Saturday, February 6, 2016

Shaving the cord

All in, we were paying $175 for AT&T Uverse TV, Internet and Phone.

In terms of the cost, we didn't have a trouble with the bill.  We had trouble with the value.  As you scroll through the list of channels you realize that you watch about 25% of them and wonder if anyone watches some of the more extraneous ones.  Phone service was $45 a month for unlimited calls across the country.  While I believe in the 'home phone' I don't think it should cost that much.  Internet is in the 18 Mbps range for about $30 a month under the bundle.

We could afford it.  Keep going on until the bundle deal runs out.  Why though?

Courtney and I decided to trial run a 'cord shaving'.  Here is what we did:
  1. We disconnected the Uverse DVR from the TVs.
  2. We bought a Mohu Sky 60 and I installed it in the attic.
  3. We bought a Roku Stick for one TV.
  4. We planned on using Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling and CBS All Access for streaming services.
  5. We already had a Chromecast.
At least in the trial run, we wanted to keep recording our shows on the Uverse DVR if we didn't like how it was working out. The antenna supplies digital over the air (OTA) signal to all TVs in the house.  The quality is fantastic and it's FREE TV.  The theory on the antenna was that if it didn't work out, we could still use the antenna in some capacity.  The Roku Stick is usable anywhere in the house and we figured what it provided, again, if we didn't like how it all works, we could still use it.  The Chromecast helped with the TV in our master bedroom.  We used the Chromecast to send to the TV the services we wanted to watch using our phones.

If the trial worked out, we planned on adding another Roku and switching phone to Ooma.  The additional Roku was to give a unified experience across TVs in the house.  Chromecast depends on applications being coded to be able to cast to the nearby dongle.  The problem I found is that the casting can be spotty with connection issues or quality.  

The trial lasted about a week.  We were sold.  There really wasn't anything that we were missing from Uverse TV that we couldn't get over the internet. We could watch football for free on a high quality signal. The shows that we really watched were there on the streaming services.


Category Item Up front cost Monthly cost
Air Antenna Mohu Sky 60 $160 None
TV device Roku Stick $49 None
TV device Roku 2 $59 None
Service Amazon Prime None $8.25 ($99 a year)
Service Hulu None $7.99
Service SlingTV None $19.99
Service CBS All Access None $5.99
Device Ooma Telo $150 None
Service Ooma None $5.62
Total $418 $47.84

With the Uverse Internet cost of $59 a month.  I'm at $106.84 for Internet, Home Phone and TV.  A savings of about $70 a month.

  • Buy the television programming that you watch
  • Own the equipment that you use
  • Freedom to choose the equipment that you use
  • Better quality with OTA
  • If the internet is spotty, your TV watching may be interrupted
  • Up front costs are high
  • You cannot pause live TV
In short, this shave project was a success.  Now, where's that remote?