll just have to continue to watch on my computer.
What we have learned from this experience is that Pandora has become a staple in our house. We still need our background noise but now it comes in the form of kick ass music. We have learned that we are certainly able to survive without paying ungodly amounts of money just to have a few TV shows. We have learned that we have much more control now over what the boys watch on TV and how much TV they watch. Also, they are more willing to move away from the TV because they know they can pause a show and come back to the same spot later. Really this has been nothing but a win/win for us. My only struggle now is trying to finagle a way to be able to catch local stations mainly for news purposes. The rest I could care less about now.
So thank you Direct TV for driving your prices so insanely high that I finally made the plunge. I believe that we are already all the happier for it.