Leftridge: Leftridge Buys Home, Car, Needs Your Advice About Cable TV


just kidding

So unless something wildly unforeseen occurs within the next couple of weeks, I’ll soon be living in a home that I purchased in the beautiful suburban sprawl of Overland Park. And because of this monumental change, I’ll no longer be taking the bus to work as I have for the past four years.

So I bought a car.

(I’d briefly entertained the notion of taking the bus from Johnson County each and every day, but after talking to coworkers who’ve attempted the same thing, I came to the conclusion that such a journey would likely take anywhere from two to four hours. No thanks, JO.)

With all of this newly acquired, crippling debt (to be fair, mortgage+car payment+insurance= still cheaper than my current rent… sick, right?), I’ve decided that I’d like to start cutting as many costs as possible to pay down my debt as quickly as I can.

This is what everyone does, right?


just kidding again

But I’m not about to switch to cheap beer, and I don’t go out a lot, as is. I only eat meals somewhere other than my home two or three times a month; I go to see a movie in the theater once or twice a year. Truly, mine is a life of simple means.

One thing I thoroughly enjoy, however, is television. And though I’d never entertain the notion of becoming one of those smug assholes who proudly proclaim, “I don’t even OWN a television,” I figure there’s gotta be a cheaper way of getting my idiot box fix.

For the grand majority of my life, I’ve been a Time Warner Cable subscriber. I have the normal HD package, no premium channels like HBO or Showtime. Coupled with my “high speed” internet, I pay $103 a month.

And yes, everything you’ve heard about Time Warner being awful (for those blessed enough to not know first hand) is true. The service is splotchy which means occasional blackouts, and the customer service is like humanizing 14 grapefruit-sized bees, taping them together, and sticking them repeatedly into your butt.

But the REAL rub—the thing that’s pushing me toward an alternative solution—is the cost.

With the almighty power of Netflix, and the popularity surge of things like Hulu, Roku and Amazon Instant Speed Super Prime Video (or whatever it’s called), there HAS to be a cheaper way for me to go than with the monopolistic tyranny of the TWC dark lords, doesn’t there? I’m tired of this master, and I’d like to break the chains.

I know the first step would be a digital converter box for local channels. (I need Stephanie Ramos in my life. I just… do.)

fuck-time-warnerI know that I’ll need to explore MLB.tv so I can keep up with the Royals.

I know that I need a way to watch shows on AMC and FX not long after they air. (Having grown so accustomed to the delayed gratification of the DVR, I don’t mind missing most shows as they air. That said, I don’t want to have to wait for the entire season to be added to Netflix, either.)

The last one is the biggest, I think. I need It’s Always Sunny and The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad and Hell on Wheels and American Horror Story: A Bunch of Crazy Shit About Witches.

And perhaps that’s why I’m turning to you, faithful KCC readers.

What is your experience with things like Hulu, Roku and Amazon Whatever It Is? Do you use any of these services/programs with regularity? Is my idea of ditching cable completely ridiculous? Would my implementation of multiple entertainment sources be a headache? Would it even actually SAVE me anything? Would I just be better off looking into AT&T or DIRECTV? Anyone wanna help me move in September?

I look forward to your helpful comments right down there in the ol’ comment section.

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31 Responses to Leftridge: Leftridge Buys Home, Car, Needs Your Advice About Cable TV

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    First move for you is tell your cable provider you are ditching them. That is good for a lower price, maybe six-months of free HBO/Showtime.

    I thought Hulu Plus was going to develop into a replacement. But the networks involved put it up for sale, briefly. They want out but don’t have an alternative at the moment.

    Live sports is what keeps me hooked. I DVR and watch later but some sports would not be available with out cable.

    Everest was the only cable provider I have used which never game many problems. You got a live person within four-rings. And they solved problems quickly. Of course they no longer exist and I don’t know if the buyer kept the commitment.

    People think Google will be the savior. But trying to remember the last corporate behemoth to have a soul makes blood spurt from my eyes.

    The cable they told me about as a child is somewhere with that flying car we were promised.

    • GB says:

      Surewest is the new Everest. They are local and very good..cheap too….2nd highest TV tier..w/ 2 HD DVR boxes, all the HBO’s and HBO on demand and the average speed internet is $106 per month. You will have to just negotiate with them each year to keep your deal.

    • We had Comcast when we lived in Chicago, and the price was equal to that of TWC here in KC. I recall the customer service AND product service being much better, but perhaps that’s just greener-grass syndrome.

