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Moving Beyond Cable, Part 2

January 11, 2009

My post on our strategy to ditch cable and embrace digital video seems to have generated quite a bit of interest. One question I wanted to explore further was – how much does all this cost, and how long will it be before we begin realizing savings?

Honestly, I think it depends. A lot of the necessary hardware we either a) already had or b) received as birthday and Christmas gifts over the past month. That obviously went a long way toward defraying the upfront costs.

That having been said, here is a breakdown of how much everything would cost, if you were to start fresh. Note this only includes items directly related to ditching cable. Any other A/V equipment (DVD, Blu-ray, receiver, etc) is excluded:

Total cost for the necessary hardware + TiVo service = $653.

Assuming cable costs $80/month, the breakeven point would come after eight months. In our case, we already had an AppleTV, and received the TiVo and antenna over the holidays. Our total out-of-pocket is thus $130, and we will break even at the second month (or a little later, considering we added a $10/month Neflix subscription).

All of this assumes, of course, that you already have a wireless network and an external hard drive or NAS setup. If not, you’re probably looking at another $200 or so.

Of course, there are plenty of other approaches you could take. You could forgo a TiVo HD in favor of a Dish Network DTVPal DVR ($250, HD DVR, no monthly fees), or you could always use a PC as a DVR (Windows Media Center, Elgato EyeTV, etc). You could also skip the AppleTV/Boxee setup in favor of an XBox 360 and its functionality as a Windows Media Extender, or go for one of a dozen or so digital media players. We went the way we did because we already had the AppleTV, and because Boxee makes it so easy to set everything up.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2009 9:37 am

    Dude, supplement hulu.com with a little bit of iTunes and Netflix and you’re good to go.

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