What in the Hell is Up with the Cable TV Industry? Finally Cutting the Cord

by Evan

There is something fundamentally wrong with the cable tv industry as it is operating in 2020. After years of thinking about it, the ineptness and unnecessary fees finally got me to cut the cord.

My History with Verizon FIOS and Altice One (Cablevision)

In 2013 when I bought my second home, we went with Verizon FIOS and used them for the entire time 6 years we were there. We never had an issue with service, but like clockwork every 18 months I would have to call up and threaten to quit, and every, single time my price would come down to around what I was previous paying. It was extremely frustrating but felt like part of the process.

When we moved to the current home Verizon screwed up the move order so bad I may have lost my cool with a customer service rep., which I normally do not do. It was a disaster which could have cost my family a lot of money. We put in the move order, Verizon took down the wrong address, and on the day of the install despite being 1.5 miles away, the tech wouldn’t come here to install and then gave me an install date 4 or 5 days later. It was at this point I may have lost it and told them to “forget everything.” Those words apparently triggered their system to cancel the move order and the service (as opposed to just leaving me in limbo for a few days when I searched for a competitor). For most people, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, connected to that account was The Wife’s business phone number which she has had since 2005ish. Granted with e-mail it may not have been the end of the world, but nonetheless it could have caused a major problem.

So, I attempted to get them to give me just the phone service which they wouldn’t do because it was crossing area code lines (they perform that “courtesy” when the customer is also getting TV/internet). I had to scramble. I figured out that at one time in the past my parents had FIOS so I had a technician come out and install a phone line at my parents just so I could then send it to MagicJack. I did it and I was done with FIOS and was on Altice One’s double play (TV/Internet) with MagicJack controlling the home phone number.

This led to 5 months of MagicJack and Altice One. I was paying $125/mo for Altice One which included way too many channels that I didn’t care about and 200mbs internet service and $50 or so a year for Magic Jack. Notwithstanding the ease of everything being set up I was unhappy because the internet service was not living up to the speed that was being promised, and The Wife was unhappy because she missed Verizon’s interface. This led to a phone call with Verizon.

My Recent Experience with Verizon FIOS and Finally Cutting the Cord

I was told by the Verizon Rep that I would be getting approximately the same channels, I mentioned some of the main ones, and they said “of course.” The tech, who was very nice, spent about 3 hours wiring my entire house, and we were off. I quickly found out that the matched price wasn’t going to work because I needed to use their router for $15/mo if I was going to use DVR and On Demand – which of course I am since it is 2020! So now I quickly jumped from $125 to $140. Fine, not a massive deal I would be getting 1gb instead of 200mbps not that I am convinced it would matter but at this point, I decided I was in too deep. I am going to skip over the WiFi Password 1 hour on hold debacle that also occurred.

I went out that night and came home to find that I didn’t have some very basic channels like TBS, TNT and ESPN. Not amazing channels now that the NFL season is near end, but just weird to pay $1,680/yr not to have. This lead to a phone call that caused me to cut the cord. To get all the channels I had I needed to go up to $170/mo! What?! I was fine at $125 a week ago. But it was during that call I was finally able to verbalize my real problem with cable tv companies in 2020.

They are charging for unnecessary hardware. Why do I need to pay them $20/mo for a cable box? I just need the internet into my home and everything else can be handled on the cloud.

Verizon FIOS was charging me $20/mo for 2 boxes, and then another $20 for their DVR service and $15 for their router. That is $55/mo in charges that just don’t make sense in 2020! It was at this point I told them to shut down the TV service. They made the argument that their TV service was equal to Hulu’s in pricing, and they are correct until we add in the unnecessary hardware! It was that realization that made the jump easy.

My Current Television Set Up and The Costs Behind it

I am approximately 24 hours into this, so it is likely to change, but right now I am pretty happy writing this post.

First thing is that I picked up Hulu Live. I quickly chose that service over the others simply because my smart TV had a free one week trial so I figured why not? I actually signed up with this service while still on the phone with the CSR from Verizon. This week I’ll have to do a little deeper research on the right service for us (we already have NetFlix and Disney+ so that is sunk costs which was on the tab regardless). I think YouTubeTV may be something to look into.

The second move was to go from 1gig service back down to 200mbs service. We had it for the past 6 months with zero buffering issues. That may change as we go forward, but as long as I buy the right hardware (discussed below) increasing the bandwidth is a flick of the switch on Fios.

The internet service is $40/mo and Hulu is $55 – so I am going from $140/mo (or $125/mo or $170/mo depending on the number we use) down to $95. Life changing amount? Not at all, but I always felt like I was getting ripped off so even beyond the money this feels like a win.

The only thing I have left to figure out is the hardware. I think I am going to spend about $200 to $250 in hardware costs (figuring out Router w/modem vs Modem w/mesh) which will work for years without paying $15/mo for hardware costs. The crossover is pretty easy to figure out.

We’ll see where we land with this world, but I am excited to drop off their rip off boxes!

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