How Much Do You Pay For Television?

Back in January, I purchased a new high definition television.  In order to get high definition channels, I signed up with Dish Network.  Our monthly bill is $92.73.  We live in a very rural area, and there aren’t any stations available via over-the-air antenna.  We also live in area where cable is not available.  So, if we want high definition content, we are pretty much stuck with choosing one of the satellite providers.

How much do you pay for television?  Do you watch television?  What about some of the online options like Hulu or Miro?

When we were getting out of debt, we radically reduced our bills and we only had the most basic satellite package.  But, over the past couple of years, we’ve upgraded our package.  The high definition content looks stunning – but I’m not sure it’s worth what we are paying.

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44 Responses to How Much Do You Pay For Television?

  1. debtdieter says:

    I don’t have cable TV, so I don’t pay anything for TV other than the electricity! I also get get free Broaband as part of my work perks so I just download anything I want to watch that’s not on a free to air channel.

    I’m in Australia though so not sure how things work in the US TV wise…

  2. We have free (but really bad reception!) cable through the condo, but it was just too lousy. We have an HD antenna, and in our urban area it worked great for over the air HD, but we were never home to watch it.

    We upgraded to HD with cable cards for $20/month. I upgraded a Tivo series 1 (a gift) with lifetime service to an HD Tivo with lifetime service about two years ago for about $500. This works for us.

  3. Kacie says:

    Our cable package is $23.50 from Comcast and is really awesome! It includes the ultra-basic lineup and then an additional set of like 40+ more channels. We have OnDemand and free HBO thanks to a nice customer service guy.

    We don’t have channels such as ESPN, HGTV, TLC, Nickelodeon, or other channels that come with a more expensive lineup, but we really don’t miss them.

    Thanks to the OnDemand, we have tons of free movies and tv shows available.

  4. 0. I watch from time to time the news and some movies during the weekend and I’m fine with the 6 over-the-air channels I have.

  5. Gary Yeary says:

    We were paying $94/month with DirecTV. This included all of the movie channels which we rarely watched. This past month we dropped all of the movie channels and our cost was reduced to about $57/month.

    We never tried the HD programming; although I always wanted to try it out! We just felt we weren’t getting our moneys worth, since we rarely watch the tube nowadays.

  6. Amphritrite says:

    I pay NOTHING. Brilliant, glorious, nothing! I’ve been TVless for almost a year now and I absolutely adore the extra time I find throughout the day since I’m not sitting in front of the tube watching the latest and greatest shoot ‘em up show. Not having television has also helped me cut down on consumer urges (I no longer say, after seeing a commercial, “Hey! I really NEED that!”). I guess, in this case, free is priceless.

  7. Mark L says:

    The base rate for UVerse 300 service is $79. Adding in high speed internet for an addtional $30 and we’re at the $110 range. That’s about $50-70 cheaper than the local cable/internet service we had 1.5 years ago.

  8. Katie says:

    We cancelled DISH, bought a TiVo HD (asked very politely to have our existing lifetime service agreement transferred, and were approved for a one-time transfer due to how long we’ve been loyal customers), bought a small, inexpensive HD antenna for the roof (great reception, since we’re high on a hill in between several major cities, and it worked fantastically for the Olympics), and bought an Apple TV to stream content from iTunes. The few things we want to see that aren’t over-the-air or on Hulu, we buy on iTunes, for a LOT less than we would have to pay DISH. All of the hardware we purchased cost less than a year of DISH, and will continue working for as long as the hardware holds out (no monthly or annual fees for anything).

    Our kids watch no TV (kids shouldn’t, it’s all bad for their development, even the “educational” stuff), so we watch on our own schedule, no commercials!

  9. 0. I just get HDTV over the air. I would like it if I could just get ESPN and the Discovery channel but I can do without them too, obviously.

  10. Rick says:

    I got rid of my cable TV two years ago. We have some over the air channels but I only watch an average of 30 minutes a day. Because my wife works from home one day a week she has $30 a month broadband connection allowance.

    Once a year I look at all my expenses and see what can be cut. TV is an easy one to jettison.

  11. PT says:

    We have DishNetwork Top 100 HD with 2 HD DVRs for around $75/mo. I’m always calling and threatening to quit. They seem to always offer me some type of deal. I can’t stand the cost of TV programming. Such a racket. Then they have the audacity to roll out commercials every 10 mins.

  12. Marissa says:

    I pay about $32/month for cable from Comcast. I really wanted to drop TV completely, but if I keep cable, my total bill for powerful-speed Internet plus TV is $72. If I drop TV and go to the same level of internet only, my bill is… $70.

