Cable, Netflix, Hulu, Oh my!

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.

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6 Responses to Cable, Netflix, Hulu, Oh my!

  1. I can't imagine life without cable. I have tried all of these options as well. When I started to get into Netflix, they upped their prices. Damn Netflix!

  2. Laura says:

    Agreed! We finally settled on Netflix instant because we would always forget about the DVD's we got for months. I missed cable at first, but there is a lot to see on instant stream (although I have been indulging in some Kardashian drama while staying with my grandparents this week :)!)

  3. KP says:

    Erin – I heard about the big fiasco with Netflix raising their prices! They have improved their streaming so it's still worth it for me. Laura – I definitely indulge in cable when I babysit and the kids are asleep or when I'm visiting someone with cable! Enjoy the grandparents 🙂

  4. K & J says:

    I agree cable is expensive but I still love having it. I watch more shows on cable then I do on Network TV. Besides that I also have Netflix. I love the streaming. Especially now since they just since a contract to air CW Network shows for the next 4 years. Kara XOXO

  5. I stopped using Netflix when they started making DVD/Streaming a separate service. Even when I cut down to a DVD at a time I was able to do both for about 9.99 then they wanted to make it 15. They didn’t have a lot of movies I wanted streaming so I just cut it. It’s still a better idea than a cable bill. But even streaming Netflix isn’t available in Germany. I haven’t tried to see if Hulu works. We watch a lot of shows on DVD that we have or movies, but other than that I don’t really turn on the television. I haven’t had cable since I was about 17 except intermittently if I was staying somewhere where it was available. I don’t think I’m really missing out.

  6. Jeff says:

    If you get a Roku Box, you can stream both hulu plus and netflix to your Tv.

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