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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Killing the cable

Remote controlWe have been meaning to cancel our cable TV subscription for oh, over a year now. It seems like every time we were about to get around to doing it, something was on that we wanted to watch (Olympics) or just plain ole life interrupted it.

When we bought our most recent television a few years ago, the electronics store was having a deal through Comcast that gave us inexpensive digital cable for a year (woohoo! HD!) plus free HBO channels (who knew there were, like, 5 of them). It was a good deal for the year, but then that expired and holy smokes! It got real expensive.

Like the lazy fools we are, we've been paying $100 a month to keep the same level that we got for cheap before. Like I said, we somehow seemed to justify it, but why in the world are we paying $1200 a year for something we don't even watch? I mean, we really don't watch much TV at all.

So, we cancelled it yesterday and will now be getting just basic cable for $9 a month. It still gives us the local channels and some bonus (read: boring government and religious) channels, some of them still in HD. Although I appreciate the high definition broadcast, sometimes I wish they wouldn't still do the same kind of closeups. Nobody needs that kind of punishment.

Anyway, we finally killed off the cable we weren't using and will be saving a bunch of money to boot. Next up, I need to tackle the cell phone costs.

What about you? What kind of TV service do you get? Cable, extended cable, premium channels, satellite, Netflix? Is it worth the cost? With the economy being shaky are you rethinking your entertainment expenditures?

87 comments:

Anonymous said...

I grew up without a tv for years, and when my mom finally got one, we didn't have cable and my sister and I were allowed to choose one show a week to watch on PBS. Now I'm grown and we have a small tv and still no cable. As much as we like movies and quality tv, such as documentaries and educational stuff, there is just no way to justify spending all that money, my husband and I grew up poor and we live way below our means now that we actually have money. We spend 5 bucks and get 2 DVDS a month from netflix instead.

Ceceilia said...

I'm a college student who went without TV for a few years before my current roommates moved in and started watching the 3 channels we get with an antenna. I realized how easy it was to go without it, especially with the news and even movies and other programs available on the internet. I also don't know when I ever had the time to watch TV before. I will say that every once in a while when I'm at my grandparents' house, I find an interesting show... there are even a few with sustainable/environmentally themed ideas that are pretty interesting. Although, I still feel that even though they have upwards of 100 channels now, there is "never anything on" and you just end up mindlessly flipping until you come out of TV coma, realize what you're doing, and turn it off. Of course TLC and the Discovery channel often have very cool shows about nature, but then again we can rent those things these days. I own Planet Earth and have probably watched that more this year than any other movie or show. I've had success enjoying a friend's netflix so I agree that is a worthy way of bringing television entertainment into the home without dealing with all of the hassles of actually subscribing to a cable service. All in all, TV is definitely something most of us could probably do without.

...e... said...

i got a converter box for my rabbit ears and it's been iffy at best: back to the days when you had to adjust the things with each station change, etc. recently it went out for a week and when i had time to fiddle with it i discovered it just had to be turned off and back on for some reason but, in the interim, i'd decided that there would be no more tv for me if it was dead. the set itself still does dvds should i need them and i can get better election coverage on the net. used to say i only kept a tv just in case somebody shot the president or something (i'm old: this actually has happened twice in my lifetime) but that's not a necessary case anymore.

the unused expense i've been meaning to cancel is the gym.

mudnessa said...

i have cut back on a lot and most not for money issues but those were welcome side effects but i am a big entertainment junkie. i have my cable, digital cable, hbo and showtime, bunch of extra channels, gotta have bbc america and the tennis channel and with those come LOADS and LOADS of other channels. i also have tivo which tapes the shows i want to watch and then i can watch them whenever i want. i also have netflix and i mostly watch tv show dvd's with that. i only occasionally rent an actual movie.

there are just something i would really not like to get rid of but i know i could if i had to but i really really really hope that day never comes.

glenn said...

We're halfway there... I'm a big Red Sox fan, and the only way to get the games is to have what they call the 'expanded basic' cable. It runs about $80 a month.
So, from April through October we have expensive cable, then we go down to 'basic' cable the other 6 months.
For the first couple years of doing this, I got the cable company to waive the $13 service change fee, but a year or so ago, the recognized my pattern and stopped doing that. It still saves several hundred dollars a year, though.

livnletlrn said...

We dumped our cable years ago. I think we get a couple of network channels, but we don't watch them. We borrow DVDs from the library and have a good stash of our own movies, bought used from the library sale for $1 apiece. Sometimes my mom will record Mythbusters for us, but can't stand all the commercials, so we stick with DVDs from the library for an occasional movie.

badhuman said...

