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Cord Cutting 101: Consider A Change Of Heart


I’m dropping Sling TV and going back to Time Warner Cable (TWC).

Yep, I wanted to start with the startling part of this entire article. However, over the past weekend, circumstances have caused me to rethink the whole ‘cord cutting’ strategy. I may have actually gave it the wrong definition from the outset and, therefore, gave myself limitations that I shouldn’t have.

To start, you need to know that prior to all of this I was paying $180 for TWC’s Triple Play package (internet/phone/TV). The phone was never being used, so I always felt that was dead weight with the package, but it did help keep the package low. When I went into my ‘cord cutting’ strategy, the idea was to reduce the cost of TV and entertainment and, at that time, it meant cutting Time Warner Cable completely. It meant relying on other, more nimble, services to get my live TV and sports fix. I ended up with Sling TV, Netflix, TV Tuner/Antenna, and Xbox Video as my daily drivers.

So what happened this weekend?

First off, Sling TV is a great service but even then it’s basically a cable service. I’m still paying $20 per month for a group of channels, some of which I have never touched. I primarily used Disney, CNN, and ESPN. Secondly, the antenna in my house doesn’t cooperate with the living room layout of the place I’m currently renting. To place this particular antenna (a Leaf 50 attached to a Happauge tuner) in an optimal location required having a cord practically drawn out from the window area to the TV. If you ran fast enough you could clothesline yourself on the cord. That’s just dangerous.

So, to rectify this whole thing I contacted TWC cable. Now, keep in mind I’m still a TWC customer because I use their 100/10 internet plan. That plan includes home phone which, again, feels more like dead weight. TWC offers something called “Starter TV” where you can get the basic 2-29 channels, for $10 per month. That, to me, sounded like a great replacement for the antenna (at least until I move) and it could replace the home phone since they were the same price. So, that’s what I did.

Now, to get Starter TV, I need a digital adapter to make it work. Until that arrives, I’m using the TWC TV app, on Xbox One, to watch those basic channels. It really is nice to have such reliability and not having to hope and pray that the reception holds up. It does hold up, and I can enjoy popcorn and preseason football.

However, this did present another issue: I now have two sources of live TV: Sling TV and TWC. For me, part of cord cutting was to also make things simple. I wanted to condense my services as much as possible, so that I’m not jumping from app to app to app to get content, especially when it involves live television. After a few conversations with TWC, I found out that I could upgrade from Starter to Standard TV for an extra $10, plus they’re doing a special deal on HBO for $10/month, as well. An extra $20 on my TWC bill gives me everything Sling gives me, plus more, all in one place with HBO to boot. Sling TV costs $25 for base package + sports and no HBO. Obviously I’d end up with the better deal at TWC.

So, this week I’ll be switching back to TWC but with a much more slim TV package than before, the 100/10 internet, no home phone (finally) and HBO all for what I’m currently paying now. That to me sounds a lot more manageable.

So, the term ‘cord cutting’ now sounds like a term I should’ve never used. It implied that I could live without a cable service altogether, and I couldn’t. I just went from one to another. Many people could live without the TWCs, Comcasts, FIOSs, and Coxs of the world. I couldn’t. However, what I am going back to is a package that gives me exactly what I want at a much better price. I went into this paying $180 for entertainment and now I’m down to about $80-90.

So maybe ‘cord cutting’ is not the right phrase, for me. Let’s say I’m striving for better ‘cost effective television.’