Question Have no idea what I need to cut the cord

Feb 10, 2020
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Everything is Greek to me. I've lost my ability to understand electronics/computing after working so hard and now, at the age of 72. I've read and read articles but it hasn't sunk in. so have no idea what to do! . I have a TCL Roku TV, bought last year. i have Comcast/Xfinity robbing me blind. Bill is now $220 a month which I can't afford (reason I want to cut cord), a laptop, old desktop, and tablet and because of Comcast, have wifi. I also subscribe to Amazon Prime. I'd like to sign up to Hulu or Sling. How? What do I need? Would i be able to get my local news? Antennas are out. We live in a "gully" (high cliffs on both sides of the home and never could get TV with antennas. Can't go satellite because we're in the woods. I'm totally lost. Can someone help me? Thanks in advance for any answers. I'm getting desperate now.
 

URsurrounded

Great
Feb 10, 2020
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An easy solution would be to buy an Amazon Firestick (if your TV is 4k, spend $10 more and get the 4k version). It plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and it will run all the services you want with its simple remote and interface; Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Sling, tons more apps for TV, Video, Games and music, some free, some subscription (you log in right on the Firestick) along with premium TV if you have it pad for on cable (CBS all access, etc.). So this way, as long as you have a good internet connection (the Firestick will connect via WiFi) you can watch all your specialty programming with it, simply.

$220 per month is insane for just cable. Cut down your channels so you ONLY get the local stations for news if that's what you want to keep and get the rest from the Firestick. I am guessing you pay them for telephone as well. Give me a breakdown of the bill; cable, internet, phone. There are cheap ways to get around paying cable and ATT for phone service and still have the hard line in your house if you don't want to go strictly with your cell phone. Great deal for cell phone BTW, Red Pocket Mobile sells unlimited calling worldwide (not a typo, I call overseas all the time with it for free), unlimited text and unlimited data on a major network (Sprint, ATT etc) for just $30 per month. Ebay contracted with them to provide phone service on the used phones they sell on their website.
 

T2Jock

Great
Jan 15, 2020
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The immediate questions are:

  1. are you out of contract (have you had your services for over 2 years and not made any changes to it?) with Comcast? If you are, you can drop the cable services without paying any big cancelation fees.
  2. Do you have and use telephone service thru Comcast? If you're on a TriplePay package, (and out of contract) you'll see the biggest reduction in your monthly bill if you can drop Cable TV and Phone service. However, if you use the phone service, getting rid of it, can be a problem - in terms of cost and finding a replacement. If you have good cellphone service, that may be your best bet.
  3. What list of TV channels do you have to have? You've already established that you'd like your local broadcast stations. How about sports? National news channels? Could you live with just one local station?
YouTubeTV has the bundle of channels that most resembles your Comcast cable service. But that makes it the most expensive at $50 a month. Sling is probably the least expensive, but it depends on an antenna for local stations and that won't work for you. But if you can live with one local station, CBSAllAccess may be your best bet. That may give you your local CBS station for only $8 a month, plus whichever Sling package you go with.
Another possibility is Amazon Prime. $130 a year, lots of original programming, lots of music, and fast Amazon delivery. If you buy heavily from Amazon, that could be your best bet.
4. Given all of the above, call Comcast and drop cable TV and phone service. Keep Internet but you need at least 30MB download speed. ( You've probably already got this. But its the minimum you need for cord cutting.). This should cut your monthly bill to around $70 to $80 a month.
You can probably cut it a little more by buying your own modem and giving the one from Comcast back to them. Most people are paying a rental fee of $5 - $10 to Comcast for their modem. This is the internet box, not the cable tv box. Most modems being sold today are compatible with Comcast.

If you've answered all of these questions and still think you're ready to cut the cord. reply to this post and we'll talk about how you actually install all of this. It's not as hard as you think it is.
 

T2Jock

Great
Jan 15, 2020
20
4
65
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There's one question and two suggestions I forgot. The final question is: are you ok with giving up your credit card information over the Internet? Lot's of folks our age (like you, I'm 72) have concerns about this. The two things I can tell you are a) it's pretty much a requirement for the cutting the cord. I'm not aware of any way around it. But it's not as risky as it was 10 years ago. Which is not to say it's risk free. It's not. I think of like I do letting my utility company bill my credit card directly.

Suggestion #1: If you're otherwise happy with your cable service, and it's just the cost you're unhappy with, go back to question 3 in my first post. Do you really watch all of those cable channels? Do you have to have them? For lots of people, this answer is NO. Comcast doesn't talk about it a lot, but they still do have a basic bundle. Thirty or so channels, including your local stations, the Weather Channel and a few more. usually for a lot less than the big bundle it sounds like you're paying for.

There's also another possibility, if even the above is too much. This doesn't always work, but more and more frequently I hear from friends that it does. Call up Comcast and tell them you only want Internet. The normal customer service rep will usually pass you over to the customer retention group, who's job is to keep you paying. They'll offer you a number of options that will cut you bill down some but not a lot. Hold your ground, tell 'em to drop your tv and phone service.

