Save Money Challenge #1: Slash Your TV Cost

The slash your TV cost challenge

Challenge Complete
This challenge is now over but there will be more to come. Congratulations to everyone who did the challenge and slashed their TV costs! If you missed the challenge, you can still check out all the great resources below and read the comments for tons of tips on how to slash your own TV costs.

Be sure to sign up for my emails below so you always get notified when a new challenge is starting. The comments for this challenge are now closed - I look forward to hearing from you in the next challenge. The two recipients of the 'HTS swag' will be notified by email. If you want to see all the previous challenges, check out the main Save Money Challenge post.

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After a long hard day … there’s just something about putting your feet up, grabbing a cold drink, and letting your mind be completely free while relaxing in front of the TV.

It’s a guilty convenient pleasure for most of us Canadians. I mean, honestly what else is there to do when it’s -20 outside with snow up the eavestroughs half the year anyway?

Cable and satellite TV companies know we love the convenience of TV on demand and are happy to charge an arm and a leg to provide this service to millions of addicted viewers.

Yes - it’s EXPENSIVE.

According to this CBC article, Canadians pay $53.56/mth on average for TV service alone. Even that to me seems low. A quick check of my local providers shows that bare bones TV costs a minimum of $60/mth with one provider and $40 per month with another before taxes.

But then, most people have PVRs, added specialty or movie channels, and other bells and whistles that raise the cost substantially. That quickly adds up to $100 a month or more after you factor in all those added costs and tack on the taxes.

Then, after you’re an established customer, the service providers are happy to raise your prices by about 4% per year like clockwork too - just because they can.

When do you say enough is enough?

You have options - it’s time to fight back and lower your bill!

5 Simple Steps To Participate

The goal of this challenge is simple, save as much money as you can on your TV related costs without depriving yourself of the enjoyment of watching TV.

The goal is to end up with similar or better service than you had before for significantly less money.

Let’s also keep it legit. We all know that we can pirate TV shows and movies and not pay a dime. However, the content creators deserve to get paid for their works.

Here’s how:

  1. Write a comment below letting us know you’re in. Please include:
    • Who your current TV provider is.
    • What province you are in.
    • How much you are currently paying for your TV service before tax. If you have a bundle, try to isolate just the cost of the TV portion.
    • What your saving goal is for this challenge - how much do you hope to save?
  2. Prepare by reading the articles and resources in the clickable flowchart below and get into the mindset of saving as much money as possible.
  3. Go out and DO it - you have a little over 2 weeks to complete it.
  4. Check back often and brag about your savings - post a reply to your original comment to brag about your savings. Include things like:
    • How much money you saved.
    • What exactly you did to reduce your bill (i.e. negotiated a discount, changed packages, switched providers, cut the cord and went with internet TV, etc).
    • The more details the better so other people can learn from you!
  5. Respond to other Smart Saver comments with tips, advice, and words of encouragement.

We’ll wrap-up this challenge in 2 weeks - March 29th, 2016.

What Your Comment Might Look Like


Resources For Saving Money On TV

Use the clickable links in the graphic below to access a full suite of resources to help you cut your TV cost.

Your Savings Are A Big Win

When you complete this challenge and crush your TV costs…

You win by saving big.

Imagine what you would do with this extra cash you wouldn’t have otherwise?

Also just for the fun of it, I want to throw in a little HTS swag for 2 smart savers who have: a) successfully completed this challenge, and b) cheered others on or helped them out. (I’ll contact you by email if you’ve got some swag coming your way.)

If you’ve already cut the cord - I want to hear from you as well! Share how you did it and how you made it work.

Don’t Miss Challenge Notifications

If you aren’t subscribed to our money saving tips newsletter, then you’re missing out on my FREE eBook and Monthly Budget Planner (if you’re looking to track your spending more closely).

Subscribe here so you get notified about future challenges and how you can participate. (Don't miss out on all the fun...and savings!)

Happy Savings

I can’t wait to hear about all the creative and inspiring ways you’ll be saving money through this challenge. Keep me posted!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Tom's picture

Dumped Rogers years ago in favour of free OTA HDTV. Always get 24 channels and sometimes 30. Supplement that with $8/month Netflix. Already saved thousands.

March 15, 2016 @ 12:50 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Awesome Tom - can you give any extra details of wat kind of antenna you use and how you have it set up? Did you install it yourself or get it professionally done? Does it feed to multiple TVs in your house or just one primary TV?

What about catching up on programs you aren't able to view live? Do you have some sort of recording system set up with your OTA so you can record live shows to view later?

March 15, 2016 @ 12:57 pm
Suzi's picture

Broke up with Rogers after a long and painful relationship last summer. Was paying about $100/month on cable.

Bought 2 Chromecast and utilize free viewing on number of channel sites (ie CITY, CTV, Global, CBC, Vision). Augmented recently with CRAVE $9/month but likely won't keep it as it doesn't have enough content that appeals to me. Do have access to Netflix (no cost to me) but much of what I watch also comes from YouTube, DailyMotion, Crackle.

Have saved about $1000 since making the switchover! That being said I'm looking foward to seeing what other resources you guys have and the thing Tom mentioned above!

