Before we get started with this one, I’d like to make another suggestion for a holiday stocking stuffer. I believe this would be a delightful Christmas morning surprise for people of all ages! Why not buy a dozen or more? After passing through one of our links, of course.
Toney and I were talking about TV a few days ago, and how we wouldn’t mind having HBO again. We checked and it’s supposedly $15 per month, which feels like too much to me. About $8 too much, to be exact. But I suggested that maybe one of us (not me) could call Comcast and see what options they’re offering. ‘Cause it seems like there’s always some kind of “deal” available, if you ask for it.
Cable TV pricing is a dark and mysterious world that I’m convinced nobody truly understands. Hell, I’m not even sure if they’re called Comcast or XFinity at this point. What’s that all about? Even their name is murky and unclear. And it feels like everybody in the world is paying a different price for the same services. Ya know? It’s almost like the airline industry — the pricing seems arbitrary and random. Am I wrong?
Indeed, when Toney called ’em, they said we could get HBO and Starz(??), plus a telephone landline, for exactly the same amount we’re paying now. What the hell, man? It’s bizarre. If someone had enough tenacity and a stable enough blood pressure I’m convinced they could, over time, negotiate their way to true television nirvana. But that person is not me. I’d almost certainly stroke-out during conversation two or three.
I asked Toney how much we pay per month, and instead of just giving me a number as I’d hoped, I was handed a recent bill. And that opened up a whole new conversational tributary. There are a bunch of add-on fees that make no sense to me. Specifically:
Broadcast TV fee: $5.00
Regional sports fee: $3.00
Franchise fee: $7.70
FCC regulatory fee: $0.08
I don’t really know what any of that bullshit is, and I did five solid minutes on it while standing in the middle of our living room. See? She should’ve just given me the total. I’m surprised they don’t just bunch them all together and call it a revenue enhancement fee. Regional sports? Please tell me I’m not sending money to the fucking Philadelphia Phillies in some way? Man, I’m getting all fired up just thinking about it.
In any case, we’re now paying $199.65 per month. Isn’t that insane? It feels insane to me.
We have two cable boxes, which cost $10 each per month. And that annoys me too. Those boxes are needed for the service to work, there’s no value added. It’s like going into a restaurant and ordering a plate of spaghetti, and being charged $2 extra for use of the plate.
So… we have some mysterious tier of cable service, with no premium channels. Two cable boxes, and one DVR. Plus, high-speed internet (which is pretty kickass, admittedly). For two hundred dollars per month.
How does that compare with what you’re paying? I don’t know why I’m asking this question, because I know I’ll just find out we’re paying more than anybody, anywhere. And that will make my left eye twitch. But let’s continue with it, regardless.
Also, any idea why they’re pushing that telephone landline crap? People at work have told me they’re being strong-armed by their cable company to add a landline, as well. We don’t need it, and haven’t had one in years. And my fear… it’ll be “free” for six or eight months, and quietly not be “free” anymore. Right?
Anyway, if you’d like to compare your TV/internet fees, please do so in the comments. Go ahead, fuel my bitterness.
And I’m calling it a day, my friends.
Have a great weekend!
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Harry P Ness says
Too daggum much. I need to make a change. Seens like Comcast is getting rich off of me
I dropped their TV boolshit when they started charging for the set top boxes. I pay $80 for kickass top-tier Internet service and add on Hulu and Netflix (the Amazon Is a bonus with Prime).
We are of the thrifty sort, so I pay for Internet and Netflix only… $61.22 a month for “high speed DSL” through the local phone company. If the price goes up, I call and calmly negotiate it back down to where we are, and it stays for about a year. I think my folks are in the “hunnert fifty” category for a bundle of Tv, Internet and Phone in Central Ohio. Just remember, the phone doesn’t work if the cable is out.
$74 for mid-level Directv including high speed AT&T U-Verse internet. The internet part is $25 because I have them for wireless too. AT&T has the worst customer service but if you’re persistent you can get them to drop their prices.
Joe T. says
An embarrassing $220 a month. That includes the high speed internet from Comcast.
Unfortunately for me, Netflix,Hulu, Prime etc don’t have a sports package. Most of what i watch is live sports.
