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Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: Cutting Out Cable

8 comments
I watch a lot of TV. Not as much as I used to, but still a lot. In my house, we eat dinner in the living room while watching the news, and the TV is pretty much on all evening, even if some of us are on computers or reading books for part of it. But someone suggested cutting back the cable the other day--possibly getting rid of it entirely.

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This isn't necessarily a bad idea. Would it be a major change in our daily lives? Oh yeah. We'd probably still get plenty of screen time, just more of it through computers and free or subscription streaming. We might become more productive: more reading, more writing, more cleaning, more exercising! (Don't hold your breath on that last one.) Sure, there would be lots of long silences and more work involved in finding something silly to watch when you need a brain break, but we would adapt eventually. Or crack and bring back the cable. ;)

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While I sometimes like to have the TV on for background noise while reading, I've also found I do more and better reading when the TV is either muted or off. (Hence my retreats to the basement when I'm on a schedule and need to get lots read.) But I also completely understand the desire to shrink or do away with the cable bill.

I did a quick search to see what kinds of tips and other services are out there. One article had a step by step for eliminating unnecessary costs from the bill, and several people suggested getting an antenna to catch local stations and/or using a live TV subscription like Sling TV or Playstation Vue. (Comcast is supposed to release a similar non-cable service in 2016, but it looks like you have to get internet from them to use it?) If you're interested in exploring the idea further...

Additional Articles:
How to Watch All the TV You Want Without Paying a Cable Bill
Should You Cut the Cord? (w/Slate Calculator)
How to Trim Your Internet Bill After You Cut the Cord on Cable
7 Streaming TV Packages That Will Let You Cut the Cord For Good
The Cord Cutter: Calculate what it would cost to get all of your TV online
The Xfinity Diet: How I slashed my monthly cable bill, and barely noticed the differenceDTV Reception Maps (to find out what channels an antenna will pick up)

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Cutting out cable could be a big change for a lot of us. I'm not sure if we will in my house, but if you're considering it, I recommend making a list of all the programs you seek out. Not just stuff you watch when you need to couch-potato and come across it; shows or news or sports you actively look for and make time to watch. Then I'd look at where or if you can get those programs outside cable. If you have 10 shows you love, can you get them on one subscription service, or would you need three? Would it be cheaper to buy the season on iTunes or Amazon? Hopefully some are streamed for free on the channel's website.

If you're looking to cut cable in favor of subscription services, just be aware of what each offers ahead of time and whether it's stuff you'll watch. No sense wasting $10 a month on something you never use. Whatever the case, you're still going to need internet service (and quite a bit of it if you're streaming videos all the time). You can keep that cost down by providing your own modem and WiFi router, but it's still a chunk of change each month. :P

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What about you guys? Are you a cable addict, a subscription surfer, or a no-TV pro? Did you switch from one to the other? Any tips or pros and cons?

8 comments :

  1. We cut cable just this spring. We were using a premium package just so we could get BBC America and watch Doctor Who and more football channels. And although we love Doctor Who, we decided the price really wasn't worth it. And we don't watch TV much...or at all. So right now we have Amazon Prime and Netflix and it works out perfectly. We always have a TV show or movie to watch if we want it and we aren't paying crazy prices. C R A Z Y.

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    1. Oddly, I hadn't even considered just buying a TV season somewhere before reading these articles (probably because I don't stick with that many shows, though I do binge watch on Netflix). But yeah, for only a few shows, probably not worth the CRAZY cable price. ;)

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  2. We haven't had cable in years. But we didn't watch a ton of TV to begin with. Movies and shows on DVD? Oh yes. Shows that weren't out on DVD yet? Not so much. Mostly because our schedules tend to change on a weekly basis. One week we'd both get to see the episode of whatever show. The next I'd miss it but Dad would see it. Week after that, Dad would miss it but I'd see it. Or we'd both miss it. Wasn't worth trying to follow until we could get the DVD and watch as time permitted.

    I do have Amazon Prime though so we can watch stuff that way. And we had Netflix until our latest move. Plan on picking it back up again soon, just haven't reinstated it yet. Even then, we didn't watch TV more than a few times a week. I'm an internet and book addict, and Dad's a book addict so we really don't miss having cable.

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    1. Mostly on DVD, huh? That's interesting! And I bet it's an easier switch if you don't watch as much TV to start. *fail* But yeah, with Amazon Prime and/or Netflix as backup, it sounds like you're set. :)

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  3. I salute anyone who is able to cut cable, but I, unfortunately, am a cable addict. One of my biggest gripes with the big cable/internet providers is their "squeaky wheel" methodology to pricing. Meaning, if you're willing to call up regularly and (convincingly) threaten to cancel, you have a shot at getting somewhat reasonable prices. Otherwise, prepare to be ripped off.

    I've always had my own router for wi-fi, but I did not even know until recently that it was possible to get my own modem. I had been paying 8/month to rent TWC's crappy modem, so when I learned I could get my own, I returned TWC's modem to them. While I was there, the customer service guy asked if there was anything else he could do, and I said, "Yeah, my bill just randomly jumped up by $40 a couple of months ago, and it's too much." He spent a few minutes tapping away on his keyboard, and then he said, "Here you go. You're right back where you were before." Yeah, that was great, but I hate having to play that stupid game.

    But...there is light at the end of this tunnel! Google Fiber is currently installing lines in my area, and from what I understand, they offer flat, reasonable prices without having to fight constantly, and I cannot wait until I can drop TWC.

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    1. I hadn't heard of Google Fiber yet, but it sounds great! They're definitely tapping into a market filled with dissatisfied customers anxious for more options. I agree with you: I'm all about flat rates I don't have to worry about inching up when my back is turned.

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  4. lol, we had no cable the first couple of years we were married. We did all our watching on Hulu, netflix, etc. But there were so many shows that weren't on those that I wanted to watch, and I really liked the idea of being able to watch live events like certain sports or award shows. I couldn't live without my DVR now, but it is really expensive. We still have netflix, but we dropped hulu plus.

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    1. I never had anything but basic cable (like channels 1-20) growing up until high school. I've definitely gotten used to all the options, but I think I could revert to an antenna and maybe one subscription account without too many panic attacks. ;)

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