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Cut the Cable, Go With Roku

Updated on September 11, 2014
Roku
Roku

It all started for me by trying to save a few bucks each month. I saw many bills coming in, and some of them didn't make sense. I cut the fat where I could, but there was one thing that continued to slap me in the face--THE CABLE BILL!

I'm not sure what the norm is, but between TV, internet and phone, I'd been paying around $180.00 a month. I couldn't imagine why it was so high, especially because, we only have a small number of channels we watch, along with a small number of shows.

My four-year-old son watches any kids show that's on, Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, Rabbids, Dead Time Stories, and a host of others on Nickelodeon and Disney. But the truth is, he's not all that picky. He'll watch just about anything colorful that catches his eye.

My wife and I have three shows we watch religiously, Face Off on Syfy, The Walking Dead on AMC, and Game of Thrones on HBO, and that's it. I didn't feel like cable was giving me what I was paying for.

Then, I found out about Roku!

Roku With a Hockey Puck
Roku With a Hockey Puck

What Is Roku?

A Roku is a small device, nearly the size of a hockey puck that can allow you to steam shows through applications like Netflix or Hulu directly to your TV. It also has apps for specific stations, such as CNN, ABC, NBC and several others. The device itself costs under $100.00, and it's small enough to fit anywhere. It's attached to your TV with a HDMI cable, which is sold separately, to stream shows directly, without paying any providers.

With Roku, Add As Many Options as You Want
With Roku, Add As Many Options as You Want

What Does It Do For Me?

What I did was, I immediately signed up for Netflix and Hulu to stream shows and movies. Each of these services costs $7.99 for streaming, and they offer a plethora of TV shows and movies that everyone in my family enjoys. At some point I'll probably choose one over the other, but right now I'll go with both, since they aren't too expensive, and each has a free trial period.

Netflix and Hulu satisfied my son's need for all kinds of children's shows. He doesn't really need the newest releases of Power Rangers. The old ones satisfy him just the same. However, what was a problem were the three shows my wife and I had been watching on cable.

One convenient thing that Roku has is rental type applications, such as Amazon Instant Video, Redbox, Blockbuster, Vudu and its own M-Go. These applications allow us to go in the day after a show has aired on cable, and buy the individual episodes we want. Face Off and The Walking Dead are $1.99 per episode, while Game of Thrones, from HBO, is $2.99.

At first, this pay per episode seemed pricey, but if we take into consideration that we're saving at least $80.00 per month cutting cable, and each of the shows will run us between $7.96 to $11.96 per month, on top of the fact that we are only paying for these things during their season's of running, we are saving money.

To Sum It Up

Before getting the Roku, we needed to take stock of what we wanted out of it, and make sure we could get it. My son gets an abundance of children's programming, he can watch over and over again. We get a small number of new movies, and we can access our three shows through the rental apps.

If we add it up, Netflix and Hulu together will be $15.98 per month, Face Off and The Walking Dead will be $7.96 each per month, and Game of Thrones will be $11.96 per month. That's a total of $43.86 per month, and only in the months that all of our shows are aired, so we're saving a minimum of $36.14 per month.

Interesting Roku Links

Roku has two types of channels they offer, public and private. Those that are public are professionally supported channels such as Netflix and Hulu. The channels that are private, are legal and validated channels, but they are not supported by professionals, so the quality may not be the same. However, many of the private channels are awesome.

Roku Channel Page - What's Hot! - Roku's official site and their public channels list.

Find Some Roku Private Channels - Roku's private channels list.

US TV Now For Roku - US TV Now is a private channel for U.S. service personnel working abroad.

In Conclusion

Cable has become over-priced, and we've decided to cut it out entirely. There are so many different options that cable companies can't continue to gouge us with extreme prices and slam in channels that we don't want. I can't imagine going back to cable at this point unless there are some major changes in the way things work with the cable companies. So, from now on, it's Roku for us!

Is Roku right for you? Let me know in the comments below.

How Does Roku Sound To You?