About $100 a month for high-speed internet. No cable – we use Netflix or whatever mysterious things my kids wizard up to watch shows. Our tv use is so low that I don’t really care, but getting football would be nice. We hooked up an ugly antenna to grab sports, but that only picks up whatever the local stations carry. Sadness.
hit up reddit and search around for streaming sports its got links to all the sites that stream football baseball etc.
I pay $85 a month, $20 for their slowest internet and $65 for basic cable. Either I don’t pay extra fees or they’re smart enough to just bury them in the $65 so we don’t know about them. Full disclosure, I live in west central Ohio, we had only one choice forever until about 15 years ago a little start-up undercut TWC with better service and options, been great ever since.
$149.00/month for tv, phone and interrnet from Comcast. We also pay for Amazon Prime and Netflix. We have a minimal tv package, just local channel and a small selection of “network” offerings that we infrequently watch. We renegotiate when our current package times out (24 months) and they always extend the service at equivalent cost…usually with a group of premium channels as a lure. The bills are a goddamn mess of gibberish charges most likely a result of local and state pricing regulations.
The network offerings are a pitiful mess of rubbish programs. Our local news is so dumbed down (90 minutes every day) that you can feel youself getting progressively more stupid watching it by the minute. For our next renewal, we will likely dump cable tv (keep internet and phone service) and just use the various streaming options for entertainment…the internet for news and weather.
Oddly enough, when we had fewer channels, we had more to watch and it was free.
I swear that between 2005 and yesterday I need glasses to read Jeff’s post. Today I don’t. I must have sat in some holy water. Oh, wait. . .
I watch very little television, so no cable service for me. If it’s not on network tv, I don’t need it. I don’t watch sports. If I want to watch a movie, I use Hulu or some similar service. I pay $42/month for AT&T high speed internet (UVerse) and $62/month for my cell phone service (those amounts include all those mystery fees you mentioned). I dropped my land line phone. When the AT&T service tech was out a month or two ago to check on a problem, he and I were talking about land line phones. He said AT&T is in a two year process of completely phasing out land line service. Why have two phones anyway? I think someone offering you a free land line phone is to justify charging you additional money. So, basically, I spend $104/month for phone and internet service. If I want to watch a movie, I pay a couple of dollars more and that’s it. Winning!
i pay 133 a month to directv for the screw it give me everything package but thats goes back up to 170 in march or april. also pay 55 a month for 50gb down internet. damn crook ISP’s are putting cap limits on internet connections so you just cant cut the cord and stream the greedy pricks.
No cable or satellite to the TV. All OTA. With the $15 antenna I bought on craigslist, I get about 30 channels, half in HD, including all the local channels. Seahawks and Huskies games are carried on local TV, and that’s about all the sports I watch. Don’t miss Norwegian racquetball, but I do pick up Vancouver curling, which is more exciting than it sounds.
I pay $40 a month for high speed Internet. I buy Amazon Prime for the free shipping (lotsa books), and my SO streams Prime to her iPad. Yup, I could stream it to my TV, but I just don’t watch that much TV.
There is more and more interesting content on broadcast TV. The OTA movement is picking up steam, and broadcast facilities are cranking up their old transmitters.
The cable companies provide reasonably priced I-net access because there’s plenty of competition. As to satellite and cable companies providing video content at absurd rates, they should all piss up a rope.
$188 for Verizon which is tv, internet and phone. We still use a landline. That gives us every premium channel. I Rhode island we pay $55 also Verizon for internet and we use slingbox to get our N.Y. Verizon tv services. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass using a cell phone as your remote but it gets the job done!
RE: landlines. I haven’t had one in a couple of years, but there are benefits to landlines. Most of you don’t live in the ring of fire, but in the event of an earthquake or SOME regional events, a landline will work when your cell phone won’t. Long story, but cell systems’ capacities are determined statistically, and from experience I can tell you that after an earthquake, you won’t be able to make a cell call for hours. Also in some power outage situations, your land line will work (you don’t need home electricity to power a phone: they get power from the Central Office (CO). As long as the CO has interim backup battery power (many do) and backup generator power (some do) you’ll be able to make a call. The capacity of our aging land-based phone system is something like an order of magnitude more than the cellular infrastructure.
