We have been watching BBC dramas on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video (Foyle's War! George Gently! Call the Midwife! Downton Abbey!), we've been following the new American Idol season (Harry Connick Jr. has saved the show), we've caught Season 3 of Sherlock on the local PBS channel (Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are a stupendous team).
What we haven't been doing is using our $85 monthly satellite TV service. So I called Monday morning and told an unusually cheerful operator we were canceling. She told me we were eligible to cut the monthly bill to $60, we could have two months of free premium movie channels, and a few other incentives not to cut the chain. I said, "I know you're obligated to tell me all this, but our minds are made up." Oddly, after about five minutes we were done.
This is the wave of the future. It's all migrating to the Internet. Why pay close to a hundred bucks for hundreds of channels offering you content you almost never watch at the times they choose to offer it to you? Oh, of course, you can record it on your DVR (which is how we watch the local shows – now with TiVo for $13 a month), but we have increasing opportunities to tie into the Web and watch what we want when we want it. OK, Netflix and Amazon charge, too, but I was already paying them. With the satellite raising its monthly charge to $90 this month, we have effectively knocked $77 off the monthly budget with no change in our viewing habits.
What would you do with $924 ($77 x 12) more to spend each year?