March 15, 2016 @ 12:55 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sounds like a great setup Suzi - how do you find the Chromecast? I am recommending that in my Free Internet TV article as an option for people who don't want to purchase a new dedicated device for streaming internet TV. I haven't tried it myself but I think I might buy one during this challenge to see if I can make use of it. I want to be up on all of these different technologies because I write about them.

I hear that Chromecast now supports streaming video from ANY tab in your browser now - not just specific approved websites. That makes it a lot more useful and a great alternative to a dedicated HTPC.

$1,000 saved already - that has to be a NICE feeling.

Check out the Free Internet TV article if you'd like some suggestions for more channels.

March 15, 2016 @ 1:02 pm
Bobbie's picture

I am with Shaw direct and pay around about $90.00 a month in alberta hoping to cut it in half. have 2 receivers and I will be charged for the second receiver if I take a lower cost programing

March 15, 2016 @ 3:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sounds like a good goal Bobbie - are you hoping to keep a subscription service of some sort or are you planning to give internet TV and streaming a try?

March 15, 2016 @ 4:07 pm
Rachelle's picture

We are with Shaw in Alberta and our fees have been going up and up over the years with our bill for cable, internet and TV topping out at $173 a month. Although we do not want to change our provider, I called them and let them know I would be switching to their competitor if they did not reduce our rates. They reduced our rate by $30 a month and we now pay $142 a month for the bundle.

March 15, 2016 @ 3:45 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's decent savings there Rachelle. Did they give you the $30 as a permanent discount or do you have to call back in every so often to negotiate with them again?

Do you think you could shave even more off of that cost? How much of your total cost would you say is for the TV portion?

March 15, 2016 @ 4:12 pm
Rachelle's picture

It's a loyalty discount so I will have to call back again in a year and renegotiate it. The total cost is bundled and they take the discount off of the whole package so I can't tell how they split it out. I don't know that I can shave anything else off without cutting service (not really an option because we use a lot of internet and we like the channels we have) or switching providers. That would be an option in the future that I would consider if they are not willing to keep our costs at this lower price.

March 17, 2016 @ 10:30 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Next time you call back - see if you can get them to extend it to 2 years instead of 1 year. It's a pretty small ask but makes things more convenient for you.

March 18, 2016 @ 11:10 am
Rachelle's picture

Thanks - I will!

March 18, 2016 @ 4:24 pm
Andalucia's picture

Service Provider : Rogers
Province : Ontario

Before Oct 2015, I was paying $88.44 with PVR rental per month.

After Oct 2015, I managed to cut my Cable TV cost to $28.24 per month. I managed to find the old Cisco HD cable box in my basement and saved the rental cost. Actually, recycling old technology can save some money.

There was one incident that I made up my mind scaling down the cable. The last round of UCL group games was not shown in the usual TSN or Sportnet Channels. Instead, they broadcasted under BEINs. I did not want to pay extra watching BEINs.

The massive scale down of TV cable was the expectation setting with my whole family and gained the support from them. My daughter did not spend time with the cable. My wife was only watching the normal cable channels in which the basic is fully covered. In the end, the devil was myself wasting money for those extra soccer games. In the end, I set myself with the expectation that I will miss more soccer games.

My whole family feels very happy right now and save some money for other things.

March 15, 2016 @ 4:09 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Great decision there Andalucia - $28.24 is a pretty reasonable rate. You could probably get most of that content online for free but if it keeps your wife and daughter happy then less than $30 is still pretty good. I'm surprised you were able to get a price so low before the forced introduction of the new basic pick-and-pay packages by the CRTC.

Do you do Netflix or any other streaming on the side? It might be fun for you to give a streaming box like the Roku 3 or a Chromecast a try.

March 15, 2016 @ 4:16 pm
Andalucia's picture

Yes, I use Apple TV streaming video from Netflix.

March 20, 2016 @ 11:41 pm
George Dowler
George Dowler's picture


We are about three years ahead of you, which I find hard to believe but none the less is true. We cut all Cable TV services three years ago, just because we could not justify over $100.00 a month (Eastlink Nova Scotia) for something that we might watch for an hour or so a day. Reality shows do nothing for us, and the remainder of the drama shows being broadcast from both Canada and the US we found shall we say "lacking" and definitely not worth $100.00 plus a month. Please understand that is our opinion and I know others will feel different, and good for them. I also should mention we are retired and have no kids living at home, which I am sure makes it much easier for us than someone with a young family.

For our TV entertainment the majority of the shows we watch are drama series downloaded from the net and the majority originate in the UK, NZ, Australia and occasional an English Series from the EU. Actually I can't remember the last North American show we watched. The total cost, our internet connection which of course we are already paying for. We did join Netflix last year for $8.00 which to us is very reasonable.

So our total TV/Cable bill, $8.00 a month.


George D.

March 15, 2016 @ 5:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's great that you were able to cut the cord 3 years ago George. Sometimes I enjoy the odd reality show myself - but I totally get why people don't like them too. I do prefer a good drama or comedy most of the time. I do enjoy watching Shark Tank and Dragon's Den too though - I'm not sure if those are considered reality shows are not.

Just as an FYI - I've actually never had cable or satellite in my entire adult life (about 12 years). I decided not to spend the money on it after leaving home even though I'd had it my entire childhood even with a TV in my room.

