What's new
  • Announcing New Ownership at Home Theater Forum. Learn More

Dumped Cable TV - Saving $109/mo - Still have 45+ channels (1 Viewer)

DaveF

Moderator
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 4, 2001
Messages
27,370
Location
Catfisch Cinema
Real Name
Dave
I see. I've got a "triple play" package with 25/25 internet, phone, and standard cable. That was $99/mo for the first two years. I think it's $109 when I re-upped. I don't know what taxes are. I don't have a cable DVR.I pay separately for my Tivo; FIOS's cable card is negligible, at $2.50/mo.

You were paying extra for faster internet. You're getting clobbered on the DVR and cable packages. I'm fortunate in that we've got competition between Fios, Comcast and AT&T.

I was wondering because there was a somewhat silly tech article last month on this topic. But the author's $200+ cable bill was trivially reduced by moving multiple, obsolete Netflix accounts to a single current streaming account; reducing the internet speeds; and not paying for multiple premium cable channels. And the cost savings were further diminished by needing multiple streaming services to make up for the loss cable stations.
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
I see. I've got a "triple play" package with 25/25 internet, phone, and standard cable. That was $99/mo for the first two years. I think it's $109 when I re-upped. I don't know what taxes are. I don't have a cable DVR.I pay separately for my Tivo; FIOS's cable card is negligible, at $2.50/mo.

You were paying extra for faster internet. You're getting clobbered on the DVR and cable packages. I'm fortunate in that we've got competition between Fios, Comcast and AT&T.

I was wondering because there was a somewhat silly tech article last month on this topic. But the author's $200+ cable bill was trivially reduced by moving multiple, obsolete Netflix accounts to a single current streaming account; reducing the internet speeds; and not paying for multiple premium cable channels. And the cost savings were further diminished by needing multiple streaming services to make up for the loss cable stations.

FIOS and Comcast competing is why you have good rates. Amazing how real competition lowers prices!

Our only alternative is AT&T and we are too far from the substation to get reliable (fast) DSL.

There is dark fiber running down the main street 80 feet from our house. I look forward to Google (or some company) coming along and utilizing that fiber!

Mark
 

Stan

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 18, 1999
Messages
5,177
Best advice I can come up with for everyone, is call the companies and complain. Even if they have a monopoly in your area, they will almost always drop your rates if you threaten to leave.

Both Dish Network and CenturyLink cut my bill. Not huge, but I'm saving about $40 a month now, no change in service.
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
Cox offered to cut my bill from $228 to $208 for 6 months if I agreed to stay for 2 years (with all TV, Internet and phone services). I laughed so hard I think I frightened the customer retention specialist.

This is what it would have taken for me to stay with cable TV:

50Mbps Internet - $59/mo
Phone (unlimited long distance) - $29/mo
Cable TV with DVR and NO mini boxes required - $49/mo

The mini boxes were really the last straw for me. Not the $2.99/mo so much as them forcing me to add a stupid little box to my TVs that already have perfectly capable digital tuners.

Mark
 

Stan

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 18, 1999
Messages
5,177
Other than a ten day power outage, Dish never went down. CenturyLink on the other hand took 54 days to reconnect my landline. Had a cheapo TracPhone just for emergencies, maybe spent $100 a year on it, but forced to keep buying more minutes since it was the only service I had. CenturyLink finally fixed things, credited me all the downtime and dropped my bill just because of the nuisance factor.

While down, I switched to Verizon, some minor phone and internet use, no big downloads, no movies, TV, etc. Billed me over $1000 after five weeks. Dropped them. This was back in January, they agreed to settle for about $350, I said no. Just got a new bill for $616, still saying no. Am not paying that kind of money for about ten hours of phone calls over a five week period. Trashing my credit report, but I refuse to cave.

Cox/Comcast/XFinity, whatever their latest name is, I will never use again. Sound like a walking/talking advertisement for Dish, but they're great. Recently dropped to one of the lower tier packages (lost BBCA, really no need since Doctor Who is off for a while, sadly realized that I also lost TCM but for some reason, stuck with the new plan and can't go back for a month). Anyhow took five seconds, although they said it would be up to 15 minutes. Same thing when I added HBO back on to catch up on "Game of Thrones", almost instantaneously showed up.

