THE CASE OF THE OVERPRICED CABLE PACKAGES – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — The Case of Overpriced Cable Packages

We’ve been overpaying for cable since cable was introduced. We don’t have a choice here. We don’t get any choice except Direct TV or Spectrum (Charter). We can’t use DirectTV because we are surrounded by trees and the signal can’t get through the woods.

The super high-speed stuff you get via telephone cable is unavailable. Not enough people for them to bother to connect and they are expensive too. Meanwhile, as more and more people are cutting cable, Spectrum keeps raising their prices. They provide the cheesiest version of any device we need — for which they charge the highest possible price … and now they’ve raised wi-fi rates, too.

We can’t do without wifi anymore. Too much is attached to the internet, but we had already cut down to the absolute minimum package we could get from Spectrum. I had to renegotiate last week because our “free” HBO wasn’t free anymore and they raised the price of wi-fi by $20 and removed a $10 discount they’d been giving us, which made it now $30 more — just for wi-fi.

We hemmed and hawed and ultimately got it down to what was supposed to be the same as last year’s price, but with an additional $7.50 for HBO.

The bill came in last night.

$154, which was a $25 increase from the last year. $35 was just for renting their junky equipment.

Meanwhile, YouTube — now a subset of Google — is offering a huge selection of channels for $40/month — INCLUDING Major League Baseball as well our local baseball channel. Which means that Garry can actually watch the Red Sox live and still watch every other game being played. It’s got three ESPN channels, Fox Sports, and so much more. It is a sports loaded package, but it has all the networks, TCM, Sundance, and a bunch of other channels I don’t even recognize. We already have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Acorn from before.

I can add HBO to Netflix if we want it. The problem is that we only watch one show on HBO — John Oliver. Otherwise, we don’t watch HBO at all. Yes, they have movies, but so does everything else and Garry like old movies better. We already have more stuff to watch than we have time to see. So we’ll wait and decide. I love John Oliver. I’m just not sure I want to subscribe to the channel just for that show.

The bill did it for me. I can get everything — much more than Spectrum offers — for $40 a month. It will drop our bill by more than $50/month.

I don’t get it. From a business standpoint, it makes no sense.

All cable companies know people are dumping them right, left, and center. Instead of trying to get competitive, they raise prices. They can’t believe this is good business.

It’s counter-intuitive and it gave me that final push to just give up. I hate changing utilities. I’m trying to keep life simple … but I’m also trying to survive on a fixed income. If they want $154 this year, what will they want next year? $175? $200? It will never stop and by the time they realize that instead of raising prices, they should be lowering them, they won’t have customers.

So Monday, they will come to collect the DVR boxes. By the end of next week, I will have just the telephone and wi-fi. I’m sure somehow they will find a way to raise the prices on those too, but I can’t fix everything.

YouTubeTV is a big package. That it includes MLB and our local NESN channel. This along means substantial savings for us because last year I had to buy MLB and we were blocked from seeing the Sox play live because our cable package didn’t include NESN.

Now we get both. For $40/month.

So that’s it for cable. By next week, it will be all streaming.

The case of the overpriced cable package had to be dealt with. Spectrum didn’t leave me a choice.

25 thoughts on “THE CASE OF THE OVERPRICED CABLE PACKAGES – Marilyn Armstrong

  1. This is weirdly appropriate to a recent break I received in my television DirecTV package. They offered to drop it by $30 a month lower if I agreed to a contract for a year. Since I would have paid $40 just to have WiFi, paying an additional $10 to keep tv made sense. (I don’t use all the channels like sports, that you do. But, I agree on the need for simplification and bill reduction. With prices going up everywhere, something’s gotta give!

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    • I just talked to Charter and they offered me a one-year “newcomer’s” package. Nice. But next year, they’ll whack me with another $50. That’s what they ALWAYS do … and we are on a fixed income. Not like Soc Sec is going to give us a raise or anything. I don’t want “a deal.” I want dependable prices that aren’t going to go sky high as soon as the deal ends. Yes, things go up incrementally, but nothing like the huge jump in price the cable companies throw at you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand your frustration. I am trying to learn how to live a budgeted life, but it is hard to break spend-thrift habits I’ve developed over fifty years. I may need an intervention soon. A free one. Where people bring food.

        A potluck. What I need is a potluck.