We have what's called basic cable but it includes 100 channels, it's bundled with our cable internet and cable phone so for the first year we are saving about $30 a month. The internet and phone are paid for by my work since I work from home but cable still costs us $50 a month. We were watching it a lot when husband was out of work but now we probably watch it an hour or two a day. We are considering going without once our discount year is over... I really wish we could pay $10-$20 a month to get the four channels we watch.

zip said...

We got rid of the tv and cable in 1993. We haven't gone back to having cable, but we bought a new tv in 1997 so our oldest son could watch Dutch videos (we're Dutch and were living in France). When we moved to Holland, we didn't take cable either. We watch DVD's and old videos, and we watch the children's news program on the internet. There's a website on which you can watch most programs from the public channels, though at least a day after they pass on tv.

The kids don't seem to mind (they're 10 and 13), and I just say no when someone asks if I saw a particular program on tv.

Sarah said...

No cable here but then again we have never had it as reception is pretty good.

Robin Shreeves said...

We got rid of cable at the end of the summer. My husband wanted to save money and I wanted my children to stop watching commercials. After a few days of wailing and gnashing of teeth, the boys got over it.

We get really bad reception for the non cable channels so don't even try to tune them in. We borrow DVD's of tv shows from the library sometimes (I had a Gilmore Girls marathon one weekend recently) and watch one or two movies a week.

Sometimes at night, I'd like to just be able to turn it on and go mindless, but for the most part, we quickly got used to occupying our time in other ways.

ruchi aka arduous said...

Over here you have to get a TV licence to have a TV, and then you can buy a freeview box and you get about 35-40 channels for free.

So I bought the TV licence, which I think was about £120. Then I got a used TV, and a used freeview box for £5. Now that I've paid for the freeview box and the yearly TV licence, I get the rest of my TV for free. So it works out to be cheaper than I was paying in the US, which is good since now I'm a poor student. ;)

Mimi said...

We have a TV but no cable. It is mostly for games (the hubs and I are gamer geeks) and any movies we may buy. We borrow a lot of movies from friends and then if we enjoy them we just buy them from second spin for like the cost of ONE movie rental. We have never missed our TV. We watched the debate at a local sports bar that we frequent and that was easy. We don't need a TV. Most things you can watch online anyway. NBC shows most of their shows the day after it's aired. I don't do this either, but it is an option

Alana said...

After March Madness I convinced hubby to cut the cable. We do have a digital antenna, but we mostly watch our shows online (our TV is our computer screen). We do have Netflix and love it, especially since you can get a lot of harder to find movies (i.e. documentaries). But college basketball is coming back...hopefully I can just send him to his parent to watch the "big" games.

Donielle @ Naturally Knocked Up said...

We actually don't have any t.v. service. Just the bunny ears! And we used to have blockbuster online, but canceled that last winter after the prices went up. Right now, we'll rent a couple videos a month at our local rental store, but that's about it.

I'd just much rather eat and drive than watch t.v.!

Anonymous said...

I got real tired of not being able to find anything worth while to watch on our 100 plus channel dish network. Finally we canceled it. Don't miss it. I figured the library has a great selections of DVD's and VHS stuff if we really want to watch something. Best part no rental fee and no membership fee. Now that winter is coming up we may go back to movie night and rent something from library. Lately none of us could really give a hoot whether we do or not.

Michelle said...

We lived without cable for years, well into being married and having kids. Then came the dish - uh oh. It was fun for a while, but when broadband internet came into our area, we ditched the dish and went to basic cable (required for the internet) for $10 a month. Somehow, we actually get a lot of channels that we should not for free. I am not sure how I would feel if that suddenly stopped - I have become addicted to CNN.

My work pays for me to have internet at home, so our total out of pocket for the phone and cable is about $45 a month. For now that works for us.

We also get a lot of movies from the library. But, if you rent movies a lot, I highly recommend Netflix - it is a good deal if you like to see a lot of movies and there are tons of kids' shows, TV shows, etc. They rarely did not have something I was looking for and the turnaround time was very fast. And - no commercials!

eco 'burban mom said...

We've always had plain 'ol basic cable for $12 a month. Every now and then when someone mentions a great show (like Sex & the City which I missed entirely) I feel a twinge of exclusion, but I do a happy dance when the bill comes every month! Besides, it's hard enough to get 4 boys and a husband off the couch during football season alone, imagine if we had like 75 sports channels? UGH!

Keri said...

No TV here but we do have an antenna so that my hubby can watch his beloved Steelers play football and my son can watch PBS shows. If the Steelers aren't on the channels that we have (only ABC & CBS), then he finds the game on the internet. With hulu.com, there's really no need to pay for cable, really. Many popular shows are popping on that website.

