I eliminated cable back & got a Roku in 2011 and that is what originally made me write about this blog post. Back then, ditching cable wasn’t as common as it is today (in 2016) so I was taking a bit of a leap of faith back then.
I got really used to not having cable and then around 2013 I decided to go back to Direct TV and get a subscription. Huge mistake! While there was nothing wrong with their service and I rarely had any issues, I just didn’t watch tv enough to justify the $100/month bill I was paying! After my 2 long 2 year subscription ran out (and $2,400 later) I cancelled my cable and strictly use my Roku & Antenna to watch tv.
See my update below with the link to my detailed how-to guide to get started with Roku & eliminating cable.
Here’s how I did it.
Sidenote: I’m not all high tech with the t.v. These are just the steps I took and there may be better options for those a little more “technically” inclined. This article also assumes you currently have high speed internet in your home to stream content through your tv.
Cancel current tv subscription. If you are on a contract, you may have to wait until this contract runs out to avoid paying a penalty. In some cases the penalties may be less than continuing to pay the monthly fee so be sure to weigh out your options.
Do not renew current tv subscription! Most companies will entice you to stay with them by offering you a lower rate, free channels or gift certificates to keep your business. Do not be tempted by this! If you are serious about saving money and getting away from paying high monthly fees for a cable subscription, politely decline these offers and cancel at the first chance you get.
Assuming you have an HDTV, and depending on whether your tv has a built in antenna (mine did but I couldn’t get it to work) purchase an indoor antenna so you can get local channels. Depending on where you live, this should allow you to at least get local channels in your area for free. I’m able to get 16 channels with this antenna.Take a look at antenna web if you want to check out what channels you get using an indoor antenna. Immediately after installing this antenna (which is easy) you should at least now have access to local channels for free. Yay!
Total out of pocket – roughly $7-$8 (depending on the price of the antenna at the time of purchase)
If you want access to more channels than just your local channels, I recommend taking a look at a Roku streaming box. I didn’t really care to have all the new shows but I wanted a few things to pick from if I was laying around on a Sunday afternoon and want to watch tv.
The Roku Digital Video Player is a little black box that you connect to your HDTV with an HDMI cable. This allows you to stream different channels like Netflix (with a $9.99 a month subscription) Amazon Prime (if you are an Amazon Prime member) and many other channels. You can also add other paid channels like Hulu Plus and others. There are a few options to pick from for your Roku Digital Video Player. At the time when I bought mine, I chose the Roku HD (middle of the road) player. Since then, Roku has added many different options from $29.99 – $129.99 in price, depending on the features you are looking for. Additionally, they now offer Roku ready TV’s to give you more access to tv shows and movies.Roku is a great alternative to an expensive monthly cable billClick To Tweet
One thing to note about this is you will need a Roku box attached to each tv, or else you can move your Roku box between tv’s if you are watching in different rooms.
Total out of pocket – $79 shipped
Decide which subscription you want to use (if any). I opted for Netflix because I love the Netflix original shows that have been added as well as many of the re-runs. I was already an Amazon Prime member so I am able to stream shows from that as well. My Netflix subscription is $9.99 a month
Total out of pocket $9.99/month.
Are you looking for more ways to save money? Check out my popular post: Budgets for Dummies- Creating a Household Budget in 5 Easy Steps for more info.
What does that mean over a year?
My annual agreement with Direct Tv was around $120/month when I was under a 2 year agreement with them.
Total up front costs:
$6 for Antenna
$79 for Roku player
Total annual costs:
$9.99/mo Netflix subscription
If I would have stayed with Dish network at $120 a month, the total for the year would be roughly $1,440.
Total annual savings: $1,236
The first year, you will need to buy the antenna and Roku box, but after that your only monthly subscription will be for Netflix (if you choose to get that).
I’ve had this setup for over a year and I really love it. I don’t watch a ton of TV so this works perfectly for me.
Want more money saving tips? Take a look at my tips & tricks to get out of debt & stay that way.
Have you gotten rid of your cable bill? If so, what do you use to still watch t.v.?
UPDATE: This post was originally written in 2011 and I’ve made updates to it since I’m still using my Roku device today. I have also written a detailed report here on how I use Roku as an Alternative to Cable. Click on the link and then right click on the pdf to save it. These detailed step by step instructions should help you save money by eliminating your monthly cable bill.