Cancel Cable And Go Online
Why not cancel cable?
The rising cost of cable caused us to reevaluate the importance of cable service. Cable was costing us about $100 bucks a month or $1200 a year. We started to think about what shows we really watched and realized that if we were willing to watch shows 24 hours after their debut (which we usually did anyway with the DVR) that we could watch most things we wanted over the internet. The tide has changed and it is now out of the question to drop internet service while cable will soon be unnecessary. If we could find the shows on the Internet that we really wanted to watch we could have the best of both worlds. We were encouraged by the thought of cutting out trash TV and reading more if nothing else. So we cancelled cable and it felt really good. The cable company called for a few months to try and get us back but soon we were all alone drifting in a cable-less world, or at least that is what it felt like at first. Here is how we took our TV back.
No Cable. Now what?
First things first: When your cable gets shut off there are still a bunch of channels that your digital TV will be able to find for free. For free we pick up CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. We also get about 8 religious channels, 10 channels in Spanish and 3 PBS'.
Now that the cost of cable was gone we had some extra money to invest in ways to get content from the Internet to our TV screen. There are several options a few include the Apple TV, the Roku, Boxee, and Xbox. All of these devices cost about $100 except for the Xbox which has a lot of extras primarily to accommodate its primary gaming function. All of these devices can deliver TV Shows and Movies from the internet to your TV screen by accessing different applications that are available on the system. For example the Apple TV gives you access to the iTunes store where movies and TV shows can be rented or purchased. The Apple TV can also deliver Netlixs content which taps the subscriber into a vast library of content for just $8 a month. Hulu is another application that charges a low monthly fee and allows streaming of content from NBC, FOX, ABC and other major networks. The major networks are at odds with Apple so the Apple TV does not include the Hulu application. Hulu is available through the Roku system. We decided to purchase both the Roku and Apple TV and see if the internet could satisfy our cable desires. What we found was that we did not miss cable that much at all. I enjoy documentaries and a lot of the random content available through Netlixs on the Apple TV and my wife stays current with the prime time shows through Hulu by using the Roku device. We rent movies on occasion through iTunes and we don't feel bad about paying the $2.99 while sitting on our couch because we do not have a cable bill.
We miss cable a tiny bit.
It is not all lollipops and rainbows without cable there are a few things that we do miss. Sports programming like baseball, college basketball and college football is unavailable. Many sports leagues, if they have not already, will have subscription based packages available to deliver internet streaming of events online. Until then you may have to invite yourself over to a friends house to watch your favorite team. What we miss the most is the DVR and the ability to pause and rewind shows.
Do you remember cable TV?
Cable as we know it is going away. One day we will tell our kids about this box called a television that did nothing but broadcast stuff to watch. "That's right kids, we had to rush home so that we didn't miss our favorite show on TV". With cable out of the way we will soon have computers that allow us to purchase channels and programs a la carte just like 'apps' on our smart phones. We will be able to watch what we want, where we want, when we want. It is a brave new world and no one knows what is really going to happen. I recommend cutting the cable. The worst thing that could happen is to return to the cable company by accepting one of their discount offers. Or perhaps the worst case scenario is missing your favorite show.