For our "Not Buying It" project two years ago, we cut Netflix after jhaving it for ust one year. Recently, I decided to get it again because my hubby nd I really enjoy watching movies on the weekends and there are more movie selections. We only get one DVD at a time. I don't know how long we will keep it. If I notice that we are not watching the movies, then we will cut it again. Having Netflix is MUCH cheaper than going out on dates with the hubby (dinner, babysitter, gas, etc)! =D

LisaZ said...

We go on and off with TV service. Recently we had basic cable for about two years, but 2 months ago I cancelled that b/c my DS11 was spending all day watching reruns (good shows but TOO MUCH). The reason we'd gone from dish service to basic was not only to save money but to have less 24 hour TV options for the kids. But then he started watching the marathons of Hogan's Heroes and Beverly Hillbillies and that was too much! We're happy without TV. I can't believe how much quieter life got without it.

wroth said...

We've never had cable in the 10 or so years we've lived together. Now we're in NYC and have pretty good reception on the major networks, and a great PBS station that we really enjoy. The only time I wish for cable is when I hear about shows like Six Feet Under or Mad Men, but we end up renting them for weekend watching marathons now that everything is released to DVD so quickly.

The Purloined Letter said...

We have no cable and a tiny 25yo TV is the closet for elections and the Olympics. We don't have cell phones. I don't have a car so I don't feel like I have to carry a cell, and my husband is just thrilled to be free after having to wear a pager for work for years.

BUT--my brother gave us a Netflix subscription last year and we are totally hooked. We watch on the laptop. And I spend WAY too much time on the internet reading blogs, etc.

Isn't it interesting what we assume is essential? I love seeing how different it is.

KM said...

We have a TV, but no cable and no reception- therefore we rely on Netflix!

maryann said...

We pay about $107 a month for basic cable and internet service. If it were up to me I'd dump the cable TV, there's nothing worth watching on it in my opinion. However, the hubby can sit for hours clicking the damn remote trying to find something to watch, drives me nuts and I'll be damned if I figure out how he can sit on the couch for hours on end watching it but hey, each to his own. Unfortunately, cable stays.

Imzadi said...

Unfortuately, I can't quite kill the cable (I don't watch it much, but my grandparents do). But I did manage to talk them into downgrading to a smaller package (cutting out a lot of the channels we don't watch), and instead of buying the latest movies or renting from blockbuster/netflix, we were introduced to Red Box. Now, when we go to the grocery store, we can rent a movie for $1 a night and return it when we're done. This saves a lot because we'll usually just watch the movies that night and I can return it the next day.

Imzadi said...

When reading through the comments, I saw "the gym" come up as an expense needed to axe.

I started doing that Presidential physical fitness challenge thing (free!), loggin in my activity for the day, and canceled the online weight-loss clubs (my big expense...other than school).

LHT Rider said...

I haven't had cable since college, over 15 years ago. We watch mostly PBS and Netflix. I'm super excited that Netflix is finally about to offer on demand viewing for Macs!

agreenfire said...

I grew up in the boring days of 4 regular channels plus PBS. When I went to college, I gave up TV totally and have managed to still live without it. I have a TV in the house for when I occasionally rent movies. I live in so rural an area, you cannot get cable even if you wanted too.

Tara said...

We have the most basic cable, like you do. I'd be happy with no TV but hub wants it and the kiddo swears she'll die without it. We get DVDs from the library and rent maybe three or four times a year, if someone is ill and in bed or it's a special treat. Same with going to the movies: about three times a year. We go to a locally owned retro theatre that has cheaper seats and groovy shag carpet. Adds to the fun!

Segwyne said...

We canceled our cable service almost 4 years ago now. This last January I ordered once month of cable for my husband's Christmas present so he could watch the Patriots (our local team) play in the Superbowl. We talked about keeping it, but decided we could do something else with that $20/month instead, especially since we can bring ourselves to get rid of the internet where he watches most games on ESPN.com. We have a TV for watching movies, and we budget for 1 movie a week rental plus whatever we find interesting at the library (not a lot, but some). We buy our favorite DVDs and have nearly 100 total. They will make lovely coasters when the electrical grid goes belly-up and the permanent blackouts begin some years from now. We also have a friend who likes to buy his favorite TV shows by the season when they come out on DVD, and he usually lets us borrow them. Fortunately, our tastes in entertainment are nearly identical.

DH and I each have a Tracfone, so we can buy minutes when we can afford them instead of being stuck in a contract. We mostly use them for texting back and forth to each other while he is at work or for emergencies when we are out.

Other entertainment we indulge in is bi-weekly D&D with our friends. It is a great low-energy game that gives us contact with other adults (something we sorely lack here), and the only expenses are one-time for books or dice or miniatures. So now I just have to kick my World of Warcraft habit and I'll be good.

Finding Pam... said...

