For over a month, my cable box has been unplugged. It's still sitting where it's always been, nestled nice and neat on the shelf beneath my TV, snuggled between by Xbox 360 and my Playstation 3. If I wanted to, I could use it to watch cable, in HD no less. But a month ago, I decided to conduct an experiment. I unplugged the cable box, took out the HDMI cable, and let it sit. I wanted to see how long I could go without watching. Turns out I can go indefinitely.
I undertook this experiment when I realized that the $120 I was paying per month for Time Warner Cable and Internet was ricockulous and was bleeding me dry. Having concluded that I can easily live without cable TV service, I called Time Warner this morning in order to cancel cable and continue with internet only. A very nice woman (let's call her "Tina") answered the phone, and the conversation went something like this:
Tina: Time Warner Cable, my name is Tina, ask me how you can save by getting our triple play deal, how can I help you?
Adam: Hi, Tina. I'd like to cancel my cable subscription and continue with internet only.
Tina: Okay well I'm very sad to hear that. Could you tell me why you're choosing to downgrade your services?
Adam: $120 a month to watch TV just seems like a bit much, especially when I can get all my content online.
Tina: Okay. Well what channels do you usually watch?
Adam: That's... embarrassing. Mostly, ah... Cartoon Network.
Tina: ... And, um, you're paying $120 now?
Adam: That's right.
Tina: Well let's see, what if we could do a promotional offer for you? What if we could take $10 off of your bill every month, so you'd be paying $107?
Adam: That's.... wait, what?
Tina: It'd be a promotional offer for two years.
Adam: I don't know. You'd have to go significantly below $100 for me to even think -
Tina: What if we could give you the same services you have now for $89 per month?
Adam: What? You can do that?
Tina: As a promotional offer, we can give you two years at that rate.
I want you to think about what this means. This means that if you call to cancel your cable subscription, they can offer to drop your bill by over $30 per month. Taking that string of logic a bit further, it means that they are overcharging us by at least $30 per month simply because they can, because we don't complain.
I did not take Tina up on her offer. With internet service for $50 per month and a Roku 2 XS, I'll be able to watch anything I want in HD.