Is that worth twenty or thirty bucks a month? I don’t have kids or living parents, so I can do without and watch out for my own ass in an earthquake or power outage event. Your level of panic might vary.
Note: If you are paying for a land line, for the love of God, have at least one old-style phone in your house that’s plugged directly into the phone jack (as opposed to the mobile home phones that sit in a charging cradle). If you don’t, you lose the advantage of having phone service when your house doesn’t have electrical service. . . jtb
JR in FallCity says
We have cordless phones, but an old fashioned one in the ’emergency kit’ for when the electricity goes out… ring a ding ding!
Paying about the same as you …one state south of yours, from the same provider. We get HBO and Showtime and have a bundled landline, cable and 100 mbps internet. We have one full up DVR, and two digital converters that provide content to TVs without DVRs.
EVERY year (or two) I go through a little Kabuki dance with Comcast (who took over the franchise in my county after Adelphia went bankrupt and their CEO and his kid were indicted and jailed:
This is when my current “introductory rate” (usually in place for a one or two year run) expires and they want me to pay full sticker. I call them up, whine about a tight budge, hard times and fixed income (two out the three are pretty much the truth), and they put me in touch with a “retention specialist” who completes the dance by restoring me to a montly total of what I’ve been paying for most of the last 10-15 years.
Because I live in a ‘holler with spotty cell coverage, I’m still married to a landline at home.
When the next “intro” expires, I’m going to negotiate to move from their old user system to the XI…should be good for a year (at least) of “discounted” intro service.
They know the drill. I know the drill. It sucks, but we respect the ritual.
We have the bundle from Comcast/Xfinity – Phone landline (but I’m not sure why??), internet, which is quite fast, and virtually every TV channel available (multiple HBOs, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz) totaling about 350 channels, though a lot of them are duplicates in different markets or HD versions of the normal channels. We also have a DVR with a box in three different rooms which can all access the same recordings. We pay $246. We used to pay for all this stuff separately, with way less channels and no DVRs, and we were paying more than this. So in comparison, you may not be getting as much.
Franky T says
Jeff, I share your grief. Cable TV companies treat their current customers like dirt and only new subscribers get the good deals. I pay $195 for ok cable (nothing special and not a lot of HD, slow internet, and a landline). I am shopping around for better deals, but thrilled with any of the providers.
I really hate the fact that their offers at good for one year, yet you have to sign a contact for two years.
Also, have you noticed their ambush tactics when you walk into Costco or Sam’s Club?
Gee Jeff it is complicated. I live in SE PA where Comcast has a monopoly. There are two neighboring counties that have REAL cable competition with Xfinity and RCN I don’t live in one. Hubby refuses to use the Cword. he even removed the cable from our house and coiled it up on the pole.
So TV satellite with NFL season ticket we pay about $130 a month. That includes 3 DVRS.
Landline Phone – must have we have a wired security system (to protect those DVRS ) $40
2 smartphones with data plan $85
FIOS internet $30 / month for 2 years.
Nothing is bundled and we can’t get a FIOS or internet phone system without spending a couple thousand dollars to upgrade our security systems.
Now here’s my Insane utility offer. We don’t have natural gas service at our home it isn’t offered in my area but few months back we received an offer from out local utility to have it installed at our home for only….
$25,000. Yes siree Bob. We can pay a crap load of money to have a utility dig up our lawn, make us buy a new furnace and have to dispose of all the currently delivered oil. But they did offer a real deal of $300 / month plus our current bill for 20 years. Now I am not a total pessimist but odds are we will be dead in 20 years. So this would become a lien against your property that would have to be settled before you could sell the house. Good Times as you would say.
We pay Verizon about $210/month for FIOS internet and TV and a landline. No HBO or any of that stuff. I like the 75/75 internet connection. We need the landline for our alarm system, and I also like knowing it is there for emergencies. I would drop the TV like a cup of cold sick if I could get Jeopardy through a Roku or similar, but AFAIK you can’t. I’m told OTA HD isn’t viable here.
1) I bet OTA HD for SOME channels is available.
2) Who needs HD for Jeopardy? Would it bring back Art Flemming?
3) I know you’re tech savvy. Be sure to check the OTA community on the web. They will have maps with transmitter locations, iffy spots and dead spots for your geography.
