Just Fuzzy: Leaving Cable for Roku + Amazon Prime

Sometimes you just have to tune it all out and focus on something else, or at least, I do.  Outrage overload is bad for the soul, and I’ve almost certainly earned a gold medal in the outrage overload event this week.  What better time, says I, to launch a “Just Fuzzy” thingy in which I’ll write about *gasp* not politics; I’ll tag them in the header “Just Fuzzy” so that anyone not interested in my inane ramblings can skip them.

I’m so rusty in this whole writing about random things that catch my interest thing that I actually had to dig back through the Fuzzy files to see what that even sounded like.  Apparently, I was once interested in things like my laptop (oh for those simpler days!), buying a new chair (okay, it’s really about complimenting good customer service), and nothing at all.  And just so you can appreciate the coming inanity of “Just Fuzzy,” I also wrote bizarrely-lengthy posts about Brussels sprouts, Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs, and “stuff.”  Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Today, I’m torn between talking about some of my favorite “escapist” television shows and my garden (well, “garden” is rather generous; it’s actually a bunch of pots on the porch), but I guess I’ll go with the tv thing.

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting rid of cable (now satellite) for years, and I’m finally there.  I just have to pay the penalty for canceling before my contracted two years, and I’m free.  I honestly can’t stand the leftist crap that makes up most of cable (I’ll just use that as the catch-all term) television, but I worried that I’d be “out of touch” or unable to watch the debates or whatever breaking news, blah blah blah.  I can get all that online, and should internet access mysteriously go down in America, watching television will be the least of my worries.

The big hurdle for me was that I like to watch tv.  No, scratch that, I love love love to watch tv.  I’m a couch potato, a lazy troglodyte who can spend–quite literally–whole days watching movies and tv shows.  I’ve been addicted to Buffy, Lost, Battlestar Galactica (the remake, of course), and Firefly.  Well, to be honest, the Firefly addiction came after the show was already cancelled (inexplicably and wrongly), but it’s good stuff. How on earth was I going to get my tv / movie fix without cable?

Enter Roku.  Was ever a better product invented?  Okay, we’ll tip our hats to the printing press and sliced bread, but Roku is awesomeness.  By the way, there are several versions, but I wouldn’t even bother with anything beyond the basic version–Roku LT–unless you’re an HDTV person, then go with Roku 3. The others just don’t cut it as far as I’m concerned.  Roku LT has what you need to make just about any television an internet-streaming miracle, who needs “instant replay” when you can get the same thing by hitting your left arrow button and then play?  The 2XD also makes no sense to me; if HD is your thing, just fork out the extra one-time $20 for the Roku 3.  Do keep in mind that I’m not the most technologically-savvy woman, so take all that for what it’s worth (probably not a whole lot, but I have the LT and love it.  In fact, I’m getting another one for my other tv as soon as I dispense with this dish thingy).

So I have Roku, and I love it. But I’m not sure that I’d love it so much if I didn’t also have Amazon Prime.  Sure, I try to spend my money on companies (etc.) that aren’t blatantly anti-conservative, but there’s just no substitute, yet, for Amazon.  When there is, I’ll go.  In the meantime, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Amazon Prime (and no, neither Roku nor Amazon are paying me to write all this, promise): not only do I get guaranteed two-day order delivery (a serious plus now that I live off the beaten path), “free” shipping (it’s not even close to free, the shipping is just built in to the price, and it pays to shop around locally before buying on Amazon), and a variety of lending and buying privileges on my Kindle (another wonderful thing), but I get a wide wide range of television series and movies that I can watch for free.  Well, again, not free, you pay the Amazon Prime “membership” fee (currently about $90 for the year, so a steal when you’re ditching about that per month in cable).

Since I got my Roku + Amazon Prime, I’ve watched gazillions of great shows, from old favorites like Buffy, Firefly, and BSG (yes, I watch them over and over, what can I say?) to new favorites like Downtown Abbey, Sons of Anarchy, Sherlock, and many more.  I am in couch potato heaven–all I need are some bon bons (okay, I mostly hate bon bons, but you get my drift).  I’ve watched a lot of “serious” stuff, too, from the David vs. Monsanto documentary to the quite wonderful Fat Head (a much-needed, sane response to the Supersize Me idiocy).  And just this week, Amazon got Grimm (which I’ve been dying to see) and Alphas, another show I thought I might like.

