Why You Should Ditch Cable and Get a Roku

A bit of background: I was, up until two months ago, a cable subscriber. I paid $30 a month to start out, and the price almost immediately went up, bit by bit. For the last 12 months, I've paid $71 a month for 250 cable TV channels, 10 of which I watched. I didn't feel as though I was getting my money's worth (most stuff on TV is absolute garbage now anyways).  

So, my wife and I decided to cut the cord. With internet and broadcast TV offerings, the only real risk that I was running was not being able to watch football in the fall. Fortunately for me, my sister who lives 45 minutes away will have every Alabama game (RTR). 

Sports was really the only thing holding me back. ESPN specifically. But even for that, I can get ESPN 3 on my Xbox and get some limited football coverage. Even some full games. 

The other big deal was shows for my son. He's barely two but enjoys shows such as Peter Rabbit, Bubble Guppies, and WonderPets.  

When researching the different streaming services we were going to sign up for, we saw many advantages. One is cost. Amazon Instant Video (coupled with Amazon Prime which is free two-day shipping on most items) is $79 a year, which works out to $6.60/month. We also wanted some shows and movies that were on Netflix but not AIV, which was $8/month.  

So if you do the math, that's $175/year with streaming, $852/year with cable.  

Now, we could use the Xbox to stream all these, but the Xbox is a power hog, it's loud (we have the older 360), and it takes a little too long to start up and get to what we want to do. Plus, all Xbox apps (AIV, Netflix, whatever) must first go through Xbox Live servers before getting to you. That makes the connection much slower, and sometimes your videos are in poor quality.  

Enter the Roku. You may have never heard of it before, but basically it's a tiny internet box that hooks up to your TV via HDMI. It allows you to stream AVI, Netflix, and a ton of other content from other providers such as HBO, PBS, ABC, NBC, and CBS.  

And it's $99.  

With no monthly subscription fee except for the services you use. 

You can even use your phone or tablet as a remote and also stream videos, music, or pictures directly to your TV through Roku's official app.  

There's a nifty remote coupled with the Roku 3 that also allows you to plug up earbuds and listen to your music or shows wirelessly. Talk about convenient.  

Why the Roku and not the Apple TV? Don't get me wrong, I'm the Apple fanboy of all fanboys, but Apple doesn't offer Amazon Instant Video. Which was a dealbreaker. Probably because Amazon and Apple are big competitors.  

To be honest, the only thing my wife miss is being able to record and pause and rewind live broadcast TV. But we can deal without that. We get over 5 local channels in crystal clear HD and about 15 others in SD. And we live at least 50 miles from TV stations in both Nashville and Huntsville. This antenna helped things out. 

Not only did I not watch my cable TV, most of it was available online and the other stuff I didn't need to watch anyways.  

So what say you? Have you cut the cord yet?  

 

 The Roku size as compared to come keys. It's quite small. 

The Roku size as compared to come keys. It's quite small. 

 The main Roku interface. You can also customize this with channels and different themes.  

The main Roku interface. You can also customize this with channels and different themes.  

 The nifty remote with wireless earbuds. 

The nifty remote with wireless earbuds.