We have basic cable with one upper tier and it is bundled with our phone and internet service. I could live without tv but I would be lost without my computer. I have a pay as you go cell and I could do without it. I listen to music more that anything.

I do read a lot of books and when our children were little, we played lots of neat games at night,did crafts and played outside.

Live your blog :)

Bellesouth said...

I got rid of all of my cable - even the basic crap - a couple of months ago. I discovered I was going several weeks without even turning my television on.

And you know what? I don't even miss it. Now with Hulu, Youtube and a host of TV network web sites offering streaming content, It really isn't that big of a deal to me.

Katy said...

I have basic cable. $21 a month. No, I don't think I would ever get ride of it. We don't watch that much TV, but the shows we do watch are all on cable channels.

Green Bean said...

Oh I wish I could get my husband to go for this. He's willing to cut back in every other respect but stands firm on the cable (and his DVR). Like some of your commenters, I'd love to trade that in for watching on the Internet and renting from Netflix. I'll keep pecking away.

sunflowerchilde said...

We have a TV, but no cable, and we never use the antenna. We sometimes borrow movies or tv show seasons from the library, and we watch web-based programs, and that's it. Life is so much better without commercials!

jewishfarmer said...

Woah, serious cable costs 1200 a year?!?! I'm like one of those politicians who say "I thought milk was $1.25 a gallon." I just have never paid for it, so that sorta shocks me.

We had cable for two years when we lived in an apartment that came with free cable, but we've never bought it. Fortunately, those two years overlapped with the period in which my oldest son was colicky, and didn't ever sleep between midnight and 5am, so I got real up on ER reruns of the mid-90s.

Since then, we've lived out in the boonies - no cable here. My MIL gives us netflix each year as an anniversary gift, and with rabbit ears, we can get a staticky version of television, if we really care. I guess after February, we won't even be able to get that - and I'm not heartbroken.
We watch movies and the occasional tv series periodically, and my kids have some DVDs, but it just isn't on that much here.

What I'd kill for is cable internet - I have dial up, because there's no cable and we live in a hollow and don't get wireless either.

Sharon

Anonymous said...

We read almost every night or on weekends do alot of game nights.
We do have a little old tv for dvd and video watching. My nephews would rather watch a movie at our house then at home on their giant screen tv because they say it's more "cozy" in our basement piled under lots of blankets.

For big sporting and political events we go over to my brothers or friends house. It's more fun with a big group anyway and we bring beer and/or wine over.

Our library has tons of great movies plus lots of tv shows. So if the mood stikes, we can watch
2-3 episodes of Scrubs without commercial interuption in one sitting.

I would love to get PBS without subscribing to cable but the mountains make it impossible to get the signal so we do without.

diana

Micah Mae said...

I'm a lurker here, but our family doesn't have any cable at all. We want our kids to be able to entertain themselves without being zoned in to the tv. We play games (Scrabble and Phase 10 are our favorites) and go outside when we're bored. Otherwise there's always plenty of stuff to do around the house. :)

Rosa said...

Sharon, you can get a converter box for your bunny ears, you don't have to get a new TV. They keep running a PSA about it using a TV set from 1955 on our local PBS channels.

One of the reasons we've put off the conversion box thing is that, right now, kid's programming is on PBS for a set amount of time. So he gets to watch half an hour or an hour of TV he likes and then it's some serious issues talking head show, so he turns it off. I don't have to be the bad guy & limit the TV. With digital, there's a whole PBS kids channel so I would have to set limits & have that power struggle.

I never could figure out how people could afford cable, but last year at charity-check time I realized that we "spend" about $500/year on donations to our public & community radio stations & PBS, plus another $100 or so renting videos or paying late library fees on them. That's more than basic cable would cost us. But it makes me happier than giving cash to Comcast.

The expense we keep meaning to cut & not doing is the DSL through the phone company - our city put in citywide wireless, we just have to get signed up & change some hardware out to do it, and keep not getting it done.

Rosa said...

p.s. I just realized the charity thing made it look like I donate extravagantly. Not really - it's just that we have an independent jazz station, a community radio station, an NPR station, and now a local PBS station we became members of when we realized it was the reason we get to sleep in til 9 on Saturday mornings.

Anonymous said...

We use Beyond TV (software program for your computer) to set up recording for tv shows we want to watch, and then we watch them when it's convenient for us. I like having cable, because there actually IS a lot of useful, informative and/or entertaining programming on. Until we got Beyond TV, the cable wasn't really worth it, as the things we'd want to watch would be on at times that we weren't actually watching tv.

And with Beyond TV, we can keep episodes around indefinitely. Handy for a couple of shows the kids absolutely fell in love with (Discovery had a 3 part series about dinosaurs that has been watched and watched and if it had been on VHS that tape would have been worn out. heh)

Laura said...

