View Full Version : The TV Dilemna

1-26-11, 12:09pm
DH and I are contemplating cancelling our cable TV entirely and just going with DVDs and VHS. This isn't because we don't like TV or think it's evil.....finances are just really tight right now and cancelling all programming will save us $100.00 a month. We'll keep high speed internet, which is $57 a month. Damn Charter and their high prices.

We could eventually invest in a digital converter box so we could at least get the local channels and PBS for free, but that's another expense we can't justify right now.

I know we need the money. I *think* I can make the sacrifice, but it's something I'm really struggling with right now. I get panicky just thinking about going without my History Channel, Planet Green and TCM. We don't have a laptop or wireless service so watching stuff online would require sitting at the office desk, which is fine for short stuff but not exactly conducive for 2 people to relax together in the evening watching something.

On the pro side I would have more time for reading, knitting and cooking. Intellectually I know not having cable could be a good thing, but emotionally I'm freaking out. I know it wouldn't be a permanent thing, we could re-subscribe when we're more financially stable.

Has anyone else struggled with this?

1-26-11, 1:52pm
we have no cable and hardly ever rent dvds. We get everything from the library and we have been doing that for years.

1-26-11, 2:04pm
I've often thought of giving up cable because of the expense, but it's something I've not managed to come close to doing yet. I know 2 households that have, and they do well enough. But they all enjoy reading, and I don't. They also supplement and watch some live sports, for example, on the computer. (espn3, etc). There are also audio books to help with the transition.

As to internet, is there a local dsl service you can get that would cost much less? Or a slower speed for the cable service? I believe we have a choice of speed and cost here with Cox.

If getting rid of cable is something you need to do for your financial benefit, you'll make it. There probably will be some withdrawal as you adjust. I totally understand the turmoil.

Sad Eyed Lady
1-26-11, 2:08pm
We have not had cable for many years. We have rabbit ears, (and the converter box), so we get local stations and several PBS stations which is about all we would ever watch anyway. I agree wtih Kally, the library is a good place to get movies, episodes of old tv shows and it doesn't cost a penny. If you have high speed internet you can also watch some things on line.

1-26-11, 2:30pm
We haven't had TV, cable, or satellite for ~12 years now, relying instead on DVD rentals, Netflix streaming, and other Internet streaming. It hasn't killed anyone, and there seem to be plenty of other things to do to relax, entertain, and educate.

1-26-11, 2:41pm
For the price of a couple of months of cable or less, you could invest in a decent-sized flat-panel monitor/TV. Hook it up to your computer and enjoy your videos that way.

1-26-11, 5:07pm
We cut ours off for about 3 years, and we rarely missed it. We used Netflix for movies and any TV series that interested us. We cut it back on about a year ago, and it was fun for a while, but I'm already contemplating cutting it back off when the contract runs out.

Anne Lee
1-26-11, 5:34pm
I wouldn't mind cutting it off but my youngest is MAD for football. And DH does like his programs. I'm hoping that in a couple of years the online options will be broad enough that DH will be ok with just that.

1-26-11, 8:50pm
Technologically and financially speaking, there are lots of options: broadcast only cable (which they legally have to offer, but not advertise, so ask--roughly $15/month), a lot of different devices let you stream to your TV--Roku boxes (which are very inexpensive, esp now that they have fancier versions...all you need is the basic one), Blu-Ray players, Wii, Xbox, newer TVs, etc-- or save up for a better monitor as suggested above.

If you are really do want to get rid of cable entirely and just need help making the leap psychologically, why not just commit mentally to 1-2 months off? It's not like the cable company won't take you back if you decide you really hate being without cable. Then at the end of your time, sit down and evaluate how it's going--chances are excellent that by then you'll have gotten used to the new reality and that $1200/year savings will seem worth it.

1-27-11, 11:58am
Argh, we did it. Last night. Called and canceled. *deep breath* lol! DH is fine with it - he's much more self disciplined than I am. There are shows he'll miss but he'll cope better. At I asked him if he was ready to support me when I started pouting and whining and he gave me his "put your big girl panties on and suck it up" glare, ha!

As to other options people have suggested, I know they're out there but don't want to have to buy any additional equipment (blue-ray, x-box, etc) just to watch TV. We *might* spring for a VCR/DVD combo unit so we can watch videos while on the treadmill in the basement, but beyond that any major expenses are not justifiable right now. I'm optimistic I can do this, but when the "honeymoon" period is over I may need backup!

1-27-11, 12:09pm
Make a list of things you like to do and things you've always wanted to learn. When you're missing TV, take a look at it and start doing something instead. It will become a habit and then you'll wonder how you ever had time to watch TV!