    I have to have ‘net for work, and the alternative in my area (Verizon’s “high speed” internet) is only about half the speed that Comcast provides. So, I either pay $70 for internet only, or I pay $72 for ‘net and TV. Which I think is such crap, but… so far, I have no better alternative.

  13. No Debt Plan says:

    We have DirecTV, no HD service, two receivers (1 DVR), and we pay $68.43 per month.

  14. bluntmoney says:

    I guess we pay $15.12 a month for TV, since we just use Netflix & watch series + movies using that. My husband occasionally watches things on Hulu too. Otherwise, I think we get PBS on our TV? That’s if we hook up the pliers to it to act as an antenna…

  15. Susy says:

    We don’t pay for TV. We live in a rural area and we get HD stations from a city 50 miles away (our Free HD looks better than our friends pay extra service). We just bought a Channel Master 4228 Long-range outdoor rooftop UHF HDTV antenna and it works great. You can buy antennas that have a longer range, you should check them out.

    We actually don’t watch TV now that it’s free. We read books from the library and get work done. Just cut the cord, flip the switch. Say no to cable. It will be hard at first but you’ll be glad you did!

  16. nofluzone says:

    Our HD cable and broadband are billed together, about $130/month for both (2 premium channels in that price). I work from home for the websites of a couple cable networks, so there’s no dropping cable or TV from my life. And frankly, I wouldn’t cut the cord regardless. I enjoy television a lot, yet I still get a lot of other stuff done AND spend a lot of time outside in the garden and read lots of books. TV doesn’t keep me from leaving the couch (unless I’m working, of course), and I don’t really get people’s fear that if they have cable–or TV in general–they’ll become powerless slaves to it. Like food and drink, moderation and smart choices are the key.

  17. Jennifer says:

    I pay about 70 for my cable, but that includes internet. SO the TV portion is probably around 40.

  18. Laura says:

    We pay $45 for internet services and basic cable (70 channels). That’s cheaper than VA, when we paid $60 for just internet service.

  19. Craig says:

    I pay the basic $15/mo rate for cable (local/”free” channels) with a $49/mo internet plan and $22/mo for broadband phone service (no contracts). Prior to this I had no cable and no internet and paid $75-$90 /mo for telephone alone.

  20. Frugal Dad says:

    Our cable bill is $12 a month for basic cable (local channels). We cut expanded cable after being disappointed by the programming, and to save on expenses. Other having ESPN withdrawals with football season back in full swing, I’m taking it pretty well!

  21. Anne Cross says:

    I had the most basic cable offered for about two years. It used to cost $5.25 per month, but when they raised it to $6.49 and discontinued some of the channels (in order to go to digital), I cancelled it altogether and just use my antenna. I get about seven channels, and don’t watch much tv anyway, but I watch less now, so I figure I’m also saving money with not having to use that much electricity. :)

  22. Susan says:

    Living in the SF Bay Area, Comcast basic cable is $60 per month. No premium channels, just basic cable.

  23. Liz says:

    $92 is high. I have Direct TV and I pay $99 but, I have 3 TVs hooked up: one HD and DVR, one with DVR, and one TV without DVR. That also includes an additional charge for FoxSoccer Channel, and Starz movie channels.

    Do you have any extras?

  24. Susan says:

    We cut the cable this last spring. It was a difficult decision with two kids and no neighborhood, not to mention the Olympics and the Democratic Convention were televised–that was bad planning on our part. Anyway, there has been far less arguing in the house, the kids actually hang out and play together (girl 6yo and boy 12yo)! We go to the library for books and videos often and our late fines don’t come close to the $21.00/month we paid for basic cable which started at $9.95 when we first got it hooked up 14 years ago! We are much happier without it–I also hear fewer complaints from my daughter about buying things–rather NOT buying things!

  25. Kristen says:

    $0…. not even bunny ears… which is how I justify $10/mo for a cheap netflix package. We have a computer hooked up to our tv for playing dvds & it is connected to the internet so news, youtube, etc can be watched like normal. The computer has a wireless keyboard/mouse… It is an effective, efficient setup.

  26. Dude, try Joost, you’ll see lots of free shows in your computer.

  27. escapee says:

    I’m going to confirm what you already know deep down: It is insane to spend almost $100/month to give advertisers access to you and your family to convince you to buy things that you do not need.

  28. Megan says:

    I am a little embarassed to admit that I pay $150 for a bundled cable/internet/phone package with DVR. I do love it though, and while I realize I could pay less, it’s one of my personal splurges. And I figure as long as I’m aware that it’s a splurge and not a necessity, and I can afford it in my budget, it’s alll good. I love being able to record shows and movies and watch them whenever I want without having to sit through commercials. I know a lot of people with cell phones go without a home phone, but mine, with it’s unlimited local and long distance, is worth every penny. My parents get bad cell reception in their house, so the only real way to call them is on their landline, and I kept burning through cell minutes listening to my mom talk about a new recipe or something cute the dog did. The landline saves me money in that way.