No TV for my partner and I. I haven't had a time-suck device for years and I don't think I will ever go back. We watch movies occasionally on an old iMac. I have found that many of my friends are sans TV too. Birds of a feather, I guess.
When there are major events to watch (debates, etc.) we go to a bar or invite ourselves over to a friends house who does have TV. It's kind of nice because it makes it a much more social event instead of hermitizing us in our individual homes. :D

JenRob said...

Don't have a tv. Gave it away when I moved a few months ago, but I didn't watch it much to begin with. I watched the debates online, and occasionally download a movie.

Kristijoy said...

I haven't had cable since it was free in college, so maybe 7 years ago? I stopped watching TV about 2 years ago and I just sold the TV set itself a month ago. We watch DVDs on the computer, so it's a multifunctional device. I buy DVDs I really like (movies and series), used, and we rent from a local mom and pop video store for stuff we don't want to own. Netflix usue a lot of gas shippin gall those DVDs around, downloading movies kinda sucks. I refuse to support big chain video stores.
I don't miss it.
Especially the ads.

kimberly said...

i have a tv, but i don't buy any kind of cable. haven't had cable in about 4 years... it's a waste of money and it's a distraction i'd rather not have. i actually left my tv at my parents house this year, 'cause i didn't even want to be distracted by watching dvds on it. i don't miss it... there are other things i can do with my time.

Lynnet said...

We don't have cable, never have had. We live in a foothills valley so don't have live TV either, and WE DON'T MISS IT for one minute.

We have a television set and Netflix, and our public library has a lot of DVDs including lots of documentaries, so we can watch something whenever we want. No commercials. No ratty infotainment news programs. The news I see is what I read on the internet.

Now, a high-speed connection would be tempting. No DSL here, no cable, no T1 line, nothing but dial-up and satellite.

Jamie said...

We get CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and PBS here all just with our rooftop antenna. No cable...there's no reason for us to pay for it, and we have *plenty* to watch without it. We got the digital converter boxes, and they're hooked up, but we don't use them yet because some channels aren't digital yet and it's a pain to go back and forth. But if we do use the converter box, we also get a local 24 hour weather channel, and the CW as well.

I've never paid for TV...my parents did for awhile, but cancelled it when money got tight again. I don't see any reason for us to ever pay for it, and hubby agrees. We'll watch what we can for free, and anything else we're interested in we can always rent (we just rent from Hastings).

Young Snowbird said...

The writer's strike last fall was the last straw. It was difficult to know what was on when, and then when the show I wanted did come on, it was a rerun. Haven't had the tv on much since. Don't have cable. My tv is a HD flat screen (15 inch!) so if my computer screen goes out, I can use the tv screen instead. I do use the tv for hearing my music cd's and watching dvd's that I either rent at a video store, or get from library. Don't do that but once every three months or so. I have an HD antenna but it doesn't get good reception. Mostly am on the computer doing stuff online anyway.

Got rid of my land line phone since mostly telemarketers were calling. Didn't want to pay $32/month to get telemarketer calls. Use the $32 instead for online internet. Use Skype for telephoning via computer. Have a Go-Phone (cingular) that I fill every couple months with $25.

If I could get a Skype phone, then I would save even more money, but they don't have it in the US yet.

I had cable tv only one year . I really miss HGTV! And I'd like to see season 3 of Big Love (HBO) but I am patient. I can wait until season 3 is out on DVD. I saw all of Sex and the City via DVD rentals. And season 2 of Big Love.
I have watched a few shows online on NBC online.
I like that people are going to pubs and friends homes to watch something special.

Michelle said...

We have the limited cable that comes with internet through Comcast. We rarely watch TV, but it gives us the option. We mostly watch movies and TV shows from the library or shows that my sister-in-law downloads for us--we're currently on a big Doctor Who binge. This winter we may sign up for the $9/month Netflix plan so we can have access to the online movies, but so far I'm happy with my free options.

Anonymous said...

We actually totally cancelled cable and went to an antenna and dtv converter box. We actually get more channels - we now get 26 - than we were paying for with basic cable -we got 23- although, yes 5 are religious channels that we will never watch. I get 3 PBS channels (love 8 Create!) and Qubo, which my son loves. So, with the coupon from the government, with what we were paying for one month of cable we never have to pay for it again. :)
-Melanie in AZ

Cynthia said...

TV-less since 2002.

After an evening of Friends, Frazier, and I don't recall what else, I noticed every show on that evening contained all the same sexual inuendos used to get a laugh. I Love Lucy didn't have to do that. I knew my nieces were watching and realized creativity was being stunted and "garbage in -garbage out" was being perpetuated through meaningless crap.