Anna Hart
1-27-11, 1:19pm
We got rid of our t.v about 2 years ago. I was terrified because I love Oprah but it was one of the most freeing decisions. My time is now my own. I don't work around t.v. shows or get sucked into just one more show. I have time to read, paint, write, garden and visit. It made me a happier and more intentional person. It is a difficult adjustment but I bet in about a month you will be so happy to be rid of it. So good luck and enjoy your new freedom.

1-27-11, 1:51pm
Thank you.....the biggest blow is losing TCM because I LOVE old movies, and many that they show aren't available on DVD so I record them on the VCR.

1-27-11, 1:54pm
Do you have internet still? There is so much to watch on YouTube. You just have to click it in 15 minute segments. Hey, that is just like TV. Here are some things I watch on YouTube
Miss Marple
Hercule Poirot
Midsomer Murders
Absolute Power

well all the british stuff and the old stuff really.

Anne Lee
1-27-11, 4:29pm
Proud of you, girl. Have you checked Netflix for old movies? Look on Craigslist or in the paper for an 2nd hand Wii or XBox and watch them through the internet.

1-27-11, 6:30pm
We use an antenna, supplemented with Netflix streaming through our TiVo. I must say, I have not missed cable at all. A lot of the shows are available on DVD or online.

We have also been able to purchase current cable TV shows through the iTunes store. It cost about $20 for the latest season of Top Chef -- cheaper than a monthly cable bill.

1-27-11, 6:38pm
Proud of you, girl. Have you checked Netflix for old movies? Look on Craigslist or in the paper for an 2nd hand Wii or XBox and watch them through the internet.

The ones Netflix offers we already own. :+1: We really have zero interest in a video game console even if it can be used for other purposes.

Kally, we do have internet but no laptop so we don't really want to have to sit huddled in front of the desktop in the office when we want to relax on the couch! ;)

iris lily
1-27-11, 7:35pm
I watch a lot of television and I don't have cable. I see the good cable shows on dvd.

I like a few of the network shows, but I'm not anal about setting my schedule around them because, frankly, each episode seems to show 3x per year and if I miss it the first time, I'll get it 2nd or 3rd time.

I've run out of good cable shows on dvd and am going back with a few network things like Big Bang Theory and Glee which I missed in the early seasons.

1-27-11, 9:55pm
We still have a year to go on our DirecTV contract, and then we'll switch to the converter box-thingy. We seldom actually WATCH TV -- mostly we record things (yay PBS) to watch later. DH, however, does love his RFD-TV (for the train shows) and all the handyman and science shows, which he records and watches while he's on the treadmill. And we have Netflix.

I think we'll be fine -- we went without TV for a number of years during our "hippie years" and didn't miss it. However, I will definitely miss MY sports -- Boise State Broncos Football! However, they're moving to a different conference and somehow that will affect TV coverage -- ESPN won't cover them so we wouldn't see many games anyway, I guess. Just have to listen on the radio ... I do subscribe to major league baseball online so I can watch my Giants and Diamondbacks, but I'm not going to pay what NFL wants for pro-football online. {sob} ==== I have a hard life ==== {sob} :-D

But I don't have to worry about it for another year ...

3-1-11, 10:03am
We just got rid of Direct TV, after living with it for 2 years. We only got it in the first place because we were so rural it was the only available internet and I teach online. Then, we moved, and got internet through the phone company. I was nervous about getting rid of Direct TV, since I had b ecome so used to it and loved TCM, even though I lived for 10 years without TV and got used to that, too.

With Christmas money from the parents, we bought a Clear Stream Antenna for around a hundred dollars, and we bought a converter box to aid and abet our three dollar Goodwill TV--I refused to buy a new flat screen tv since the old one works perfectly well. We were told it would never work, as we live in a rural environment out on an island. The rab bit ears one did not work at all, since it only pulls in stations up to 25 miles away. This one was rated 65 miles.

It is fantastic!!!! We get PBS again--never got the local stations on Direct TV, supposedly becaus we were so rural. We get a couple of networks and some weird channels that I think came along in the HDTV phase of things--a bizarre music channel that plays music videos from the Eighties, and equally bizarre country music channel, a sports network that is always showing people skiing, and 3, count them PBS stations. I can watch all the same old reruns that Direct TV offered, with no infomercials. I do not miss HGTV, which seemed to all be a big shill for the real estate industry.

Only thing I miss is RFD tv for the horse shows, and have not figured out how we will watch Mad Men when it comes back--am trying to start a Mad Men dinner party at my friend's house, but will look into the Itunes thing--do not know how to figure out that technology.

So really, for a hundred fifty dollars, we have free TV again, and it is better than Direct TV. I do miss TCM, but I don't miss the monthly bills and the lack of local news.

