Update on Cutting Cable

I wrote about cutting cable over a year ago when we set out on this adventure. We were tired of paying a stupid amount to DirectTV for something we didn’t use that much. Almost $90 a month for just TV. Insanity. With a baby/toddler and 2 full time working parents, you time is already limited anyway. So we said goodbye to the the DirectTV goons.

Well I can happily say that we don’t regret our decision.  It hasn’t been an issue. We watch maybe 2 hours of tv in the evening tops. Why pay that much!? And when we watch mostly network television, you really start to question it.  Who needs to be sucked into a marathon of Hoarders? Or a new History Channel series about pilots in Alaska or something? No one. It added nothing to my life and now it is gone. Good riddance.

I still get questions about us cutting cable a lot, so I figured I would revisit the subject over a year out and not anything that has changed and get you to read the original post ;).

So what’s changed?

Our system for watching TV has been fine tuned over the past 15 months. We almost never watch anything real time. When we do, we can get HD channels over the air pretty easily.  We have a pretty cheap outside antenna. This helped us with air traffic interference since we live near to the airport. Ours looks similar to this one. Now for you folks who have a tough time getting a signal over the air, Kevin found this antenna called the Leaf. We have it to put upstairs but haven’t yet. It literally is the size of a sheet of paper.  Crazy!

We still use our Apple TV and even got another to replace the Roku in our bedroom. Our main reason is we are an Apple Empire.  All our devices work together seamlessly. We can see our home network and stream anything from anywhere this way.

We also needed more storage in our computer setup at home. I take a lot of pictures and videos that was slowly eating away at our laptop.  Not to mention back ups. In the last year, we also digitized all our movies to save room using Handbrake. We needed space to put them. Enter, the Mac Mini. We got this machine to hook to the TV. We have no real monitor. We can stream our movie collection from it into the Computers option in both Apple TVs so we always have all the movies available.  We can also steam to any iPad we want. So when the game is on and Landon wants Up? BOOM. With the help of a bluetooth keyboard and track pad, we can watch anything internet based off of the Mac Mini.  So all those Hulu “web only” shows? HA! Flash videos? BAM! Spotify streaming? WHAP! It is all hooked in through the receiver and we can use it as a computer if we need to.

The consequences 

Our child is on demand driven. If he wants to watch Thomas, we can watch Thomas. This is nice when we are here but when we go somewhere, where TV just “comes on”, he doesn’t get it. He watches Curious George and is all “more”? And then he just doesn’t get it. I guess it could be worse but this is a definite side effect.

But then again, it also means he NEVER sees commercials.  Which has to be nice. We rarely see commercials and that means we don’t see new shows coming on to suck us in. Or crazy products we HAVE TO HAVE.

We listen to more music.  Instead of turning on the TV in the afternoon when we get home, we might put on some music.  We have dance parties and Landon get excited and says “What’s Next!?”. Less tantrums and more movement.  I say this is a win.

Lastly, and the downfall of many people’s plan to cut cable: we don’t watch as much sports.  You or your spouse may be terrified of this idea. Leaving your ESPN is hard.  But ya know what, we don’t really miss it.  We cheer for local teams and can watch a good number of the games of network TV. We can’t watch hours of SportsCenter on loop(darn) but really we couldn’t with Landon around anyway.  When the TV is on, he is pretty much in control.  So it just stays off a lot. Makes life easier for everyone.

Tips

Here are some tips on what we did to see if this was truly our plan:

  • Drop to 1 receiver – This was pretty easy for us.  We noted we never really needed it in the bedroom. So that helped really see that we didn’t.
  • Try and watch as much for free – We did this before we got rid of it.  Just proof of concept really.  How often did we really care that we didn’t watch 30 rock in real time? We didn’t. Even more reason to not care.
  • Make sure your kids get it – We didn’t really have this problem but if they are used to seeing the newest iCarly on Friday night, then you are screwed. Or even things they don’t have streaming somewhere…like some Nick Jr. shows.
  • With kids, start making the transition earlier – Maybe offer music instead.  We found listening to the Cars soundtrack was just as fun as watching it…and less tantrums.  It could stay on during dinner and everyone else was happy. When there is less TV to detox, it is easier.
I hope that answered some questions. If you have more, please post in the comments so others can learn too.

