Fiscal Cliff Series: Making the Leap to Roku – Guest Post from Becky!

This is a 2 part series I asked my sweet friend Becky to write up for me. She and her family have recently cut their cable and phone bills drastically. Check out Becky’s phone bill advice on Monday! 

It’s Becky here, a friend of Tiffany’s, my family recently cut our dish service, and have switched to Roku.  Maybe you have been considering doing the same thing.  I hope maybe by sharing our experience, it may help you decide if it may be for you.

A little over 2 years ago, when we moved, we signed up for the triple play deal at our new home–internet, phone and dish (through DirectTV). We had previously had Dish Network for several years, and had been very happy with their service.  But that was the deal in our area, so we signed up.  The prices were locked in for a year, but the DirectTV part of the contract ran for 2 years.  After the first year, the dish bill alone jumped to $100 per month.  Then, about 6 months before the contract was up, DirectTV started calling us.  Over and over again.  Multiple times a day, for weeks on end, robocalling.  Finally, my husband answered and they said they were offering us a free HD receiver, with the only catch being that it would extend our contract.  He declined.  Several days later, a HD receiver showed up in the mail anyway.  It was a huge headache returning the reciever, and it really ticked me off.

My husband and 2 teenage sons are big sports fans, and that was the biggest reason we were hesitant to get rid of dish, but we also recently became self employed and needed to cut our budget.  My husband said he was ready to make the switch.  So this is what we did:  we bought this antenna from Amazon:

Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna - Made in USA

It hangs flat like a piece of laminated paper.  It works great!  We get about 12 channels very clearly, including NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox.  We also ordered the Roku, it is a little box that streams content to your TV without having to hook up a computer.  With the Roku, there are a number of channels which are included.  Once you buy the device, your cost per month is ZERO.  If you choose, you can add Hulu Plus and Netflix, and if you have Amazon Prime, quite a bit of programming is available through that.  Also, PlayOn is very inexpensive (they run specials at $19 per year,) and offers many additional channels.

The biggest downside is sports programming.  We don’t get ESPN, although we get ESPN2 an ESPN3.  We get all the NFL games except Monday night.  We have episodes of most every show we want available with the push of a few buttons.  It was a learning curve at first, but we have it figured out.  I have found that we have decreased our TV watching time because it forces us to be more intentional about watching TV.  Without DVR, we either need to watch it live, or find it on the Roku.

The great thing is we have flexibility.  We are not locked into any contracts, and can keep our costs as low as we want.  I asked my husband if he is content with Roku, and he said he is very happy with it.  We upgraded to faster internet to improve the quality of the picture.  The faster internet also allowed us to drop our landline, and switch to Ooma for our phone service, which I will detail in my next post coming up on Monday!


  1. Becky says

    Yes, the antennas are one per TV. As for parental controls, you can delete channels you don’t want from your Roku. Also, we have the age set for Hulu Plus at 13, which will not allow anything rated for older than that. Netflix displays everything watched recently, and I made sure my kids are aware of that. No settings are ever going to be a replacement for parental vigilance, though.

  2. Anna says

    If your home is network-ready and you can find the primary co-axial cable that feeds to all your outlets in your house, hook up the antenna to the primary cable and any TV in your house will pick up the signal on your home network. (That’s how the hubby explained it to me, anyway.) We have the digital antenna for the regular tv and pick up hulu and Amazon Prime through our Blu-ray players (we have Sony). We have been Dish.Network free for 3 months and have not looked back!

  3. Becky says

    Yes, Roku streams via the internet. We upgraded from DSL to cable internet, and got a great deal at $16 for the first six months.


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