21 September 2013
Life Without Cable or Satellite TV
So we have been without cable or satellite, which basically means without TV since May. I know there are lots of people out there who are considering how they will adapt their entertainment expenditures in light of the constantly rising costs of cable/satellite service. Plus there is so much new technology available for home entertainment viewing. I thought it might be good to put together a post with a realistic evaluation of how it's been.
First I'll start with the Cons. I have to say that we have never been big TV viewers, but I did work in the TV industry and at one point having a great cable package was a great tax write off. We were a clan that watched mainly eight to ten of the several hundred stations stations and I think I can honestly say we really still miss those channels. We also missed all the stuff we lost on TiVo that kept for quite a while when we had satellite TV service. It's a bummer when there is a big event on cable, like a sports event, season premiere, etc. I still have a season of a cable favorite show I'm hoping will become available free sometime soon somewhere. We have definitely missed TV in some ways.
The other big con is that an antennae does do much in the way of reception when you live in a crowded urban area. It's impossible to get good antennae reception even with it in the window. So we really don't watch regular free TV. The other con is that the big TV in our living room is an old one. We were kind of waiting for it to die, which it seemed like it would at any moment, before we invested in a new large TV. It still hasn't died, but to watch anything other than DVDs on it we would need a converter box and an antennae, which is totally not a great investment at this point. I'd much rather put that $75 towards the cost of a new TV. So we rarely every watch anything in our living room.
We did invest in Netflix, which is just $8 a month. We have access to a lot of television series and a decent number of movies. If we are going to view anything, it's usually on Netflix. We have an HDMI cord that we can use to attach the laptop to the TV in the bedroom, which is only a couple of years old and has all the update technology.
Watching TV shows on network websites has proven to be frustrating because there are so many interruptions/commercials and there are often an annoying number of breaks in the connection and buffering. I have also found that even with the big networks their online video is poorly organized. For instance I was trying to watch one TV series and at the end of each episode the previous episode in chronological order would load, meaning one you watched before, rather than the episode that would come next. Annoying.
I've taken the opportunity to watch a few series on Netflix that I would recommend like Parenthood and Friday Night Lights. The Man has seemed to find enough entertainment on Netflix to fill his viewing and relaxation time as well. The Bug has access to all the kid shows she likes on Netflix, PBS kids or YouTube.
I really miss HGTV and Food Network, I'll say that. There are a lot of episodes online but it's not the same as knowing you can turn in on a certain night for your favorite show or catch a marathon. I also miss catching movies on satellite. Watching everything on the computer screen or the small, newer TV in the bedroom is a bit of a let down. But other than that, I'm not missing much having no TV access. We definitely don't miss the $80 or more a month satellite bills.
I do like that we are less inclined to turn the TV on and just sit in the living room watching TV for hours. It doesn't get turned on and then stay on at night. I think we do more with our time and having nightly kiddo homework and bedtime come just at that time of night after dinner where the TV often gets turned on in most homes anyway.
So we've saved a lot of money and are no worse for wear. It's a hard thing to let go of, but in the end I think it was a great decision and hasn't been that missed. How about you? Have you "cut the cord" or are you thinking about it? What motivated you to do it or what is keeping you from pulling the plug? I find it is such a personal decision and I enjoy hearing other's perspectives. Where are you in the TV or no TV universe?