I decided to pull the plug. Live life instead of watch others live it through tv shows. I have recently canceled the internet in the home and use the library (55 minute restriction) for the internet. I now have my life in my own hands and squander less time in front of a monitor, via computer or TV.

mnultraguy said...

Nothing here. We do not watch TV for the most part other than movies we rent. Maybe 1-2 times a week, we turn on the tube to "veg", but end up turning it off and reading.

kaat said...

We don't have a tv and even basic cable in the house but we have a one-movie netflix deal (%5 a month) and watch netflix movies online on our computer... at least, we would if we had/made time to watch.

We don't miss tv at all. In the evenings after DD has gone to sleep, if we can't manage to entertain one another (which, you know, happens :), we read books or make art or surf the net or do bills.

Michelle said...

I have the most basic cable package available, and that only so I can have high-speed internet. I also bundled my land line in with my cable. If it weren't for wanting (yes, wanting, not *needing*) high speed, I'd ditch the lot. I don't let my children watch anything without my approval, so it's mostly PBS or History Channel. I detest commercials!

Riana Lagarde said...

we killed the satalite service two years ago and just used the antenna for last year and now we are TV FREE ---it feels GREAT. i am so happy to not hear it droning on and on.

melanietai said...

no tv since i left home 17 years ago. my boys are 5 and 7 and it's a non-issue. i let them do computer time on weekends, but they don't even know we could watch a video on the laptop! i've been doing a suprising amount of youtube recently - mostly for music.

ragamuffin yogini said...

We have basic cable...the locals and the "boring" channels. We chose Netflix and for about $20. a month we get three movies at a time....usually one of those "movies" is an old TV series. It is a great way to watch "TV", on your schedule and with no commercials.

Tara said...

I adore Netflix. Wouldn't give it up - I love my movies! And I really love that you can get serial programs from them too, so we do that sometimes. We have DirectTV at $100/month - HD, plus some package or other, plus Starz & Showtime. We're discussing cutting back and relying more on Netflix. Every time we get close, HBO or Showtime starts a new series that we get hooked on. The most basic DirectTV package, though, is still upwards of $50/month. It's something we're wrestling with.

Anonymous said...

We still don't have cable -- just plain old broadcast with the bunny ears on top of the entertainment centre. That reminds me that we need to check if we can trade up to my parents' old TV (newer than our current loan from DH's parents) before we buy the converter box to ensure continued reception. We enjoyed Netflix but cancelled it for a while because we didn't have the time to watch even them.

--Ave

debby said...

I live on a mountain and no cable=no television. After years and years of no tv, we got free cable for a year when we changed internet providers. After a year, we'll again be television free. We watch movies from the library and get our news on the internet.

Ben and Jennilyn said...

We have TV, and leave it unplugged until my little one convinces me he should watch Thomas the Tank Engine, which we have on extended loan from the library. If we want to watch TV, we watch the free stuff from the TV companies websites, which is posted the day after it broadcasts.

My husband is a movie addict and this limits our to watching TV/movies to about once or twice a week.

EJ said...

No tv here (no cable, no reception, no nothing), haven't had it for most of my adult life. No cell phone coverage either. Ah, the benefits of rural life!

jennconspiracy said...

I also grew up without TV for years - watching Lawrence Welk, the Osmonds, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys or Sean Cassidy with lots of snow and static was a big treat for us.

We had cable when we moved to town after the divorce -- so we would rush home and flip the little A/B switch and toggle the primitive box to find interesting shows -- I remember the first broadcast week of MTV!

Through junior/sr high school, we had basic cable and took advantage of free previews or offers to watch movies. When technology advanced, we rented a heck of a lot of VHS movies.

In college, I think we had cable but my boyfriend watched fishing and hunting shows on it a lot. I haven't had cable in 7 years since I moved out of a place where I had it for free -- I just rent movies from Netflix and download episodes of shows from the torrents (like Doctor Who or Weeds) to watch in one go.

I hate commercials and I rarely watch broadcast tv. I don't usually have time to watch tv evenings anyway so cable is a waste.

Ruchi - I can't get my head around the tv license thing - what happens if you have a tv and no licence? No box? Do you still get channels or do they have means to find TVs that are occasionally tapping the air waves without a license?

Rosa - no such thing as extravagant donations to public media - I always fall for the KQED "renew now!" notes and send them over $500/year!

koolchicken said...

I wasn't really allowed to watch tv when I was younger. When I was permitted maybe an hour it was PBS. When I got older my Mum got rid of cable all together. Now that I'm older I have a tv and a dvr with cable with some movie channels. I'm not sure what kind of cable, that's my boyfriends domain. I do watch with him but when he goes to work I put on shows I've recorded mostly for backround noise. We also have Netflix and get three movies at a time. I don't really care about the cost cause we don't really do other things. For example the last movie I saw was Prince Caspian and I can't remember when I ate out last so the spending kind of evens out. In any case even with the economic decline I don't see us curbing our spending any.

stella said...

