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Cord Cutter's Diary

An experiment in living without a cable TV subscription, by @zseward
Aug 2 '12
Peter Kafka reports that Aereo, the service I use for network TV over the internet, has changed its pricing structure. Huh!
I signed up for Aereo in May but have yet to be charged for it. Still, the company has always maintained that, when they did get around to ending my free trial, Aereo would cost $12 a month, which has seemed steep to me. Now, I have a few more options.
I can still pay $12 a month for unlimited use and 40 hours of DVR space, but I could also pay just $8 a month, if I thought I only needed 20 hours of storage. From experience, that is more than enough; in fact, I’ve barely used the recording function on Aereo at all. Or if I were willing to pay $80 upfront for a year of service, I could reduce my equivalent monthly bill to $6.66 (and keep the larger DVR option). Not bad.
But the really interesting new options are the day passes and free trials. I can watch an hour of live network TV per day without paying a dime and/or pay $1 every time I want 24 hours of continuous access (plus a modicum of DVR storage). That last option, the day pass, sounds ideal to me, based on how I’ve been using Aereo so far. When I want to watch a baseball playoff game on Fox or the Oscars on ABC, I pay $1. And on most days, when I don’t have a need for network TV, I pay nothing.

Peter Kafka reports that Aereo, the service I use for network TV over the internet, has changed its pricing structure. Huh!

I signed up for Aereo in May but have yet to be charged for it. Still, the company has always maintained that, when they did get around to ending my free trial, Aereo would cost $12 a month, which has seemed steep to me. Now, I have a few more options.

I can still pay $12 a month for unlimited use and 40 hours of DVR space, but I could also pay just $8 a month, if I thought I only needed 20 hours of storage. From experience, that is more than enough; in fact, I’ve barely used the recording function on Aereo at all. Or if I were willing to pay $80 upfront for a year of service, I could reduce my equivalent monthly bill to $6.66 (and keep the larger DVR option). Not bad.

But the really interesting new options are the day passes and free trials. I can watch an hour of live network TV per day without paying a dime and/or pay $1 every time I want 24 hours of continuous access (plus a modicum of DVR storage). That last option, the day pass, sounds ideal to me, based on how I’ve been using Aereo so far. When I want to watch a baseball playoff game on Fox or the Oscars on ABC, I pay $1. And on most days, when I don’t have a need for network TV, I pay nothing.

Aug 1 '12
"But the whole idea that there’s a lot of people out there that want to drop multichannel TV, and just have a Netflix or an HBO — that’s not right. Look for the data, you won’t find them."
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes on a conference call today
Aug 1 '12
Aug 1 '12
Jul 31 '12
Jul 30 '12

Monday night

I caught up on the new episode of Breaking Bad by purchasing it for $2.99 from Amazon and watching it on my television through my Roku box. On my iPad, I kept an eye on the Olympics by streaming NBC live with Aereo, which is still in a free trial but will eventually cost $12 a month. When the swimming was on, I switched it over to my big screen. I followed Twitter on my iPhone, and when someone mentioned that the Yankee game was close in the bottom of the ninth, I flipped on the local radio broadcast on MLB.tv, which cost me $14.99 for the season. The Yankees lost, but it was good night — better than usual, I’ll admit — for getting by without cable.

Jul 27 '12
When I signed up for TV and internet service from Time Warner Cable, back in the day, I paid, like everyone else, a deeply discounted rate for the first 12 months. But after my introductory period expired, the standard rates kicked in, and that’s how I came to pay an intolerable $156 a month before dropping TV. Existing customers can sometimes negotiate discounts, especially by threatening to cancel altogether, but nothing like the offers extended to new customers.

Which is why it was surprising to receive this mailing from TWC, offering me the same internet service I currently receive plus “digital TV” for $85 a month. (I pay $52 now.) Call it the cord cutter’s discount: I can add back cable TV for $33 a month, or about a third of what I was paying for it before I dropped the service. The mailing doesn’t specify what level of TV service I would get and I’m hardly interested, anyway, but it’s interesting to see how TWC adjusts its marketing for people like me.

