Cutting the Cable Cord-
Can you do it? How bad is it?
Are you fed up with your cable TV bills? We were! And with technology, it seemed like disconnecting your pay cable service and using just internet options seemed viable. After all, we have not had a land line in our house since 2002. When we gave up the house phone, it was a small blip on our radar. After doing the math, it seemed logical that we could save $100 or so per month if we disconnected our cable TV service. Why not?
Blog Author Note: This is a very old post, as we have now been without cable TV for about 5 years. However, just last week I was out to lunch with my parents. They said that their Cable TV and Internet bill is almost $300 a month. $300! My dad was asking me some in-depth questions about what it’s like to live without cable tv, as they have to make some changes. And this is a guy who is old enough to have spent some of his childhood sitting around a radio. So I dug up this blog post, dusted it off and added some information.
My first month without Cable TV
Well, we’re about six weeks into this, and honestly, I’m the one going into it kicking and screaming some days. My husband doesn’t seem to care and he gets annoyed that I’m annoyed. But I’m only annoyed some days, I swear! With the new year upon us and lots of families looking for ways to cut household spending, you might be considering this option. Before you do, here’s what we’ve experienced. I don’t mean to sound like a prima donna, honestly, if you knew me, you know I’m not one. But I am resistant to change at times. This is one of those times.
First, we had been using Fios on a 2-year contract that was ending. We had been unhappy with Fios pretty much all along, due to slow internet speeds. Yeah, all those “half-fast” commercials, I call BS. They were much slower than Comcast. With our contract ending, our monthly bill would be increasing about $100 a month. Not to mention, every few months or so, our bill would creep up $5-$10 with mysterious fees. Around here, our only options are Comcast and Fios. So we looked at Comcast and honestly, just weren’t thrilled with any of the packages they had to offer. We really don’t watch that much TV. During our research, I read a statistic that said that up to 75% of all cable subscribers do so because of ESPN and HBO. I’ve never watched either of those networks in my life!
Cut the Cable Cord
So we decided that since we both work from home and rely on the internet, our money would be better spent on the highest quality, fastest internet that we could get. This is just the internet, no TV channels. We also have an HDTV antenna ($40 or so) that allows us to get the local free networks. Right now, we can only get NBC, Fox, and PHL17 with it. No ABC or CBS for some reason. And, it’s glitchy. Sometimes the picture flashes in and out and gets all pixelated. But, at least I can get the Today show and local news if I need it. We also have Netflix which would be $9 a month and Hulu for $4. Hulu allows me to get the ABC shows I like (Shark Tank, The Middle, Modern Family) as well as most of the Comedy Central shows. For December we did the free month of Amazon Prime which also has some shows and streaming video. Here’s my feedback so far:
Netflix: I love Netflix. But we had this when we had cable. Netflix is the saving grace in this big move. Now they have Friends, they have Pawn Stars, they recently added Octonauts. Now both me and the kids have shows that we like to watch. I highly recommend getting Netflix if you are going to try giving up cable, it will be too hard without all the options that Netflix offers.
Hulu: I like their offering, but honestly, getting the shows a day late stinks sometimes. Sometimes, on a Friday night after dinner, I think “Ok, cool, will sit down to watch Shark Tank” and then I remember that I can’t. I have to wait until the next day. I know, I know, first world problem. But I am a creature of habit!
Amazon: Their offering is terrible and you pay as much as $1.99 per show and more. A terrible deal! Glad we got the free shipping for the holidays though.
What bothered me most about not having Cable TV.
So what is so different? And here’s the part where I really don’t mean to sound like a spoiled brat. But all of your TV watching has to be intentional. I noticed this most about mid-December because me and my little guy got pretty sick. All I wanted to do was lay in my bed and flip through my channels, and that option was gone. When you are using services like Netflix and Hulu, you pretty much have to know what you want to watch and pick a show. And then you have to pick an episode. Random, mindless, flipping through the channels is gone. And honestly, that’s how we’ve been watching TV for at least 20 years, right? Mindlessly scrolling through the channels until you find something you want.
Yes, I can scroll or browse through all the offerings. But you have to pick a show and if it’s boring, it’s a pain to click out and start over. I love watching OITNB or catching up on episodes of The Daily Show when I’ve had a busy week. But if I don’t feel like picking a show, I can’t just get sucked into a Pawn Stars marathon. Those don’t exist for me anymore.
My one son only really watches PBS and Sesame Street, so with PBS Kids on the Roku, he’s good. My other son, though, he is a huge fan of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. Very few of those shows are available to him on this new setup and I kinda feel bad. He doesn’t watch much TV, but I was ok with the shows he likes. Which are Peppa, Bubble Guppies and so on. Those are now $1.99 on Amazon which is too high. He has adjusted well and with Netflix offering TMNT and other things he likes, he can watch tv but he is spending less time doing so. He loves watching Clone Wars, Ninjago and a bunch of other shows.
Yes, I am ok with this household decision and we’re sticking with it. I’ll adjust. It was just very different for me initially, because right after we let it go is when we got sick. Now I have adjusted and I don’t think we’ll go back.
If you’re a person who really enjoys scrolling through and channel surfing, this is definitely something to consider. Is the ability to channel surf worth $50 or $100 a month? We don’t think so. I’m happy with our decision.
5 Years without Cable TV
First, think about this. A conservative estimate tells me that we are saving $100 a month by not having cable. Five years later, that’s $6000. That’s an awful lot of money.
We still are using Internet only, and we have an HDTV antenna on the roof. The antenna gives us NBC, CBS, Fox and PHL (a local Philly station we like). That is plenty. The ABC sitcoms that I like are either on Hulu or as reruns on PHL. We have always preferred CBS as our news station and morning show.
My sons are older now, obviously. Gone are the Bubble Guppies days, now he wants to watch Steph Curry win an NBA championship. That has been the only time that no-cable has been an inconvenience. Last year, we hooked up the laptop to the TV and did it that way. This year, I did the free month of YouTubeTV while it was the playoffs and championship.
I even considered the more expensive version of Hulu ($40/month) but in the end, decided against it. That would still be cheaper than a cable package and would give us what we want.
What to watch on Netflix or Hulu
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