4) I’ll take “Let’s fuck Verizon in the ass” for $100
1. Yes, but not ABC, I’m on the wrong side of a hill. They need to erect another transmitter or remove the hill.
2. I can’t watch SD TV. It’s like listening to music on tinny speakers playing MP3s from a PC. Drives me nutser.
3. That’s how I know 1. above
4. Let’s make that a true daily double.
One day I’ll cut the TV cord, it’s outrageously expensive for the little broadcast TV we watch.
I pay about $170 a month for TV and internet, split about equally between them (two separate providers). The TV is Dish, which is OK except that I haven’t turned it on in years. My internet is slow-ass DSL, but at least it’s straight-up connectivity; I’m allowed to run servers at home, and I do. The landline is another $25 or so on top of that (yet another provider).
FIOS is available where I live. The main reason I haven’t pulled that trigger (besides inertia) is that if anything goes wrong with it post-install, I’d end up dealing with Verizon’s legendary customer service. I can think of so many things that could go wrong, and so few satisfactory outcomes.
And I must say, that press brake looks pretty sweet. But there are no customer reviews, so I’m a little hesitant. Also! One of the “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed” items is the same $245k bracelet that was “also viewed” by the realistic-mannequin guy.
We pay $200, same as you.
I live in the sticks so I’d do unspeakable acts for decent broadband like fiber. We pay 76 a month for 5mbps down 1 up wireless internet. It’s out a lot and slows to a crawl at peak times. For tv we have to go with satellite. I pay dish 105 a month for a basic no premium channel tier and 3 DVRs. The tv’s a little high but direct tv are insufferable assholes. The internet is the only game in town right now and wildly overpriced. You can’t even get dial-up out here so they take advantage. Could be worse, I’ve heard of some people in rural areas who’ve spent 5 and 6 figures (yes you read that correctly) to run internet to their farm. Just to run the cable mind you, not for ongoing service.
Comcast here. I’m on the X1 Preferred Double Plan.
We pay $143 a month for digital preferred, blast internet, hd, and 3 digital adapter boxes.
I once paid $300 for the X1 Preferred Double Plan, but the lady took my money and never came back. Other than that, I have no idea what any of the words mean in context (X1, Preferred, Double). I guess I know what Plan means.
I pay 120 something for cable and internet. I don’t have HBO, Showtime, or any of that sort of thing. A while back I called about some internet problems. They tried to sign me up for the landline and all sorts of stuff. Even some sort of security system. It is a crock of shit that you have to pay rent on the modem and the cable box.
I wish you posted the link to that CNC machine on black friday.
$243.72 per month 🙁
Here is the breakdown:
AT&T U-verse TV U450 $131.00
Receiver Fee $10.00
Broadcast TV Surcharge $4.99
Regulatory Video Cost Recovery Charge $0.09
State Cost-Recovery Fee $0.67
TX County District Sales Tax $2.93
TX State Sales Tax $9.18
Internet GigaPower 1000 (Promotional Discount) $80.00
State Cost-Recovery Fee $0.29
TX County District Sales Tax $1.11
TX State Sales Tax $3.46
The CNC machine is a good price but it is the older model with the infamous duplexer attached which is not upgradable. The current model while being more expensive has a dipole extension which allows a much better pan without sacrificing any break. For my detailed comparison see my twitter/YouTube/MySpace/instagram site.
The Qweezy Mark says
About $146 all in for Time Warner here in Austin. Get plenty of channels and high speed Internet + phone that I use only for fax (yes, some companies I do business with insist on fax.) Like the company, hate the service. I had Comcast for $163 back in Tucson. Hated the company, loved the service.
Lew in Bama says
We are currently at $150 a month for cable and internet with Comcast. That includes 1 HD/DVR box, 2 digital boxes, all the hunting channels, but no movie channels.
We watch about 1/3 of what we have.
I think cable should be a pay per channel sort of thing. $2 each, I pick the ones I want, don’t have to fool with, or channel surf past, the ones I don’t.
A comment and a question. . .
You can do the channel thing creatively. Check out scoobybri’s comment below. It would take a while to set up, but you could achieve something like your description. If you tried to do it through your cable or satellite provider, they would have to charge something like $5 a channel with a pretty high minimum channel count to make any money on the deal because of bundling by content creators and content aggregators.