These other companies need some lessons in how to run a business. OTA is out since I'd have to buy my own DVR, TiVo is out because of its fees, constantly getting mail from DirectTV and others with prepaid Visa cards, etc. But read the fine print carefully, not good.

And these "triple play", phone/internet/TV plans often aren't that great. Better to shop around and you'll often get better prices by not using these "bundles". Definitely run fast and far away from VOIP (Voice over IP). For businesses it's not bad, but private home use, it sucks.

To Mark Booth, those prices are awful. That's why I dropped Cox eight years ago. Things finally started to open up and they didn't have the 30+ year monopoly they had before. They didn't even attempt to keep me as a customer, just dropped off my cable box and signed the paperwork, along with thousands of others.

Sorry for my wordy rant, but you've got to be more careful now. Some companies are great, others are terrible. Part of it just depends on where you live.
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
I forgot to mention that someone in our HOA apparently complained about my antennas install. Before I moved forward with the install, I contacted our HOA management company to verify their knowledge of the FCC Rule regarding over-the-air reception devices (antennas). The rep acknowledged that the HOA couldn't limit or restrict the installation of an outdoor antenna. They only asked that I send in a completed architectural change form so they have the install on the record (not for approval).

Anyway, someone complained and the HOA manager called to ask me to please write a letter explaining (in my own words) why I didn't feel HOA approval was needed. I was a bit miffed by this request (explaining it is their job), but in the spirit of neighborliness, I wrote it anyway. Basically, I pointed to this:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/over-air-reception-devices-rule

It's pretty simple to understand. An HOA can't do squat about outdoor rooftop antennas used to receive over-the-air TV. At least, not for antennas used to get local market (nearby) stations. If I was trying to pull in "distant" stations (like Los Angeles), that would be different.

The HOA can't even require advance approval. The only thing the HOA can do is require the antenna be placed in a more curb appeal friendly spot, but only as long as that doesn't degrade reception or increase expense to the homeowner. I placed our antennas in the spot with the best curb appeal already, so that is a moot point.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT a person that dislikes HOAs. I actually read the CC&Rs when we purchased our home. I AGREED to those CC&Rs and I have little tolerance for people that don't read them and also don't abide by them. But I'm not breaking any rules or laws. Antennas are not specifically addressed in our CC&Rs and the homeowner that is complaining is simply complaining on the basis that I didn't request approval in advance. The HOA can't require advance approval, it's as simple as that.

So, those of you in HOAs that have your own private rooftop (not community rooftop) to which you want to mount an antenna mast and antennas, don't be put off by anything in your CC&Rs that restricts such actions. The law is on your side.

Mark
 

Stan

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 18, 1999
Messages
5,177
I forgot to mention that someone in our HOA apparently complained about my antennas install. Before I moved forward with the install, I contacted our HOA management company to verify their knowledge of the FCC Rule regarding over-the-air reception devices (antennas). The rep acknowledged that the HOA couldn't limit or restrict the installation of an outdoor antenna. They only asked that I send in a completed architectural change form so they have the install on the record (not for approval).

Anyway, someone complained and the HOA manager called to ask me to please write a letter explaining (in my own words) why I didn't feel HOA approval was needed. I was a bit miffed by this request (explaining it is their job), but in the spirit of neighborliness, I wrote it anyway. Basically, I pointed to this:

https://www.fcc.gov/media/over-air-reception-devices-rule

It's pretty simple to understand. An HOA can't do squat about outdoor rooftop antennas used to receive over-the-air TV. At least, not for antennas used to get local market (nearby) stations. If I was trying to pull in "distant" stations (like Los Angeles), that would be different.

The HOA can't even require advance approval. The only thing the HOA can do is require the antenna be placed in a more curb appeal friendly spot, but only as long as that doesn't degrade reception or increase expense to the homeowner. I placed our antennas in the spot with the best curb appeal already, so that is a moot point.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT a person that dislikes HOAs. I actually read the CC&Rs when we purchased our home. I AGREED to those CC&Rs and I have little tolerance for people that don't read them and also don't abide by them. But I'm not breaking any rules or laws. Antennas are not specifically addressed in our CC&Rs and the homeowner that is complaining is simply complaining on the basis that I didn't request approval in advance. The HOA can't require advance approval, it's as simple as that.

