I have officially cut the cord on Cable TV and said Hello to Streaming TV! This was a big deal because regular and cable TV is what we grew up with. All of the TV boxes, remotes, random connectors, and out of date interfaces were just part of the game. With the rise of internet streamed programming, we found ourselves watching more content through Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play and HBO Go (True Blood and Game of Thrones!).
Let me tell you! I had 5 boxes (most were different), some connector device that streams to other boxes or something like that, and a bunch of remotes. The service was good for a while but ended up being very spotty. Nothing like watching Game of Thrones and some random cable issue comes up. Then I have to contact customer service, they can’t fix it so they send out a tech. who says I need to update one of my boxes. He doesn’t have that box on him so they have to send me one. It’s a complete mess!
Our ONLY provider where we live is AT&T U-Verse. We purchased a bundle that included internet, cable, and phone service we didn’t want. Why the heck do I need to buy a phone service to get cable and internet? Someone explain that crap to me, please! They also seem to insist on giving me an email address as well. Why do I need an email with at&t? They don’t even give you the ability to opt-out! There are many things I can get into but I won’t. Just know I don’t care for those particular bundles.
One good thing was I was able to get fiber internet so my speeds are pretty good. The modem and wifi they give you are bottom of the barrel stuff. The wifi “works” but it’s far from impressive when it comes to coverage and wifi speed. Hardwired is good though. I haven’t run into any issues with that.
We ordered the 1Gbps package (the fastest they offer) and there have been little to no issues. At first, it was hard to get the speeds to be consistent and I had to make several calls to tech. support. Eventually, it got better and we were solid. The most speed I’ve been able to get is around 900Mbps hardwired. Through 5G on the router they provided, I was able to get around 500Mbps but that was ONLY when I was RIGHT next to it.
These speeds are more than enough to handle all of our devices, TVs, cameras, Amazon 4k Fire Sticks, Roku Devices, phones, tablets, etc. The Achilles heel is the freggin’ crap wifi router they gave us. Don’t get me wrong, it works but I build software for a living so I don’t need anything spotty in my life. When it comes to tech, I am very high maintenance.
My Internet Setup
To compensate for the crap wifi router, I purchased this beauty: Asus RT-AC5300 Wirel. Tri-band, RT-AC5300 NORDIC. It is the TRUTH! It covers ALL of my house inside and out. As of right now, it shows 32 devices connected to it (yes it’s a lot. I’m a geek… so what!?). The wifi speeds are consistent and fast. When running the google speed test, I found out that my new Google Pixel 3 has faster wifi than my 2012 MBP.
The Asus is pretty expensive and I could have just purchased one of the really cool mesh systems however, I liked the spider look. Connection speeds are consistent and I have ZERO issues with range in a 3 story home on a basement. My phone will do between 189mbps and 380mbps depending on how close I am to the router. All of the other devices are steady in the hundreds so no worries on speed.
To maximize the wifi range, I placed this on the 2nd (main) level. This way I can limit some of the building materials that will limit coverage. It is also where most of the devices are generally located so it only made sense. Having it in the basement with the rest of the equipment wouldn’t have been as effective as I’d like.
For the hardwires I purchased a NETGEAR 8-Port Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch. We ran all of those lines from the bedrooms to the hub and then connected that hub to the AT&T U-Verse modem. It’s a simple setup and works quite well. Additionally, I turned the wifi off coming from the AT&T router so it wouldn’t interfere with the Asus router.
Cut The Cord
Now that we’ve got the whole internet thing squared away, I canceled my AT&T U-verse TV with Phone service and went, Internet-only baby! Let the fun begin! We’ve got Netflix, Amazon Prime & Direct TV Now. One thing I might mention is some stations like HGTV and HBO have apps where we can watch the shows there. Just use our DirectTV Now login and boom we are in the game.
Streaming TV By The Numbers
- AT&T U-Verse TV Package: $110 a month
- AT&T U-Verse Internet: $100 a month
- AT&T DirectTV now: $75 a month
- Netflix: $11 a month
- Amazon Prime: $11 a month
Let’s put this together. I no longer pay for the TV Package so my budget is $110. Now I pay around the same for the rest of the entertainment. The value for me isn’t saving the money. It is in the portability, consistency, and adaptability of the service. That is all part of “buying my time back”.
If I want to purchase another TV or get rid of one, I don’t have to purchase a new cable box or return a cable box. There are no more cable boxes, power cables, or random connectors. These devices plug into the TV via HDMI and I use the TV remote to control them or use the one that came with it.
My wife and I like to travel so we take our Amazon Firestick with us at no extra charge. We are still able to record shows and watch them at will. There is access to the streaming content on our mobile devices if we want to use those to watch TV while in the airport waiting on a plane. I can dig this!
Cutting the cord isn’t for everyone. It was difficult for us at first but we’ve adjusted well. I don’t miss cable TV and all that comes with it. Life is good in that space right now and I’m looking forward to more goodies as these technologies improve. Life got easier as well when we saved money with Google, check out Saving Money By Switching to Google Fi.