  29. $50ish with Dish + DVR. No HD for us.

  30. Bham says:

    We don’t have a television, so $0. We do have a computer and pay $45 for internet (business purposes). We can watch most shows online (we typically only watch the Office), and use Netflix for movie rentals ($10).

  31. lsutiger says:

    I am a bit embarrassed myself. I pay right at $134 for a premium internet connection (10 megs), expanded cable, HD, and two pay channels (HBO and Showtime).
    As I get up early some mornings and only can find infomercials at 4:30-5am, I am thinking about giving it all up. But then again, I must watch college football, and watching it in HD is wonderful!!!!
    I guess it is a give take situation. I just wish I could choose the channels I want and not get shoveled the bundles the cable companies offer.As long that is all they offer, I guess I will live with it as long as I can afford it.. I must say when I was on my own @ 18 yoa, I did the rabbit ears until I moved into an area where the only thing I got on rabbit ears was the 2 local open channels…then I became addicted!!!

  32. David says:

    I threw out my TV for some years ago. :-) Can not say that i miss it…

  33. Clean Simple says:

    We don’t watch TV. We don’t have cable and without it, we have close to no reception. So, no TV. I sure don’t miss it, and it’s nice that the kids aren’t being exposed to “gimme” ads.

    We watch a lot of movies and some TV on DVD, but we get those from the library.

    I can’t imagine spending $100 a month on TV.

  34. Donna says:

    No cost for TV, as there is no TV in my house. :) Strangely enough, I find a great deal to occupy myself with.

  35. Kevin says:

    We have DirecTV with an HD DVR that I talked them down to half price on – $150 – and pay $65 a month. I also got them to knock $10 off the programming each month as well as waive the HD upcharge, another $10, for a year. I just bought an HDTV last Thanksgiving – mostly to watch hockey – and “had” to have the HD package. It is great, but like you I’m not sure it is worth the money. That will surely change once hockey season starts again.

  36. I’ve fallen into the trap that I advise others not to – and I’m only just realising it. I pay £52 per month for Sky and £12 per month for love film. When you add in my mobile, broadband costs and TV license, I’m paying over £100 a month for items that I don’t really want!!

  37. DD says:

    We cut our cable in 2001.

    Yes we’ve missed it at times these past 7 years. But then I think of the thousands of dollars that we’ve saved, and all of a sudden we don’t miss it all that much.

  38. stocks says:

    We have the dish network also, costs about $100 a month as well, internet runs us about $45 a month, so between those two “luxuries” that’s $1800 a year. Is it worth it?
    Yeah, money is temporary but happiness is not…

  39. Adam says:

    Are you on the Dish Ultimate HD package? If so, call up a CSR and switch to TurboHD. Its the exact same thing but $10 a month cheaper, but there is a $5 processing fee to change your programming. also drop the Dish Home Protection Plan. its optional, and there’s no reason to have it, it’s just a way for them to make an extra 5.99 a month

  40. Ott says:

    I pay $86 a month for digital cable (200+ channels) with about 30 of those channels also in HD. Also included in that is my internet.

    I’ve considered dropping my HD as well. But I think it’s more than worth it, especially if you’ve already invested in a high quality HD set. I’ve realized I’ve spoiled myself with HD and 5.1 surround sound – luckily I’ve held off on DVR (so far). I also tend to not look at my cable expenses as a monthly “fee,” but more as an annual charge – at least in my mind I feel more comfortable paying it that way.

    Point of information: a pair of 1970′s era rabbit ears will pull down over-the-air HD broadcasts just as well as these so-called “HD antennas.” Don’t get sucked into buying something needlessly expensive….although I do admit that a 1970′s era pair of rabbit ears would look quite out of place next to a 2008 HDTV.

  41. Sunflowers says:

    We don’t pay for cable. If we want to watch something, we do it online, for free. :)

  42. Izzy says:

    Nada! We got rid of cable in 2005 in our effort to pay off our debt – We were paying $203 for cable/month, internet and phone. We never watched the tube so we dropped it and kept the internet and phone. We got Netflix and are super happy with it. I had never heard of hulu before, my dh would love that!

  43. Mike says:

    interesting.. we pay $54/mo for Comcast cable internet and basic cable (channels 2 thru 70 something). It’s not a promo rate either.

  44. JEM says:

    Hubby and I have been married 4.5 years and we have not given in and gotten cable yet. We only get ABC, NBC, and CBS with rabbit ears….we are going to buy a new TV as our christmas present to ourselves to get ready for the switch to digital…but we still won’t buy cable. Who has time to watch it anyway?!?!