As a last resort, they may offer you a package that's only your local stations plus 5 or 10 more. Sometimes they will let you pick which 'bonus' channels from a short list they have. The price for this is often around $30 to $40 a month, plus the internet bill. So you end up with a total monthly bill in the neighborhood of $110. The danger going this route (if you really want to keep your cable) is they don't always offer it. But so many people are dropping TV now that they offer this more and more frequently. Good luck.

Suggestion #2: If you are going to cut the cord, all of the streaming services offer some length of free trail. When you sign up you have to give them your credit card info, but you can go back before the trail ends and back out. That way you can see if this is a service you really want. Plus you can do this before you kill your cable - just in case.

Additionally, none of the streaming services, to my knowledge, require a contract. Try it for a couple of months, if you don't like it, drop it and try another one.
 
Feb 10, 2020
7
0
10
0
An easy solution would be to buy an Amazon Firestick (if your TV is 4k, spend $10 more and get the 4k version). It plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and it will run all the services you want with its simple remote and interface; Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Sling, tons more apps for TV, Video, Games and music, some free, some subscription (you log in right on the Firestick) along with premium TV if you have it pad for on cable (CBS all access, etc.). So this way, as long as you have a good internet connection (the Firestick will connect via WiFi) you can watch all your specialty programming with it, simply.

$220 per month is insane for just cable. Cut down your channels so you ONLY get the local stations for news if that's what you want to keep and get the rest from the Firestick. I am guessing you pay them for telephone as well. Give me a breakdown of the bill; cable, internet, phone. There are cheap ways to get around paying cable and ATT for phone service and still have the hard line in your house if you don't want to go strictly with your cell phone. Great deal for cell phone BTW, Red Pocket Mobile sells unlimited calling worldwide (not a typo, I call overseas all the time with it for free), unlimited text and unlimited data on a major network (Sprint, ATT etc) for just $30 per month. Ebay contracted with them to provide phone service on the used phones they sell on their website.
Comcast doesn't break out the cost for each service anymore. I pay $155 for the Triple play , another $26 for equipment, another $22 for "service fees" which include broadcast TV fee and Regional sports fee (don't watch any sports but forced to pay this charge) , then there's taxes and fees of another almost $14. and then another tax and government fees are almost $4.

I fought with Comcast for 2 years that the box I had wasn't working right but they wouldn't do anything about it. TV kept freezing, guide too and other problems. The last time I called I told them the problem was with the box and I wanted a new box and if they didn't want to supply it, I'd make a complaint to the FEC or FCC. Got the box and no problems since but they had the nerve to charge me $50 for house call (nearest Xfinity store is 50 miles away and I'm house bound).
 
Feb 10, 2020
7
0
10
0
The immediate questions are:

  1. are you out of contract (have you had your services for over 2 years and not made any changes to it?) with Comcast? If you are, you can drop the cable services without paying any big cancelation fees.
  2. Do you have and use telephone service thru Comcast? If you're on a TriplePay package, (and out of contract) you'll see the biggest reduction in your monthly bill if you can drop Cable TV and Phone service. However, if you use the phone service, getting rid of it, can be a problem - in terms of cost and finding a replacement. If you have good cellphone service, that may be your best bet.
  3. What list of TV channels do you have to have? You've already established that you'd like your local broadcast stations. How about sports? National news channels? Could you live with just one local station?
YouTubeTV has the bundle of channels that most resembles your Comcast cable service. But that makes it the most expensive at $50 a month. Sling is probably the least expensive, but it depends on an antenna for local stations and that won't work for you. But if you can live with one local station, CBSAllAccess may be your best bet. That may give you your local CBS station for only $8 a month, plus whichever Sling package you go with.
Another possibility is Amazon Prime. $130 a year, lots of original programming, lots of music, and fast Amazon delivery. If you buy heavily from Amazon, that could be your best bet.
4. Given all of the above, call Comcast and drop cable TV and phone service. Keep Internet but you need at least 30MB download speed. ( You've probably already got this. But its the minimum you need for cord cutting.). This should cut your monthly bill to around $70 to $80 a month.
You can probably cut it a little more by buying your own modem and giving the one from Comcast back to them. Most people are paying a rental fee of $5 - $10 to Comcast for their modem. This is the internet box, not the cable tv box. Most modems being sold today are compatible with Comcast.

If you've answered all of these questions and still think you're ready to cut the cord. reply to this post and we'll talk about how you actually install all of this. It's not as hard as you think it is.
My contract ran out 12/14/2019. I was paying a total of $172 (including all taxes and equipment charges) under the contract. It was $114 for triple play. Total was supposed to only be $155 a month with all taxes and equipment, then they added the sports fee. and you can't drop it. I have 2 TVs and only have a basic box ($4) on the older TV. They refused to allow me to rent a basic box for the newer TV. That box costs $14 a month. I checked out buying a modem box a couple years ago and was thinking about buying one but I got burned on one before so never bought another one. They took TMC (Turner Classic Movies) away and you need to buy it for $9.95 a month under the Sports and Entertainment section. No thanks. They say I have 200 Mbps, but running a speed test, it comes to download 48 and upload 6 mbps.

