I grew up with cable and a family that enjoyed watching it together. I probably watched way too much of it. I had a show for nearly every night of the week and wasted full days watching marathons of reality TV.
When I moved into the city, the apartment I subleased did not have cable. What a crazy concept! I quickly understood that the cost of cable is just not feasible for me with the expense of living here.
When I moved in with Megan, we also decided not to get cable so I’ve explored my options to get my TV fix.
At first I used Hulu.
I was able to watch a lot of shows but only the most recent ones and certainly not all of my favorites. I was hesitant to splurge on HuluPlus for $7.99 because most shows I enjoy were already free. I enjoyed Hulu but it wasn’t enough to keep me entertained. I ended up additionally relying on re-watching old DVDs I own.
Next, I tried to add Redbox.
It’s a great idea in theory. Since a trip to the theater is now at least $12 without popcorn, it makes sense to wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it for $1 in the comfort of your home. I loved this concept until I kept forgetting to return the DVDs! Seriously. I would put them in my purse but forget to go out of my way to drop them off. After a while I forgot I had them and I was suddenly slapped with the fee of owning the movie. That happened 5 times and I now I own some movies that I’m not proud of.
I now have to avoid Redbox unless I know for a fact I will return it the very next day or someone else is in charge of dropping it off.
Then, I tried Netflix.
I signed up for unlimited streaming + 2 DVD rentals for $19.98/month. I loved the instant streaming and have enjoyed watching many TV series from start to finish. Mad Men, I’m lookin at you! I enjoyed having the DVDs so Megan and I could watch together on our TV but ultimately it wasn’t worth the extra $13 a month.
Lastly, I tried Blockbuster’s Total Access plan.
It sent me 2 DVDs at a time for $14.99/month. They have a wide variety of DVDs but the service was horrible. It took a week and a half to get new DVDs after returning the ones I rented. I only had this plan for 1 month so that was just way too long for return service. When it was time to end the plan, I put my DVDs in the mail and one of them was returned to me in their self-addressed envelope! How confusing! I worried I wouldn’t get them submitted on time and they were going to charge me a late fee. Fortunately I contacted customer service. They never replied to my e-mail to explain their plan of action but a few days later I received a new mailing envelope and the problem was solved.
The verdict? Computer wins.
I keep up with new shows on Hulu and I stream older shows and movies for additional entertainment. It’s only $7.99 a month to stream Netflix, so I save $32 a month that I would normally spend on my half of the cable bill. There are days I really miss cable and I feel awkward when I’m clueless about popular commercials but for me, it’s worth the $384/year that I save on cable.