In the latest episode of HDTV and Home Theater Podcast, Ara and Braden discuss how much money could be saved by dropping satellite or cable TV and using only over the air broadcast and online delivery. I decided to take a look at my family’s situation to see if we could drop our DirecTV subscription. I did my research with one question in mind: Can I save money and still enjoy the same programs?
The point is to see if I can save money, so I wanted to use what I already had without having to buy any additional hardware. We live in an area where over the air broadcast would require a large and expensive antenna, so over the air broadcasts don’t work for me. I also don’t want to pay for a new Tivo or build a home theater PC to record and playback shows. That leaves me with only using online delivery providers like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or iTunes. I currently have a Roku but no AppleTV, so iTunes is out of the equation. Netflix doesn’t offer current programming, but we do watch a lot of shows from their instant catalog. I’ve never looked into Hulu, but I don’t think I need to.
I found that I can get almost all of the shows I watch on Amazon. Here’s the breakdown:
|Amazing Race||$ 28.99||iTunes price, but probably the same on Amazon|
|Survivor||$ 28.99||iTunes price, but probably the same on Amazon|
|Alcatraz||$ 17.94||Amazon Prime|
|Justified||$ 19.99||Amazon Prime|
|Glee||$ 59.64||Based on per episode price, but season pass is probably less|
|Modern Family||$ 59.64||Based on per episode price, but season pass is probably less|
|Desparate Housewives||$ 59.64||Based on per episode price, but season pass is probably less|
|Person of Interest||$ -||Not available|
|Dexter||$ -||Not available|
The only current shows I can’t get are Person of Interest and Dexter. We already don’t get Dexter and wait for Netflix to have it, so nothing really changes there. Person of Interest I enjoy, but since I have more shows to watch than time to watch them I wouldn’t feel bad about waiting until that was available on Netflix or via Amazon (which I assume will happen at some point). All the others add up to a pretty good chunk of cash to lay out at one time, so I would probably not buy them all at once.
I currently pay just under $58 per month for DirectTV, or just under $700 a year. My savings would be substantial, well over $400 a year, if I only purchased the shows I want instead of paying for a bunch of channels we never watch, but we would be making some sacrifices.
First, I wouldn’t get any live sports – no NFL, no SF Giants, nothing. I’m not a huge sports fan and honestly am disgusted by the egos of most players. If people put as much effort and energy into schools as they do into fantasy leagues, our kids would be doing amazing things. So I wouldn’t miss sports that much.
The other thing we would miss is the award shows. The only one I watch is the Oscars, but others in my house occasionally watch other award shows. I’m not all that impressed with Hollywood these days either. They put out crap and complain that no one goes to movies. I’d rather spend $30 on a season of the Amazing Race than $9 on some recycled story with overblown special effects, so my interest in the Oscars grows weaker every year. Besides, I have a lot of friends who have Oscar parties that I could attend.
So the bottom line is that I would be better off dropping DirectTV and just using Amazon and Netflix to provide my shows. I’ve been wanting à la carte programming for a while, turns out I can have it now and didn’t know it.