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Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Cost of Pay TV (revisited)

When I started this blog in 2011, I had just dumped DirecTV and put up an antenna. DirecTV was costing me about $70 a month. In my first post on the subject, I noted that this was pretty much average for Pay TV customers. I also calculated that this $70 a month added up to about $9000 over 10 years, and would only continue to rise over time.

So now just a few short years later in 2014 the average cost of pay TV is up to about $85 a month - over $1000 a year, over $10,000 over ten years. In fact, the average price of cable has been increasing at a rate of 6% annually. What is the cable company going to get from you over your lifetime? Let's assume that you start paying cable at age 20 for $85 a month and continue to pay until you are 70, a period of 50 years. If you were able to work out some magical deal with your provider to have no price increase for 50 years, you would spend $51,000 on TV during that time. Add taxes, Set Top Box rentals, and a 6% annual price increase, and your lifetime total for TV alone will approach $100,000.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Amazon Prime: Is it worth $99 a year?
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I received the following email from Amazon this morning alerting me that the price of Amazon Prime was increasing from $79 to $99 a year:

Dear CacheFreeTV,
We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing. The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews on August 5, 2014.

Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

For more information about your Prime membership, visit our Prime membership page.

The Amazon Prime Team
From the website- If your membership renews before April 17, 2014, you'll be charged at a membership rate of $79. If your membership renews on or after April 17, 2014, you'll be charged at a membership rate of $99.

While I've enjoyed Amazon Prime for the past 2 years, I have to make a choice between Netflix at $94 a year and Amazon Prime benefits at $99 (Free prime videos, Prime 2 day shipping, Kindle lending library). I think Netflix is a better value for my family, given that Netflix has a bigger library (including Disney), I can still get free shipping from Amazon if I order $35 at once, and I can get plenty of content for my Kindle for free on Amazon and the internet. I also have a Sam's club membership so I can get good deals there. I went to Amazon and selected "Remind Me Later - Remind me three days before my membership renews".

Sorry, Amazon. I'm out as of August, 2014.

If you're an Amazon Prime member, is it worth $99 a year to keep your Prime membership? Share your thoughts, please.

Satellite TV: $30, No Monthly Bill.

After setting up a FTA satellite system, I set a challenge for myself: Just how cheaply could I set up a FTA system for Galaxy 19? Turns out the number is around $30. Of course, the secret is getting a suitable dish for free.

The dish I used was a discarded DirecTV "Slimline" dish, it's about 22" x 36". (I wouldn't try anything smaller!) You can find them on, Craigs List, ebay, on your neighbor's roof, or at the dump. If you can't find a suitable dish for free or cheap, you can buy one but it will add about $50 to your total cost. Try the Winegard DS2076 76 cm Dish.

Once you've obtained a dish, the rest of the components are easily available on Amazon. Here's how we do it: