The Diaries of a Cable-less Home, Day 1

cable-tv-ch.jpgI know it’s easy to blame everything on “the economy” these days, but honestly, who wants to pay $55 a month for basic cable service, even in a good economy?

In an effort to reduce our monthly bills a bit while we ride out the poor economy, we decided to axe the cable television service. Our rationale is that we never watch TV on a schedule, and we’ve got broadband internet access, so why pay? We can watch all the shows we’re interested in online. Granted, we won’t be able to watch the season premiere of Lost next week as it airs (ABC.com will have it available for online viewing the following day, if they do it the same way as they did with season four), but is it really that important? Is it $55 a month important, just to see it as it airs? I say no. Two days ago, I spoke with Comcast and cancelled our service. Yesterday, the technician showed up to collect the box and do whatever it is that technicians do to the lines. This is an account of our first day, yesterday, without cable television service.

Quitting Cable: Day One

I woke up to the sound of the house alarm being turned off and the cable guy coming into the house. Angela dealt with him while I got up, and by the time I made it downstairs, we were a cable-free house. First order of business: figure out…

Okay, the first order of business actually had nothing to do with this. But after I was finished, the next order of business was to figure out my audio/video situation and how to tune in our local channels. Our TV is a five-or-six-year-old Sony, standard. It’s got the coaxial connection and component connections in the back, and that’s it. Needless to say, simply setting it to channel 5 had absolutely no effect. Lots of lovely snow.

Well, I figured that with the digital transition coming up next month, it would make sense to just go ahead and get the converter box and an antenna. I had a chiropractic appointment at noon, and stopped by Best Buy afterward to pick up the necessary equipment before heading home.

Side note – I didn’t bother to wait for the government coupon, or even to apply for it yet, because according to a report on the radio a few days ago, the government is out of money for the coupon program. I’ll get on the waiting list later, and try to work something out with my receipt from the store if I ever get a coupon (I’m not holding my breath). If it doesn’t work out, well, I still paid less than I would have for a full month of cable service.

Installing the converter box and antenna took about five minutes. Using the remote control, it searched for signals and found a few dozen – far, far more than I expected. The downside? Nearly all the stations seem to be either Spanish-language or Christian. It’s the strangest thing… there’s NBC, there’s ABC, there’s PBS… then there’s about 32 channels in a row with names like “God TV”. Weird.

Winter was watching me work on the TV with great interest, and asking if she would watch Word Girl, to which I could only respond with, “not right now, honey. Daddy’s working on fixing the TV”.

Many months ago, I connected my MacBook Pro to the TV and home theater system, so I didn’t have to worry about setting that up. I’m able to move a browser window over to the TV and stream shows from a variety of sources.

For the rest of the afternoon, we watched a few shows online on the TV and, well, that was about it. Dinner. Bedtime for the kids. A bit of online poker, then some work on my sites, with the TV off the whole time.

So far, I’m not missing cable.

Spread it around!

Comments

  1. Good luck and have fun!

    We haven't missed cable for one sec since turning it off a couple of months back (ok, that's a lie… there was a Star Trek TNG marathon on SciFi Channel this past Christmas Day that I really really wanted to watch… but otherwise it's been great).

    The only problem we've encountered are sports. However, with MLB.tv, I can watch most of my Cubs games and there are various places to listen or get live updates for things like college football, nascar, etc.

    I would say that our quality of life has improved since we listen to more music and read more as a family these days!

    Sam

  2. moonduster says:

    We do a lot of streaming shows through our XBox from the computers to the tv. We can't watch US DVDs on our tv (we're in the UK), so we put the ones my family send us into the computer in the other room and are able to watch it on our tv through the wireless connection.

  3. […] been compensated for running that ad? In the vast majority of cases, no. Turn on your television, if you still use one. Every 7 or 8 minutes, you’ll get a few minutes of advertisements – roughly 8 minutes […]

  4. Thank you Daniel. I have been without working cable for a few days now and have survived it just fine. This really helps me “pull the plug” and send them on their merry way.

  5. […] do without. Still, if money is tight, there might be other costs that should be examined first –┬ácable television, […]

  6. mrscottfletcher says:

    So now, a year later, how is it going? We are working on our own “Quitting cable” story: http://www.unthinkability.com/?p=350 – Interested in an update from you!

  7. Great question! A year later, I still don't regret ditching cable. There have been a handful of times that someone has asked me if I saw last night's episode of whatever, but it's never been a big deal. An update post is a great idea, I'll do a write up for tomorrow.

  8. mrscottfletcher says:

    So now, a year later, how is it going? We are working on our own “Quitting cable” story: http://www.unthinkability.com/?p=350 – Interested in an update from you!

  9. Great question! A year later, I still don't regret ditching cable. There have been a handful of times that someone has asked me if I saw last night's episode of whatever, but it's never been a big deal. An update post is a great idea, I'll do a write up for tomorrow.

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