Human Interest


For some time now, friends have asked me why I still have cable. I had to ask myself the same question, but I’m sure it was because it was the path of least resistance. I’m familiar with cable, how it works, its benefits, and its limitations, and especially, I knew how to set the DVR to record something and watch it later. I felt comfortable fast-forwarding through the hundreds of commercials, and rewinding to watch a scene, or a play, again. I slept well at night knowing I had conquered the technology known as cable TV.

That was until I received this month’s bill from our cable provider. Holy cow! That puppy went up $46/month, overnight. What had been an already-outrageous $283.xx a month was now $329.xx. THREE HUNDRED TWENTY NINE DOLLARS. That’s ridiculous. I’m sure I’m not alone in my feelings about the incredible increase in the price of just about everything. We recently spent over $300 for groceries and pharmacy (non-prescription) items! That’s definitely a record.

Admittedly, our cable bill included TV, Internet, WiFi, and a home security system, so we had several services bundled into one bill. I was somewhat willing to accept $283 because of all that was included, but I was not ready for $329! I had to do something. When my cable bill went up in the past, I called them and suddenly, out of nowhere, they offered a lower monthly rate. I tried that again this time with very disappointing results. The young person I spoke to on the phone sounded like a 12-year old, and wasn’t the least bit concerned about my $329 bill. If she tweaked it a bit, she could lower the bill all the way to $309 a month. That’s still an increase of $26. I abandoned this solution for my predicament. 

Now it was time to ask those friends who had forsaken cable long ago, what they did. Two said they had AT&T U-verse, two others said YouTube TV, and another said he had Direct TV. That gave me something to investigate so I did. At the recommendation of a couple of them, I called the Geek Squad at Best Buy.  My previous experience with them was years ago in Greenwood, IN when I sustained the trauma of a $300 repair bill for my laptop. That left a bad dent in my wallet, and I felt ripped off. My opinion of the Geek Squad suffered for years as a result. And you hear financial experts often say the company is on the verge of bankruptcy. However, everyone I talked to said consulting them would be money well spent.

It was! I scheduled a “free, in-home consultation” on a Sunday afternoon, of all the unusual times, and learned more than I ever imagined. The man who came to our house, Josh, was very knowledgeable. We learned he was a graduate of the University of Utah and was a scholarship baseball player. He also was, and still is, a scratch golfer. Of course, that opened many avenues of conversation about golf and family.

Josh spent a good hour or more suggesting how we could cut the cable cord, metaphorically, and save money. Our main TV is an early model HD smart TV that wasn’t compatible with many of the newer streaming services so he suggested an Amazon Firestick. It brings our TV into this decade. We dropped cable in favor of YouTube TV, and retained our cable company’s internet and WiFi to be able to stream without multiple delays and interruptions. Four days later, the “installers” came to our house and had everything set up in 30 minutes.

There is a bit of getting used to the new system, but in the last 3 days, it has all fallen together. Watching a past show/game/movie took some trial and error to learn, but as long as I can find my “library,” I’m good to go. The whole system revolves around the “Home” screen. Watching a past program is easy as long as it’s in my “Library.” We don’t record anything any more. We put in our “Library” to watch at our convenience. I was able to watch the Sunday night NFL game from the beginning and fast forward through commercials just like always. That pleased me greatly.

The real eye-opener has been the incredible breadth of programming we can watch because of platforms like Peacock, Paramount Plus, and Amazon Prime, which we have subscribed to for several years. Plus there are dozens and dozens of apps, like ESPN+, that enable us to watch events we wouldn’t otherwise be able to see. Our granddaughter is visiting soon so we’ll be able to watch the women’s NCAA volleyball tournament while she’s here. I haven’t investigated all the apps we have available, but I know it will be more than we have hours to watch.

Yes. My eyes have been opened to the vast array of movies, sports events, and other programming that we are now capable of viewing. The irony of the situation is that many of these apps are available by subscription only, so they cost extra. Even if they are only $10.99 a month, if you subscribe to 10 of them, added to the $72 a month for YouTube TV, I’ll be paying about what I was before. But I’m up to speed technology-wise and have a lot more options. 

I am happy we cut out cable. I’m happy we have reliable internet and WiFi. I’m very happy we have YouTube TV. Our viewing horizons have definitely broadened so we have no excuse for not finding something to watch. The advice we were given was good, and the assistance we received was expert. There’s no better recommendation than one from someone with first hand experience. We had that for certain.

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