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My New Life Without Cable TV

As many of you know, tomorrow marks a new chapter in my life. I have parted ways with a lot of the things I have accumulated over the last several years and will be moving closer to downtown Nashville as a single guy in a much smaller space. (I'm moving from a two-story, three bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment.)

In order to help focus on a lot of the projects that I will be investing my time in (+G+ Interviews & +How To Make It Work), I want to cut one of the biggest distractions I currently face, Cable TV. As it turns out, it is a serious expense.

I have found a great deal with the cable company for my first six months of Internet service without having to pay for television. Tonight I agreed to sell my 42" LCD and will only be taking a small 22" Internet-capable television along with my Roku and Blu-ray disc player.

Because so much of the content that I consume is available on-demand, I think I might fair better just paying for what I really want to watch and avoiding all of the other distracting content that I usually consume. The only thing that worries me is the inability to watch a lot of sporting events, but I think I can easily achieve that at a sports bar within walking distance.

Have any of you cut the cord on your cable? Have you had any success? Did you come back after spending months without it? What do you to to make living with cable an improvement upon your lifestyle?

I would love to hear your feedback.
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Denis Labelle's profile photoPeter G McDermott's profile photoMark Traphagen's profile photoJuhana Tahvanainen's profile photo
42 comments
 
Once it's gone, you'll realize how much you don't miss it. I've been without a TV for years and it's one of the best decisions I've made.

...Leaves me with more time to waste on the internets. ;)
 
I did. Roku + Netflix and I hacked HBO to it by stealing my Ma's account access. That's all I need.
 
I had no cable for about the last year of where I lived last, closer to the city. When I moved to the burbs, I got DirecTV as part of my rent. But I barely watch it.
 
I've really been wanting to do it, but my wife is adamant that we keep it. Let me know how it goes?
 
I've cut most of the cable. There are a few first run things I would prefer to not have wait for. But between my Roku, Netflix and HuluPlus, I get 90% of what I want. As for sports, I get the NHL GameCenter and for baseball I get MLB.tv... gives me all the Ducks and Angels I need. Unfortunately I still can't get NFL Sunday Ticket w/o DirecTV... oh well.
 
+Nicky Nichole That's my thing with sports, I think it is so much more fun to watch games in the company of friends anyway.
 
My wife, +Ruth Parson and I cut the cable two years ago and don't look back. Altho it is easier for us, because we don't watch sports. We use a 24" iMac for our TV, stream movies and TV shows from our Netflix subscription, watch free Hulu, a few ABC shows, and when there's a live news event we want to follow, we watch Al jazeera English. That and a few video podcasts we watch on iTunes takes care of it. We listen to a lot of audio podcasts for news and streaming radio thru our phones while we work (we're artists). We keep our ears out for new web series, like ones on blip.tv - none of those have stuck yet for us. We limit our viewing to about 3 hours per day. It works fine for us. Good luck finding what you enjoy outside cable, should not be a major adjustment.
 
I work for the cable company and having every channel it would be hard for me to go without it. I use to never watch tv because I didn't have time, but with ondemand, hbo go, etc I can watch shows whenever I feel like it, so I find myself watching way more TV now then I did years ago. I guess it depends on how much time you have invested in shows. It wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to go without cable but not being able to see sports games live would kill me
 
22" TV that would be hard, my PC monitor is 27".
 
My cable bill is high, but it includes my phone / internet and HD TV. I live in a small college town, not much to do here.
 
Getting rid of cable TV was one of the best decisions we've ever made. Actually, we've been without it for many years, but some of the places we lived during our grad school years in Philly (2004-9) had it included. We get what we want on our computers, and have tons more time for reading and pursuing projects that have made our lives better.

When I first met you here a few weeks ago +Peter G McDermott and then was on your show, I had a strong feeling that I was meeting someone about whom I'd be saying some day, "Peter McDermott? Yeah, believe it or not I knew him when he was a nobody." Now I'm sure of it. You're going places, and you're getting there by jettisoning worthless ballast.
 
What about OTA HD TV? I attached a $10 antenna to a TV upstairs and was astounded at how good the HD picture is. Here in my part of Vancouver I could pull in 6 OTA HD channels. Not a lot, agreed. But stunning picture, even compared to cable HD.
 
