Tuesday, May 19, 2009

We canceled cable TV.

Although a recent AP story I read on the effect of TV networks offering their primetime shows for free online said that that few households were canceling cable because of it, we did.

For the past few months, well, really, ever since I started suffering the effects of pregnancy, we stopped watching primetime TV. I just couldn't stay up until 9pm to watch shows like Lost, Grey's Anatomy, 24, Chuck. So we started watching them online either the next night at an earlier time or whenever fit into our schedule. I don't mind at all watching the shows on my laptop while curled up in bed. It is far, far more convenient.

Not sure yet whether this was a brilliant way to save a couple of hundred bucks a year on a service we rarely use, or a decision I'll end up regretting, but we canceled our cable TV subscription yesterday.

The straw that broke the camel's back was getting selected to be a Nielsen family — you know the research organization that tracks TV viewership. Well, we got our TV watching log book for the week to begin filling out last Thursday and by Saturday we had not even turned the TV on. We only turned it on for a few hours Saturday when we were dog tired from gardening in the near 90-degree heat and had need for mindless entertainment. We channel surfed.

When we hadn't turned the TV on after that come Monday night, I suggested we just cancel the cable service. Why not? We're not even using it. The TV shows we watch we watch online, and they're ending for the season anyway.

If we change our mind, we will have to pay the $50-100 to have the cable guy come back out to hook it up, but if not, we'll have an extra bit of money in the bank each month — to put into a faster internet service for one. And if we can live without it for 6 months and decide that's long enough, the cable company will offer a discount rate to entice us back — right in time for shows like Lost, 24 and Chuck to begin.

I think we made a smart move. But time will tell. In any case, internet has killed the TV in our house.


Paula Pindroh said...

I think that's great!

I also watch LOST/Castle and others online... it's so convenient, and with just a few breaks for a 30 second commercial. I also like to watch some of the LOST episodes over again to see if I missed any little details...(especially that finale!)

I just hope my free online shows STAY free! :~D

Field Notes said...

I know what you mean Paula, both about LOST (being lost during the show) and hoping they stay free!

One thing I heard being tossed around by internet providers is to start charging based on bandwidth use so people like us would end up paying more.

Ugh. I hope it doesn't come to that anytime soon!

Sycamore Moon Studios said...

We never HAD cable, so I can say from experience that it is possible to thrive without it.

Mel said...

We never had cable but we recently got Netflix and can get our tv fix that way. They have a lot of our favorite shows on DVD. However! They have quite a bit of current stuff as "watch instantly" stuff. And you can buy a little box called a Roku and port the signal to your tv! So we've been watching Heroes on demand, on our tv. (We don't have a Tivo).

We're paying $12 a month for one disk out at a time plus unlimited on-demand stuff. I love it.

Field Notes said...

We are Netflix peeps too! We've watched a few streaming movies but never tried TV shows that way. Good to know about them.. in case the networks stop offering them.

Sheryl Karas said...

I never have paid for cable and never regretted it. Now I live in the desert and the ONLY TV is available by satellite so now I know what I was missing. Not much! Animal Planet, a few other documentary channels, more access to old movies. But once you've watched "Sleepless in Seattle" a half dozen times because your mother-in-law loves it, the thrill wears off! :-)

I watch favorite shows online at a time I want to and love being able to do that. Netflicks is great, too. And shutting off the TV? Ahhh! Having conversation, reading books, doing more of the creative things I want to do. How wonderful!

Good luck with it!

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Wow, I am impressed!

Living the (temporary) bachelor life, TV is all I have (besides faculty meetings, grading, and student appointments). I do netflix, too.

yellowfish said...

I've been thinking about this same thing- but, I watch everything on demand instead of online. Where are you going to watch things online?

Field Notes said...


A lot of the shows I watch are carried by ABC so I go to abc.com and click on their free episodes. You have to wait til the day after the show airs to be able to watch it online. CBS, NBC and FOX also offer free episodes on their websites.

For older shows, you can try hulu.com

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