Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.

Dead DVR/cable box

At the end of 2010, we decided to cut the cord with cable television. In looking at many ways to trim the fat financially, we saw that COX Cablevision was easily our largest monthly utility bill. Our regular outlay for DVR/cable box rental, expanded service, digital cable service, DVR service, franchise fee, FCC fee, taxes etc. was $91! But that’s not all — when you include internet access it crested $137.

Frankly, the eight shows we watched on a regular basis was costing us too much. In addition, the bad habit to turn on the set as soon as I got home from work to mindlessly watch whatever was remotely interesting was keeping me from doing other more important things, like reading and blogging!

It’s been almost two weeks since we cut the cord and we survived! We no longer miss the sitting in front of the TV watching the same episode of Man Vs. Food for the upteenth time.

We aren’t Amish — we still need our television. Fortunately, we were able to find most of our shows online, and with only a short delay from their original airings. Hulu and Amazon helped a lot.

Watching Fabio on Top Chef

For shows aired on NBC, they are available for free the next day on Hulu. As for Bravo’s Top Chef — a must-follow show for me — I watch it the day after it airs on Amazon’s Video on Demand. At $1.99 an episode ($1.89 a show with the season pass), I’m able to follow the program with little chance of it being spoiled by people online. Purchasing each episode at $1.99 for a 13 show season is relatively cheap at $25.87. Even premium channel shows (hello HBO’s True Blood!) available at a slightly elevated price of $2.09 is still a great deal. As for other programs to fill in the occasional visual stimulation, my Netflix account is here to either watch a DVD or stream something online on the iPad. We’ve even discovered a new show (new at least to us) in the process: Doctor Who.

While we’re watching all the shows on the computer and iPad, the ancient and heavy CRT television has been slated for an upgrade to a slimmed down flat-screen in the near future. But the flat-screen only will have access to the internet. A big yay for sitting on the coach again like normal people.

Here’s a sampling of shows we watch — some mentioned above –and how we watch them online:

Unfortunately, the transition hasn’t been a complete success; some shows have been lost in the trade-out with no alternate ways of viewing them. But seriously, if you’ve seen one episode of Hoarders, you’ve seen them all.

18 thoughts on “Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.

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  1. Netflix streaming is awesome, but it’s also introduced me to some really weird low-B-grade horror flicks. And I do love me some Fringe, even if the story line has gotten a bit weird.

  2. We also cut back, but only cut out the premium channels, which did make a big difference on our DirecTV bill. I guess we must watch more than 8 shows and I just can’t stand watching tv on my computer. Probably because my computer is slow and it just doesn’t work out very well. We pretty much only watch what we’ve recorded or something from a Netflix or other dvd. Not up-to-date enough tech wise to stream anything. I really never find myself just mindlessly watching something I don’t want to. I’ll just mindlessly re-watch something we haven’t deleted yet! (Plus, when the hard drive in our bedroom TiVo was dying recently, we put in a huge hard drive so I’ve been recording reruns of favorites in case I get bored!)

    1. We did consider only keeping the minimum channels but when looking at what was available, there were really no shows that we watched that wouldn’t also be available online. Netflix is a savior! Without it, I don’t think we would have made the leap.

  3. I’ve beent thinking of doing the same. Maybe in a few months after a couple of life changes. Really, how many times do anyone really watch a show as it airs?

    Congrats on your life change!

    1. Thanks Margie. It’s a daunting leap and once we made the decision last Fall, we prepped for a few months. It’s really the act of dumping cable that was the hardest. Good luck!

  4. I’ve been trying to convince my husband on this (we have a PS3 which makes streaming Netflix to the TV easy-peasy), but he loves sports too much to let go just yet (although I’m pricing out NBA League Pass and MLB TV PS3 apps to see if there’s still a cost savings). But, I think we’ll eventually downgrade to “regular” cable, especially since we have some big expenses on the horizon.

    Let me know how it goes — other than sports, we’re pretty much in the same boat programming-wise as you and Paul!

    1. I’ve heard from a lot of people that the only reason they’re keeping cable is for sports. Hopefully you can find an online solution for that soon.

      As for us, we don’t watch sports but I was aching to see some coverage of the Golden Globes.

      1. You should see if you guys can pick up digital over-the-air broadcasts from the local stations. And, since digital signals are more compressed than analog, you may be able to receive more channels than the “basic” networks.

        From what I understand, you can pick up an antenna and a tuner/receiver, then hook it up to your TV to watch live programming on the major networks and KPBS. That way, if there’s a live event you want to watch, you can still do so cheaply since the only cost outlay is the antenna and receiver.

        Anyway, it may be worth some research depending on where you live in the county. If nothing else, I’m hoping we can test drive no cable next summer when there’s less programming and we’re occupied with other activities. As far as sports go, my husband only watches the Cubs and some golf in the summertime. Thankfully, we could watch baseball games via the PS3 if we wanted since MLB TV streams there (for a price, of course, but still cheaper than cable). And, if we can pick up live broadcast streams, he can watch whatever airs on the Big Four otherwise.

  5. that’s great that you guys were able to cut cable! saves $$$. my husband wants to keep it still. i could do without since i don’t watch a lot of tv as it is.

    love how your laptop has my boyfriend on it (bourdain! ha ha)!

  6. You are a stronger person than I am…Superfro and I suckle at the teat of MamaTV daily. I think I’d give up garbage service and my annuity before I’d give up TV. I’d really love to get more blogging and crafting done though. Maybe if I start using meth I could watch all the TV I want during the day and then stay up all night doing everything else….any I bet I could lose some weight too. And some teeth. See, I learned on TV that using meth makes your teeth fall out! Educational!
    Best of luck on the Avengers, let me know if you find a (legal) source!

    1. An added benefit of losing your teeth is that the ability to eat solid food will be cancelled out! I’ll keep you in the loop with Avengers. 😉

    1. I think that Richard, Antonia and Dale will round out the top 3. But ultimately I hope Richard wins. He seems like a nice guy.

      Any predictions from you?

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