post off: do you have cable tv?

For someone who spends 90% of her waking life online, I must have some Luddite in my background — not only do I not have a microwave, I don’t have cable TV. In fact, I’ve never had it — partially because I never felt particularly inspired to pay for it, partially because I spend so much time staring at screens already that I don’t need to add another time-suck to my day. These days, it’s so easy to get great shows through Netflix, Hulu, or individual TV channels’ own sites, I miss cable even less. NPR’s All Things Considered just ran a story on one man’s experience with cutting cable out of his life. What about you — where do you get your TV and movie fix these days, and why? –Mary T.

Photo by Vangelis Thomaidis

From our partners

I’ve never had cable as an adult, and don’t plan to unless they create an option where I can pay for ONLY the four channels I want: Discovery, Food Network, Comedy Central and Cartoon Network. But in the meantime, we supplement with Netflix, hulu, and good old fashioned outdoor time in the garden or at the beach. The no cable savings means an extra dinner out or a trip to Target. I’d much rather have that!

ita-darling

ohh this is the biggest source of contention in our house… my devoted boyfriend can’t live without cable. He needs his Astros, his man v. food, and some kind of kickboxing that I shudder from when I enter the room.

I am guilty of DVRing things and watching them on the tv in my studio/ “girlie room” but I rarely watch anything live. the noise of commercials is too glaring for my delicate little head! But I lived without cable for a long time and made out just fine with ABC.com BEFORE hulu was even a glimmer in some brave soul’s head.

I want to get rid of the $100/month bill- he thinks we can afford it (HOW? I”M UNEMPLOYED and he’s a freelance writer and DJ?!?!)

I love to read books and blogs, devoted boyfriend loves wrestling and football. Definitely things that won’t show up streaming websites… I threaten regularly to just not pay the bills so the service will lapse when he couch potatoes too much and refuses to go work out with me.. he said he would consider it eventually…

i’m curious to read other folk’s opinions on this topic…

ellobie

I dropped cable after I bought my house in 2004 because I couldn’t afford both. Several moves and now I’m in an underpriced apartment in Chicago; I could definitely afford cable now but like my life better without it. I’ve watched a couple of tv shows using Netflix but mostly just use my tv for watching dvds and a few network programs I can pick up with my regular old antenna.

I don’t have cable, and for the most part, I don’t mind at all. The only thing I don’t like is missing most broadcasts of my beloved Twins games.

Ellie

Nope no cable. The price doesn’t seem worth it.
The HD antenna is better quality anyway.

Like others there are only a few programs/channels I am interested in and some (BBC America) are not even included in the first 100 channels or so.

I iTunes, library, netflix, hulu, youTube and torrent the things I want. But I will admit that the things on the DVR get first priority even if they are not top in my mind just for ease. geesh that sounds like I watch an awful lot of television.

I canceled cable six months ago and I MISS IT! I’m constantly debating about bringing it back.

KS

I’ve never had cable. I borrow DVDs from the library and recently rented one from a red box vending machine in a supermarket for the first time.

PS I don’t have a microwave oven, either.

Sean

If it weren’t for live sports, we’d have ditched cable entirely for a Windows Media Center box hooked up to Netflix and Hulu.

Nope, never had cable. Don’t miss it. But it does make us an humerous oddity among our friends…which is fine! Whenever we rework our household budget, we’ve always decided that we would rather use that money every month on a couple more dinners out. We rent DVDs of cable series that we are interested in and if there is something (like a sports event) that we need to watch, we go over to a friends house. A good excuse to get together!

patty

didn’t have cable until we moved to the boonies. Now the only way to receive any kind of channel is through Satelite. We still do not have cable, technically speaking. Not enough people want it in the area I live in.

Didn’t have a microwave in old house, have it in new house and use it fairly regularly.

Wow, so many people without cable! They’re probably gonna think I’m pathetic for saying I DON’T THINK I COULD LIVE WITHOUT IT! My parents resisted it when I was a kid but finally got it when I was 10 for my birthday, and I’ve been hooked ever since. The thing is, I don’t feel like it’s a time suck for me…I’m the type that needs multiple forms of stimulation, even to be productive; I’ve spent years doing my homework with the TV on, and even now, I can’t clean without an episode of CSI or Law & Order!

