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Sunday, February 21, 2010

TV Re-Bound

Kicking TelevisionImage by dhammza via Flickr
In past posts (here and here) I have bragged about how much money we saved by cutting loose our TV service provider (cable/broadband/satellite). And we did save money for a long time.

But Mr. Poorhouse, who is the architect of these schemes, recently discovered that we could save money by adding TV service to our Verizon FIOS and phone package. That's right, we will now get hundreds of channels or so of TV plus high-speed internet plus local and long distance phone service for less than we were paying for just phone and internet.

What we have been doing for two years is watching TV on the internet (mostly hulu.com). A resurrected computer is hooked up to our 15-year old TV as a monitor and 20-year old surround sound stereo system. At first, we could watch anything we wanted anytime we wanted. Then the networks started putting restrictions on how long shows would be available, or putting delays between when they aired and when they were available.

But we never watched anything in real time anyway, so that didn't matter to  us. As a matter of fact, since we got TiVO our TV watching habits had changed so that watching TV is a social occasion. Have a comment to make?  Just pause the show. Need a bio break? Pause. No problem.

Well, we ditched the monthly TiVO charge with everything else when we cut back two years ago. But internet TV allows you to do the same thing, so we didn't miss paid TV at all.

Now, I confess, it is an adjustment going back to real-time TV. Yes, we could get a DVR, but we aren't willing to pay the monthly service fee to Verizon. But for a savings of close to $30 a month, I'm OK with losing the pause function.

Besides, Mr. Poorhouse has now hooked up both the Verizon set-top box and the computer to the TV-as-monitor and receiver. So we have the best of both worlds. For less.

You may say it sounds like we watch too much TV, and we probably do. But, given that our entertainment budget is practically nil, it works for us.

What are your strategies for keeping your monthly TV bill down?
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