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Cutting the cord

This week, we are getting rid of our cable and I couldn't be happier.

Of all the amenities of life, cable is one that I can certainly live without. In fact, out of the last 14 years, we've only had cable for about half of that time. We never got cable when we lived in Boone, NC. In fact, we weren't able to get any TV.  We lived in the mountains and the closest television stations were over 100 miles away so if you didn't have cable or a strong roof-top aerial, TV was not an option. I was in graduate school so I didn't have much time for television anyway. If I wanted to watch something, I went to a friend's house or had them tape it. Yeah, on a VCR. Remember those?

When we moved back to Fredericksburg, we made do for a while with a basic antenna but reception was (again) spotty so at some point we bought the bullet and had basic cable for about a year or so. 

Then we bought our house in Ashland and local channels again became an available option. As new homeowners, we had a budgetary choice to make: high speed internet or cable. I chose the Internet.  Occasionally I would miss some of my favorite shows like The Daily Show.  Roger missed some of his favorites on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel, not to mention his obsession fascination with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC,  but for the most part, we didn't miss it. Unfortunately, when our television died and we upgraded to a new LCD TV, the digital conversion hadn't yet taken place. We couldn't get good local coverage anymore. Again.

We have had basic cable since 2007 and I have to admit that the On-Demand feature has been handy. We don't use a DVR but I liked being able to bring up children's shows at will for Charlotte to watch. I also would watch a lot of network shows On-Demand. 

Fast forward 4 years and now, almost everything is available on the Internet. For FREE! Between Hulu, Netflix, and Google TV, there is very little that I need from cable. There are a few shows that I might like to see "live" but if they are available 24 hours later on a website, I can deal with that. 

We bought a new antenna and tried life without cable for a few days, just to see if we could tolerate the change. The only current downside is that, for some reason, our local NBC affiliate (WWBT NBC 12) will NOT tune in. We don't get good NBC coverage at all. I understand it's been kind of a problem in the Ashland area. Anybody have a solution?  

In the end, though, we couldn't justify our $80+ cable bill for one local channel.

For now, it's the local channels we can tune in plus our Netflix that will keep us entertained. Eventually, I'd like to get a Logitech Revue so that we can stream more shows from the Internet on the big screen. 
For now, it's interesting to learn what we can live without. I think that a lot of the time, we keep things just out of habit. We think that we need them because everyone else has it...or just because we're too lazy to go without. By learning to live without some instant gratification, I've saved almost $1000. I think it might just be worth it.

Have you cut the cable cord? Are there other things in your life that you have learned are not so "necessary"? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.


  1. I've been looking for ways to simplify, and I think I could do without cable. I only watch a few TV shows; most are not on the big networks, and I usually don't care if I miss them. What holds us from cutting the cable cord is my husband. He won't give it up, even though he's not wedded to any single show. He has a demanding job, and because I stay at home there's not an excess of disposable income. He says because of that, he wants to be able to flip on ESPN or HBO when he relaxes at night. I guess I can't argue with that - got to let the man have something :)


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