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My Life as a Cable Cutter
February 17, 2014 - Dave Hecei
It happened about seven months ago. Last year, at the end of July, I cancelled my cable television service. It just got to the point, with yet another price increase (a small one but they add up over time), that it just wasn’t worth the amount of money. I became a cable cutter.
Don’t get me wrong I still watch television. I probably watch too much television. It just didn’t make sense in paying almost $100 a month to be able to watch my favorite shows – about 20 or so channels. After almost eight months, I don’t regret my decision, at all. And before I get a flood of responses, yes I know I could get a basic cable or satellite package that would give me some channels. The whole ideal is that I don’t pay for TV service now, just my Internet.
So what am I missing? In reality, I’m not missing much at all. The one problem that would help me out is that my location doesn’t get any over-the-air broadcasts. If I were to get an amplified HD antenna up high enough, I might be able to pull in the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and PBS). This would cover a very large part of what I like to watch. Plus, these would all be local stations giving me sports, weather, and news. But since I don’t have that option, I do miss out on free broadcast television.
Normally, over-the-air broadcasting is where you would have to go to watch live events. Things like sports, news events, or something like awards shows - Grammys or the Oscars. Football wasn’t too bad this season. I was able to watch some games online. The playoffs and Super Bowl was streamed online so I didn’t miss out on those either. Golf is another thing I like to watch on Sundays. So far, this has been no problem for events broadcast on CBS. So far, Cbssports.com has had live streaming on the weekends.
While I did cut the television cable, I do still have my Internet connection. This is brought to me on high-speed ADSL through my phone company. While not as fast as cable Internet, my DSL is faster than standard DSL. Standard DSL is 3Mbs and I’m getting 6Mbs. Its not the fastest, but it is fairly reliable and stable.
I now watch my TV shows online. I have my Mac mini connected to my HDTV to give me Internet based programming on a big screen. All the regular TV series programming is available either on their website, or through a service such as Hulu.com. While I can’t watch live, I can watch them usually starting the next day. However, just recently, there are a few shows that make you wait eight days. So far this is rare, but it does have me just a little bit worried for the future.
Back to Hulu.com. This is where most of my shows live, at least for a couple of weeks. It really depends on the show, but most will only have the last few episodes available to watch. As long as you don’t fall way behind, this is more than adequate. Hulu.com is a free service, but they do have a paid service. While you still have to sit through commercials, the paid service does expand on what is available to watch. As a paid subscriber you can watch every episode of the many series available.
Of course Hulu.com does not have everything available on television. One of the main omissions is the CBS family of networks. Luckily, CBS.com carries, at least in my case, all the current shows I want to watch. There are a bit more commercials on this site when compared to Hulu, but it’s free television, why complain.
To go along with the free sites I do subscribe to Netflix. This is something that I have had for quite a while now. I started out renting DVDs through the mail, which I no longer do. Later, I also streamed videos online. I am also a Prime member on Amazon. I did this mainly to get the free 2nd day (or cheap next-day) shipping for many items carried by Amazon. The other benefit is free streaming of a large selection of movies, TV shows, and other content.
So, putting it all together, I get to watch all kinds of TV shows and movies (new and old) without having a huge monthly cable bill. The other services I currently pay for are ones that I was already paying for when I still had cable.
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