3-1-11, 10:31am
We gave up our tv in 2001. During the first few weeks, I remember sort of wandering around in the evening wondering what to do with myself. I ended up not wanting to watch ANYTHING for a long time, which wasn't my goal and not what I expected. By not having the TV, I lost patience for sitting and watching. Now I'm back to being interested in movies, in large part because Netflix makes it so easy. I'll be interested in reading how you adjust to the change, so please keep us posted.

3-1-11, 10:55am
We'll be giving up DirecTV this fall when our two-year contract is up. It's about $100/month, and we can afford that, but we just "never" watch it. We have Netflix, and there's a "warehouse" here in Boise, so we get DVDs practically overnight.

I can watch my Giants and Diamondbacks (baseball) games on the TV, but I will sure miss Boise State Broncos football games!! Well, they're in a new conference now, and apparently we wouldn't get all their games on TV now anyway, but perhaps I can listen on the radio. I will miss all the other Pac12 college games, too. I won't pay for NFL online -- WAY too expensive! -- and SF 49ers football games were seldom on /TV, so that won't be a problem.

We'll see ...

ETA: OOPS: I can watch my baseball games online, not on the TV. I subscribe.

3-1-11, 12:44pm
We cut off our DirecTV last year, but then they sucked us back in by offering us the Choice package for 10 months for $29 a month, with no obligation to extend at the regular price. With taxes, it's $33.68, and I'm mostly willing to pay that much to be able to watch the Daily Show and the few other things I might turn on sometimes, but definitely not willing to pay the regular price which would be about twice that, so in another month when the "deal" runs out, off it goes again.

If we had an unlimited internet service, I would never bother with a TV, but since with the satellite system we are restricted in how much we can download in a day, which pretty much precludes doing any video more than a few minutes per day, we've kept the TV. Will almost be a relief to be rid of it, because we only average about six hours a week, we've noticed.

We can afford it, just hate to spend that much money for so little. But, DARN, I LOVE the Daily Show......... ;-)

3-1-11, 3:59pm
I am completely TV free (and internet free at home too - using free wi-fi at the library now) and really love it. I am much more active and seem to find alot more time in my life to do things I enjoy. It's actually shocking how much more free time I have - this from someone who's retired and has all her time free :-)! I also don't think TV is evil - I actually love it a bit too much and can watch way more than I want (same with the internet) - which is why I gave both up. I do still have the TV (32 inch HDTV) and a DVD player so get movies from the library occasionally.

3-1-11, 11:55pm
We went from having everything (DH worked as a cable guy and that was one of the benefits) to having nothing except internet. Of course, DH hooked up one computer through the TV so we could watch internet shows on the TV, and I got to know the movie section of the library well. We do have a DVD player. What you may want to do is budget a few dollars a month for some sort of entertainment: NetFlix, buying DVDs at a used bookstore or thrift store, or whatever. Another thing to ask is whether the cable co has any current deals or can give you a price break for a longer contract or something. Worth a shot-they could say no but if they don't you've saved a few bucks.

3-2-11, 12:09am
As someone said out DSL from your phone company. AT&T has a monthly price for 19.95. They do not offer it in our area so we are stuck with Comcast cable at over $50 a month for about the same thing AT&T offers for $19.95. Our basic cable is $23 per month and with internet our bill is $73 a month. I hate that but we can not get over the air tv. I only watch PBS about 5 hours a week so that 73 dollars we pay is a big expense for what we get. The internet is the only reason we keep.

3-2-11, 9:32am
If money was a problem for me, cable would be the first thing to go, no question. Its amazing to me that you would consider keeping it and spending $100/month (that's $1200/year) if money is tight. And I love my cable TV a lot!

3-2-11, 11:24am
I know! Yes, we can afford the $100/month, but do we really want to waste $1200/year on TV? We have no debt, other than the recurring monthy stuff like utilities, and that $100/month could really be more beneficial somewhere else. Like our church (which desperately needs it) or another worthy charity of some kind. But will have to wait till October ...

I have heard that sometimes you can buy out your contract early, but haven't investigated that ...

3-2-11, 12:55pm
Perhaps if we could rid ourselves of cable company monopolies--as I understand they have in Europe--there would be real competition among providers and resulting price breaks. As much as I love TV, I chafe at paying so much for 500 sports channels plus the 20 channels I actually watch. I'd love to know what Comcast's profit margin is. It has to be huge.

3-2-11, 4:17pm
Cable is not available here.
DSL is not available here so I cannot watch things online.
We are far from tv broadcast signals.
We do occasionally pick up 1 channel......but it comes in and out and is not reliable......I have missed the ending of way too many shows.

I am housebound and the days are very long......but I still don't want to pay for satellite tv.

I do have Netflix (the through the mail kind) and that helps.

There are times though particularly on bad pain days that I think about breaking down and getting satellite.