How I Pay for My Media in 2023

I was raised always having a television. I even had a TV in my room.

The TV was always on. I listened to music while in the car. I struggled to study because of my media hunger. 

I was obsessed with collecting media. I spent $300 on a Matrox Marvel G400-TV to my Dad’s befuddlement.

I wanted to record live TV and save DVDs to the computer. I was also quick to learn about FTPs and then Napster to get as much music as I wanted. It was comforting to know that all this media would be mine forever, even if their quality were terrible.

I arrived at college with a note on my dorm floor saying I needed to see the dean. They found out that I was reselling Simpson CDs on eBay. A few hundred dollars almost ended my college career before it started. I started collecting DVDs, and when I moved off campus, I used torrents to get the latest shows and movies. I burned them on DVDs and even sent copies to my friend who is serving overseas. He got the nickname Seabiscuit for being caught watching the film on duty.

When I married my wife and moved out of my parent’s house, we decided not to purchase cable. My partner did not have the same television obsession growing up. I had a Plex server setup and had plenty of shows or movies to watch. I also played a good amount of video games.

I continued collecting torrents into the mid-2010s when I made enough movies and had impressionable children. I decided it was time to stop my illegal ways and started buying 4K Discs to attempt to pay for my sins. My Plex server slowly lost its place as my top viewing option.

I started with a Netflix subscription but quickly learned about other streaming services. I, of course, am notoriously fragile and did not want to pay for it, so I used my Dad’s account.

Streaming Services Today

I have access to the following streaming services…

  • F1TV: $79.99/yr. I paid $63.99 ($5.33/mo) during the discount offered during the preseason.
  • MLB.TV: $119.99/yr. I received this for $5/yr ($0.42/mo) at the beginning of the year, thanks to a trade with someone with T-Mobile that offers the service for free each year.
  • NFL Sunday Ticket: $339.99/yr. I pay $119/yr ($9.92/mo) via a college “friend” student discount.
  • Prime Video: $139/yr ($11.58/mo). I pay full price.
  • YouTube Premium (Includes YouTube Music): $275.88/yr ($22.99/mo). I pay full price for my family plan with my brother and father.
  • Max: $199/yr. Included with my AT&T Fiber internet.
  • Netflix: $239.88/yr ($19.99/mo). I pay $75/yr ($6.25/mo) via a deal through my wife’s Verizon plan.
  • Hulu: $79.99/yr for Ads. During the annual Black Friday deal, I pay $23.88/yr ($1.99/mo).
  • Disney+: $130.56/yr ($10.99/mo). I pay $35.88/yr ($2.99/mo) as part of a Hulu add-on.
  • Paramount Plus: $59.99/yr. I pay $10/yr ($0.83/mo) for a Sportsline account that includes Paramount Plus.

Total Face Value Price: $1,664.27/yr ($138.69/mo)
Total Cost to Me: $747.63/yr ($62.30/mo)

The easiest service to remove would be Prime Video. We use their storage offering, but they only have a few shows worth watching. The shipping benefits are gone now; we rarely have next-day options and frequently wait a third day for delivery. Their book and music offerings can be frustrating as they are not complete enough to rely on.

The one thing I still need is to see College Basketball and Football. But with the Big Ten’s new plan, I expect to see more of those over the air or on one of the existing streaming services.

TV Today

YouTubeTV costs $72.99/mo+.
DirectTV costs $79.99/mo+.
Hulu Live TV costs $69.99/mo+.
Xfinity TV costs $100/mo+. (They offer a $60 package, which does not include the $40 in broadcasting and sports package fees.)

Would I like to have mindless television on in the background all day? Yes.

Will I pay $70+ a month for it? No.

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