Way back in March, my wife and I finally decided to cut the cord with cable. Our bill had gotten to over $200 a month, and downgrading our package would not save that much money, plus it would mean giving up channels one of the three people who live in our home (me, my wife, and our 15-year-old son) like to watch.
So we tested Hulu Live and decided to make the change. That took our cable bill from roughly $205 a month to $68 a month with us getting local channels, the cable stations we watch, and a DVR. It seemed like a great deal that would also allow us to drop DISH Network's Sling TV, which we used for live cable in our Orlando-area second home.
It all seemed like a great idea. Save money and give up only channels we rarely (or never) watched. But we were wrong, and we have given up (at least for now) on the idea of cord-cutting.
What went wrong?
Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Hulu offers local channels, a great cable lineup, and a seemingly cable-like DVR. We, in fact, paid for the enhanced DVR package, and that was the streaming company's first fail.
Aside from recording shows so you can watch them in the future, the prime benefit of a DVR is that you can fast-forward through commercials. Hulu Live offers that seemingly at random. The feature was enabled for some shows and disabled for others. In some cases, a show would allow fast-forwarding one week and not the next. Even some episodes recorded to the DVR allowed you to fast-forward until they didn't.
This was annoying, but it was not a dealbreaker for us.
The decision to go running back to cable came when we realized that Hulu Live is location based. You can watch it anywhere on a laptop or tablet, but when I tried to log in at our other home (about three hours from our main residence) I was told that I couldn't.
It seems that because Hulu Live offers local channels, it's limited to one "home." That made it a much less attractive product for us because we wanted access to our DVR and cable package on both sets of televisions.
Now I'm spending more
We're not done with the idea of cord-cutting and do plan to test other services. For now, however, we have DirecTV at our main home (it's the only choice in our building) and we've kept Hulu Live because we use the other house a lot in the summer and the expense seems justified.
That means we're actually spending more on cable than we previously did. It's not an ideal situation, but we're now spending about $270 a month for cable (not counting all the other streaming services we pay for as well). If you assume we average two hours of purposeful viewing a day in a 30-day month, that means we're paying about $4.50 per hour of entertainment.
I'd love to spend less, but I'm not willing to sacrifice in certain areas. Cord-cutting clearly makes sense for a lot of people. It's just not the right move for us given the options we've tried so far.