I’ve also watched (with no remorse) several seasons of Pawn Stars, Top Shot, and Cake Boss.  Yeah, yeah, I like that kind of stuff, what can I say?  I’ve caught a couple of movies, but my “No Buy” list is getting longer with every leftist hater insulting the Tea Party, conservatives in general, and America, so I’m happy to skip most of them.  Even if they’re “free” with Amazon Prime, they probably keep track of how many people watch what, so I don’t watch anything with anyone from my “No Buy” list.  Ever.

A couple of downsides to the Roku + Amazon Prime (with no cable) set-up:

1. A lot of shows that I would like to see, or see more than one season of, are $1.99 per episode.  Yep.  Per episode.  Add that up, and you’re better off buying the whole season on DVD and being able to watch it more than once.  Of course this limits what I will watch on my Roku.

2. You might put a show’s season or a movie on your “watch list” only to find that when you go to watch it, it’s suddenly $X.  Hmph. (The other side of this is that a show’s season or a movie that you want to see may be $X one day but be “free” the next, so it does pay to keep track.  I watched–and regretted watching as it happened–One for the Money for free after declining to pay an extra $9.99 to watch it, over and over?, for 72 hours.)

So apart from the crazy pricing (and this is true on Kindle, too, who’s going to pay almost the same thing for an “e” version of a book as for the actual book? not me), the Roku + Amazon Prime thing works out great.

If you don’t want to do business with Amazon (they’re on your “No buy” list), then there is still a LOT of free material you can get.  You can watch clips from Fox News, whole episodes of Fox News Sunday, movies and old television shows with the most annoying and misplaced “breaks” on Crackle and other “free” options.  If you’re a conspiracy nutter, there’s every channel known to man available–some for free, some not.  Oh, and yeah, there are free versions of everything from the tabloid media (CNN, MSNBC, etc.) to al Jazeera.  I skip those, but then I did on cable, too.

Over all, I love Roku with Amazon Prime; not only am I (going to eventually be) saving money, but I’m also watching stuff that I want, when I want.  By the way, you can watch Netflix, HuluPlus, the Blaze, Disney, and a host of other channels (some pay, some free) on Roku, but I tend to stick to Amazon Prime (and their “Newscaster” which includes Fox News).

Some great shows I never would have seen but loved: Alcatraz, Sherlock (yes, again), Jekyll, Sons of Anarchy (yes, yes, again), Robin Hood, and Red Dwarf.  Some old favorites I was happy to watch again include Fawlty Towers, Black Adder, I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, and Good Neighbo[u]rs (aka The Good Life).

I still, technically, have cable, but I never ever watch it.  I watch my Roku or my DVDs, and when something happens, like a Congressional hearing and, next year, debates, I’ll just watch them online.  I’m happy to leave the expensive and unsatisfactory.  Why do I have to have crap like MSNBC and OWN when I would never ever dream of watching them, except perhaps for the comedy potential?  Why must I pay for ten versions of ESPN when I don’t watch sports, and when I do, I would certainly not watch ESPN after what they did to Hank Williams, Jr.?  No thanks, I’ll watch what I like when I like and pay for it as I go (or in one annual sum).

Capitalism. It does a wallet good.

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29 thoughts on “Just Fuzzy: Leaving Cable for Roku + Amazon Prime

  1. Yeah, I’ve played with canceling my cable subsrip several times, but I can’t bring myself to part with the boxing. Just can’t do it. I even have HBO just so I can watch its boxing. I tend to buy the movies I want or Netflix ’em, and I just don’t watch the networks at all. So outside of sporting events and a couple of guilty pleasures– “Storage Wars” and “World’s Dumbest” I don’t watch TV that much. Ah well…

    You know the other thing I can’t bring myself to do is go watch a movie in a theater. I mean I haven’t seen a movie in a theater since “The Dark Knight Rises.” Is it just me or does Hollywood suck even worse? I couldn’t even watch the last Star Trek movie. It was edited in– not just confuse-a-vision– but pretentious confuse-a-vision (which is infinitely worse) replete with bad sets. I can’t even imagine what the friggin’ Star Wars movie are going to look like. Well, I might check out “Ender’s Game” (but that’s in like November or something) and maybe the Superman flick. My sister worked on “Pacific Rim” so I might have to look at it, even though I hate that director’s movies.