At first, I signed up for a mail order DVD service called long before Netflix and legal streaming sites surfaced. I got my TV series that way and would buy the odd series as well. Then, about 6-7 years ago I switched to a Home Theater PC and never looked back. I've got Netflix now as well and get everything else from the Canadian network sites listed in my Free Internet TV article (first published in 2010).

The point of these Save Money Challenges is to inspire my readers to save money in one specific way and provide a forum for us all to help each other to increase our savings. There's no one size fits all solution - what works for one person won't always work for the next person. Sometimes the challenge will be about something I've already done myself, other times it will be an area where I want to improve myself too, and still other times I may have no interest in saving money in an area but still think it would be a good challenge for many people that I can moderate.

March 16, 2016 @ 9:48 am
Angelo's picture

Service provider: Rogers

Province: Ontario

Monthly TV cost: $60 per month plus PVR rental

Decided I want to continue having cable TV but to reduce the number of channels in my package and my monthly bill. Did 2 things: 1. purchased an HD PVR for $250 in order to avoid paying any monthly fees and 2. downgraded my channel package to Rogers Digital Lite which now costs only $17 per month plus tax. I still get a lot of the channels I want like CP24, Leafs TV, BNN, the 5 US networks (PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) etc. I lost Rogers on Demand but can use the HD PVR to record only the programs I want. I am not able to add any new channels to this package but have access to all the monthly free preview channels Rogers provides. In just over 6 months this downgrade will pay for the cost of the PVR and keep my total TV bill to under $20 per month after that.

March 15, 2016 @ 5:37 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

At $17 per month - Rogers Digital Lite almost sounds worth it. I think you need to be an existing subscriber and then convince them to give you this package, right? I wonder if they are still offering it today or if they've replaced it with the new mandatory basic package at 24.99. My understanding is that a lot of other features Rogers offers can't be combined or added to a Digital Lite package either - but maybe that's no big loss.

Sounds like you can at least use a PVR with Digital Lite - which is great. Purchasing the PVR is definitely the way to go if you plan to stay with one provider long term. Checking Kijiji or Craiglist for used devices coming from people that are cutting the cord is also a good idea. Did you buy it $250 new or used?

March 16, 2016 @ 9:53 am
Paul's picture

My monthly bill with TELUS was $ 130.00 per month in British Columbia. I called them and renegotiated with them and lowered the monthly bill to $ 76.31 this includes Internet at 150 G. basic TV with 7 theme packs Crave TV and Movie Central.
My goal is to eliminate the TV monthly cost and just have internet with Netflix and Amazon Fire stick. I watch a lot less TV and usually go to the Web for all my information and entertainment.

March 15, 2016 @ 9:50 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

$76 isn't that bad for internet and TV combined Paul - especially if you consider that you have quite a few theme packs and Movie Central. Do you have a PVR and HD with that as well?

The 150GB cap on your internet could be a problem if you get heavy into streaming. You can still stream quite a lot with that but you might end up going over if you decide to cut the cord and still watch regularly. You might consider checking out TekSavvy if you want a higher cap or unlimited. You can get 15Mbps with a 300GB cap for $35. You can remove the cap and go unlimited for an extra $5.

March 16, 2016 @ 10:00 am
Ken's picture

Dumped Bell Sattelite after 18 years of service to go with Telus Satellite. I have the bare bones package, and becaues I have Telus home phone get a better deal as well as free rentals for a PVR and an HD receiver So for home phone and Satellite Im at $52 or so.

If it wasnt for the kids and my wife, I would get rid of satellite altogether. I barely watch anything on it, but since theres more than just me in my house, it will be like that.

I could live with Netflix and tv series on DVD from the library

I dont think I could get any lower for my TV then I do now, its literally $22-$25 a month, plus Netflix which is $8

Advantage I have is I have unlimited internet

March 16, 2016 @ 3:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

$52 for both phone and TV isn't a bad deal. Who's your internet with then Ken?

Have you ever considered going VoIP for your home phone. If you have cell phones, then you don't really need a super reliable home phone connection anyway. There are a few exceptions to that like certain alarm systems and kids who stay home alone without a cell phone, but most of the time it's ok.

March 16, 2016 @ 4:07 pm
Ken's picture

Internet is Xplornet, all we can get living out of the city. Voip is out, and pretty soon wont have home phone with almost everyone in the house with a cell phone. Youngest at home still needs a land line just in case, once we moved to a cell, then we will get rid of the land line.

Alarm system we have, but that Ill just get rid of too.

March 16, 2016 @ 4:13 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Right - I think we might have had a previous discussion about this where you told me you had Xplornet. That certainly limits your options.

March 17, 2016 @ 12:40 pm
A tech guy in BC
A tech guy in BC's picture

Greetings from the lower mainland of British Columbia. Love your blog! Thanks for helping share some great financial tips.

My story - started with Telus 6 years ago at $88 for a three year deal. Internet 15, landline, and basic TV including US networks plus two pakcaged - sports and Family. Two terminals - one in teh living room one in the bedroom. No HD at the time, that came in later. After the three years was up they wanted to raise my rates. HD also came available and they want to to raise my rated to around $130. Negotiated back down to $90 or so. Also bougth a Telus PVR on sale from Best Buy.