We have never had cable, and never will. We mostly watch TV on the computer (comedy central has all of their shows on line, etc).

Our TV is actually our computer screen (need a big screen for *ahem* work since my husband works with video games.

My dad and I share a cell phone account, and my husband doesn't have one. We don't have long distance and either use the cell if it's on our family plan, or we use a prepaid calling card. Phone bill and internet are $50/month.

Scripter said...

I have gone back and forth with cable over the years, from having no cable and just antenna TV, to having digital cable with DVR plus some extra channels (which was ridiculously expensive), to now having a basic cable package which is bundled with an internet service deal (a happy medium at last, I think). Cable is one of those things that a lot of people feel they need when it is in fact a luxury.

jennconspiracy said...

Cable is one of those things that a lot of people feel they need when it is in fact a luxury.

I totally agree with you - I know people who live paycheck-to-paycheck who refuse to cancel the cable. It's utterly insane. I barely have time to read books or do housework - where do people have the time to watch all this tv that statistics claim Americans watch?

gail said...

I have been without television most of my life and have never had cable. Or an antennae, which is why I can only get one or two channels, depending on the weather. My kids grew up with little tv and no cable, one turned into a TV junkie and the other watches about an hour a week. My kids got me Netflix and I've stuck with it, the 2 DVD plan. I was never a movie watcher but I find that I enjoy curling up in my down blanket with a glass of wine to watch a movie. I put anything that anyone recommends on my queue, and have seen a wide variety of interesting stuff as a result -- loved the 7-Up series!

frugaliving said...

We got rid of our TV a few months ago, and I can't say that we regret it at all. We can still watch our shows (Heroes, Ugly Betty & House) online, either through the network sites or Fancast. Netflix has a really great Watch Instantly feature, which we also take advantage of (and only pay $8.99/mo for two DVD's a week = ~8 DVD's/mo).

I read a statistic that said that TV Viewers spent and extra $200 a year (aside from cable subscriptions) because of so many persuasive commercial ads. Children are most often the target of these ads because of the "pester power" they have. Noam Chomsky said that there's "filler" and "content" on TV. The shows are considered the filler, and the ads the content. That tells me everything I need to know about the goal of TV. It's primary design is to advertise. No thanks!

Jane said...

Let's see, my husband's tv belonged to his grandmother. It was top of the line when she bought it months before she died. He's had it for nearly 30 years! My TV is a portable black and white job that was covered with smurf and garbage patch kids stickers- that dates it sometime in the 80's. Thankfully, both work well in LA w/o cable. That is until Feb. Then who knows what we will do. Not sure if I want to invest in a converter box for such an old TV. I am sure we will procrastinate.

selina said...

i havent had cable since i moved out of my parents house 4 yrs ago. i probably wont get cable or the like anytime soon... it'll just encourage me to watch more tv & thats the last thing i need.

its just broadcast channels for us.

Marcie said...

We have no cable what so ever since Sept and its been Great! We always have movies!!
My son has been incredibly different and MUCH more attentive since we shut it off. It makes life more simple...

Deoxy said...

At the moment, we have basic cable ($10/month), but no TV. No, we are not crazy. Being a two geek household, high speed internet is one of the last things we would cut from our entertainment budget if things got too tight. In our area, comcast has a $15 discount if you have two services, so having basic cable makes our internet $5/month cheaper. Typically, we do have a TV. We just don't watch much. So now, in pursuit of a decluttered appearance for selling our house, the TV was sent to storage indefinitely. We kept the two computers. :)

Anonymous said...

Broadcast only (no cable) with an antenna - I only watch TV if there are major disasters or stuff like presidential debates. I have so much more free time and save a lot of $ too both from cable and not buying junk in commercials. I read library books and if I feel like watching a movie I can always find a DVD or video from the library that I want to see.

Adrienne said...

Where I live, no cable= no TV channels at all (unless you have some sort of huge antenna on your house). I had the cheapest cable for years and that was fine but in anticipation of everything going digital the cable co. changed it's service plans so that just to get the major networks and essentially nothing else is $25. What a ripoff! Yet I'm not willing to go with no TV... so I quit smoking and am using the money I used to spend on cigarettes for the "Bronze" cable package.

Chile said...

We've gone without TV in the past, sometimes for years. A couple of years ago, a friend gave me her old TV, a little thing with rabbit ears. We slowly got in the habit of watching it but we sure as heck don't pay for cable or satellite.