    It is kind of weird to look back at the “simpler” times of not so many years ago. Before I began political blogging, life was so much less cynical. Even though academia was so rife with Leftism, I could kind of ignore it or be bemused by it, and let it slide. Maybe we can get that feeling back some time soon. Who knows?

    • Boxing? Wow, I would never have guessed that one. But then, I do like to watch the Red Sox play, so who knows what people will like? 😉

      I can get Storage Wars on my Roku and have thought about watching it because I do love Pawn Stars and that spin-off American Restoration. Maybe I’ll give a watch now that you say it’s good. Dunno about World’s Dumbest, i seem to see that every day on the left (heh).

      I haven’t been to see a movie in the theater since my dad was up visiting me in Massachusetts. We went to see Flags of Our Fathers (I just did a quick search, and that was in freaking 2005!). Gosh, I must have seen a movie in the theater since then . . . but the only other one I remember seeing in the theater was Walk the Line (also 2005, must have been a banner year for me, heh). The only movie I know that I wanted to see in the theater recently (erm, in the past eight years) was 2016. I didn’t make it, but that’s one I would have paid to go and see.

      Hollywood totally sucks; it’s not just you. I was heartened by the massive response to the Bible series on the History channel (didn’t catch it, though). Funny how huge wholesome entertainment always is, but Hollywood insists in turning out leftist lunacy. Guess it’s not that funny (haha or peculiar).

      I amused myself for a couple of hours reading some of my old posts; God, I was almost a different person, far less cynical and far less fearful of my own government. Those were the days! I’d love to get them back, but it’s not going to be easy. Or soon.

      • I was a kick-boxer for seven years. I fought in the ring a number of times, but never professionally. So yeah, I watch a lot of boxing and my wife is a big fan. We have some animated discussions (no, that isn’t a euphamism for fighting, we’re both just very into boxing and she’s very strong willed… even when she’s WRONG, JK LOL) about boxing strategies, favorite fights, controversial results, etc.

        I didn’t say “Storage Wars” was good. I said it was a guilty pleasure. So sample at your own risk. And there’s about eighty shows about buying storage lockers. The one I mean is on A&E and isn’t as good since Dave seems to have left it in the middle of season 3.

        I saw “Flags of Our Fathers” after “Letters from Iwo Jima” and was really disappointed. I had trouble in Flags keeping track of which guy was who, plus they threw in their mothers in and then it was all a jumble. Too bad. I had high expectations because “Letters” was a gorgeous film.

        Yeah. Hollywood keeps losing box-office money to push ideology– but they have other sources. I’m betting that the Matt Damon sci-fi movie (can’t think of the name– Elysium maybe?) coming up tanks if they push the 99% crap that the film is using. Besides I hate Matt Damon’s acting.

        But Hollywood is panicking. That’s why they’re pushing 3-D and making a bunch of sequels and remakes. They figure on a built-in audience for those and the novelty of 3-D.

        Oh well, shifty accounting and third party money can only get you so far…

  2. Welcome to the club. When we gave up cable (actually satellite, we can’t get cable out here), we never looked back. I am not sure what services Paul uses to stream the shows we watch, but he has been able to find most things we want to see. I came home awhile back to find him enthralled with River Cottage – which I had been dying to see for ages but couldn’t find in the proper format to buy (the dvds were all in format for UK last time I had looked). The strangest thing about not having TV is that we no longer see ads for upcoming movies (which we don’t see until they come out on DVD anyway). So I have to kind of deliberately pay attention there. Otherwise I don’t miss it at all.

    • I didn’t even think about not seeing movie trailers, Tina! But as I was just saying to Yukio, I haven’t been to a movie in the theater in 8 years (hard for me to believe!).

      I just did a quick search, and while I can get River Cottage, it’s one of those $1.99 per episodes that I wrote about. So hopefully it will go “free” soon so I can watch it.

      I’ve been doing a sort of weening process off and on for a while now, and for the past month (probably more), I’ve made it a point to never watch cable (dish here, I’m in the boonies now). I just wanted to make sure that I could “deal” with not having it, and it’s been easy-peasy. Don’t even miss it. The only thing I really watched was the news, anyway, I was horrible about watching shows, even ones I liked, at the set time (I’d catch them online the next day usually).

      Anyway, thanks so much for your comment and show recommendation, I’ve added it to my watch list so when it goes free, I can watch it! yay!