Then I discovered OTA television, and the great quality it was in HD. I actually was on financial hard times so decided to discontinue Telus TV and just go over the air. I called Telus and told them, and they lowered my bill to $80 for 12 months (aside from the "normal" increases).

So after 12 months when my discounts were going to be lifted, I called them again. Been doing this for a few years. A nuisance is some ways, but worth the savings for 30 minutes of haggling.

Last time they tried to give me less discount, about $20 more than I way paying. Plus they were going to start hardening their soft cap of 150 GB on my internet. They implied I had had it pretty good for a long time. I told them that there was only so much I was willing to pay to get their service and i would look elsewhere if they could not come down to my price. The rep apologetically said they could not do any better, so I said I would be checking my options. Then I moved my home phone to Fongo ( - cost me $60 at the time to my the ATA phone adapter form them and port my number. After that, I am paying $5 a month for phone.

Telus called the next day asking why I left, and I told them I was not willing to pay what they wanted, so I reduced my phone bill. I also informed them I was looking at going over the air with my TV and moving to a cheaper 3rd party provider.

They stepped up - I now pay $27 for Telus TV in my two rooms including HD, Sports and Family packages, and $38 for unlimited internet 15. And of course $5 to Fongo for my home phone. So all three for $70. My discounts expire in May, but I am not going to pay them any more than the price I think. I am willing to leave if they don't play ball, and they know it. :)

If I do leave, It will over the air TV (I can live without my sports channels, and the kids are starting to outgrow the family channel package) , third party unlimited internet (can be had for $30 a month), Netflix and / or Shomi, and Kodi.

By the way, you can do similar things with your cellular company.

Bottom line - if you think your TV package (or any other tech service) is priced too high, it probably is. Call your provider and ask for a better deal. They can't say 'yes' if you don't ask.

March 17, 2016 @ 1:03 am
A tech guy in BC
A tech guy in BC's picture

Wow, I really need to proofread before I post! :D

March 17, 2016 @ 1:22 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thank you for the very detailed submission - I know your case study will definitely help others succeed in calling their service provider to negotiate their bills.

I love how you negotiated with them early on after your initial 3 year deal was up and were able to keep similar pricing for several  years. Even better - when they started playing hardball you responded by actually cutting your services and then ended up having someone in a better position to offer you a deal give you a great offer TV and internet.

I think the next thing you could try is attempt to convince them to give you the discount for 2 or 3 years at a time so you don't have to call back in as often. I have internet only fiber with Bell Aliant (130Mbps down / 50 mbps up). I actually signed up for their lowest 25Mbps / 10Mbps plan but they have been continually increasing my speeds without my asking.

I called them last year to negotiate a small discount. They aren't that willing to move on internet only pricing - especially since they had the best and cheapest service by far for many years around here. I was calling every 12 months for a $10 monthly discount. Last time I showed them recent Rogers competitive offers, told them I've been a customer for more than a decade, and wanted a better deal. I ended up getting $15 off per month for 3 years. That still works out to $70 per month - but that's decent value for the insane speed I get with no download cap.

March 17, 2016 @ 1:02 pm
A tech guy in BC
A tech guy in BC's picture

Yeah, that is one one pain point, having to call them as often as I do. I will try for a longer term next time. I think there is less competition here than in your area so it is bit trickier but I will see what I can do.

I will just add one more thought. I mentioned Fongo in an earlier comment - if someone has no real need for their landline but want to keep their number, they can port their number to Fongo (one time charge), and then set up their number online to forward to their cell phone. Or, if they don't want to use up cellular minutes, they can download the Fongo App and use it through WiFi or data. No monthly cost, just the cost of porting the number.

March 18, 2016 @ 5:32 pm
Bonnie Lynne
Bonnie Lynne's picture

Bonnie Lynne
Vancouver Island
Provider: SHAW

Just want to thank you, Stephen, so much for your many clearly written tips and also for providing this space for others to share tips and/or get answers from you.

I actually cancelled SHAW TV early this morning! I have tried to figure out the process of receiving television over the internet before this but did not make much headway in understanding the various complexities involved! So finding your site just now was a quite a delight! Very helpful indeed.

I'll can write again in the next few days with more precise detail on my negotiations with Shaw in the past 6 years. The general problem though was that they did not honour my initial agreement with them which was to match with my contract with telus of $70/month (plus tax)for high speed internet 10, television and phone. They had agreed that there would never be an increase and that after 3 years, I would own the PVR. But at the 3 year mark, the increases started and I've had to push back over and over to get either extra channels or a reduction every few months. Deeply annoying but of course, they did not provide a written document at the outset despite me asking for a confirmation email. Time to write the CRTC I guess.

The other bone of contention for me has been the ever decreasing value for television dollars from Shaw's basic package during this time.

Further, and this was the final straw this morning, I have been observing over the past year or two the tendency for movies to be shortened in content. In the past year, this movement to cut the length of shows presumably to allow for more and more ads, has also crept into most of the old TV shows as well. I watched one particularly butchered episode last night and that was it. I called Shaw and cancelled television totally. Didn't even try to negotiate when they required me to get a more costly version of the internet. I figured I could test the speed a few times and then complain! I intend to use the paltry savings to purchase my own unedited DVD's and VCR's while the original versions still exist. I am guessing that Amazon will be a good source? Appreciate other suggestions.