 

 

13 Comments

  1. We’ve been cable free for probably closing on 2 years & mostly only regret our UNC & State games. Even the sweet 16 isnt all on network- damn them! Plus we get a pretty crappy over the air signal, which hopefully can be remedied w/ a nice outdoor antenna, but we haven’t invested the time & $$ to test this out.

    I will say the no commercial thing on netflix is really nice. We were watching the bball game last weekend and when Emily got up from her nap she came down to watch. All of a sudden she goes, “is this a commercial?” Never really thought about the fact that she has been pretty much commercial free for her whole life. Hope we can keep that up!

  2. Really great post! We got rid of cable in January and really don’t regret it! We watch stuff on our Roku and while it sucks I can’t get ABC (I can get the others), I find I don’t really miss the shows I was dying to watch before.

    • Wait you can get Hulu for ABC! Well you would need Hulu plus for the Roku but I can say that they are a great company. Some of the best customer service we have ever dealt with. Then you could also watch on your Apple devices 🙂

  3. Good tips. I’d love to try something similar but I’m not sure that the hubby can give up his sports channels. It’ll be good to have a better control of what the kids watch though. So Hulu is your main source of kiddie tv?

  4. We’re closing in on month 3 without cable – zero regrets! We love it! I have been looking into Apple TV recently (we’re growing our empire). When it comes to big sporting events we usually become squatters at my in-laws house but that was the same before we cut cable (they have a big tv and very comfy couches!). I’m finding we watch on more devices now than the tv as well.

  5. i am dyinggggg to do this but i called time warner (asshats) & they want to charge us $200 to disconnect! ridiculous! i definitely want a cable-free house before having kids.

    who provides your internet? time warner is possibly the worst internet provider i’ve ever experienced.

    i’m going to look into apple TV. thanks for this post!

    • DOH! Is it because you are under contract? I mean for us, $200 would have just been 2 months cable anyway.

      WE have TWC for internet ONLY because K is oncall and work pays for it. And honestly, we have never had a problem with it ::knocks on wood::

      AppleTV is 99 bucks. Can’t beat the price. You can also get NBA, NHL and MLB on there with packages.

  6. We cut cable about a year ago and really don’t miss it. We watch most of our shows on the ipad (ABC and NBC both have apps) or streaming in the desktop computer. We can get Netflix on our TV through the Wii. We mostly keep Netflix for our son’s shows, but guess what? You can get sucked into a Hoarders marathon on Netflix too 🙂

    We watch sports through ESPN3. We’re only really into college sports anyway, and almost all of our games came on that way. We switched to Verizon Fios, since our old internet provider didn’t have ESPN3, and we noticed a huge increase in speed.

    I do wish sometimes that we could much more things on the actual TV, but we have a crappy laptop so it doesn’t stream well. We’re not bothered enough to spend money on a device though.
    It does bug me that ESPN3 only streams through Xbox, not Roku or anything else.

    For Mad Men, I think we’re just going to buy on iTunes. A season pass is $22.99- a quarter of the cost of a month of cable!

  7. We cut cable a few years ago when my husband took a huge pay-cut & it was summer. With 4 active Tweens/teens we decided we could do without, much to their chagrin & the opinions of everyone else who doesn’t pay our huge cable bill each month! Then I got pregnant & needed some mindless entertainment! We are now paying a ridicuolous amount a month for something neither of us watch. After reading this, I am convinced, once again that it’s just too much money and not worth it. I plan on cancelling this week. As for my LO I opted to have her be TV free and she certainly could care less. Great post!

  8. Pingback: Cutting The Cable Cord: My Eden Has Some Bad Apples | Media Tapper

  9. We’ve been cable-free for over a year now, too. I still miss SportsCenter, but honestly, they say the same thing every hour, and I can read it all online. I listen to NFL games on the radio or through the TuneIn Radio app. We use Netflix and Hulu for our two TVs, and we had an antenna at our old house but can’t seem to get it to work at this one. The Leaf looks pretty cool! Do you use it as well as an antenna or in its place?

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