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  2. I agree that cable is quite a rip-off. I’ve gone with a Roku, instead, which can be used with wi-fi. I only pay extra monthly for Hulu and Acorn and can watch John Oliver episodes when they get added to YouTube. I don’t get all of the network shows, but many of them do show up on Hulu. It’s usually enough for me.

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  3. People here are turning to streaming too. We used Foxtel, our cable TV company when David was alive. He was home a lot and enjoyed TV but over the past four years, I gradually reduced the package until finally deciding to let it go altogether. I lost Fox Sports but a sports streaming channel is now available if I want to pay the $25 a month for it. At the moment I don’t. I watch Netflix a bit but now I mostly watch free to air TV and use streaming as they all have catch-up channels. I can’t record programs to watch later but the catch-up channels cover a lot of what I would watch and everything on TV gets repeated eventually. YouTube has a premium service which I don’t have but I don’t think it is an actual TV package although that will probably come. I do watch a lot of YouTube as you can find a lot of old movies and TV shows available. When I finally move I will negotiate a new internet and phone package probably with a different provider. I don’t want to be locked into a contract at the moment. In fact, I may choose a company that does not have contracts at all if it is not too much dearer.

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    • So far, YouTubeTV is only available in the US contiguous state so not even in Alaska or Hawaii. It’s a Google package, though, so figure they’ll get to you. It’s $40/month, but minus one channel on which we watch two shows, it has everything. And we can catch up with those on the computer. A lot of things you can get free on the computer even if you have NO package.

      Also, the package is getting bigger. It’s actually got MORE on it than we had on cable … like at least twice as many channels that we might actually watch. This one is really aimed at people who watch sports, so Garry’s happy. It’s got the few shows I watch — so I’m happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep!! Att did that to us, and we have a no contract deal with spectrum with a lot more channels. We can at least get local tv with an antenna, just not as reliable. We can also stream spectrum…. bet we still need the box tho. Yes they are all $$$$$ for $$

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  5. Congratulations! 😀 … everything I want to watch can be found online, one way or another. Haven’t ‘watched TV’ in well over a decade.

    That’s exactly what the ‘Big Five’ traditional publishing houses did in response to the rise of ebooks and Amazon making self publishing so easy. They raised the price of their ebooks to sometimes double and triple the price of the same book in print, (and got caught price-fixing) thereby artificially creating a drop in ebook sales and a rise in print … thereby justifying their existence as print publishers.

    Fortunately there are enough savvy writers out there who understand the business of self-publishing and are freely sharing that knowledge. ‘Traditional publishing’ is slowly dying, hoisted by it’s own petard! 🙂 … as a writer who got screwed over by a traditional contract with a traditional publisher, and who has just self-published her first book, I couldn’t be happier. 😀

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  6. I hear your pain as I, too, am a chained-to-the-Park-rental-lease customer of Spectrum. THE ABSOLUTELY WORST Cable company of all time. Prior to moving here, I was with Comcast, and had disconnected them ($205 a month on disability was more than I could afford). While I kept my internet ($60 a month), I added in Hulu ($7.99 for regular TV, just a few days after original airing), and $20.99 a month for Sling TV (for live TV that I enjoyed such as the Food Network and Comedy Central, etc.. I brought my $205 month cable bill (extended basic – no HBO or anything else) down to $40 bucks a month and was never happier. I added in CBS All Access for $5.99 a month to get live news and Survivor, and I never looked back.

    The reason why the cable companies are fighting a losing battle is that they know people are lazy and can’t handle the learning curve / truly are addicted to their shows.

    Good luck with the changes, and give it at least 90 days before making any decision about whether or not it’s worth it to stay disconnected. You’ve got this !

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    • The ONLY thing I haven’t doped out is how to save shows on the TV itself. I think maybe I can’t. They said I can, but I can’t find anything that suggests I can save on the TV. But. I can save shows on the computer. Regardless, we’ve been using Netflix, Acorn, and Prime anyway, so we know our way around the streaming channels. JUST the privilege of having BASEBALL again is making Garry happy. He is losing a couple of channels he liked, but most of that “old TV serial” stuff is also available on Netflix or one of the free Roku channels. I think we’ll be okay. Garry knows he has to adapt or we won’t make it. I can’t find any other source for wi-fi so we’re stuck with Spectrum’s service. For everything else, there’s another way. I’ve got my cell down to $14.50/month. I got my electric bill down. Got my trash collection down. We are terribly poor, but we are hanging in there!

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