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.
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.
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.