I grew up without cable and didn’t miss it, but we currently have cable because my husband wants it to watch live sports. Although I have to say, now that we have it, I am kind of falling for the DVR, though if it were entirely up to me I still wouldn’t be willing to pay for it.

I’m actually not too fond of the microwave, either, but our current apartment has one built in.

It’s strange, because when I had cable, I really couldn’t imagine not having it. But once finances made it so that I couldn’t, I can find very little desire for it now. Sometimes there’s a certain show that won’t come online fast enough, so I’ll make a friend who has cable some dinner in exchange for her letting me borrow her tv for an hour, but otherwise…

April

Nope, no cable. I had a roommate who moved out a few months ago, so no TV either.

I do watch movies on my laptop occasionally.

We stopped paying for cable well over a year ago. In lieu of “real” TV we have an old Mac laptop connected to our TV that we use as a media center for Hulu, Netflix, iTunes and the like. If we can’t find it online, we don’t watch it.

On that note, I’m disappointed that certain networks (Food Network and TLC come to mind) don’t offer their shows online. They need to jump on the bandwagon before I’ll be 100% satisfied with this setup, but for the relatively small amount of TV we watch, it works.

kat

quit cable this year too for financial reasons….netflix, dvd’s, and tv websites are where i get my fix, just miss watching M.A.S.H. reruns … maybe someone will get me a dvd for my birthday. don’t miss the crappy programming and horrible commercials!

I’ve never owned a tv or had cable, but that doesn’t mean I don’t watch it! I get all my tv online or on DVD.

Jennifer

I am also going to join the ranks of those cutting cable from my life …

Michelle

I haven’t had cable since 2006. We don’t even have tv reception. We borrow from the library and watch whatever we want on the internets.

When we moved into our new house, I convinced my husband not to sign up for cable. We would never find anything to watch, so it was a waste of money. We bought a digital antenna to get the local stuff and then we watch shows and movies through the web with hulu, netflix or tv network sites.

I’m surprised how many people don’t have cable here, cool!

Megan B

We do have cable, and I really don’t want to have to get rid of it, which I have done in the past. I have really become attached to my DVR- now I don’t miss America’s Next Top Model when I work late. But I heard that NPR story, and I have friends that recently converted to a web- based t.v. set up, and I’m tempted to cut the cord, so to say!

Ayme

I haven’t had cable since I moved out of my parents’ house to go to college. I don’t miss it, and I don’t want it. (I do keep up with House and Grey’s Anatomy online… and freak out when I miss it.) We find the longer we’re without TV the harder it is to look away from it, like when it’s playing in a bar or something. Not having it, and seeing the zombie-like effects it has on us, constantly reinforces our choice. Instead, we TALK TO EACH OTHER, read, garden, walk, etc. Worthwhile.

Gina

Both hubby and I grew up without cable. He already had it when I moved in and with the bundle prices these days I didn’t see any reason not to have it.
I quit watching TV about a year ago and don’t miss it at all but never thought about getting rid of it altogether.
But one day I realized what little programmed robots my kids were becoming because of all the advertising. I cut the cable about 2 months ago and we don’t have an antennae or an HD TV, so we get 1 PBS channel and we have our DVD player.
The only complaints come from my husband, but even he will admit it is nicer without it. The kids don’t seem to mind at all and our house is so much more peaceful. And we do so much more!
I know hubby is planning on a sleek fancy flat screen some time in the future, so it may not last forever…but I can hope!

Kim

For all those people who say they can’t live without tv – you’d be surprised! I cut off cable six months ago and don’t miss it. Give yourself a little time without it and you’ll see it for the mind numbing quality it brings.

We’ve never had cable (as adults) and tend to forget that there is a tv in the house… mostly I can’t quite fathom how people spend so much money on something that is so very uninteresting to me. But then, I’m very addicted to the computer/internet/wireless-laptop-on-the-couch-with-cat-on-lap that provides most of our entertainment (yes, we sometimes get DVDs from libraryflix too), so I suppose it’s a matter of one screen or another.

