As of tomorrow we will no longer have Bell (ExpressVu) TV. We finally pulled the plug on the dish and I don’t think we’re going to miss it.
We’ve been giving Bell $80 a month for something we barely use anymore. That’s almost $1000 a year! Other than watching most of the NHL playoffs (much of which I watched on the second TV that only has rabbit ears!) I think I’ve watched a total of maybe 20 hours since Christmas. The Boss has watched more but not by much. We just don’t have time anymore. Well, that and I’m still pissed with Bell and have been putting this off for far too long. ;)
Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re still planning on watching TV. We can pull a surprising amount of stuff Over The Air (OTA) with our little rabbit ears. All of the major Canadian networks come in. I’m tempted to cruise the garage sales and spend a couple bucks to get a better antenna that I can put up in the attic to see if I can improve the reception. Supposedly I can get some US stations too if I get a digital box and a good antenna. Not sure if I’m ready to try that though.
If we had an HDTV, I’d already have an antenna setup to get the CBCHD feed. A lot of people I know are doing this, even though they already are paying big bucks for Bell or Rogers HD. Why? Because the CBCHD OTA feed is apparently uncompressed which means there are none of those crappy digital artifacts. Both Rogers and Bell compress the hell out of most of their channels, HD or not.
Anyhoo, another thing we’re doing is we’ve joined Zip.ca (on the basic $11/month plan) which is a DVD rental thing all done through the mail. They have thousands of DVDs, including kids stuff and TV shows. Since we’ve missed nearly every popular TV show in the last 4 years, I think we have a good selection of stuff to watch to “catch up” with the rest of the world. ;)I think we should be able to get 4-5 DVDs a month. Our first arrived yesterday – only two days after signing up. If you’re thinking of signing up with Zip.ca, let me know and I’ll send you a referral email. That way you can give us a little kick back and help our TV viewing. ;)
Also, we’ve had great experiences with downloading and/or streaming stuff from online. We actually started doing this a while back because the stupid Bell TV PVR stopped recording certain shows for some reason. I don’t know if Bell blocked them intentionally or not but shows like Survivor, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy never recorded properly in the last year. We’d end up with an hour long show but it would just freeze if you tried to play it. So, I turned to the net and we were able to watch the episodes we had missed.
If we decide that Zip.ca isn’t really working out, we could also put some of the $80 a month we’re not spending on Bell TV towards buying full seasons of TV shows and movies, or just renting DVDs from the local DVD place. We can also turn to the iTunes Music Store as they have TV shows and movies you can purchase and download.
Finally, we may cave yet and get basic cable from Cogeco (the cable TV provider where we live). Their basic package offers up nearly all the channels we want for around $35 a month. And the channels it doesn’t have, well, we’ll just get used to not having them. ;)