Mr. Fantasy (mrfantasy) wrote,
Mr. Fantasy
mrfantasy

Stupid 21st century communications options

I'm trying to figure out the relative cost/benefit analyses of various changes in our phone, TV, and Internet services. I'm currently paying about $150/mo for all three, and figure I can do better with any one of a number of various options. However, it is extremely difficult to figure out what actual stuff will actually cost, between promotional offers, rebates, taxes, charges (notably the FCC Subscriber Line Charge, which sounds like a tax but isn't, so our $8.95 Verizon plan really costs $15.45, not including Caller ID and taxes). Also there's the pesky issue of equipment--I currently have 2 DirecTiVos, which is their own issue in and of itself, but they're also hacked and networked, and as crazy as it sounds, the ability to record multiple shows on multiple devices is now a requirement in our household (especially the feature of starting a show downstairs and finishing it upstairs) and I think that means only a TiVo for the time being. Both Cablevision and FIOS support CableCard now, so I can use TivoHDs with both of them, but that involves new TiVo subscriptions, CableCard rentals,and of course buying the Tivos themselves. I think when I run it even a $90/mo triple play from either Cablevision or Verizon may just offset the additional equipment and TiVo fees for the contract term. Of course then at least I can say I'm getting better service and new equipment for the same price, and that's worth something.

Probably the simplest way I can save a little money with a minimal change in services is to sign up for Vonage. Even the $15/mo plan is sufficient--we don't make 500 minutes of calls a month, and then there's better features and stuff anyway. My question to those Vonage subscribers out there, is when they say $15/mo (or $24.99/month) is that really what you pay, or are there other taxes and fees? I need to know to make a valid comparison.

I will say, this generally sucks. I think the best option is to continue with what I have, even if I could save a few bucks, because the transition costs will get me down, not to mention the hassle and aggravation. Then again, I'd like to get, say, HDTV service, and modern TiVo features.
Tags: cablevision, directv, fios, internet, phone, tivo, tv
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