We gave up renting movies as the cost climbed and I rarely remember to pick them up at the library. However, I have a decent collection of movies at home and we enjoy watching these over and over. (LOTS of times.)

Am I the only one bothered by the environmental impact of netflix movies? Lots of people criticized me for not paying my bills online yet I see little criticism for the envelope use to mail movies. And, the weight may be small, but in aggregate, those movies are burning up more carbon in mail delivery.

jennconspiracy said...

Netflix *does* have an "on demand" movie service - you can just watch all the movies from your computer and never receive any in the mail. It works really well.

Chile said...

Jennconspiracy - that's a good option, especially since we already watch all our DVDs on the computer. Thanks for pointing that out!

Sadraki said...

No TV for us. We have netflix and watch stuff on the computer. You can get most anything online these days.

Ellen said...

Netflix only. We don't miss TV at all. In fact, when we went to a friend's to watch the Olympics, even with the cool commercials, we were turned off. We love Netflix! And YouTube, for the debates and lively Letterman!

Amy said...

We canceled cable earlier this year and are really happy with our decision.

We now use free digital broadcast TV which is a good alternative to basic cable (more channels, better quality). Hulu.com is great for those few cable shows we watched (Daily Show, Colbert). We already had a Netflix membership and just purchased a Roku box for our TV, which gives us access to about 10,000 on demand movies and shows for free.

We've been blogging about our experience at CancelCable.com and my husband just created a Showfinder tool which lets us find and watch our favorite shows without cable TV.

Rev. T. Monkey said...

I unplugged the cable over a decade ago after I told a friend we'd go out for a beer "as soon as Walker Texas Ranger is over." That was when I knew I had a "problem" and had to go cold turkey. Now when we want the televisual fix, which is pretty often, we watch VHS tapes or DVDs. As far as our six-year old is concerned, this is how everyone watches the tube.

Crunchy Chicken said...

Oh man, you know you need a nine-step program when Walker Texas Ranger starts to take over.

MoneyMateKate said...

Basic cable, because otherwise I get no reception (Manhattan... skyscrapers... concrete jungle...). And I opt for NetFlix over premium channels.

I live alone and work from home, so having the tv on in the background is "company" for me. You know it's bad when you find yourself getting excited about new shows hitting the 100-episode mark, which means fresh fodder for cable reruns. Yay NCIS, House, CSI New York, Crossing Jordan!

jennconspiracy said...

dood, sounds like you need a cat, not a TV!

Anonymous said...

I haven't had tv since I moved to university. Here in Canada, peer-to-peer filesharing is legal, so I've been downloading ever since. I can't imagine having to pay to watch commercials!

I can't tell you how many times I've gone home to visit relatives and they've said "Have you seen that commercial where the guy..." "That reminds me of the one with the dog..." These people aren't talking about the shows, they're talking about the commercials!

I am now the worst sucker once a commercial comes on tv. I can't sit there and continue my conversation, because I'm not used to the tv trying to interrupt me. I find I have to fight the urge to watch the tv screen when a commercial comes on.

Lovely comic on piracy.

Sweetpeas said...

We didn't have a TV at all until I was 6, and then for most of elementary school we (kids) were only allowed to watch PBS and only one or two shows per day at that. It was no biggie, and even now I can't JUST watch TV, I usually have it on if I'm home alone, because I like the noise (otherwise I imagine noises that aren't there LOL) but I have to be on the computer or reading or SOMETHING, can't just sit & watch it. So yeah, if it were just for me, getting rid of the TV altogether would be no biggie.

That said, dh loves his tv, including cable, though I don't think we have HBO right now? It's all his department LOL. So it will stay. I did request, if we were going to have TV/cable, that we also have Tivo or equivalent, otherwise my kids start wanting to plan their day around their favorite show(s). I don't have a problem w/ them watching most of what they watch (it's generally pretty educational, and I certainly can't take personal credit for them being able to explain friction vs gravity at age 5, thanks Magic School Bus!! LOL), but I do NOT want them planning their day around TV, so I'm the one who wouldn't want to give up the DVR, being able to record what we want to watch and then watch it on OUR schedule (and w/o commercials) is pretty important to me LOL.

SparkieHB said...

My new room mate has cable which I will watch a program about 3 to 4x's per month. I agreed to pay for 1/2 the cost because our internet is linked to the service. I think cable is a waste of money. If you think about it, the average service is about $100 per month. Now think about how many hours it takes for you to earn it. It makes me wonder why people complain about not having any money at the end of the month. Besides so many shows repeat weekly. My idea of basic cable would be a pay as you watch system - That plus Netflix and your set. Also, I've heard that reading a book, hobbies, exercise,gardening, volunteer work would be better for our brains.

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