Elizabeth

i don’t have cable and i’ve never missed it. I haven’t had it since 1998. not only do i get to watch everything i want on hulu/the internet/netflix anyway, but i also am more productive without having it around. i would hardly have time to watch it anyway! as for sports (and i do like sports), i usually make them a social occasion and watch them with friends or at a sports bar where i can be in on the fun action of celibrating with a crowd. i agree with the first poster though – if i could buy a few individual channels, i would. :)

Kate

I’m definitely in the non-cable ranks. I can’t afford it right now, and if I could it’s money I’d rather spend on other things. I do live in an area where a lot of the shows people mentioned (CSI, Law & Order, Grey’s Anatomy, ANTM, and a lot of cooking shows) are broadcast locally, but I don’t watch any of them consistently. If I couldn’t get them, I wouldn’t pay for cable to get them. I do like Netflix (good for date nights-I rarely watch tv if I’m by myself) . That said most of the time I’d much rather be doing something else, like reading.

We got rid of cable about 2 months ago after getting frustrated with seeing comcast commercials all the time – and we’re already paying you, comcast! Well, that’s just one of the reasons. Constant reruns, wasted time – we’re making due with netflix and online entertainment just fine for now.

Nathan

We’d like to get cable, honestly, but know we’d always be tempted to flick on the TV and filling our evenings with shows instead of other enjoyments. Recording OTA television and Netflix are enough and not too much.

I hadn’t had cable for about ten years, but have had it off and on for the past two years. We’ll probably do away with it again in the near future. It was very nice to have during my first trimester when I was sick as a dog and things like picking up a book or getting off the couch were beyond me. And now the DVR makes 3am feedings much easier to deal with.

We used to have really great cable, to go along with the snazzy flat screen tv my husband found for “a really great deal” and couldn’t pass up. But a couple of months ago, we decided to take the plunge and ditch the cable company. I thought I would die.

Turns out I was wrong! We spend a lot more time sitting in our back yard, watching our dogs play. I’ve read several books. And for those times when we simply must have TV, we use Netflix and can stream it onto the TV via our Xbox 360. The weirdest side effect has been that I’m more content because I don’t want as much STUFF because I’m exposed to a lot less advertising.

I’ll also note that my sports-loving hubbie got a NBA online subscription to watch basketball, and we purchased an antenna just so he could watch the playoffs on ABC.

LeeLee

We’ve been without cable since last August. I was even able to watch my beloved Sooners during football season online. We just hook up the laptop to the TV with an HDMI cable and watch either the instant play on Netflix or shows on Hulu. We tend to buy movies if we love them, and I’ve found some great multi-movie collections for peanuts at stores like Ross and Five Below.

I don’t think we’ll ever get cable again. But we do have a microwave – our 6 year old likes to reheat leftovers for lunch and make her own popcorn. And it’s convenient in the summer for baking potatoes and such. The less I have to turn on the oven, the better.

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bagelpower

No cable, I am an NPR and Netflix junkie – I don’t miss TV at all, so productive now without it, it would be nice to get Discovery Channel and National Geo and BBC America but since you can’t pick and choose we make do without and wait for the BBC News Hour.

Rusty2

I haven’t had cable in three years. Cable channels have as many commercials as broadcast tv and get the subscription fees on top of it – double dipping. So many people say, “How can you live without it?”. That’s pathetic. What are people going to do when their unemployment runs out? Choose between eating and paying for 200 channels of nothing? There’s plenty to watch with local HD and PBS channels. Cable tv has become a wasteland. They say only 15% of the households in the US don’t have cable. I think they’re skewing the numbers to get everyone to pay for this ripoff.

karen

we had directv and got rid of it in anticipation of FREE tv once again. guess what???? we were screwed! we have nothing now and have been told by the fcc and every tv station that its tough luck. get cable or dish. forget that….why should we when tv is and always has been free??? so now we are in the black and finding another way. and we are only about 30 miles north of NYC.
anyone have the same problem?

Barbara

We haven’t had cable in three years and with the switch to digital – we’ve ditched TV altogether. Our home is peaceful – we’re playing cards, listening to music, reading or spending time outside. The downside is that when the kids have access to TV they are like junkies and their lack of exposure to popular culture makes them a bit of a curiosity to their peers.

Tom

Nope, just got rid of cable. Can’t afford it.
I’d rather be online and be able to eat when I’m hungry or drink a beer with friends.
I’m glad it’s gone. I’ll probably go through withdraw for awhile but it’ll be ok.

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