As I was writing my last entry about Ultra HD televisions, one of the considerations was whether I would have fast enough internet to stream UHD content. It takes at least 25 Mbps, which is right about what I am getting from Xfinity right now for the introductory price of $20 per month. The non-intro price is $60 per month, which is crazy since Google Fiber will charge $50 for 100 Mbps service (the problem being Google Fiber isn’t available yet at my house). I checked AT&T Uverse, but their rates are even worse and they pretty much require you to bundle cable television, which I don’t want to do. When I throw in Uverse cable and internet plus their ridiculous extra fees for modem rental (I bought a modem for Comcast for about $40) and HD television, it was still more than I am paying now. So no thanks. I have had Dish for many years and they seem to be the cheapest cable I can find, even though their prices have creeped up to about $55 per month, including HD and a DVR to record shows and skip commercials. Plus I bought an external hard drive and have stored hundreds of hours of shows on it that I have yet to watch including the last couple of seasons of Hawaii Five O, all the episodes ever of Blacklist (never watched one episode), most episodes of Twilight Zone from a SyFy marathon, including the rarely shown season of hour-long shows, and tons of movies and Game of Thrones episodes from free weekends of HBO (I watched a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones and decided it was too dark for my tastes).
But my introductory year of cheap internet ends in a couple of weeks, so I went ahead and called Comcast. Given the choice of adding new service or cancelling service, I chose cancel since really I figured I would be downgrading my internet speed from the very comfortable 25 Mbps to the kind of pokey 6 Mbps that still would have been $40 per month. They asked what kind of cable TV I had and I said Dish. They said they could give me 25 Mbps internet plus local channels (and some worthless shopping channels) for $50 per month. Or they could give me 75 Mbps internet plus local TV stations and a decent helping of basic cable except for ESPN for $65 per month. If I wanted a DVR (and I do!) then it was another $10 per month, so just like that I am going to dump Dish and all of that programming, but I do get a free year of HBO from Comcast. I don’t know if that includes HBO Go so that I can go back and watch old episodes of shows. But I do like that there are a lot of xfinitywifi hotspots that I can connect to using my iPod while I am wandering around town.
The neat thing is it buys me another year for Google Fiber to show up and if I do upgrade to an Ultra HD TV, I can try out 4K streaming from Netflix and maybe others before I cut the cable cord. I also thought I could play around with setting up a TV antenna again in an effort to get free local channels and hopefully a device that could record shows. Most of what I watch is network TV anyway, now that Jon Stewart is gone. If I can get local channels and maybe Netflix, then I could possibly cut cable and just rely on Google Fiber at $50 per month. They were ready to come install it the day after tomorrow, but I said I would rather they wait until my introductory year is almost up, so now they are coming on the day before Thanksgiving. That give me time to maybe watch some of the stuff I have saved on my Dish hard drive which will be useless once I cancel that service.
Actually, looking a little more closely at the packages on their website, this isn’t much of a deal. They have $40 introductory packages that include 25 Mbps internet and more channels. My package, being one rung from the bottom, has CNN, Comedy Central, AMC, and some other cable channels, but not in HD (not true, see reply below). Only the local channels appear to be in HD. So that is kind of useless. But most of what I record is on local channels, so maybe not that bad.