Utilities - Satellite TV

My post last week, and the comments regarding it, got me thinking about each utility provider.  I'm going to take the next couple of days to review each of them.  I will start with Bell - our TV provider.

When we signed up, the best deal was to sign a two year contract.  We are through one year of that.  I believe the account is up for renewal in July 2010.  We can change our programming as much as we like, but cannot cancel unless we pay a cancellation fee which I believe is about $150.

Below is a break down of our Bell Bill:

You can see that as of August 16, I negotiated a $20 bill credit for 12 months.  this effectively 'wipes out' the rental of the HD PVR.  No way would I ever buy one of these boxes because your warranty goes out the window, it's a far better deal to rent (I used to work for Bell).  So for those reasons, we'll just look at our programming.
A year or two ago I bought a HD TV, for that reason - I want HD channels.  It only makes sense.  It truly is a better picture.  But do we need 4 HD theme packs?
It seems that each theme pack is $5. So one theme back is $5, two is $10, 3 is $15 - and four (drum roll please) you get a break on and only have to pay $10.  It would seem that if we are to have HD channels we ought to have one or four.  I think four is the way to go.
We have Sports 1, Sports 2, Variety 1, and Variety 2.  It seems like a lot of sports, but if you check out the options we're only missing HD world - which is not a very good package.
All of the Bell packages start with the digital standard package.  It's like your basic cable. 
This is a non-negotiable.  What this does is give you the channels so that if your show is on at 6pm, it's also on at the US equivalent.
Apparently this is relatively new and also non-negotiable.
I think the digital theme packs is where we might have changes (if we have any - roommates please feel free to weight in on this).
If you have 1 to 4 theme packs they are $8/pack.  If you have 5 theme packs there is a discount and you pay $23, if you buy six theme packs it's $26 and if you buy 7, 8 or 9 theme packs it's $5/each above the $26 mark. Whew! Catch all that?
So if you have 1, 2, or 3 it's less expensive then what we have now but if we wanted four - we might as well have five or six. Four packs would cost $32 so wouldn't make any sense.
So currently we subscribe to:
  1. More movies
  2. Sports One
  3. Sports Three
  4. New and Learning One
  5. Variety One (which I think is now called lifestyle b/c we have some of the lifestyle channels and don't subscribe to them)
  6. Variety Two
We set these up prior to our recent roommate changes.  So people may have changed their TV flavors a bit.
If it was just me, I would pick the following:
  1. News and Learning One
  2. News and Learning Two
  3. Sports One (for Jordan)
  4. Lifestyle One (has slice and Gail Vaz-Oxlade)
  5. More Movies
Phew!  So I see some room to save maybe $3 (or $0.60/each if we went from 6 to 5 theme packs.  That is of course assuming, we keep any 'theme packs at all'.

We COULD decide to eliminate the majority of the package and go to the HD basic package.  This would include the digital standard package ($32),  time shifting ($2), digital service fee ($3), a few free HD channels ($0), plus the rental of the HD PVR ($20)...for a grand total of $57/month + GST. I'm assuming that if we went this basic, Bell would not let us keep the $20 discount we negotiated a while back.  That would save the household $15/month or $3/each.  Doesn't really seem worth it does it?


  1. Divided by 5? No, it really doesn't seem worth it.

    If it were just you and Jordan, than yes, it would. =)

  2. You probably lose $3 each a month in the couch cushions and laundry.


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