I just took the plunge and cancelled my Comcast cable!
I’ve been on the cable since 2002, so they were sorry to see me go. I’m sure they are. Cable companies have been losing a lot of customers as technology shifts to a streaming environment. For me, an additional consideration is that, while Comcast has definitely improved how they roll, I have many bad feelings from the earlier years when they seemed always on the Ten Worst Company lists.
The combination of those feelings, plus the economics and logistics of it all, made it exactly the right choice for me now.
I’d heard that Comcast was raising their prices, so I waited for a bill showing me how bad the increase would be. Cancelling after the increase would also make a point, I thought.
And… nothing. My November, December, and January, bills are identical.
But in looking at them, I decided that all the fees were on the outrageous side:
- HD Technology: $10.00
- Broadcast TV Fee: $8.00
- Regional Sports Fee: $6.50
- FCC Regulatory Fee: $0.06
- Franchise Fee: $9.16
- Local Programming Fee: $1.87
- State and Local Taxes: $13.10
This $48.69 is on top of the $158.00 for their Digital Premier package, so my cable bill has been just over $200/month.
That’s for broadband cable. I don’t get internet from Comcast (who call themselves “Xfinity” now), I get internet from my local phone company, CenturyLink.
There might be a price advantage to switching to Xfinity internet (which would be faster than the 80 megs DSL I have now, but I’m suspicious of broadband internet — uncertain about how it handles high traffic periods). Also, I’d never give up my local loop.
The bad taste I have for Comcast lingers, so combined with uncertainty about broadband cable, I don’t consider it an option. There is an emotional part of me that just wants to be done with “cable companies” — a long-standing social bane.
A stick in my craw for years is the top item on the above fees list.
An “HD Technology” fee? That’s total BS, and Comcast gave it up as BS when I first tried to cancel.
Having hearing issues, I tried their online chat. But their chat guy, after trying to keep my business, couldn’t actually close the account and referred me to an 800 number where (he claimed) I would just have to select the cancel option.
Which was never offered, and the automated system ended up dumping me on a “Loyalty” agent who was, after again trying to keep my business, able to cancel the account.
The thing is, the chat guy offered a new package that, for one thing, would remove the HD fee.
Um,… if you can remove it so readily, why is it there in the first place? Why are you screwing me for $10 a month when you obviously don’t need to?
Knowing your company is losing customers, wouldn’t the smart thing be to step up and cut the BS in an attempt to keep them? By the time I called, I had zero interest in keeping the account under any circumstance.
[Well, if they’d offered to refund about $2000 that they’d over-charged me over the years, I might have re-considered, but like that’s ever gonna happen.]
I would highly recommend anyone still using Comcast see if you’re being charged that $10, and if so, call and tell them to cut it out.
Another reason it’s a good time to change is that my TV viewing habits have changed over the years.
It’s been a very long time since I found Cinemax, Starz, or Showtime, that interesting, and I especially don’t need all the channels each of those offer.
I almost never watch a scheduled movie on those channels, it’s nearly always an ondemand selection. These days, why would I change my schedule just to watch a movie? That’s nuts!
I don’t even watch HBO that much anymore. Westworld last year (and not again until 2020) and John Oliver (sometimes) is about it.
As of now, I do not have any of those four cable channels. If I make it to 2020, I’ll figure out who to buy HBO from to see Westworld.
I took a good hard look at what TV I do watch anymore.
In the summer, there’s baseball, which means live TV for local games (Fox Sports North), the All-Star Game, and post-season, which means I need ESPN and other sports channels, plus TBS or TNT or whomever gets post-season games.
need (okay, want) the MLB channel itself. Right now I’m using YouTube TV for all my live sports TV needs. I also have a digital antenna for local channels.
The YT TV also provides MSNBC and other news channels. I’ve mostly given up on CNN, but I do watch Nicole Wallace on MSNBC every weekday. (I can handle about one hour of cable news before it either depresses me or enrages me. Or both.)
There is also Doctor Who on BBC America, but I won’t have to worry about that until 2020 (damn it).
As for “my shows,” I seem to be migrating mostly towards Netflix and Hulu. The former has some very good original stuff I’ve gotten into (haven’t found any of Hulu’s original content that compelling yet).
Network TV and I seem to be parting ways, more or less.
The only ABC show I watch is Fresh Off the Boat (which I really like), and that’s on Hulu.
On NBC, it’s down to The Blacklist and The Good Place (one of the best half-hour sitcoms ever on TV). Hulu has new episodes of The Good Place, the older seasons are on Netflix, so I’m set there. I still need NBC (via YT TV) for The Blacklist.
And then CBS. Ah, CBS. I’ve commented recently about how lame pretty much every CBS sitcom since 1999 seems to me.
Then there’s the whole Les Moonves thing. And the thing with Eliza Dushku. And now I’m reading stories about how bad things are on the set of NCIS: New Orleans.
I’m beginning to think CBS has some major problems.
I’ve now given up on both NCIS spin-offs (the LA one years ago, and as of this season the NO one). I’ve begun to wonder if I’m over NCIS, too. I think that might be a topic for its own post, though.
Anyway, on CBS, it’s down to NCIS, Madam Secretary, and Bull (which I’m increasingly iffy on). And the last season of Elementary, if they ever get around to airing it.
All one-hour dramas. Apparently the only thing I think CBS can pull off.
I’ll get those shows from the YouTube TV for now.
That’s the one thing that might change down the road, which “live” TV streaming service works best for me. I have some minor complaints about the YT TV interface, so I would like to shop around on that one (Hulu has live TV, for instance).
Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of Google anymore. Used to be.
So, to add it up, I’m paying about $10 for Netflix, about $12 for Hulu (both great values, seriously), about $10 for Amazon Prime, and about $40 for YouTube TV.
Nearly all my TV watching needs for about $75 dollars. Big difference from just over $200 for a lot of stuff I never watched.
I pay about $100 for internet, but I would regardless. Gotta have ‘net.
Of course, Netflix, Hulu, Prime, and YouTube, also have lots I’ll never watch, but they aren’t charging me an arm and a leg or hitting me with silly fees.
I’ve been looking forward to this day for about a year now.
I took the advice of cable-cutting articles and did it slowly, eased my way into it. I’ve had Netflix and Hulu for about a year, and have loved them (Hulu’s interface leaves a lot to be desired, though).
I just joined Amazon Prime (and you know what, you do start ordering stuff; smart of them), and I love having modern Doctor Who on tap. (I just wish they’d offer Classic Who free to Prime members.)
I also just joined YouTube TV (they had a free trial month thing back in December, so I jumped on board).
So, for the next year, we’ll see how all this works out!
Stay watching, my friends!