I would love to cut the cord. As a family guy, it's not as easy when Lifetime and Bravo are not on demand. Project Runway fans in the house. I also find I have always watched TV when studying even in college. It was a way to cancel out the other distractions and noises.
I do think it is a trend though to cancel cable or satellite or not ever get it for the younger generation just moving out on their own.
 
+Peter Vogel You bring a great point about broadcast television quality versus cable television quality. Most cable signals are compressed with a codec such as MPEG, so what you are seeing is actually a compacted version of the "broadcast" quality that you can achieve with a $10 antenna, as you said.
 
Around here the two main TV amalgamators, the phone company Telus and the cable company Shaw are engaged in a pitched battle for market share. Hopefully we'll see a reduction in exorbitant cable/ADSL TV fees, and possibly also in Internet fees. These fees have risen markedly over the past five years.
 
I cut the cable back in November and i'm NOT looking back +Peter G McDermott :) Takes a week or two of getting use to, but after that, you'll be thankful you did it :)

As far as sports, I ran into that same problem. But since you have a Roku box, you can still get NHL, NBA, and MLB :) Football and NASCAR will be tough but there's ways to get that too :)

Good luck! :)
Liza M
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I've been without cable for 5 1/2 years. I've had Netflix for the past 3 years and recently got Hulu Plus - those are good enough for me.
 
In Canada we receive a stripped down version of Netflix and services such as Hulu are geo-blocked. Cutting the cable isn't in the cards for me (yet).
 
Haven't had even basic cable for going on 4 years now and don't miss it at all. You can watch SO much online for free, I have a hard time understanding why anyone w/ high speed internet access pays for cable/satellite anymore. Best of luck - I doubt you'll go back!
 
Cable gone for 7 months. Everything I want to watch I can get online. Don't even think about it anymore but the first couple of weeks was rough.
 
likewise, on my 2nd month, definitely relying on OTA for the major networks and 24 other smaller stations as well. Roku for streaming my netflix and more from other Roku feeds (free and paid available) including lot os sports....
 
I think we've been without cable for about 4 years. We don't miss it a bit. It freaks out the directtv salespeople in Sam's when we tell them that we "don't do tv". Why pay for a bunch of junk I don't watch? We watch sports at restaurants or at friend's and family's houses. I usually don't have time to sit down and watch stuff, but when we do we just watch streaming from the internet.
 
I joined the club early in 2010, but like you say it is difficult not being able to be up to speed on all the sports channels , but hey I am saving more money and in total control of what I consume!
 
I don't remember how long ago we quit cable TV...let's just say it's been a while ago. We have internet and a Netflix subscription (which we watch on TV thanks to the Wii), as well as bunny ears with a converter box so we can get PBS (UNC-TV here in Western North Carolina). We've also been building a decent DVD collection. I rarely miss cable. Besides, there's too much living to do :)
 
+Clay Franklin As a Project Runway fan myself, I know you can watch full episodes on mylifetime.com the morning after they air. =]

+Peter G McDermott We cut cable and don't really miss it. We have the instant Netflix and PlayOn through the Wii so we can watch Hulu (the free version) and some other streaming channels on the TV. There are certain shows we still can't get this way but in the end it isn't worth the cost, since you can't buy single channels.

Recently we stayed in a condo with cable and I was quite excited about it at first, but then I was reminded why it was so easy to give up. We had 150 channels and there still wasn't anything to watch. I'm so used to watching shows when I want to watch them that not being able to pick my favorite cable-only shows while there was quite annoying lol.
 
I haven't got TV for over 10 years or so, and never have been missing it, never.
 
OTA covers Titans Football very well. Predz Hockey is hard, but I might do NHL CenterIce next season.

The one thing we have that I still use and like is a DVR (tivo in out case with a lifetime subscription).

The fact we control out time, and the options we have through OTA, Netflix, Hulu, and other Roku channels, we have enough & spend about $50 less per month because we use the rest of the difference to go into electronics upgrades.

Cable would have to practically pay us to take their services again ... similar to a phone company, what they offer (other then internet access) is unneeded & unwanted at this point.
 
You need a different antenna, I'm outside Davidson County & get both those.
 
Not hating ... remeber how much money you are saving & spend a little of it on the equipment that'll let you keep going long term.
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