I do need an easy, uncomplicated setup because although I've lost my a lot of my tech ability, my husband can't even change the channels without a problem. I'm the official channel changer/searcher. :)
 
Feb 10, 2020
7
0
10
0
There's one question and two suggestions I forgot. The final question is: are you ok with giving up your credit card information over the Internet? Lot's of folks our age (like you, I'm 72) have concerns about this. The two things I can tell you are a) it's pretty much a requirement for the cutting the cord. I'm not aware of any way around it. But it's not as risky as it was 10 years ago. Which is not to say it's risk free. It's not. I think of like I do letting my utility company bill my credit card directly.

Suggestion #1: If you're otherwise happy with your cable service, and it's just the cost you're unhappy with, go back to question 3 in my first post. Do you really watch all of those cable channels? Do you have to have them? For lots of people, this answer is NO. Comcast doesn't talk about it a lot, but they still do have a basic bundle. Thirty or so channels, including your local stations, the Weather Channel and a few more. usually for a lot less than the big bundle it sounds like you're paying for.

There's also another possibility, if even the above is too much. This doesn't always work, but more and more frequently I hear from friends that it does. Call up Comcast and tell them you only want Internet. The normal customer service rep will usually pass you over to the customer retention group, who's job is to keep you paying. They'll offer you a number of options that will cut you bill down some but not a lot. Hold your ground, tell 'em to drop your tv and phone service.

As a last resort, they may offer you a package that's only your local stations plus 5 or 10 more. Sometimes they will let you pick which 'bonus' channels from a short list they have. The price for this is often around $30 to $40 a month, plus the internet bill. So you end up with a total monthly bill in the neighborhood of $110. The danger going this route (if you really want to keep your cable) is they don't always offer it. But so many people are dropping TV now that they offer this more and more frequently. Good luck.

Suggestion #2: If you are going to cut the cord, all of the streaming services offer some length of free trail. When you sign up you have to give them your credit card info, but you can go back before the trail ends and back out. That way you can see if this is a service you really want. Plus you can do this before you kill your cable - just in case.

Additionally, none of the streaming services, to my knowledge, require a contract. Try it for a couple of months, if you don't like it, drop it and try another one.
 
Feb 10, 2020
7
0
10
0
Out of the 140 channels, we watch 26 -30 and they're not the ABC, NBC, CBS networks except fr local news. . It's the Digital Starter which included Limited Basic and Expanded Basic. Most of the channels we watch are under Expanded Basic. They really know how to get you. I am okay with giving CC info. I do it all the time if I need to buy something; need not want., but I only deal with those tried and true secure sites without a problem so far.

Thank you so much for the quick answers and information. It makes it much clearer. So much info to digest from you and URsurrounded. A lot of thinking to do, too. I doubt Comcast would give me the same deal I got 2 years ago.They said they don't want to lose me (yeah, right) because I've been a customer of the company for over 30 years. In reality, I've had cable for 42 years because where we live. Companies come and go.
 
You are going to need internet access. Ask Comcast if they have a cable cutter package in your area. They may not be the only option so do an online search for other ISPs in your neighborhood.
You should be able to access just about any online streaming services using the Roku built into your TV. There are free ones.
https://blog.roku.com/best-free-roku-channels-according-to-customers
This guide might help you figure out what service will cover the widest number of channels you watch.
 
Mar 4, 2020
1
0
10
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An easy solution would be to buy an Amazon Firestick (if your TV is 4k, spend $10 more and get the 4k version). It plugs into an HDMI port on your TV and it will run all the services you want with its simple remote and interface; Prime, Netflix, Hulu, Sling, tons more apps for TV, Video, Games and music, some free, some subscription (you log in right on the Firestick) along with premium TV if you have it pad for on cable (CBS all access, etc.). So this way, as long as you have a good internet connection (the Firestick will connect via WiFi) you can watch all your specialty programming with it, simply.

$220 per month is insane for just cable. Cut down your channels so you ONLY get the local stations for news if that's what you want to keep and get the rest from the Firestick for.I am guessing you pay them for telephone as well. Give me a breakdown of the bill; cable, internet, phone. There are cheap ways to get around paying cable and ATT for phone service and still have the hard line in your house if you don't want to go strictly with your cell phone. Great deal for cell phone BTW, Red Pocket Mobile sells unlimited calling worldwide (not a typo, I call overseas all the time with it for free), unlimited text and unlimited data on a major network (Sprint, ATT etc) for just $30 per month. Ebay contracted with them to provide phone service on the used phones they sell on their website.
Your updates are helpful for us..! Appreciate your work and efforts..
 
Feb 10, 2020
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Thank you for all the suggestions. I have gotten to the point where I'll probably buy the Amazon Firestick even though Roku as their sticks on sale right now. I plan on canceling my cable except for internet and maybe getting Hulu and Sling TV since I don't know what Roku or Amazon give in TV channels (if any). See? I'm far from being smart in this stuff yet, but understand a little more than I did a couple months ago thanks to everyone's help. :giggle:
 

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