Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cutting the Cable

I think most everyone experiences this feeling, probably several times a week. You are tired and just want to sit in front of the tv and relax. You turn on the set and flip through the channels or scroll through the guide. You browse and browse, only to discover that, just like most other nights, there is nothing good on tv. To add insult to injury, the cost of cable tv is ridiculous.

This caused me to think more about whether tv was worth paying such an extravagant fee. My wife and I enjoy a few shows each week. However, we almost never actually watch them on tv. Instead, we DVR them, watch them at our convenience, and skip the commercials. These same shows are available online to watch for free, most with limited commercials. While it may be a little inconvenient to pull the shows up on the internet, I can watch my favorite shows whenever I want by using the internet. Again, why am I paying for cable tv?

I finally got tired of paying for television that I do not watch. Last week, I called Verizon and canceled my cable tv. To do it, I had to talk to two customer service representatives. They both asked why I was terminating the tv and I said that there was nothing good to watch; they both agreed with me. I kept my FIOS internet, but went with a lower speed (15mbs). I kept the FIOS home phone only because Verizon charges more for the internet if you do not have the phone. By making these changes, I am saving $93.00 per month. I like saving $93.00.

As I said before, I am still watching my favorite shows online. I can plug my laptop computer into the family room tv and still see the shows on the tv. I am going to install an HDTV antenna, so I should get regular broadcast tv. For me, the biggest loss will be sports. That will be somewhat limited since football is mostly on broadcast tv. Since Verizon is my internet provider, I have access to ESPN3, which carries many sports events online. As I write, I can watch the Villanova basketball game (they are losing 9-6) right now. While it costs about $100.00, I will probably buy the MLB package, figuring the cost is offset by one month of savings by cutting the cable. I will miss Comcast Sportsnet since that is about the only place I can watch the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies. But, I rarely watch those games anyway. Often, I will turn on a game and watch a few minutes, but I do not have the time to watch an entire game. The little bit that I watch is not worth $93.00 a month.

My new antenna came today. My first instinct was to install it as soon as I can. But then I thought "Why?" There is nothing good on tv anyway, that is why I cut the cable. My goal is to have it installed by the time they race the Daytona 500; that is something that I want to watch.

I am also curious to see how the change effects my family. The other night, I sat down to feed our baby a bottle. I usually flip on SportsCenter, but I realized I have no tv at all. My world did not end without SportsCenter. The children have not yet missed tv. For some odd reason, they are even excited about cutting the cable (since they do not pay the cable bill, I do not understand their excitement). Two nights ago, Laura brought her guitar downstairs and played while some of the family sang along; I listened since I do not sing. I am trying to read a book for a mystery book club that I am in; now I have more time to read. I helped Matthew with his latest Kinnex project. Perhaps, we will play more games. I am excited to see how the lack of tv changes us.

Has anyone else "cut the cable"? If so, what was your experience. Has anyone else thought about it, but just hasn't pulled the plug yet? If so, why have you kept cable? I am not judging, I am just curious.

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