Apologies for the lack of posting this weekend, but between power outages on Saturday and Sunday and retooling our home Internet service then, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for me to sit down at the computer and blog.
Anyway, I thought I’d share my initial thoughts on dumping my satellite TV provider and my first baby steps cutting the cord. Technically speaking, I should probably say I’ve quasi-cord cut, as I’ve switched my Internet service to Comcast as part of a package that includes basic cable, as in local channels only. I’ve supplemented that with Sling TV’s Orange package, which provides three ESPN channels.
Here’s what I’ve noticed in the first two days:
- Cost. I was spending $175/month on Dish and Earthlink. I’ve cut that by $60/month, even with ESPN still on the roster. Hard to see that as anything other than a plus.
- Available product. From Comcast, I have access to all the local stations, plus HBO. From Sling, I’ve got ESPN, as I mentioned, plus about another 20 channels, several of which I watch. Biggest loss on the Orange package is Fox, which means I’ve no longer can watch Fargo. I’m not sure that’s the end of the world — although I would no doubt have a very different opinion if Justified were still on the air — but I’ll wait to see how much that matters. What’s nice is that since Comcast tossed HBO into the package, I have access to HBO’s HBO Go streaming service. Between that and Netflix, which we already had, there are plenty of entertainment options. Much of what I’ve lost from giving up Dish is stuff I never watched anyway. Overall, it’s a positive.
- Flexibility. This is perhaps the best part. Netflix and Sling can be cancelled at any time. More relevant is that I can add Sling’s sports package, which includes a couple more ESPN channels as well as the SEC Network, whenever I want for an additional $5/month. I’ll add it in August and cancel it after the college football season ends in January. Sweet!
- Performance. I went from a rated download speed of 1.5 Mbps with Earthlink to 300 Mbps on the new set up. And while you never seem to get the full allotment of anything rated when it comes to computers (anyone ever notice that with hard drive memory?), it’s obvious I’m enjoying a huge uptick in speed. In between the power outages, I streamed a decent amount of television and never suffered a single bout of buffering, even while my wife was on the family computer. That’s a vast improvement.
After two days, then, I’m feeling good about this. The only potential downside I can see from here is that the process of game surfing during commercials — if you’re a couch potato, it’s what couch potatoes do — is going to be a bit kludgier because in going from local channels on Comcast, like CBS, to streaming channels on Sling, like the SEC Network, I’ll have to jump from one input to another. How much of a pain in the ass that’ll be I can’t say for sure, but I doubt it will make me regret the move.
One thing I would suggest from what I’ve experienced so far is that if you decide to go this route, don’t scrimp on the delivery speed. Get the fastest service you can afford and make sure you have a Cable modem/Wifi router that can keep up.
I’ll update my progress come the start of the football season, after I’ve added the Sling sports package and possibly bought a big screen TV for my downstairs viewing (man cave!). I have to say that 55″ LG OLED set I eyeballed last time I was in Costco was impressive, but kind of pricey. Still, it be tempting…
If you have any questions or suggestions, lay them on me in the comments.