Hulu used to air these shows in their original length about 6 years ago but will have to avail myself of "unlocator" to see if this is so now.

And with all of your tips, I can most probably obtain the new shows I've also been watching of late (like The Voice, The Big Bang Theory, Frasier, Friends, cooking and home shows) using high speed internet and some new equipment as per your suggestions. The cap was something I didn't discuss with shaw this morning for example.

Again, thanks so much! I can write back another time with real specifics on the many negotiations I've had with Shaw in past 4 years to try to keep the prices down. As with previous writer, at about the three year point, they got much more hardline about how much they would discount or add on instead to make up for not honouring their original contract with me. To be fair, Telus did the same thing to their grandfathered customers at about the same time - three years after the original promises were made to long term customers.

Cheers, Bonnie Lynne

March 17, 2016 @ 4:33 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's an excellent story Bonnie - thank you for all that detail. So excited to hear that you broke up with Shaw just now. When you don't get anywhere with negotiations, you need to show them you're serious by walking away. They should realize that keeping a customer and receiving some revenue for these price-inflated services is better than $0 in revenue from a lost customer.

Your story of being promised something by a big service provider and then them going back on the promise later is not a new concept to me. I had the very same thing happen to me with my cell phones at Bell Aliant about 7 years ago. I negotiated various free features on my plan for 3 years before agreeing to stay with them, do a hardware upgrade, and sign a new 3 year contract. I even had a chat log showing the agent agreeing to these terms with "years" completely spelled out and agreed to. They actually gave me 3 months free and refused to honour the 3 year agreement. I couldn't believe it.

In terms of collecting old DVDs and VHS tapes - Amazon might be a decent source like you say. I would also definitely try Ebay and Kijiji because you might be able to find some gems there for cheaper than you would on Amazon.

Most of the shows you mentioned above are available somewhere online, but you may need to get a subscription to Netflix and/or Shomi to see some of them.

March 18, 2016 @ 11:18 am
A tech guy in BC
A tech guy in BC's picture

Bonnie, depending on where you are in Nanaimo, you may be able to pick up free broadcast TV. CBC, CTV, Global, CITY, OMNI, etc all broadcast from Mount Seymour, which is line of sight to much of Nanaimo. No specialty channels (TSN, A&E, etc), but all the Canadian Networks. I think Global also added a broadcast point right in Nanaimo, so getting that channel should be easy.

Food for thought.

March 18, 2016 @ 5:44 pm
Ian's picture

Prov, New Brunswick, Moncton

I cut cable 10 years ago, I have been streaming on line. There is a really good new box out there in Hubbards, NS FreeTvBox that connect's thru your internet. I never wanted to be locked to the tv (for certain times for tv shows that are shown later in atlantic canada any more). For tv, home phone and Fiber optic I pay 110 a month taxes in. I don't think I could get it any cheaper then that.

March 20, 2016 @ 7:27 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

$110 is a little steep for just Internet Ian. If you've been a client for a long time, I'd try negotiating that down a little. Are you are on the lowest fiber package? See if you can get them to shave about $20/mth off that by calling at asking. Try getting them to match Rogers pricing if they have better prices in your area.

March 21, 2016 @ 10:26 am
Catherine's picture

I have cut the cord or cable for years now. The only cost I paid was for my android tv box or subscriptions I wish to have from online streaming. I also have over the air channels which is about 20 but you need a good outdoor antenna for that. I also have Roku which is excellent. I am so happy I cut the cord and I have saved hundreds of dollars by doing so.

March 22, 2016 @ 1:25 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Do you prefer the android TV box to your Roku Catherine? Curious as to why you would have both because I would think that the Android box would do almost everything the Roku does. Do you just have them on separate TVs?

My Chromecast arrived today so I'm excited to try that out.

March 22, 2016 @ 2:33 pm
nancy's picture

tv service provider: Videotron

province: Quebec

I called my service provider and was told that the "skinny package" consisted of 5 channels of your choice and cost $41.00 including basic dig service,dig tv network fee, rented HD terminal, and HD network fee. So I pay
$50.87 per month after $3.00 bundle rebate for 10 channels + cdn basics. If i was tech savvy I would try internet tv, but as it happens, I feel I am stuck with this cable situation.

Stephen, I do appreciate all your research and help in other areas, eg. credit cards, deals, and tips and so forth.

March 22, 2016 @ 3:48 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Have you looked into the new Basic TV packages they are offering for $24.99. Probably won't be able to do better than your skinny package if you want to keep all the same channels you have - but it might at least be worth exploring.

If you've been with them for a while, ask them if they can give you a loyalty discount for not switching to the competition.