  2. harley says:

    good for you lefty. looks like things are going well.
    as far as cable…I switched to sure west. better than tw if they’re
    available in your area. if you have both time warner and
    surewest in your area theres a constant price war going on so you
    have them compete for your business.
    We have hd so we have to buy the hd package…which meansall the
    sports programs are better than going out to the gameitslef.
    seriouslyh…although I love to go to the parks…it s becoming so
    easy to watch hd games and sit at home and not have to
    pay $10 for beeers and we make a party of it at the house…..
    as far as shows…we usually watch very little network…and most of the
    stuff on cable basic is reality…which only a few are any good.
    tried watching that duck dynasty and it was a mess.
    no food network…no hgtv…no hbo/or premium channels because
    we really don’t have time for 3 hour movies that often.
    with all we do actively…including working out…work….and
    wanting to spend more time together….the really only stuff we
    watch is late night and we usually go with the basic stuff..
    comedy central…some fox news (for laughs)…msnbc….
    and some talk.
    you seem pretty far removed from the couch potato type so
    stick to the basics…
    sure west has the best internet but like all of them has spotty
    and we don’t use a phone except got a majic jack as a present
    and believe it or not it does work but who uses landline phones
    good luck in the new home.
    and i’m sure Wilson has a few trucks and employees ready to
    help you move in septemer.also…
    I still consult friends and family on their mortgage situations
    so if you have any questions about the “new’ mortgage
    world with all its new rules and need some free advice
    on how to save money and beat the banks at their own
    game send me your questons to law4life@yahoo.com
    and I can tell you if you’re getting a good deal or not.
    The mortgage biz today is very complicated and a single
    decision can cost you thousands of dollars..so be
    sure to get a second opinion.
    good luck….Harley.

    • SmartyFromBeyond says:

      I bet your ass is jealous at the amount of shit that just came out of your mouth. Harley and his delusions of adequacy.

  3. mike t. says:

    $103??? jesus, count your blessings. for the same service, incl high-speed internet + phone (yes, i cling to a landline), i’m at $140 and that’s supposed to be a “special” rate!

  4. Nick says:

    Dude – just sign up for the 2 year free Google fiber plan and get the Hulu, Roku & Whatever package: problem solved.

    Also? Lay down CAT6 in the new house; you’ll thank yourself later.

    • the dude says:

      Yeah Lefty, go for the free Google plan which should be $300 install and netflix, install an HD antenna in your attic, any shows not on netflix can be streamed or downloaded through tvmuse.com. If it was not for the old lady I would not have cable at all.

  5. kansas karl says:

    I unhooked almost 2 years ago. I am not a sports nerd, I can watch and enjoy but the cost is out of bounds. I upped my dsl to 18meg down wired the house with cat 5, wireless works but not so good on HD. Bought and assembled 3 video streaming machines, the boxes are cool but limited on what is available depending on their own deal with the content providers, and I built a machine for music streaming also. Signed up for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu plus, can’t stomach doing business with apple so I don’t, though they have stuff all the above do not. I was spending 80 bucks for SD cable and 30 for internet, now I am at $31 a month and if there is a game on cable I have to see, I go to a bar it’s all there and they bring food and beer to you. I am finishing the last season of Mad Men, I am starting Breaking Bad and will watch it all by the end of Sept. All in all it’s on my schedule, it’s way cheaper, I get all the broadcast nets and all total excluding the religion, I get 20 FREE over the air channels. All my video machines open on the NOAA weather site.

    Just like dropping the paper, you find a way to get everything they offer and more.

    • Holy crap. Sounds like loads of work, but it’s hard to beat $30 a month… REALLY hard to beat it, actually.

      • kansas karl says:

        I made it complicated. You can buy an off the shelf $300 dell or hp computer at walmart use a wireless antenna for the internet (and do go for at least 15mb) and a powered antenna for the off the air, hook it all up to the back of the flat screen and you get better HD than any cable or sat-tv. Run a mini plug to rca to your home sound system, or come out of the back of the TV (it’s weird how they license the surround) til you get the surround sound. Under 5 bills, about 5 months of cable w/o internet.

        Oh yeah you have to have windows or mac os to make this all work, Ubantu does not work with Silverlight the MS program that makes Netflix and Amazon work, all others are using flash.

        • harley says:

          karl…that’s cool….where do people get this
          I’m always amazedthat electronic guys like
          you can come up withthese things.
          very neat…i’m sure tw or atand t don’t like it..
          but its fun to read how to do this stuff.

  6. bschloz says:

    Watch your cable bill like a hawk. Every 6-8 months you need to call and tell them the bill is getting out of hand ask to speak with somebody in retention.
    (#0#0#0 gets you right to Customer Service Rep on 90% of computerized phone apps #protip )

    You will want to upgrade to Red Zone (GREAT PRODUCT)– Its call Sports Pass and BTN is included BTN is a great network this time of year.

