The luxury of internet and television is something we tend to put in the category of “necessity.” Yes, we know that we don’t really need it. But it is high up on the priority list of household utilities. I will also admit that internet is a deal breaker for me. I recognize, logically, that it isn’t a need, but it’s in about a dead heat with the ability to flush the toilet in my book. Barring the zombie apocalypse, I’m going to require internet access, please.
I have a love-hate relationship with the cable company. But since I have a hate-hate relationship with the dish company, it gives me a higher tolerance of all the shortcomings of cable. However, we recently decided to try and figure out some other options for internet and tv. Let me be clear: I am not a tech person. I am just sharing my experience since I have heard several of you are contemplating a switch of some sort, too.
We researched several options and settled on trying Karma for internet. It is a mobile hotspot that pulls from the Sprint cellular network, and there are 2 options.
- Karma Refuel- you prepay for chunks of data and take as long as you want to use it. Like prepaid minutes for a mobile phone.
- Karma Neverstop- “unlimited” internet for $50 a month.
You can earn money toward your bill by having friends use your connection or signing up for Karma. I think that Karma could work well for a lot of people. However, it does not seem to be a good option for household of internet users. You can have 3 devices online at a time. But if you are trying to go internet only for all entertainment—tvs, phones, tablets— then you end up in a game of internet bumper cars, bumping one off to get on. Since we already purchased the hardware, we decided to keep the Karma Refuel for emergencies or travel. Theoretically, if the power goes out, we could still use the Karma since it runs on the cell network.
For more info: https://yourkarma.com
So, we decided to go back with cable for internet only and dropped everything else from the package. We now get our tv from Amazon Prime, Netflix, Amazon Fire, and a neat little app through the Fire called Sling TV. Sling is $20 a month and will play through hardware such as Amazon Fire, Xbox, Roku, etc. Sling has live tv (and replay for up to 3 days) and fills in some of the gaps that Prime and Netflix leave, like ESPN. (Also included is AMC—The Walking Dead is a high priority, what can I say.) Sling TV also offers add-ons for premium and local channels for $5-$15.
For more info: https://www.sling.com
Let me just say here, too, that the picture on the Amazon Fire is incredible. It supports 4K Ultra HD, which we don’t have….yet. We had high def cable, but the Fire gives a noticeably better picture. I know some say that satellite gives better picture quality than cable, but my hate-hate relationship with them makes it a moot point.
Ultimately we were not able to completely give cable the boot. But the silver lining is that we have no contract with them. We actually don’t have a contract with any of our entertainment providers. Three cheers for no long-term entertainment commitments! We were able to get our overall cost down considerably, and I don’t think we will miss much of the extra crap channels that we don’t have anymore. I also feel that we are in a sweet spot of having most of what we want and still keeping monthly costs down. The best thing is that the monthly costs will stay the same. No rate increases or resigning contracts to get the latest, temporary “deal.”
If you’ve been thinking about making some sort of switch, I’d say go for it. Do a little research first, but worst case, you hate it and you go back to what you have now. More likely, though, you will find a combination that will give you a little more control and a little more money in your pocket.