March 22, 2016 @ 11:12 pm
Christine's picture

Here in Southern On we have Rogers for cable, internet and phone bundled. Not sure how it breaks down but the total is $206 and change... We got this as a package when we went over our internet again. There are 4 of us here with computers and/or tablets. It fries me to pay this as I don't watch tv at all, and my younger son watches a few times a year, last time was Daytona. The older boy and hubby have their own tvs and are the reason we have cable. This new package has a bunch of channels and assorted crap I could care less about. If it was up to me I'd cut cable completely. I think the best I can go for any time soon is to go down to one boob tube, but that would mean not having hubby or his tv around. My older boy has aspergers and is very unlikely to be able to live on his own. Hubby is not all that well so it could happen somewhere down the road. Money is tight here and I don't see it getting better so I would love to tell Rogers to take a hike for the money savings and just to be rid of them..... but we still need the phone and internet...

March 22, 2016 @ 8:32 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

There are lower cost internet providers in Souther Ontario Christine like Teksavvy. You might want to look into them to see if you can cut costs.

Keep an eye out for new customer promotions from the competition as well. You might be able to play ping pong with them back and forth every 2-3 years to get your bill down closer to $100.

You could also see if you could get your hubby and son happy with Netflix and cut the more expensive channels out.

March 22, 2016 @ 11:14 pm
Christine's picture

Might have to set the older boy on that search as he is the family tech support here. Hubby refuses to talk about trying to find a better deal and as the darn bill is in his name he has to be involved in the call. Mind you...years ago we looked into satellite TV and he did promise me that if we ever turf Rogers I get to make that call to disconnect from them. For now a girl can dream....

March 22, 2016 @ 11:49 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

I hear you - I hate the "authorized user" problem. Remembering to set up all the authorized users correctly is such a pain. Sounds like a good thing to get your son to help you look into though. Hopefully you can make that call to Rogers sooner than you think!

March 25, 2016 @ 10:30 am
JF Carle
JF Carle's picture

Service Provider: Rogers

Province: Ontario

TV Costs:
- $76.99 for Digital VIP Package
- $2.99 service fee
- minus: $3.08 (4% for bundling with internet, which costs me $68.33)
- $10.00 HST
Total: $86.90 (with internet for only 60GB 'Express': $155.23)

Savings goal: I am prepared to stream everything, but spouse insists on access to some specialty networks (like TLC). We keep TV in the background on news networks, while writing emails, etc. I could see us one day getting a package for local channels only (for local news) and streaming all the rest. We very rarely use On Demand, Netflix: not at all. We consume a lot of sports (hockey, NFL, golf, tennis...) We are not quite ready to take the plunge but will go through your recommendations and consider.

March 25, 2016 @ 10:09 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

It's a process of getting used to doing things differently for sure. Not everyone can elminate cable all together. You might want to consider a skinny package supplemented by some streaming like you said. Another option would simply be to bounce back and forth between Rogers and the competition to get better pricing. Even just calling threatening to switch (competition's offer in hand) could save you a bundle.

March 25, 2016 @ 10:33 am
stanley's picture

Ontario - Niagara side

Been sharing a Expressvu satellite with my M-i-L and B-i-L for the last 10yrs - (the rule was the main subscriber could have up to 5 satellite boxes - and we all live within 5km from each other). Full movie and sports package and we don't tinker with it - just keep paying $79/month (divided 3 ways). Mostly Y & R, Daily Show, 60mins, This Week Tonight - and lots of Jays last fall. Honestly we don't watch TV regularily - its a binge or time-shift thing

Xplornet for internet - 250GB for $69 - this service has stabilized now - was bloody awful over the summer and fall of 2015 - I opted for the 'slow-down' if we go over our cap. Netflix maybe 2h per week.

Over the Air for our master bedroom with a $24 antenna hanging on the wall in the bedroom - I went up on the roof with it but the signal became weaker (who knows) - OMNI, CityTV, CBC, NBC Buffalo, Antenna TV, CBS Buffalo, ABC Buffalo, TVO, PBS, World Channel , YES TV, CTV Barrie but not CTV Toronto (go figure). Kids use internet only (zero TV).

Dumped Bell 2y ago for - $49 for the little voip box and about $1.50/month for North American wide telephone service that I manage myself through their online portal - I ported my old Bell number for $10 so its mine now - saved $59 per month.

Got Chromecast $49, works great though we use it mostly for Netflix. We bought an Android box for $125 and use XBMC or now KODI to essentially steal and stream movies (any and all movies). It is unbelievable the amount of all the ripped and copyright content out there - new movies, old movies, foreign movies - people must just spend nearly all their waking hours putting content up onto the cloud servers for any and all to access - this KODI software thing is rather cumbersome though. We got a Chromeaudio $35 for Spotify premium account $10/mon - this is THEE best thing - any and all music at your finger tips - my Chromeaudio is attached to an old home stereo and is piped in various rooms in my house and on the deck (maybe $50 of wiring and cords).

I also have a wireless Logitec Squeezebox internet radio for listening to Toronto AM radio AM640, CFRB, WBFO, FAN590 mostly - using TuneIn radio app. Sirius used to work on that but they changed their streaming format so I use my tablet for streaming Howard Stern (mostly I listen to his interviews - he is the best interviewer going now)

March 25, 2016 @ 10:24 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sounds like a really SWEET setup you've got there Stanley and I think your comments will go a long way to helping others. Love that you are sharing Expressvu with 2 other people. It's also cool that you are combining OTA with satellite - I bet that's a pretty rare combo. I don't know, maybe lots of people do it for the better quality HD.