So, those of you in HOAs that have your own private rooftop (not community rooftop) to which you want to mount an antenna mast and antennas, don't be put off by anything in your CC&Rs that restricts such actions. The law is on your side.

Mark

Oh Mark, so glad I live in a standard single family home, no HOA. My neighbors are all decent, we basically police ourselves, no rules, no committees to discuss things. If I want to plant pink roses instead of white, it's my choice.

Had a neighbor who put up a satellite dish in the late '90s, on a gigantic metal pole and the dish was at least ten feet across. That was an eyesore and although nobody ganged up on him, just slight suggestions here and there, he took it down. Turned out he was actually creating fake satellite cards that people would put in their receivers to get free TV. Not sure how things worked, but apparently some systems required these cards, kind of like credit cards or hotel room key cards to work.

I was an IT guy and he wanted some help, but I refused to get involved. Probably could have made some pretty good money, but just not the way I do things.
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
I love living in an HOA and I wasn't put off by the complaint. We own our streets and we have our own private park, complete with lots of green space, picnic tables, full-length basketball court, two tennis courts and a playground. Our streets are in MUCH better repair than the public streets in the county. At least when I pay my association fees I *know* the money is getting used for what I want it used for.

Mark
 

John Hermes

Screenwriter
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
1,780
Location
La Mesa (San Diego) CA
Real Name
John Hermes
Mark, I live in the San Diego area too, but in the part of La Mesa where I'm blocked from Mt. San Miguel by Mount Helix and from Mt. Soledad by neighborhood hills. I would do what you did if I could. As a matter of fact, I haven't even had my TV on since the Super Bowl, so I'm just going to cut off Cox cable until football starts up again in September.
 

Stan

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 18, 1999
Messages
5,177
I love living in an HOA and I wasn't put off by the complaint. We own our streets and we have our own private park, complete with lots of green space, picnic tables, full-length basketball court, two tennis courts and a playground. Our streets are in MUCH better repair than the public streets in the county. At least when I pay my association fees I *know* the money is getting used for what I want it used for.

Mark

Funny you mention streets. We've got one I drive over to get to my garage, has this six inch dip in it, kind of a reverse speed-bump. Drove over it again today, just grumbling to myself that it's been there 25 years or so, I'll be long dead and gone before it ever gets repaired. An HOA does have its perks.
 

Ron1973

Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2012
Messages
2,559
Location
SE Missouri
Real Name
Ron Reagan (not that one!)
I'm stuck in rural SE Missouri. Little towns all around us have AT&T while we're stuck with an outfit called BPS Networks. They are it for Internet, but you have to have home phone service through them. For 6 Mbps of service and home phone service (something I don't even use) runs me $99 per month! I wish somebody would buy them out!
 

Aaron Silverman

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 22, 1999
Messages
11,402
Location
Florida
Real Name
Aaron Silverman
The quality of living with an HOA is pretty much dependent on whether the people running it are busybodies and jerks. I've experienced a range.

Yesterday my neighbor informed me that our ADT security system monitoring is covered by our HOA; we just need to call and activate it. The guy we bought the house from four years ago had a different story!
 

Tony Bensley

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2013
Messages
7,092
Location
Somewhere in Canada
Real Name
Anthony
I'm stuck in rural SE Missouri. Little towns all around us have AT&T while we're stuck with an outfit called BPS Networks. They are it for Internet, but you have to have home phone service through them. For 6 Mbps of service and home phone service (something I don't even use) runs me $99 per month! I wish somebody would buy them out!
Hi Ron!

I feel for you, as I know what it's like to have $#!? service! 5 mbps from Ma Bell, with promises of North Bay getting Fibre Op service broken (At least 5 years, and counting!), and they add insult to injury by placing Billboards all over our small city of 50,000 plus! Granted it hasn't grown for decades, but when smaller places like New Liskeard (Pop: 10,400) have Fibre Op (So says one of Bell Fibre Op's Billboard Adverts!) and we don't, something's just not right!

Thank goodness for Cogeco's cabled internet option, which currently gives us up to 40 mbps. While this certainly isn't anything approaching lightening speed by today's standards, it's good enough for us.

