I've been thinking recently -- is there any way for me to cut down my television bill? I pay about $70 month for satellite including HBO, Tivo, and High Definition channels. Tivo lets me be choosy about what I watch, and I've gotten very efficient at it. There are selected shows that I like, and those are the only ones I watch. I get HBO because several of those shows are on HBO (Six Feet Under, Sopranos, and now Carnivale).
Then it hit me -- most decent TV shows these days are put out on DVD. Why not just rent the DVDs? Sure, I may not get to watch them as soon as everyone else, but that's ok by me. Why not just rent the DVDs of the shows from Netflix? For $20/month, I can watch pretty much all I want to watch, including both TV series and movies. Plus I get the following benefits:
- Movies come out sooner on DVD than on HBO
- I can get any movie I want from Netflix, HBO only carries some movies
- TV Shows on DVD already have the commercials removed
- since I can rent the DVDs in order from Netflix, I never have to worry about missing an episode
- DVD is better quality than satellite (or cable) TV
- I save electricity by not having my Tivo running 24/7
And the cost -- just $20/month for a standard Netflix membership instead of $70/month for satellite. Heck, even the high-end Netflix membership (8 DVDs at a time) is only $40/month, still a hefty discount from satellite.
Of course, lots of people do both Netflix and cable/satellite. But you have to wonder what happens when more and more people start doing this value comparison. Cable/satellite rates have been going up significantly in the past few years, and for someone like me who doesn't have the TV on all the time, it's hard to justify the high monthly cost (that's $840/year!) for something that seems to have significantly less value. Cancelling cable only increases the value of Netflix, because I would no longer be splitting my TV time between DVDs and satellite.
Has anyone else thought the same thing? What have you decided?