Cord Cutters Survival Stories: Ya Win Some, Ya Lose Some

What’s it like to cut the cord from pay TV? What’s working, what’s missing, and what kind of equipment does the best job of replacing the cable box? In our weekly Survival Story series, we’re asking cord cutters to tell us about their experiences. This week’s featured cord cutter is Matt Worley, who’s been without pay TV for a few weeks now.

It’s been a month since my home became satellite-free. Back in January, I canceled DirecTV, (s DTV) purchased a Roku, a digital converter box, signed up for Hulu Plus and got a faster Internet connection. On top of all this, we already had a Wii, a DVD recorder and a Netflix (s NFLX) account. So far it hasn’t been that bad.

I don’t really miss some of the cable shows I used to watch. There’s more than enough content between Netflix and Hulu Plus, but when you want a TV show or movie that isn’t on Netflix yet, or even Hulu, Amazon (s AMZN) comes through with a cheap solution. I rented Predators for $0.99 the other night and streamed it, which was very cool. Amazon has series passes where you purchase a season of a currently running show and have access to new episodes the next day after it airs.

I solved my Sesame Street problem with a one-time purchase of a season on Amazon. Since PBS usually shows the same three episodes for months on end, I now have 12 episodes to cycle through with my son. Next month we plan on buying another season to add to the collection.

Matt Worley's setup.

So back to regular TV, we have a DVD recorder so my wife can record her favorite shows that aren’t available online, like American Idol. Here the DVD recorder replaces a costly DVR. With our setup we have enough bandwidth to stream to multiple devices without any hiccups. I can stream 30 Rock in the living room on the Roku, while playing online on my laptop, while my wife watches whatever she watches on the Wii in the bedroom.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with the Roku. It’s had some minor glitches easily fixed by rebooting. I plan on getting the XD|S with its newly added ability to play video from a USB drive. I think it’s pretty slick for the less tech-savvy folks who don’t want to set up their own server.

Now, did I mention we are still saving money? Saving roughly $70 a month is not bad especially when my medical insurance has gone up another $200 a month… ya win some, ya lose some.

Matt Worley is a video producer living in Tustin, California. He blogs about his cord cutting experience at, where this article appeared first. The views expressed in this guest column are entirely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of GigaOM.

Want to ask Matt a question? Then fire away in the comments! Send us an email to cordcutters (at) if you have a survival story of your own to share, and please also check out the most recent episode of our weekly web series Cord Cutters:


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