I was unaware of the existence of a hunting channel. I’m vaguely aware that there’s an outdoor channel, but are there really several hunting channels? Just curious.
Went full cord-cutter back in 2010 and have not looked back. We have 25Mbps up/down FiOS Internet from Verizon that we pay $30 a month for. Don’t need more speed than that. I can play online games while the wife watches highdef streaming shows with absolutely no issues. We pay for Netflix streaming, HBO Now, and get Amazon streaming with our Prime membership. (I use Amazon for buying stuff enough that the Prime Membership pays for itself just in shipping charges.) I have a Windows Media PC recording all over the air shows we watch. So I spend about $55 a month for Internet and streaming video. There’s more than enough stuff to watch between streaming and over the air that I do not miss cable in the least. It’s 99% garbage. I’m saving about $100 a month over what I used to pay when I had cable. That’s about $7000 I’ve saved since I dropped cable. That’s a chunk of change…and there’s no way that cable could have given me $7000 more worth in entertainment than my Internet/Netflix/HBO Now/Amazon/Over-The-Air setup.
Satellite Sirius radio for my 18 wheeler Highway Menace is $189.00 a year. I did get to listen to Vin’s last Dodger broadcast and the Cub’s march to kill the goat. Money well spent. Of all the options of listening choices, I have maybe 6 I flip back and forth from and more often than not it’s off altogether when the quiet of my engine pulling me down the road is all I need. Satellite at home (Direct TV) is $128.00 a month for wife to keep up with NCIS or Special Victims Unit on USA network. Coincidentally…..in every truck stop in every truck stop “drivers lounge” where truckers are sitting around watching TV….they’re watching NCIS or Special Victims Unit.
Jeff – Do you recall Harry-O? I think there are some episodes on Youtube.
Yeah, I remember it, but can’t recall ever actually watching an episode. All this stuff came out when I was a little kid. I was more of Mr. Cartoon man at the time.
I’m in Lansing, Michigan, and I have the Xfinity X1 Premier Triple Play, which includes HBO and all premium channels, plus their “Extreme 150 Internet” service, for $160/month. I also pay $10/month for wireless router rental, and $17/month fees and surcharges, so my bill comes to $187/month. My service also includes Voice which I don’t use.
Good topic. I’ve been trying to find out what people are paying for cable, and there isn’t much info on the information superhighway.
Jesus shit. Greg Lake died yesterday. I’m having a hard time believing in Father Christmas right about now.
Say what you will about prog rock — and there’s a whole Trump cabinet full of shit in prog that was shit then and remains shit. In the Court of the Crimson King was beautiful and inspired and took risks that no sane cadre of musicians would take. I still listen to the damn thing, thirty years after my last illicit drug; and it was largely Lake and Fripp who wrote/produced/recorded/mixed/published it. Yeah, King Crimson made many more albums and most were pretty good, but on the first one they reached for the stars and damn near caught them.
Oh, yeah, and Lake wrote Lucky Man when he was 12. Genius song for which ELP gives a genius performance.
Goodbye and godspeed, Greg.
By the way, it was just in March of this year that we lost Andy “Thunderclap” Newman. I’m not saying he was Leonard Cohen or Leon Russell, but he was involved in mankind and some pretty good music. I swear I just wasn’t made for these times.
He was the stuff of my teenaged girl dreams.
And speaking of bad days, imagine being a North Korean fighter pilot flying a slightly unfamiliar Chinese jet into combat and finding yourself nose to nose with John Glenn with Ted Williams as his wing man.
Godspeed, John Glenn.
Time Warner cable was willing to UP my internet speed AND lower my monthly bill by $15 per month, but ONLY if I took on a landline through them. Yes, the cost for faster internet AND THE LANDLINE was $15 less per month.
I do not want, need a landline, but they seem willing to pay you to take one. smh.
So yeah, I’m an AT&T customer…
– home phone
– cell phone
– internet (DSL, not fibre)
– TV (1 PVR, 1 plain STB, HBO and movies)
I get a 35% employee discount, and I’m still paying $200/month
So quit yer bitchin’