I just got my own Chromecast (newer version) a few days ago and it's a really fun little device. I'm considering the Chromecast audio as well. I have a Bluetooth device that does essentially the same thing but I find bluetooth to be such a cumbersome technology. Really impressed with how sleak the Chromecast WiFi integration is.

March 25, 2016 @ 10:37 am
Gary Ludwig
Gary Ludwig's picture

I am truly surprised at the dollars that are thrown out to the cable/satellite cos.
The ability to switch stations easily on cable is the main reason that other systems such as streaming online have not caught on. To stream on line, you need to think out side the box and watch your TV on a 'saved' or"Favorite Site' that you can return to easily. You also need a 50 mpg Speed internet connection to accomadate the downloading of the program.
The online streaming is even more complicated by the fact that many sites that advertise " free' TV/movies are sucker sites that charge more than cable after the 5 day freebie is over.
There is also the security on line with virus,,trojans, and nonsense ads that are contained in numerous off shore torrent accounts looking to troll for your personal information online.
I have researched literally dozens of sites (retired) and have come to the conclusion that there are only 2 to 3 sites online that are outstanding at no charge.
These sites are totally above board, easy to use and contain more movies and tv that the normal person can view in a liftetime. They also contain all the pay sports and rugby games that you could possibly watch
The pay sites such as netflix, hulu, crave, shomi are just skimming the surfaces compared to the ones I am watching. I personally would not waste the monthly fees for the above stations as they are redundant.
A serious streamer also needs a strong VPN account that will protect you and give you access to a variety of sites.
I use Chromecast to cast stream from internet to TV via WI-FI using a desktop, or laptop, or tablet-- very easy to set up.
I like to read my morning wall street on a tv screen. With the chromecast I can watch tv in my office, bedroom tv or main floor tv. Great Stuff!!!
Enjoyed the comments , keep the faith!!

March 25, 2016 @ 11:59 am
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Thanks for the comments Gary. You're bang on that it is the complexity of all of this plus the worry of viruses and other technical problems that keep people from doing this sort of thing. That's why I created my complete guide to Free Internet TV linked to in this challenge. My hope is that people can use it as one page they can bookmark and come back to to open links to their favourite completely safe streaming sites.

March 25, 2016 @ 12:14 pm
Dave Springer
Dave Springer's picture

Service Provider: Shaw

Vancouver Island

Limited TV, internet 5 and basic home phone bundled.

Trying to cut costs, I went from Personal TV to Limited TV on March 1st for $25/month. Great for cartoons, shopping channels and mind-numbing talk shows. Complained to Shaw about the crap selection and pretty sure I heard a snicker. Had to pay an additional $6/month to get CTV News, which is all I want, and watch, so basically I'm paying $32/month just to have one channel. I phoned back wanting to cancel my TV outright but was informed that just having my internet 5 and basic home phone would cost the same as keeping all three services bundled.

Monthly cost for these three basic bundled services are $96/month plus $6 for CTV news channel plus taxes and any long distance phone charges. I am talking Internet 5 here, can't go lower, there is no lower, and is only good for emails and browsing but any video just keeps buffering. Whined a bit and they upgraded me to Internet 15 (Internet 10 disappeared) at no charge for 6 months.

I do not have a cell phone so I need a home phone to keep in contact with my elderly mother, and the internet is required to apply for most jobs these days. Internet 5 and basic home phone are not luxuries for a lot of people, but necessities. Just these 2 basic services together are $93/month plus taxes.

I am tired of all this bundling BS. I left Telus because of their incoherent packaging and now Shaw is becoming just as manipulative. Incidentally, my friend in Denmark currently pays the equivalent of $76 a month for unlimited cell phone, a landline, TV and fast unlimited internet.

Thanks for your informative article. Cheers.

March 25, 2016 @ 3:56 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sounds like you've pared back a lot already Dave. I would try hopping back and forth from provider to provider every couple of years when they have a good offer for new customers come out. Just keep an eye on what's out there and you eventually should be able to get something much better than what you already have for about $100 a month.

I know around here they regularly offer super fast fiber internet, a decent TV package, and home phone for $99/mth fixed price for 3 years. It's probably different on Vancouver island, but I image they have good promos from time to time.

March 25, 2016 @ 11:24 pm
Dave Springer
Dave Springer's picture

Hi Stephen, thank you for your reply.

Out of sheer principle I will never go back to Telus. My 3-year contract with them was an incomprehensible 3 year nightmare. Even thinking about it all these years later takes me to a very dark place. Are you reading this Telus?

When my 6 months of free upgrade to Internet 15 runs out in August with Shaw, I will grumble again and see what they'll do for me. I will follow your previous advice to try to obtain a longer loyalty period.

Aside from the ridiculous cost for my basic services, I would like to point out that Shaw's customer service is first-class. I have no contract obligations, have never paid for any hardware, hardware upgrades or service calls, and I can cancel or add services which take effect immediately with no charge.

I have searched around but splitting up service providers won't bring me any real savings, at this point anyways. Actually just researching it all makes me want to run screaming into the woods!

Thanks for a great website, very helpful and informative. Have a great day.

