Cutting the cord: A new episode

Donnie Douglas Contributing columnist

I cut the cord this week.

Actually, I just unplugged it, but after years of contemplation, I decided to go ahead and change my television provider. I had been reluctant to do so because of all the bother, and it proved to be a bunch. But a $201-a-month bill — and that does not include internet — was ample motivation.

The decision was shoved along when I called the company, fully expecting that I would be offered a deal that would be hard to refuse, but instead was told that there were no promotions currently available. I was also told not to expect a pro-rated refund. So the separation, while amicable, was not without tears.

I had a robust package, paying for programming I rarely used. Without the benefit of a full-time job, I had started the task of cutting expenses, and this was a big bite of that apple.

I did my homework and identified a service that many friends swore would meet my needs — heavy on sports, local news channels, and a delectable menu of movies and music.

I learned also that I could piggyback a friend’s service, cutting the price for both of us to — this is the best part — about $30 a month. So the savings, $170 a month, was mouthwatering. As always, 20% will go to charity.

All I needed was a smart TV, which it turns out, I didn’t already have, a fact my buddy and I slowly realized when we began the installation. I didn’t know you could have a 65-inch Sharp TV that was 3 years old but dumb, like me, but such a TV does exist. It has already found a new home.

Since it was pouring rain and my buddy had driven 40 miles to assist me, I decided to go shopping. There are surprisingly few retail stories that sell TVs in Robeson County, and limited in-stock options between the two that we visited, one twice.

But I was determined.

As a result, I ended up with more TV than I needed, one that stretches 75 inches. Even as I bought it, it seemed a bit excessive, but I remembered a buddy’s advice when I bought my 65-incher: “No one ever regrets buying a bigger TV.”

The first hard part was getting it inside my SUV, which could be managed only by removing it from the box at the box store. After we wrestled it inside, I discovered that the TV console table was too narrow, forcing a temporary jury-rig.

That accomplished, we successfully installed the new service, and I became the last resident of a First-world country to have Netflix, adding $12.99 to my monthly cost.

Soon I will be able to fully participate in Netflix conversations. My genuine hope is I don’t succumb and watch “Tiger King.” The return of sports would diminish that threat.

I spent Thursday night trying to figure out how to surf my new network, doing so with moderate success, but I know there is a lot more to learn.

The final chore will be finding a permanent place for the TV, and there is a good chance that it will be mounted to the wall. Right now, when I look at my new TCL, I mostly think I need a bigger house.

So I am in Day 2 of the next chapter of my life as a television viewer, a page that was turned at an unanticipated expense, the purchase of a television and its eventual mounting.

I have done the math. On or around Thanksgiving, I should transition from the red to the black. It will be a great day to celebrate by watching NFL football.