Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Call me crazy...seriously!

I received an advertisement from AT&T for their U-Verse TV and phone service and am seriously considering doing it. We already have AT&T high speed DSL and local phone service, so adding something else wouldn't be hard, but at the same time I'm torn since I don't know the future and money is tight. Part of me wants to take advantage of a pretty good offer (at least for a year), while the other part of me doesn't want to waste money or even appear to be spending above my means. So basically, I need someone to tell me "this is a terrible idea! Don't do it!"

Here are the reasons TO go ahead and do it:
  • I can afford it. I pay the phone/Internet bill and could absorb the extra $20/month adding TV would bring. Each of us pays a certain amount of bills to keep the utilities on and my responsibility is phone and Internet. The current phone/Internet bill is just under $70/month which includes very limited long distance phone service since we have cell phones (well, Katie and I do!). With the U-Verse phone, we would have 1000 long distance minutes plus things like caller-ID so Mom wouldn't have to use our phones when she has to make long-distance calls (which she does pretty regularly for church stuff). The three together (TV, Internet, phone) would be $90/month.
  • Come February 19 (unless President Obama has his way), we will no longer receive our analog TV signal like the rest of the country when the switch to digital TV takes full effect. While I do already have a digital tuner, I was less than happy with it as our antenna basically needs re-aimed and even that is no guarantee our picture will improve. It was annoying enough that I disconnected the tuner a few months ago and opted to use the analog signal until the last day!
  • Having U-Verse would mean I have things like ESPN and other sports networks (and Nick @ Nite!!!), something I've always enjoyed having and watching.
OK, now for the drawbacks:
  • While I can afford it now, I worry about graduation and the potential for a time when I don't have a job or help from my grandparents. Me getting any kind of job this summer would solve that problem, but still...
  • It doesn't look good when you're in a house about to be foreclosed on and you're ordering life's extras like TV service, especially when the house is on the market! Along with that, if the unthinkable happens and some crazy person DOES buy this house, then what? While highly unlikely, it is not impossible. Granted, even if we cut every non-essential, we still couldn't afford the mortgage payments, but it still doesn't look good.
  • Of course we don't really need any of this as we seem to be functioning quite well without extra TV channels or 1000 minutes of long-distance. Mom simply uses my phone for making any long-distance calls and when we want to watch something that is on a cable channel like ESPN, we simply go over to either of the grandparents' houses, both of whom have AT&T U-Verse TV (and HD TV's at that!).
  • I'm not sold on Internet phone, which is basically what AT&T U-Verse Voice is. My main worries would be an extended power outage (which we had late this summer) and in dialing 911. One of the biggest reasons I like having a landline is due to what happens when you dial 911 on a cell or Internet-based phone. It doesn't go straight to your local emergency dispatcher like a landline would; instead it either goes to the nearest dispatcher to the call tower you make a cell call from (which may or may not be in the right jurisdiction) or it first goes to a call center that redirects the call to the local dispatcher, which can add time PLUS is dependent on making sure they have the correct current address. Granted, I have had to dial 911 once in my life (incidentally, it was done on a cell phone, so I know that one for sure), but you never know.
As you can see, I have reasons to go either way. Chime with additional insights and recommendations as you feel fit!


Unknown said...

We just a few weeks ago cancelled our landline all together. Saved us about 50 a month, then we cancelled the cable...100 channels and NOTHING on! Trust me. A million reruns and inappropriate tv...especially for the kids. Even watching a "good" show...they showed horrible horrible commercials. That saved us another 50. I would see how much it would be to add another cell to your plan (ours 10 a month) and get your house number transfered to the new cell and give it to your mom so she doesn't have to use your phone. Then if you have to leave the house at least you can take your phone number with you on the cell...so you don't have to deal with changing numbers with everyone. Hopefully that won't happen!

Jon said...

I've thought about the landline thing, especially since it would give my mom a cell phone. My worry in doing that is the 911 thing I mentioned in the blog, what would happen in the event of a long power outage, and having cell minutes wasted by unnecessary calls, especially in using an existing number (which we would...we've had our current phone number for over 30 years!).

As for TV, I have really cut down, though part of it is because we don't have much to watch. When I had cable when I was in Rexburg, I really enjoyed Nick@Nite, ESPN, History Channel, and a few others like the Weather Channel! If I didn't love watching sports this wouldn't be an issue!

Andy said...

Like I said on the phone, if having the extra channels (and a good picture) will help you relax in an otherwise tense situation, then go for it. But if you feel like you'll watch too much TV and your grades/calling/sleep will suffer, then don't get it, and watch what you want at the grandparents. You also want to be careful about contracts; there's a slim but real chance of not having a house for the service to come to before a year is over. The 911 things is a valid concern, but not a huge one. Plenty of people (like us) only have cell phones and no landline.

Jon said...

Good points...I'd say the Internet can be much more of a distraction than TV, though I haven't had cable here EVER and haven't had cable since I was in Rexburg...

I don't think it would be that hard to get the services transferred to wherever we ended up if we lost the house sooner than expected, though I would make sure of that before signing up.

I guess it boils down to do I want to get this discounted rate for a year or can I just wait until I have some more stability?

Unknown said...

Steve says: More Stability! Plus the 911 thing is mute if the new plan goes through the internet anyway...

Steve also says: Hey that extra money we save on cable and phone gives us some extra spending money for more important things...like piano lessons. :)

Becky said...

I agree with Andy. If it will help you relax, then seriously consider it. I know how you watch sports, so you'd get your money's worth. I wouldn't worry about the 911 thing too much. I called 911 from my cell when we lived in Cuyahoga Falls and I didn't have any problems like the one you had in Chicago. My only concern would be the contract. They SAY 90/month, but they always skip this fee and that, and it will be closer to 100 or more. We have all our services bundled, and it's more than they said it would be because of those hidden fees. As far as the house goes, if you move out of the house to a place like Grandma's, where they already have that service, it should just be shut off. If the house is empty and no one is using the service, it theoretically should be disconnected. Anyway, I don't know if that helps or not, but just be careful. I would pray about it, too. The Lord can help with all decisions, even ones that have little eternal significance like this one.

Love ya.