Sunday, January 08, 2012

adios, Comcast

Image Credit: allconnect.com

[N.B.: In the process of cutting cable, I had to learn about digital antennas and a bunch of stuff I would have liked to have been told in one place but wasn't, so if you're going to cut your cable too, I'm here to help you out! See update at the bottom]

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We're pulling the plug tomorrow. On cable, that is. We actually don't even have Comcast right now, we have Verizon FIOS, but I've always really wanted to stick it to Comcast, so I'm just going to pretend they're our provider.

You may be wondering why we are getting rid of cable. Amazingly, I don't have to write the reasons, as I was handed the perfect online article in my lap yesterday evening by my aunt. Timing is everything, and apparently I have my finger on the pulse of the winds of change, since just yesterday the Wall Street Journal posted an article titled Cutting the Cord on Cable. It's cleverly written, short, and even includes some ideas for going cable-free at the end.


Our reasons for ending it are similar to the writer of that article. When we watch TV, it is nearly always something we DVRed ahead, like "Modern Family" and "Top Chef." If we aren't watching the DVR, we are either watching reruns of "30 Rock" (available to be streamed on Netflix), PBS (which can be viewed online), or something truly awful (see: River Monsters...or rather, don't see it).

We're actually technically ending cable tomorrow night, right after the last college football bowl game. We aren't hosting a Super Bowl Party anyway, so no harm done there. Here is my plan for what we'll do for digital entertainment instead:

1. We have already purchased a mini display port cable to plug our computer into the TV, so we've given Hulu a trial run. It's not as good a picture as cable, but it's FREE, and we just pretend we're back in the '90s, only with an exceptionally larger TV.

2. Rent movies from the library. We do this occasionally now anyway, but they have lots of great classics we've still never seen (Dr. Zhivago, Raging Bull, The Deer Hunter), plus dozens of TV shows.

3. Stream movies and TV shows on Netflix. Now that they have added many more TV shows, this will serve as our new method of mindless channel surfing. They really need to update how you can manage your instant queue though; one long list of TV shows, movies, and kid stuff is killing us. Are you listening, Netflix? To ANYONE?

4. Join Hulu Plus. We've got one month for free (they sent me an email after I registered). It will allow us to view TV in HD, but other than that I'm not sure it's worth $8/month since we already have Netflix streaming. We'll see.

As for the world outside of TV, it's a place I love and miss. Nate and I disagree on how much TV to watch, so we compromise by staying in the same room, but I am often reading when he's watching. After football is over, he will join me in reading, and we can even put some music on instead of the blasted boob tube. I am currently listening to The Great Gatsby on my iPod shuffle (rented the CDs from the library and burned them, a brilliant tip I got from my uncle years ago) to get ready for a book club meeting next week at none other than Daisy Buchanan's. Clever gals, those book clubbers.

Have any of you taken the no TV plunge? What do you do for entertainment? I wish we could go back to the days when everyone danced and listened to ladies play piano, but I suppose there's something to be loved about the small screen too.

Update (1/10/12): If you are tech savvy, you may know how to go cable-free already; if so, go read Wired or something. The following instructions are for the technologically-challenged among us, like myself. Up until recently, Nate was in charge of all things TV, but now that I'm a home ranger, I'm braving a new frontier. Here are some Q&A to help you out...

DTV Box
Is your TV made after 2005/2006? 

If No: You need to get a DTV Analog Converter Box. Don't ask me what it is, just google it.

If Yes: Congrats! Your TV is equipped with a tuner, meaning you don't need the box. Just plug your antenna (digital, not analog) into it.

Antenna
Do you live in a rural or urban area?

If Rural: You probably need an outdoor roof antenna, depending on how rural we're talking. Go to this website, and they'll figure it out for you based on your address.

If Urban/Suburban: You probably need an indoor antenna, but don't take my word for it! Go to that same website and find out for sure.

Editor's Note: This post is part of Frugal Fridays.

9 comments:

Naomi Kirchner said...

We cancelled our cable this summer and it is one of the best decisions that we've made. Louie bought an HD antenna for our roof so we get the network channels, which provides more than enough TV. Most TV shows you can get online-- that's how we get the Daily Show. We don't even subscribe to Hulu Plus or NetFlicks because we get enough of the free stuff.

But more than anything, it's forced us to cut down on mindless TV watching. The house is quieter and we both read more. We no longer watch TV in the bedroom, so we're sleeping better.

I don't miss cable (or the monthly bill!) at all!

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Wow! Louie FTW. I am going to pester Nate to get up on our roof now.

Stephani Hoch said...

We canceled our satellite service at least a year ago and it was a great decision! We found ourselves watching mostly network TV shows anyway and I can get my HGTV fix while at the gym :-) We're lucky to get great reception for all network TV stations.

Nannette Turner Saunders said...

I wish I could talk BF into ditching the cable. He is a television addict. I have managed to get him to cut back on a lot of things but he draws the line with cable.

The Lone Home Ranger said...

Wow, good for you! Joe is probably too busy out running 26.1 miles anyway. :)

The Lone Home Ranger said...

This has been a long, hard spousal battle for me too. I think I only won because Hulu came around. Good luck!

Emily Sefcik said...

Yay! Good for you! We haven't had cable...ever really...and I don't miss it. You'll be glad you did it! There is so much on the internet!

Mary Dawson said...

Just found your blog through Frugal Fridays. We ditched our cable last week and just purchased an indoor antenna. Cost $30, works perfectly and we get about 20 channels or so. They come in just as good as cable did.

Most of the shows we normally watch are on these basic free channels anyway so I don't know why we even paid for cable all this time. I feel like a fool for all that wasted money :(

Oh well, live and learn!

Domar987 said...

We cut the cord with cable 4 months ago and we take advantage of free internet from several local businesses. This has saved us over $1000, and we don't spend as much time on-line with a boob tube going at the same time so the electric is lower also. The only thing I really miss is some over the air channels that we can no longer get because we live to far away.

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