“Last week I called Comcast and requested that they downgrade my cable television service from the Digital Classic package to broadcast channels only. This is a rather fun conversation to have with the Comcast folks. Their procedure seems to require that they escalate the call at least twice to give a couple of supervisors a chance to talk the caller out of this decision. Despite their efforts, I prevailed and the service has been downgraded. This downgrade will save us about $50/mo.” To Cable TV or Not to Cable TV post that I wrote in October 2008.
When I wrote that in October 2008, I thought that I was downgrading my cable forever. After I spoke with Comcast in 2008, I connected a computer to our TV and set it up so that we could watch shows online via Hulu and Netflix. Both of these services were just getting started with their on-demand offerings.
It turned out that the biggest issue with the downgraded cable tv concept was that we like to watch sports. While the New England Patriots still show their games on broadcast television, the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins games are mostly on NESN and that is only available on cable television. Ultimately it was this lack of sports programing that drove me back to a full Comcast television package.
We lasted just over two years with the downgraded cable tv package. Then, in the winter of 2010/2011, we acquired a large flat screen television, called up Comcast, expanded our channel options and then proceeded to watch all of the games leading up to the Boston Bruins wining the Stanley Cup. By that point the baseball season had begun and I started watching Red Sox games again. From there we just ended up keeping the full Comcast package…until last week, when I had the downgrade conversation with Comcast, again.
The call was much easier this time and I only had to talk to one “retention specialist” to downgrade my television package. The funny thing is that when I spoke to Comcast back in 2008, the conversation resulted in a savings of about $50/mo. This time, the savings is closer to $130/mo (hello inflation). Mind you, that is not exactly going back into my pocket. I now have a Roku3 and an Apple TV, along with subscriptions to multiple content services, including: Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Now, Amazon Prime, MLBtv and Sling TV. Of these services, I have added MLBtv, HBO Now and Sling TV in the last week.
It depresses me that MLBtv will still only allow me to watch out-of-market games, but as I am an avid fan of fantasy baseball I do not mind watching non-Red Sox teams play the game. Also, Sling TV has ESPN and ESPN2, so I get to watch the occasional Red Sox game via that service.
At the end of the day, I prefer to support the companies that are working on innovation. I am definitely still spending money for content each month, but I am no longer giving the majority of it to Comcast.