    Don’t punish yourself for liking TV ..pay up and get what you want. DVR might be a place to cut with TWC because their On Demand is pretty good.
    All Super Extreme Internet is HYPE…don’t go to low..but 10-20 MB is all anyone needs.
    Now enough said –go to NFM and get you a 65″ Sammy also pick up roku on Craigslist

  7. jack p. says:

    I know it’s hard to believe but I’ve got a friend who wanted to drastically save $$$. He killed his cable for good. He went to Radio Shack and got himself a good indoor antenna and gets it FREE over the air. The picture is surprisinglyy good!
    When Hearst (KMBC-TV) had its pissing war with TWC, I was shut out with cable yet he continued to get it.
    What does he get for nothing? ALL local channels including CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX and PBS networks. Also the local channels various SUB CHANNELS featuring classic TV shows.
    He’s a happy camper while I’m paying cable for 90% of networks I don’t ever watch.
    So who’s the smart one?

    • There really needs to be a service that allows much better user-choice when selecting channels. They all make it SOUND like “you pick the package!” but I’d literally like to be able to go through and pick out and pay for ONLY the channels I want to watch. Pipe dream, I know.

      • mike t. says:

        no way. you must comply. you do not have a choice. you are privledged to help subsidize channels that no one in their right mind would pay two cents for. lucky you. me. us. it’s a freakin’ racket. reminds me of insurance companies. i guess you’ll get your fill of those too with the new purchases.

  8. Kingnothing says:

    Before you go out and spend $30-$80 for an HD digital converter box for every TV in your house, try this first. Take a run of coaxial cable and cut it in half. Then take each half and expose 6-8″ of the copper core on the end you’ve cut. Now screw in the other end of the cable into your television set and program the channels. I get over 35 channels and the HD channels come in as clear as if I had cable.

    For those TV’s that wont dial into digital channels (ie 9.2), you will need a converter box, but swap out the coaxial antenna you make with the antenna that comes with the the converter.

  9. Brother Sunday says:

    Wow… there is a lot of bad advice above. I like the “watching free TV” advice tho. I may get into that for my old mom. But anyway, I live in PV and don’t give a isht about Google yet. Its too far off. I have had everything else and have settled on DIRECTV and SBC/ATT DSL. This combo is available pretty much everywhere. (unlike google/surewest) You can also bundle this if you wanted to, via call to DIRECTV. With DIRECTV you get a TON of HBO and Starz/Encore superpack channels -if you elect to turn those on. For the number of Starz/Encore/HBO channels, the options of channels you get for the money blows away surewest, time warner, and google. Don’t make a decision on internet speed. You don’t need 18Mb/1Gb download speeds! Jesus christ. Pay 25 a month for DSL and get 6Mbps! You can always cancel within the grace period and go with stupid retard fast just for the sake of being able to brag to your D-head friends that you have 20Mbps! 6Mbps hauls ass and nothing goes wrong with it. Like EVER. Oh, and if you *don’t* bundle (I do not), you can get the introductory rate back from ATT DSL when it expires. Just keep an eye on your bill for when it does. Or set a reminder to go off when it is time to renew.
    Again, try it. If you dont like it, cancel it then go with d-bag fast-for-no-reason internet. But make sure you know when its too late to cancel .

  10. TV fan says:


    You’re welcome.

  11. mark smith says:

    Ive got ATT Uverse. 300 plus channels 275 of which i dont watch. No contract, record 5 hd channels at once. Internet and TV is 140 ish. hbo shotwime etc. All wireless so the wife can rearrange the furniture without me drilling holes or moving cable.. Umpteen sports channels, can watch any nfl game probably the same with baseball, not sure as i would rather watch paint dry. It’s a little high, but I manage to get some free channels every few months if i threaten to go elsewhere. Ive had time warner, comcast, dish and direct in some form or fashion over the last 8 years or so. I like the Att the best . Ive only had one internet and one tv outtage in a year.

  12. Jeremy says:

    You will not be able to watch the Royals on MLB.TV as those games are blacked out in the KC metro due to MLB’s contract with Fox Sports. I have this problem as well, so I have been listening to more games on the radio. The one positive to the radio is that you get to hear Denny Matthews for a few innings before he retires for good.

    • Hmmm… wasn’t aware of that at all. I figured there was a local broadcast blackout, but assumed you’d be able to watch the feed from the other team’s broadcast. You’d know better, I suppose.

  13. mike t. says:

    after all of this excellent advice, you’ll need to come back and tell us how you fared. i’m sure by the time you’re done assimilating all of this, doing your research and then making your selection and going through whatever install/set-up process you’ll go through, your mind will turn to mush. don’t let your mind turn to mush. if you do, you’ll be compelled to make stupid comments on TKC.

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