Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cutting the Cable Update

Readers of my blog know that I recently decided to save money by no longer subscribing to cable tv. I cut the cable about 3 weeks ago, so I thought I would share my experience.

I really have not missed cable tv. If I had cut the cable years ago, I probably would have missed it, but with so many shows on the internet, I have not missed a single show that I wanted to watch. Every show that my wife and I watch is on or When we had cable, we usually recorded shows on the DVR and watched them later, after the kids were in bed. Now, we basically do the same thing. The only difference is that, instead of using the remote control for the DVR, I have to plug my laptop into the tv/monitor, find the show on the internet, and click play. If I needed to control something, I initially missed the remote. After a few days, I discovered that my USB wireless mouse will actually work from the couch while the laptop is on the table by the tv. The wireless mouse makes a great remote. The bottom line, I have not missed any shows that I like to watch and the inconvenience is minimal. To me, cable is not worth the money.

After cutting the cable, the next step was getting and installing an antenna. This was a bit more difficult. I found a reasonably priced antenna at "" While I wanted to install t in my attic rather than the roof, my initial attempt was a failure. The pictures kept stopping; it was not acceptable. Having no time to fix it, I left it for later. I wanted to watch the Daytona 500. So, I worked on it before the race started (not really a good time when the race about to start). I moved the antenna around in the attic, but nothing worked. The race is now starting and I still cannot watch it; I am in a panic. I may have to mount he antenna on the roof, but I want to make sure it works before I go to the effort. So, I get the antenna outside and lay it on the roof. Still bad reception. As I am checking the antenna, the race appears to be more of a slide show (a series of still pictures) rather than a video, and I think a see a still picture of Jeff Gordon sitting in the grass in a wrecked car. Well, it looks like I can't watch the race and it does not really matter because Gordon is already out. I return to the roof to retrieve the antenna and take it back to the attic. Discouraged, I do not even try to get it to work, but just lay it upside down on some boxes of Christmas decorations. When I return to the family room, the reception is great. All of the channels are working just fine. I guess we cannot use those Christmas decorations any more because I cannot move that box with the antenna on it.

Sports will be the major thing that I will miss. I did see the Flyers play the Rangers on NBC. I watched a Temple basketball game on ESPN3, that I get through the internet. So, I will make due.

We are using our free month of Netflix. I do not know if we will keep it, but it appears to be a good substitute for On Demand. At $10 a month, it is not cost prohibitive. I like the fact that it operates through the Wii, so I do not have to use a computer. It has more Bob the Builder episodes than Verizon's On Demand. We found several episodes of Veggie Tales and other kid shows that we like. Past episodes of other shows we like, such as Monk and Psych, are available. The movie selections are better than On Demand. I do not think that I would want to pay for cable and Netflix, but Netflix instead of cable is a possibility.

So far, the experiment of cutting the cable is a success.

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