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    • boneworld profile image
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      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Merrci: You bet! It seems like people are really coming around to set top boxes. This is the way to go. Cable companies really need to rethink their business models. I could do a follow-up, or possibly just add some more content to this of what I've discovered since then. Having a Roku has been amazingly refreshing, and I'll never go back.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Very helpful lens. Thanks so much for sharing the information here!

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Seasons Greetings: I am in a little bit of the same boat, with my wife. She'd like to get network TV, as well. We've been talking about getting a digital converter box, so we can see that stuff, which is just another set top box. We're still thinking it over, but I am just floored with how much I can get with the Roku. I just love it!

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @reasonablerobby: You bet! These are great little add-ons for any TV. It's the wave of the entertainment future, as far as I'm concerned.

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @AnonymousC831: Oh, definitely! Now, I've had mine for a good while, and I still love it. It's been great. I may take some time, and add a bit now that I've had a little more time to digest what I've learned from actually have one. It's really amazing.

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I started with Roku 3 around Christmas this past year. I'm very happy with it. I don't miss cable at all. I did watch afternoon soaps, the Space (science fiction) channel and a few other shows. I don't miss them, none of them. I like TV without commercials too. Best of all I pay less than $10 a month for TV which used to cost over $100. Of course, now my Mother is back from Florida and wants cable for news and game shows. I'm in Canada where Roku has less options but I'm catching up on old TV shows I never finished watching the first time around and I enjoy the nature shows in the evening and endless science fiction movies, old, new and those fairly awful ones which are just fun to watch.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 3 years ago

      I'd never heard of this and this is a very helpful explanation of the benefits .

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I love Roku, but I haven't purchased one yet. Great lens.

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Donna Cook: I'm really enjoying Netflix. They add new content each week. Now, if only I could get HBO by itself, I'd be all set. Game of Thrones is the only thing I'm really still missing out on.

    • profile image

      Donna Cook 3 years ago

      Great lens! I do want to cut the cable and am watching Netflix more than anything else right now.

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: KonaGirl, you are right. I had to keep the most basic cable package in my area to retain internet access. I forget what it's called, but it's the absolute cheapest package I could get them to offer me. That along with my other things, like Hulu and Netflix, is still cheaper than what I was paying before, though, and I'm still looking for an internet only provider in my area that is reliable.

    • Jerzimom profile image

      Cheryl Fay Mikesell 3 years ago from Ladysmith, WI

      We just got a roku about a month ago and we love it so far. I still have basic cable yet but thinking of letting that go as well. I do Amazon Prime as well Netflix so its really a great option. We have more than one TV in the house so we'd have invest in another ruku box. Great review. I bookmarked to check into the private channel list more.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 3 years ago from New York

      What are you doing for the Internet since shutting down the cable? I want to do the same, but don't know where to go if shutting down cable.

    • boneworld profile image
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      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @Jerzimom: That sounds like a pretty sweet setup. We have another TV, too, but the xbox is connected to it, so we get netflix and hulu there. The private channels are where it's at. They make it all worth while. Nowhere TV, US TV Now and the independent movies have been really cool. Also, there are tons of channels offering all different anime. I know that's not everyone's bag, but now I have like seven different ways of watching Attack on Titan. It's pretty great ;)

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @SheGetsCreative: Great points! Chromecast is still a possibility for us. I liked that you can just stream TV from the internet, but I chose the Roku for now, because of all the channels it offered.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great review - I know there are many who share your love for Roku. Between it and Chromecast, cable companies really need to rethink their ridiculously high prices for their service.

    • boneworld profile image
      Author

      Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      @paulahite: Although we haven't had ours for all that long, I'm starting to feel the same way about our Roku. It's almost invisible, and we just assume our TV has Hulu and Netflix right now. We're starting to get into a routine of rotating through the different shows available.

    • paulahite profile image

      Paula Hite 3 years ago from Virginia

      We love our Roku and can't imagine living without it now. Great lens...