Your local BPS Networks sounds like a real Mickey Mouse operation, Ron! Hopefully, a better company from one of your neighboring areas will swoop down and swallow them up whole one day soon!

CHEERS! :)

Tony

P.S. Out of curiosity, I checked the BPS Network website. Frankly, to me it doesn't exactly scream professional or user friendly! :P

Where's a Mickey Mouse emoji when you need it? ;)
 
Last edited:

Stan

Senior HTF Member
Joined
May 18, 1999
Messages
5,177
I'm stuck in rural SE Missouri. Little towns all around us have AT&T while we're stuck with an outfit called BPS Networks. They are it for Internet, but you have to have home phone service through them. For 6 Mbps of service and home phone service (something I don't even use) runs me $99 per month! I wish somebody would buy them out!

I paid about $80 per month to CenturyLink for phone/internet, but the best they offer is 3MB service. Pretty sad.

Had Comcast for several years, I forget the exact speed, it was basically instantaneous. But they constantly had what I referred to as "mystery pricing", which of course only went up, they never lowered anything. CenturyLink cut my bill in half, long distance included, so I live with the slower speed. Dumped my cell-phone, not a big talker and it's actually quite freeing, not always being reachable. People can leave a message on my land-line.

And as I mentioned above, called to see if they could do better so now down to about $65 a month. All you have to do is ask. If you've been a loyal customer, paid your bill on time for a few years, some of these companies will drop your rates.
 

Josh Steinberg

Premium
Reviewer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2003
Messages
24,491
Real Name
Josh Steinberg
And as I mentioned above, called to see if they could do better so now down to about $65 a month. All you have to do is ask. If you've been a loyal customer, paid your bill on time for a few years, some of these companies will drop your rates.

My fiance does that dance with Time Warner every year. Every year, they raise the rates, and she calls up and asks why the cable bill has suddenly gone up for the same level of service. They tell her that they had applied a promotional rate that just expired. She tells them that she was only interested in the service at that price, and that if it's going to cost more, she's ready to start cancelling services and channels, and then magically they produce a new promotional rate that lasts another year.
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
Well, I guess I have to backpedal a bit on my love of HOAs. On Thursday I received the following letter from my HOA's management company:


Dear Mr. Booth,

The [redacted] Homeowners’ Association was established for the purpose of maintaining the common areas of the development as well as enforcing the governing documents to preserve property values. In keeping with this responsibility, the Board continually reviews the use and condition of the community so as to ensure compliance with those regulations which affect the development as a whole.

The Board has denied your application for the installation of TV antenna.

They have taken your comments under review and are seeking legal counsels input. As soon as the Board has further information we will be in contact with you however at this time your antenna has been denied. We further request that you remove your temporary antenna and please DO NOT move forward with the permanent one until the Board has time to convene regarding this matter.

The Board appreciates your willingness to improve your property but your Application has been denied until further notice.



The part I bolded was also bolded in the letter.

This letter came from the very same property manager that CLEARLY agreed that approval wasn't necessary. She CLEARLY understood that the most the HOA Board could ask of me is a notification of the install for Association records. She CLEARLY understood that such notification was NOT a request for Approval, rather, it was simply a notification. In other words, it was obvious to me that the paid property manager was fully aware of the FCC's OTARD Rule and understood it.

Yet, despite all that, an apparent majority of the HOA Board directed her to send me the letter.

I have already initiated my response via multiple emails to both the property manager as well as her boss (the owner of the management company). I flatly told them that the HOA Board's request is a violation of Federal Law and, because I believe their request is unlawful, I will NOT be taking down my antennas. I have further requested inspection of HOA Board meeting minutes (per my right under HOA Bylaws) so that I may ascertain exactly which Board members voted in favor of sending me the letter.

Before the Board made this unlawful decision, I supplied the management company with multiple sources of information regarding the OTARD Rule, including articles that make the Rule more understandable to persons of limited intelligence.

The next regularly scheduled HOA Board meeting is this coming Thursday. I already have a preexisting commitment for that night (and the Board president knows it), but I am thinking I might skip that meeting and attend the Board meeting. I'd enjoy the look on their faces as I walk into the room.

