I had to go into my local Comcast office last week to swap out my modem, as they were upgrading speeds in my neighborhood (yay!), and I decided to swap my DVR as well. I have had this DVR for at least 6 years, it still works fine, but capacity was limited and it never synced with my Samsung TVs remote. I figured I’m already going in, might as well swap it, save me a trip in the future.

I started thinking about it though, and realized something shocking. I’ve been spending $15/month for 6 years for HD-DVR service. That means in 6 years I’ve spent over $1000 on this device!

A grand. This box, made by Motorola, couldn’t have cost Comcast more than $150 in parts since they are buying them wholesale by the millions. If I had to guess the current components to build these boxes are below $100/ unit. Let that sink in for a bit.

This got me thinking even more, can I buy a DVR outright? Can I bring my own cable box? Time Warner a few years back had started supporting the CableCARD standard, which in theory would let you bring your own compatible device and get the card from them. However, I live in a non TW area, so that discussion is moot; furthermore where are you even going to buy a cable box? Maybe Tivo supports it, but then you’re paying TiVo for the monthly subscription as well as the $250+ initial cost of the box (not really a win). This also reminds me I need to cancel my Xbox Live subscription, seriously $5/month for the privilege of streaming to my 8 year old xbox360 (I never play games on it anymore purely use it to watch DVDs or stream Netflix/hulu)!

Is this all a pointless conversation if “the goal” is to shift to streaming only services and abandon cable altogether? If everything goes streaming entirely anyway, then a $35 one time fee for a google chromecast device might negate this whole issue and pose a huge threat to Comcast et al.

So if I buy a roku, or AppleTV, and ditch cable tv subscription, I’d save like $1100 a year. Maybe I should do it and use that $ to go somewhere… Have you cut the cable cord yet?