Saturday, March 21, 2015


After years of complaining that I do not get my money's worth out of cable, I went cold turkey today and shut it off.

I used to get HBO, and ten years ago realized that the $80 I was paying for cable TV was more than 1/3 for HBO (counting the digital box rental, the movie 'tier' and the HBO fee.

So I cut back to basic and expanded, then a cost of $45 a month-still high, but I do watch ESPN in the mornings (Mike & Mike) and for Monday Night Football.

For the most part, however, the set is off, and when it is on, I am mostly streaming via Amazon Prime or watching a DVD.

And the bill climbed steadily, until with this month's bill, I realized that with tax, the bill was back to the $80 mark.

Enough is enough.

I bought a six dollar digital antenna, hooked it up in five minutes, and got the networks and a few surprises (ION TV, who shows Cold Case, a show I do often turn the box on for).

When football season starts up, Sling TV offers a streaming service that I can run through the TV that includes ESPN and about twenty other channels for $20 per month. They even offer a movie package for $5.

Now for my main TV, I will need a converter, and missed getting the free ones courtesy of Barack O, so that will cost me about $40. and I'll need a second antenna for that TV. 

But basically, for a one-time $50 investment in equipment (two antennae and a converter), I am going to save $80 a month (almost $1,000 a year). 

Even if I purchase the streaming service with the movie package, it's still saving me more than $50 a month.

Considering I watch maybe five hours a week,  I was paying $18.50 per hour watched. 

With the antenna, it's free. 

Considering what is mostly on TV, it's worth about that.

Now I am still paying $65 a month for internet service, but I use that. I'd consider scaling back if the cost creeps up (the Cox site actually suggests I am paying for a higher level of service than I need) but between uploading music to my cloud space (I have a huge collection-it's been a two year process and will probably continue for another couple of years), streaming music and video, and the time I spend online, I feel like I am getting my money's worth.

I often post about what technology takes away from us-but the internet has enabled me to opt out of two of the handful of regulated monopolies we're all stuck with (bye bye phone and cable, still stuck with water, electricity and the postal service).

Do you feel like you get your money's worth from cable? Ever think of turning it off?


  1. Here in Australia, we have Foxtel which has always been ridiculous in terms of costs. I saw an ad the other day for a $25 a month connection to Foxtel, which is amazingly cheap compared to usual. But it's only for 12 months so not sure what happens after the year is up.

    Anyway, the point is that I've never paid for it, and probably never will unless it really does get super cheap. I'm on a pretty strict budget, and still have a "dumb phone" that has a $19 a month bill - other people I know pay at least $60 a month, and some even as high as $80. I'm in no hurry to move on from my $19 a month phone bill. I have also gone a long time now without having a home phone, though I think I could get one setup again if I did a phone / internet bundle. But I haven't looked into that yet.

    Someday soon I'm going to buy myself an iMac, and I might look into a new internet setup at that point. But for now, I'm content with my low expenditure!

    1. Trisha-

      You are actually going about it the smart way-monthly payments are how they sucker you in.

      I have a friend who teeters on the verge of bankruptcy who has every cable movie channel, TIVO, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, but wonders why she has trouble paying for necessities. Her mantra is, "it's only ten dollars a month."

      There's the basic budget issue, and even if it's within the budget, there's the issue of why throw money away if you don't have to?

      Cable was really getting to me because in the US, the traditional cable companies have no competition unless you go with a satellite company. Amazingly, they all seem to charge the same amounts.


  2. Hey, LC, did you already buy that converter? If not, STOP!!!

    I think I have one at my old house (you know the place) in Phoenix. My pal the Flyin' Aardvark sent it to me years ago and then we didn't even need it, for some reason. So it's been sitting in a box below the TV all these years.

    Let me know if you need it and I'll have Nappy check to see if it's still there.

    TV is only for the perpetually brainwashed, anyway.

    Up until just about a month ago, I was under the false impression that a person HAD to have at least some basic cable TV or a dish/satellite setup in order to watch DVDs. All these years I was paying half of our TV bill (splitting it with Nappy) only to find now that I didn't need to be paying for something I almost never used.

    Uhp! I'm an idiot!

    Here in Reno, the night before last, I plugged in my little TV, attached the DVD player cords and sure enough I was watching 'ONE TRICK PONY' and Kirk Gibson's 1988 home run in the World Series, and all without paying for television. Doh! If I'd only known.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. Rats. I bought one today.

      If you had cable you didn't need the converter, but I agree-all you get with cable are more channels with stuff you probably don't want to watch.

      Is "One Trick Pony" the film that Paul Simon did the soundtrack for in the late 70's (he may have even been in it)? I never saw that...sounds like I should if you bought it.

    2. Yeah, Paul Simon wrote, acted in, and recorded the soundtrack for 'ONE TRICK PONY'. It's not a great movie at all, but the music is great and there are some scenes and moments in it that I like quite a bit.

      It's "light" but entertaining for when I want some good music and a li'l sumpin' to watch at the same time.

      ~ D-FensDogG

  3. If it were solely up to me I'd ditch our satellite TV, but my wife wants it and she essentially pays for it anyway so I'm not going to say what she has to do with her money.

    I do like the TCM channel--it's the main thing I watch on our service, but I could do without. Most of the little TV outside of TCM that I watch is network TV.

    Keep us posted on how your experiment works over the long range.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

    1. The only change I forsee is adding Sling TV for football season.

      Yesterday, I noticed no difference sing I rarely turn the thing on.