The Board's letter has me flummoxed for multiple reasons.. One, the Board President and I are (were) friends. She has been in my home multiple times and has been a guest at our Booth Bijou movie nights. Until this letter, I've known her only as a reasonable and level-headed thinker. She never struck me as someone that couldn't understand plain English. Two, although I know the other 3 Board members less well, I've never seen them make a decision that was unreasonable. Three, even if 3 out of 4 of the Board members were swept up in some moment of temporary insanity, the freakin' property manager (the company the HOA PAYS to provide advice and guidance on such matters) should have stopped them in their tracks. The property manager CLEARLY understood the law.

I am absolutely positive I will prevail in this matter. I've given the Board until next Friday to retract the letter. I damn sure better get an apology too. Barring the retraction, I will move forward with a petition to the FCC. The moment I petition the FCC to address the subject, the law requires the HOA to suspend any legal proceedings or fines until such time as the FCC makes a decision. I've already informed the Board (via the property manager) that should I have to file the petition, upon a ruling in my favor, I will expect the HOA to reimburse me for all costs. The law allows me to recover reasonable payment for my time and the costs of serving the petition on the HOA.

In my last email to the property manager, I included this at the bottom:

Now, on a lighter note, I direct your attention to this USA Today article from 2012 regarding the subject at hand. I found the end of the first paragraph to be quite humorous:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech...0709313&PID=6150848&SID=incri0rwh2003pby014ak

:)

Mark
 

Malcolm R

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2002
Messages
22,988
Real Name
Malcolm
The article you linked says they still have the authority to ban antennas that extend 12 feet above the roofline. Is your antenna less than that? Hard to tell from the pic, though I think you said it was a 12-foot support pole, which appears to be attached with several inches of that below the roofline, so I'd think you're probably less than 12 feet above.

Good luck with the fight, though it's too bad you didn't get anything in writing from the HOA manager verifying your discussions prior to installation.

It'll be interesting to hear how this goes. It seems likely with federal regulations on your side they just sent the letter to placate the person(s) who complained, hoping you'd just fold and take it down.
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
The article you linked says they still have the authority to ban antennas that extend 12 feet above the roofline. Is your antenna less than that? Hard to tell from the pic, though I think you said it was a 12-foot support pole, which appears to be attached with several inches of that below the roofline, so I'd think you're probably less than 12 feet above.

Good luck with the fight, though it's too bad you didn't get anything in writing from the HOA manager verifying your discussions prior to installation.

It'll be interesting to hear how this goes. It seems likely with federal regulations on your side they just sent the letter to placate the person(s) who complained, hoping you'd just fold and take it down.

Yes, the mast is exactly 12 feet long, about 2 feet of which is below the roofline. I am VERY clearly within the guidelines of the OTARD Rule.

I posted about this latest development on my Facebook timeline. I had previously been keeping my friends advised of my antennas install and how it was all going, including sharing links to the FCC OTARD Rule. After this morning's post about the letter from my HOA, one of my friends (that just happens to be an attorney) was the first to respond with...

"They picked the wrong homeowner!"

She knows me well! :)

Mark
 

Mark Booth

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
3,402
Good luck, Mark. I personally am not a fan of HOAs, so give 'em hell!

Thanks, Scott! We've lived in this association for 26 years. I've never been a Board member, but I have served on a couple of committees and was particularly involved in our HOA's attempt to gate our community (our streets are private). Our home is a model by which other homes in the association are measured. I have multiple written documents from various HOA Board members thanking us for how well we maintain our home and landscaping. In 26 years, this is our first "nastygram." It is all the more insulting that this particular nastygram is for something over which the HOA Board has ZERO jurisdiction because Federal Law trumps HOA rules.

I am truly saddened that, for the first time, I have personal experience with something I thought I'd never have to experience. Namely, having to deal with "Association Nazis." I despise that term, but given that I know 3 of the Board members and know at least 2 of them have proven to have a modicum of common sense, I am utterly baffled by this letter. My only conclusion at this point is that "power" has gone to their heads and affected their ability to think and reason objectively.

Mark
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Forum statistics

Threads
353,109
Messages
5,008,177
Members
143,400
Latest member
rferoni
Recent bookmarks
0
Top