      • Miss Fuzzy, let me take this time to thank you for your lovely habit of responding to the commenters on your posts. It is a nice touch that lets us know you appreciate the effort your readers make. It is one of the reasons I so enjoy your blog – regardless of what you are blogging about. 🙂

  3. I had to give up cable a couple years ago. It became too expensive for hubby and I. Right now I’m relegated to free TV and the internet. It is one of the best things to happen to me. I have some much more peace than I used to when I’d hear the news constantly in the background. I started hearing about Roku a few months ago. I need to learn more about it. Thanks for the great info Fuzzy.

    • I can relate, Teresa. And Roku is definitely worth having, as far as I’m concerned, even without Amazon Prime. The link with the different versions has a grid thing that says what all the features are (there are very few, but I like that simplicity).

  4. Ima going to check this out pronto! I’m a sporadic TV watcher and this sounds like it’s just up my alley.
    Thanks for the info, Fuzzy.

    • It’s too awesome, DS, and there is quite a large variety of shows available via Amazon Prime (for free, w/sub). I didn’t list all the ones I’ve seen since I got my Roku 18 or so months ago, but it’s a LOT. I did finally watch the last few seasons of Lost after I’d ditched it when it became clear the writers / producers were struggling for ideas and would never make it all make sense (they didn’t, but it was still fun to watch those last seasons). Anyway, I’m not sure what kind of shows you like, but you’ll definitely find something to watch. There is just about anything available, including newer shows (I’m still waiting for season 2 of American Horror Story to be free and for season 5 of SOA to finish and go free. Oh, and for Downtown Abbey’s last season to go free. So I guess there’s the wait thing, unless you really want to see something without waiting, then you can always pay the per ep amount).

      Gah! I’m rambling. 😛

  5. We ditched cable a couple years ago due to the cost. We can’t even watch local stuff anymore because we have an old tv, no antenna and I couldn’t be bothered with one of those stupid boxes. I only really miss being able to watch tcm once in a while.

    • I think that Roku can hook up to even the oldest tvs. If you’re at all interested, you can read the reviews on Amazon (I learn more from those than from the product descriptions).

      There are a gazillion classic movies available on Roku, and I love to watch them. Everything from Bringing Up Baby and Arsenic and Old Lace to Hello Dolly and Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid. Also some others that I have on my watchlist: We Were Soldiers (such a good movie), Escape from Alcatraz, Pi, The Graduate (you know I’ve never seen that!), and on and on. I love the tacky horror flicks, too, have a good many of those tagged to watch later. 😛

    • It will have something on it, once you get it set up (takes just minutes), you go to the Channel Store and look for stuff to watch! If you have also got Amazon Prime, add that channel and away you go!

  6. You are my sister from another mother!! I relate to having odd/varied interests prior to waking up to politics (thank you Breitbart!).
    We got rid of cable for about 1.5 years. I really REALLY missed Fox News. Missed it so much I joined a gym so I could watch Fox in the morning! And also, the Real Housewives are my guilty pleasure (don’t judge!)…so sometimes I would workout twice a day so I could watch the Housewives at night.
    Finally, I figured I was probably spending just as much on a gym membership coupled with gas – quit the gym and signed up for Directv (which, out of Comcast & Verizon – they have BEST customer service!). Lately I’ve been thinking about ditching it for the reasons you name (my contract had expired)- but man, I love my DVR and HGTV & Food channels.
    After reading your post, I’m seriously considering Roku (never even heard of it!).
    Oh, and the second season of American Horror Story? A Horror. Nothing like the first one. The first episode was all about taboo sex with gratuitous violence. I never watched another episode.
    Thanks for this post!!!

    • LOL, Laura, “sister from another mother” made me laugh. Really laugh. 😛

      I didn’t use DVR, and I thought I’d miss HGTV and food channels, too, but . . . oddly enough, I haven’t. I do love Cake Boss, so I’m hoping that the later seasons go free sometime (you can watch seasons 1-4, I think, maybe 5) for free (w/Amazon Prime).

      Definitely not judging on Real Housewives, I’ve caught a couple eps of that but wasn’t a fan, but I have watched more than my share of Top Model, Project Runway, Amazing Race, Survivor, and other reality television shows. And back in the day, actually watched Real World and (so shameful to admit it) Flavor of Love. Ugh.

