I love upgrades that cut costs – especially when cutting costs means we can offer more upgrades in other areas of our units. This time around, we’re taking a closer look at cable and satellite TV.
Fewer people than ever watch TV – in the traditional sense. It’s all about convenience and tuning in on your time – not adhering to a network’s schedule. There are exceptions to this of course, but as much as cable and satellite companies push their ‘watch it now’ features, they’re not nearly as effective as they lead you to believe.
Our previous approach with tenants was to try and give them more comforts than they have at home. Take the electric can opener for example. It’s a simple, effective and useful tool that doesn’t sell very well. It’s an extravagance – that’s the point! TV and premium channels sell very well, but what’s the point if they don’t fit your needs or if you can’t even use them?
After close examination, we’ve decided to ditch cable and satellite* and we have seven really great reasons why it’s beneficial for our tenants.
- We spend thousands a year offering premium Time Warner Cable TV and Premium DirecTV to our tenants. We get requests all the time for additional packages, like sports channels (we give our tenants whatever they want, by the way). I’ve personally closed apartment rentals with the premier cable package we offer combined with a 42” HDTV.Those packages are luxuries that force us to make hard financial decisions about other expenditures that might be more appealing to a broader base of clients. When there’s a less-expensive alternative that provides a better experience – why not go for it?
- Satellite is all about positioning and DirecTV requires West Coast viewers to face southeast. If you’re not on the right side of the building, DirecTV/Dish Network isn’t even available to you. If you’re one of the lucky ones, then enjoy watching your connection break down with a single wind gust, knocking your dish out of place by less than an inch at least once every 1-2 years.
- Most people aren’t computer savvy enough to have custom-built “personal TVs” to record shows directly to their PC or a home theater computer. Those people were the ones breaking into their DVR (voiding the warranty) to upgrade the hard drive for more space. Everybody knows a “tech guy” who can rig something together (I’m one of those), but ultimately, people want a simple alternative to watch their shows on their own schedule, or watch a movie instantly, and best of all – without having to sit through commercials.
- I hate commercials – especially when they’re terrible infomercials about simple tasks.
- Digital TV has taken over the market. Windows and Apple tried to merge TV and the Internet with the creation of Windows TV and Apple TV. They both failed miserably. Just ask anyone with a Windows or Apple TV. Feel free to let us know when you find them.
- TV-connected apps are rising in popularity. Netflix almost single-handedly brought down Blockbuster and is now nearing its 20th birthday. According to Harris Interactive, the top apps for Smart TV owners aged 18-35 are YouTube, Netflix and Amazon. For people aged 36-47, Netflix leads the way, followed by YouTube and Amazon. These apps can easily be accessed via a Roku, Playstation or Wii (no, we’re not putting a PlayStation or Wii in every unit).
- TV is expensive, let’s face it. We call cable companies bad names and claim to not watch much TV, but, we actually do watch a lot. Pretty much everyone has a favorite show, and they never miss an episode. The absolute cheapest price you can pay for TV is to sign up for one of those $30/$30/$30 TV/Internet/home-phone deals – and then get ready to pay big time for it the following year when your deal expires.Not only that, what you’re actually getting is standard definition TV at almost the lowest tier. You’ll also need to rent the receiver, which you don’t find out about until you see the bill. Then you’ll pay $16 for HBO because you have to see Game of Thrones (I do). Then you’ll rent a Time Warner/Comcast cable box, which is part of the package (first box is free with DirecTV), but you’ll pay $5.99 to rent the modem or more for a router-modem. Last but not least, you’ll unfortunately discover that you signed up for the second to slowest Internet package offered.
Enough of that – we’re done trying to keep up with MB speeds and package prices and we don’t think our tenants should have to either.
The “standard Internet package” is now finally fast enough to support online streaming. Our tenants deserve it, and I’m going to give it to them. Not just the Roku device though, we’re going to give them Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu-Plus all for free. And, HBO-GO is in the works.
If you have questions about our units, feel free to send us an email or leave us a comment.
*Ditching cable and satellite doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get special channels. If you want to watch the MLB channel or live streaming news or listen to Pandora, download it and sign-in. There are several free channels and extras accessible via Roku. Tenants will be responsible for any channels that aren’t free, such as Pay-Per-View. Check out how Netflix, Amazon and Hulu-Plus compare and then remember you’re getting all of them.
Photo credit: robpegoraro / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)