Why I don't rent, or buy subsidized devices

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 2, 2015

I recently made the decision to check out IP TV at home. While I don't watch much TV anymore, I just wanted to check it out and watch the occasional show (mostly football) on TV. That's what I'm paying nearly €20 per month for anyway in Germany (every household does, even if you don't watch TV at all).

Anyway, I had the option to rent a box from my Internet provider or buy the box directly. The receiver would set me back about €5 per month as a rental or €200 if I'd buy it new (used offers starting at about €120).

While renting surely has advantages, you may get a replacement quickly and upgrade to the next model when it comes out without extra costs, it is more expensive if you calculate the costs.

At €5 per month, I'd break even after 40 months if I'd buy a new receiver, or 24 months if I'd buy used. This looks like a long period but considering that devices are not changed that often it is more feasible economically and that is not taking into account the resell value of the receiver.

If you pay more for renting cable boxes or devices, you reach the break even earlier. American households pay $231 per year on average for renting cable boxes for instance. While US American cable companies sometimes seem to lock boxes so that customers cannot just buy a box directly, that is not the case in most parts of the world.

Another example. Instead of getting a new mobile phone contract and device subsidized at the same time, I made the decision to buy the smartphone directly instead.

If I'd accept the offer to get the subsidized phone, I'd pay more for it than buying it retail. That's again not taking into account that you get an unlocked phone right out of the box that you can use any way you please.

On top of all that, my provider rewarded me for not selecting a new phone by dropping €10 from the monthly payments I made for the mobile plan.

On a two year plan, buying directly saved me more than €300 without sacrificing anything.

Buying directly is cheaper and it puts you in full control of the device. You can modify it, for instance by installing new firmware without having to fear repercussions (if it is rented).

You can on top of that sell the device at any time, for instance to get a newer one and make some of the money back that you have spend buying it.

I bought the router as well instead of renting it from the provider. This allowed me to pick a better model which offered advanced functionality that the basic routers the Internet provider offered did not support.

There is one caveat and that is that you need to have the money in first place to buy the device right away.

Another issue that you may run into is if cable companies use special software in their cable boxes that may limit functionality when third-party boxes are used. This is often the case in the US where some functionality becomes unavailable.

As far as routers are concerned, Internet providers may sometimes refuse support if you are not using devices they are offering.

Now You: Do you buy or rent, and why?

Article Name
Why I don't rent, or buy subsidized devices
My top reasons for not renting devices, and not buying subsidized phones.

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.