      Anyway, I’d never heard of Roku, either, until Glenn Beck launched his own internet network. That’s why I got it in the first place, but I’ve since unsubscribed to that channel (now Blaze TV). I liked watching Beck on Fox at 5 p.m., but on his own channel, it seemed he was hardly ever on, with guest hosts too much, every Friday off, etc. I just couldn’t justify the expense any longer.

      I read through hundreds of reviews of Roku on Amazon, clicked through the Roku site, etc., and was finally sold on it. I do love it, and as I said in my post, will even get a second one for my other tv so I don’t have to keep dragging it from room to room. Lazy me.

  7. Was really disappointed by the Roku channels for Fox News and SyFy. Been cable-free for about 5 years because I found I was only watching perhaps 4 channels on a regular basis. But I was really missing Fox News so I bought a Roku box. I thought I was going to get live TV, not a bunch of short clips. 😦 At least TheBlazeTV includes full versions of all their shows, but it’s not my favorite channel)

    What really kills me is the economics of the situation is so twisted because cable companies are so big now that they can push the TV networks around. I think of it this way: A viewer pays $60/month cable, and divide that over 200+ channels, that’s less than 30 cents per channel. The cable company takes some portion of that, and whatever is left over goes to the content providers. Even factoring in the fact that big name channels are going to get disproportionally more than the small ones, that means Fox is making what, $1 per viewer per month?

    I would gladly pay $5/month for Fox or SyFy. These big-name channels would make WAY more per viewer if they streamed their channel. But they can’t because the cable companies put them into all-or-nothing contracts – they have to either avoid streaming completely and have cable companies to distribute their content, or ditch the cable companies completely and rely on streaming only.

    I’m really excited for the day the dam breaks; the day a big name network decides to kiss the cable companies goodbye, and starts making vastly more money because of it. Other companies will see this, and the cable companies will have to switch to data-only, and make their profits there, or simply go out of business.

    • Great comment @Hired Mind. I agree, there are only a handful of channels that I watched, and only a few programs on each (except Fox News). The upside is that you can still watch the whole show, you just have to watch it in segments and usually about 30 mins or so after it airs. No commercial breaks, just click to the next segment!

      There are some channels you can subscribe to (like the Blaze), but as you note, mostly the networks and cable networks are all bound by contract not to offer such an option. Shame, really.

      Actually, Glenn Beck is the first (I believe) to leave network and cable and go exclusively online. He’s now working his way onto various cable and satellite providers like Dish, so I guess the model still needs work.

      Apart from being forced to pay for hundreds (or in my case, scores) of channels I never watch, I also hate that they have all these hidden fees and murky taxes and “charges” for who knows what. It won’t be long before the cable/satellite and networks start going after Roku and its ilk in an effort to get more cash or shut them down; ditto Congress and the states; they’ll have their hand out for taxes before long, too. I’m enjoying it while I can.

  8. With lots of films and TV programmes available from great places, Roku instantly delivers that perfect title to match your mood. Start with the best Netflix experience out there, featuring up to 1080p HD video plus support for English subtitles. Hundreds of free films from Crackle? Check. New TV programmes and films get added all of the time so you’ll always have something great to watch.

    • Thanks for the great comment, Nathan! I don’t use Netflix, but I’m sure that it’s quite good for many people. And yes, Crackle has a lot of great movies (and TV), but the thing about them that I can’t stand is that the commercials are so jarring, even on tv shows. Instead of breaking at a natural break (such as one planned for on tv), it just breaks. Suddenly. Often in the middle of an actor’s sentence! Too annoying for me, I can’t watch Crackle (or many of the other free stations that do the same thing).

    • Hi Natalie (sorry I missed this comment back in June! I only just saw yours and the next one because someone else commented here!). Anyway, I used to watch shows and stuff on my pc, but I much prefer watching them on the television (it’s bigger and easier for me to get comfy on the couch than at the pc), but this is a handy tip for traveling, I think. Thanks!

  9. There’s also a way to play youtube video workouts on Roku – add the roku facebook channel, and post a youtube video on your facebook and you can watch the video on the youtube roku channel. There’s some way to set the videos to private so your facebook friends don’t see all these videos you’re posting on facebook.

  10. I’m confused, as best I can tell, Pawn Stars is not available on Amazon Instant or any other service on Roku. I checked on canistream.it and it confirmed this. Likewise with American Restoration. Did I miss something?

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