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Cable Technology Feature Article

February 09, 2010

Stop the Presses: Tech Entertainment Costs Money

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Recently the New York Times interviewed advertising agency founders John Anderson and Sharon Rapoport of Roanoke, Virginia, who estimate they spend $400 a month keeping their family of four entertained at home.

How can one do that, you ask? The Times found that the family had $30-a-month data plans on their BlackBerry (News - Alert) Tour cell phones, that the couple’s teenage sons, Seth and Isaac, “each have $50 subscriptions for Xbox Live and send thousands of texts each month on their cell phones, requiring their own data plans.” 

Throw in the DirecTV (News - Alert) satellite service, high-speed Internet access and Netflix for movie nights, movies, music and television shows bought through iTunes, data plans for smart phones and you're talking some real money.

Turns out the family is not all that unusual, either. “By 2004, the average American spent $770.95 annually on services like cable television, Internet connectivity and video games,” the Times reported. That went up to $903 by 2008, and for 2009 it's expected to be $997.07 with “another $1,000 or more for cell phone service.”

It's an issue some savvy companies are catering to. “Verizon FiOS (News - Alert) TV and Verizon FiOS Internet services can cut your entertainment expenses per month by one half or more,” runs a recent ad from Verizon (News - Alert). “Since you can't really do anything about the cost of food, or the cost of things like rent and other bills, one area that a lot of people try to cut back on is entertainment.” 

And wouldn't you know it -- Verizon has a product for that: “Switching to high quality super fast Verizon FiOS TV and FiOS High Speed Internet can give you more quality time with your family and friends and cut down your entertainment expenses without cutting down on the fun.”

And maybe saving money isn't even the best reason to cut back: “ Finances were not the only reason that led us to rid our lives of television service,” writes Matt Jabs on DebtFreeAdventure.com. ”Both my wife & I were fed up with the incessant commercials and endless materialism being shoved down our throats.” 

Because much of what TV offers you can now get cheaper elsewhere: “We now watch some of our favorite shows on the same laptop I’m typing up this blog post. NBC.com offers all its shows over the Internet as soon as they have aired.  The only show we really want/need to watch over the Internet is The Office.” 

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire