My monthly cable bill is around $210.
That’s a lot of money. Sure, I get all three services: cable TV, high-speed Internet and VoIP phone. I also have one HD DVR and one SD DVR. And I have HBO and Encore.
Still, that’s way more than I feel like spending. My cable company has me right where they want me though. I don’t even use the home phone line at all. Like, ever. My wife and I both have cell phones, and mine on AT&T works at home almost 25 percent of the time (the missus on T-Mobile never loses signal. Damn my insatiable iPhone addiction!). But it’s cheaper for me to have all three services than to just have two. At least, that’s what they somehow convince me of every time I try to shut off my phone service. The calls go something like this:
Cable Giant Agent: Hi! Thanks for calling Cable Giant! Can I have the phone number on your account?
Me: (720) blah blah blah…
Cable Giant Agent: Hello, Mr. Davis, how can I help you today?
Me: Yeah, I’d like to cancel my phone service, please.
Cable Giant Agent: I’d be happy to help you with that. Let me take a look at your account…OK, I see here that you have our Triple Awesome Power Package, of high-speed Internet, video and our Cable Giant Digital Phone service, is that correct?
Me: Yes. And I don’t use the phone ever.
Cable Giant Agent: Well, I can remove that for you. However, currently you have our Purple Polka-dot video package with HBO, Encore and the NFL Network with two DVR boxes, one High Def, one Standard Def. You have our Hi-Yellow Internet service, providing you with 18 megabuttons downstream…and 12 upstream?! Wow, that’s a good tier. We don’t even offer that one anymore…you have two remote controls and the cable modem thingie, in addition to the Cable Giant Digital Phone with unlimited Long Distance, all for a total cost of $199 plus taxes and fees. Now, if we remove your Cable Giant Digital Phone with unlimited Long Distance service, your Purple Polka-dot video package with HBO, Encore and the NFL Network goes up by $14 per month; your Hi-Yellow Internet service, providing you with 18 megabuttons downstream and 12 upstream goes up by $12 month; your two DVR boxes, one HD, one SD each cost another $8 per month. Then, you lose the “preferred Triple Awesome Power Package Customer” discount of $25. Which means your new monthly total will be $4,000. Plus, you’d have to watch at least 20 minutes of The View every day. Are you sure you want to do this?
Me: Oh heavens no!
Cable Giant Agent: Great! Is there anything else I can help you with today?
But now, I’m about ready to start a new experiment. I’m going to wean myself off of it, and just keep the Internet service. Then, I’m going to buy an Apple TV. The little $99 device has a tiny footprint and delivers full HD. It all streams wirelessly from my airport base station, so I can chuck the ugly coax strung across my house. Granted, a lot of shows are $1; so it’s going to force me to examine what I’m really watching. But, I’m game. At the very least, I’ll truly find out if the money I’m paying to Cable Giant is worth it. I’ll let you know how it turns out.