March 26, 2016 @ 2:20 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Sometimes dealing with big company customer service wants to make me go screaming into the woods as well Dave - you're not alone. That gave me quite the visual when I read that!

March 26, 2016 @ 8:23 pm
Howard Clements
Howard Clements's picture

Current Provider-Rogers
Province - Ontario
Bundled Package (home phone, internet, cell phone, cable tv)

We live in Vaughan and have all our services bundled with Rogers. Internet-Cell Phone-Home Phone and Cable TV.
We are in a new development and can't get Bell ( I've checked with Bell) Rogers has the contract for the cable and wires in this area.

home phone $52.50 less $32.51 includes call display and message and 500 North American long distance Total $21.99
Internet -Ignite 60 $77.99 less $20.00 1 year discount
Cell Phone 500 anytime minutes unlimited incoming text, 6gb data-(12% bundled discount) Total Approx $56.00
Cable-(See below)

Currently paying $$77.00 for digital vip cable package. ($76.99 digital VIP less 1 yr discount $24.10. digital box rental $12.95-digital service fee $2.99 total approx $69.00 plus tax

I saw an add for a company that advertised they would negotiate a savings plan for me on all my services.

When I called on my own I was advised I could save approx $20.00 a month for 4 months then they would raise my rates $40.00 after the 4 month period! In the past I have been able to negotiate my own savings but this time they would not budge on any long term discounts.

The company that negotiated on my behalf takes 4 months of the total savings.(paid to them by myself) I save the other 8 months myself. They negotiate on a year to year basis.

I don't have a newer smart TV. So the ability to stream internet is really not available to me at this time. We also like the stability of cable tv and to be quite honest the internet tv seems quite daunting in order to set it up. With cable you turn on the TV and change the channels and your set. I know the price seems high but we are not quite ready to switch to internet TV. At least until a new smart TV is purchased.(maybe a year from now)

I will give rogers a call again and see if I can get further discounts.

The other issue is my cell phone plan is older and for what I get I don't want to change. If I have to switch cell phone plans I will pay a lot more for a lot less.



March 25, 2016 @ 5:28 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

Although your services are expensive, those are some pretty nice discounts. What is the name of the 3rd party service you use to negotiate for you? It's worth paying them the 4 months if they take the hassle out of it for you and pay for their fee with bigger discounts.

You may not be ready for internet TV - but would you consider VoIP for your home phone with something like MagicJack or Ooma? You have cell phones so you would be relying on the home phone for everything, just a nice to have. The $52.50 regular price for your home phone honestly seems crazy. I can't believe they get away with charging that much. MagicJack with unlimited minutes anywhere in North America costs you $35 per year. You can buy 5 years for $99. That's USD though.

March 25, 2016 @ 11:30 pm
Howard Clements
Howard Clements's picture

Hi thanks for the input.

The company that negotiated for me is called SaveCell (

My monthly cost for services prior to Save Cell was $180.53. (not including cell phone-as they advised it was an excellent rate and could not be discounted)

Monthly costs for services with Save Cell $145.62

Monthly savings was $34.91

Savings in 8 months for me $279.28

They (save cell) takes 4 months savings which worked out to $157.79 (paid by me-to them)

Note: I did need to rent another digital cable box as mine broke-hence the extra cost after dealing with save cell.


Is MagicJack or Ooma reliable? Does it depend on your wifi internet stability?
We are old school and like the convenience and stability of a home phone system ie Bell , Rogers.
If you call 9-1-1 in emergency then with a Bell or Rogers home phone the location will be displayed on the EMS screens.
I have heard that if you call 9-1-1 on Magic Jack and can't communicate (medical issue etc) how do they know where you are call from?




March 27, 2016 @ 5:59 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

They are only as reliable as your internet connection and their servers. For me that has equated to being pretty reliable with magicJack but nothing I would stake my life on. Although I've never used it, I've read you can tell their 911 feature where you live and that will be reported when you place an emergency call.

Again, that's where the cell phones come in. If you have cell phones for important calls or dialing 911, then you're covered there and the home phone is really just an extra.

March 28, 2016 @ 10:23 pm
Florence's picture

Service Provider: Rogers

Province: Ontario

TV Costs:

$47.28 for Digital Plus package with HD PVR rental

Total: $53.43 (bundled with internet and home phone, total $132.51)

New total: $0! :)

Savings goal: Looking to cut costs, and this challenge is a great idea and finally pushed me to investigate further TV and internet savings. I resolved to cut cable but spent an hour with a very nice lady in Rogers retentions, who to be honest gave me a great package of the same cable, upgraded internet tier, and added Shomi for around $100/month for a 2-year commitment on the internet. I accepted, then slept on it and decided to call back and cancel for real and move my internet to a boutique ISP called Beanfield who runs fibre optic directly to my condo for $50/month.

It was really tough to walk away from the retention deal, but I figured I had to try and then go back to Rogers on a new customer deal if I really missed cable TV.

Looking forward to the next challenge!

March 25, 2016 @ 7:05 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

That's amazing Florence that you went back and walked away from the retentions deal. Great to see you testing your limits to see if you can handle life without cable. Are you going to be switching to VoIP for your home phone as well so you only have the $50 monthly internet charge?

March 25, 2016 @ 11:32 pm