When I signed up for TV and internet service from Time Warner Cable, back in the day, I paid, like everyone else, a deeply discounted rate for the first 12 months. But after my introductory period expired, the standard rates kicked in, and that’s how I came to pay an intolerable $156 a month before dropping TV. Existing customers can sometimes negotiate discounts, especially by threatening to cancel altogether, but nothing like the offers extended to new customers.

Which is why it was surprising to receive this mailing from TWC, offering me the same internet service I currently receive plus “digital TV” for $85 a month. (I pay $52 now.) Call it the cord cutter’s discount: I can add back cable TV for $33 a month, or about a third of what I was paying for it before I dropped the service. The mailing doesn’t specify what level of TV service I would get and I’m hardly interested, anyway, but it’s interesting to see how TWC adjusts its marketing for people like me.

Jul 26 '12

Conquered cord cutting? Try cell cutting and card cutting.

Jul 26 '12
Jul 26 '12
With Apple’s new operating system released yesterday, OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), AirPlay has finally come to the Mac. That’s a killer feature for cord cutters. Now, any media you can pull up on your MacBook or iMac — and there’s plenty of live and on-demand video most easily accessed that way — can be sent over to your big screen with a click. This was already the case for your iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, but nothing beats the flexibility of a personal computer with a Web browser.
Now, yes, it has always been possible to plug your Mac or any other computer into the side of your television. That’s how I and a lot of people I know do it. But it’s ironic and more than a little cumbersome that cutting the cord actually tends to involve, well, a lot of cords. Apple TV and AirPlay let you skip the hassle of plugging and unplugging your various devices, and the more Apple devices you own, the more convenient this seems. (Yes, of course, that’s the strategy. I am increasingly trapped in Apple’s ecosystem.)

When I was first considering which set-top box to buy, I chose Roku because it’s much more flexible and has many more apps. Apple TV is in the same price range but more limited: it has Netflix and MLB.tv but no Amazon and lots of other apps I find valuable. At the time, I saw the core strength of Apple TV as iTunes, which others may value but I don’t use much. But now it’s abundantly clear that Apple TV’s greatest asset is actually AirPlay, and that’s why I’m finally going to buy one. A friend and fellow cord cutter emailed me last night to say she’s also taking the plunge for the same reasons.
Apple has sold 4 million Apple TVs this year, but the company still calls the device a “hobby.” For that and other reasons, a lot of people speculate about Apple releasing an actual television that will enter the market with the same kind of splash that the iPad did. That may still happen — who knows — but as Peter Kafka wrote last month, “Look a little closer, and you might see the outlines of Apple’s TV plans staring you right in the face.”

With Apple’s new operating system released yesterday, OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), AirPlay has finally come to the Mac. That’s a killer feature for cord cutters. Now, any media you can pull up on your MacBook or iMac — and there’s plenty of live and on-demand video most easily accessed that way — can be sent over to your big screen with a click. This was already the case for your iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad, but nothing beats the flexibility of a personal computer with a Web browser.

Now, yes, it has always been possible to plug your Mac or any other computer into the side of your television. That’s how I and a lot of people I know do it. But it’s ironic and more than a little cumbersome that cutting the cord actually tends to involve, well, a lot of cords. Apple TV and AirPlay let you skip the hassle of plugging and unplugging your various devices, and the more Apple devices you own, the more convenient this seems. (Yes, of course, that’s the strategy. I am increasingly trapped in Apple’s ecosystem.)

When I was first considering which set-top box to buy, I chose Roku because it’s much more flexible and has many more apps. Apple TV is in the same price range but more limited: it has Netflix and MLB.tv but no Amazon and lots of other apps I find valuable. At the time, I saw the core strength of Apple TV as iTunes, which others may value but I don’t use much. But now it’s abundantly clear that Apple TV’s greatest asset is actually AirPlay, and that’s why I’m finally going to buy one. A friend and fellow cord cutter emailed me last night to say she’s also taking the plunge for the same reasons.

Apple has sold 4 million Apple TVs this year, but the company still calls the device a “hobby.” For that and other reasons, a lot of people speculate about Apple releasing an actual television that will enter the market with the same kind of splash that the iPad did. That may still happen — who knows — but as Peter Kafka wrote last month, “Look a little closer, and you might see the outlines of Apple’s TV plans staring you right in the face.”