Cutting the Cord: One Year Later

It’s been a little over a year since I canceled my DirecTV service and did not replace it with another form of cable. And it’s been awesome.

I made the decision to cancel TV because I was looking to cut expenses from my budget. Look at your cable bill. Whether it’s a standalone service or it’s bundled in with your Internet, landline or cell phone, the amount you’re paying for television is high. Only you know whether the amount is worth it. For me, it wasn’t, so I ditched it.

Before I canceled the service, I looked into my options and discovered plenty of free ways to watch almost anything I wanted on TV. Caveat: I’m not a sports fan so losing access to watching the occasional Flyers game was not a big deal. In my neck of the woods, if you don’t have cable, you’re going to miss out on sports.

Just about everything else though is available online and legally. Start with the networks’ web sites. With the exception of Fox, they have new episodes up the day after they air. Fox makes you wait 8 days to see the latest episode.

Yes, these episodes air with commercial breaks. I’d forgotten how much I like commercial breaks. With online viewing, I’ve got 5 breaks of 30-60 seconds each. Plenty of time to refill a beverage, check email, whatever.

Don’t feel like bookmarking every network? No problem. The free version of Hulu has almost every current show (plus it has full runs of old favorites like Magnum P.I. – SCORE!). Again, Fox releases episodes to Hulu 8 days after they air. Stupid Fox.

I’ll admit not every network has online viewing. I couldn’t watch The Walking Dead or Mad Men on AMC. I can, however, purchase a season subscription to the shows through iTunes and watch the episodes plus some extra content the day after episodes air. I paid so much less for these shows than I would have for a cable subscription that ran through the months the show aired. And I own the episodes so I can rewatch whenever I want.

Special events are tough to track down. I couldn’t see any of the Olympics, for example. Presidential addresses are usually found through CNN.com or a similar site.

On the other hand, I’ve cut out watching a lot of fluff. If I don’t remember to look for a show online, I’m not going to stumble across it. This has pluses and minuses.

In the minus category, I miss marathon showings of Independence Day or The Twilight Zone, and I rarely remember to find Mythbusters or anything on the History channel. In the plus category, I don’t flip through channels and settle for the least annoying show, and I no longer care about smizing.

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6 thoughts on “Cutting the Cord: One Year Later

  1. I would like to do the same thing. Netflix streams most of my favorite shows (they have Twilight Zone and Mythbusters!) and if I cut the cord, I’d be willing to pay for a season pass for certain shows. Maybe even pick-up a Hulu subscription.

    There is so much great content out on the web and so much is free or low cost! I’ve spent many nights surfing video podcasts, Vimeo and YouTube with my Apple TV. Apple TV is a great device for streaming your content and I highly recommend it.

    My Dish contract is almost up, so I may be following your lead.

    1. Right now I’ve got my MacBook hooked up to the TV when I need it and I’m running Netflix on the Xbox. Try it for a bit when the Dish contract ends – although DirecTV wouldn’t come out and remove the dish from my room: they said it’s part of the house now so they can’t take it off.

  2. I priced out what my bill would be with and without cable with the intention of doing the same thing. Unfortunately, it became really obvious when I looked at the bundles that I wasn’t going to save all that much money if I dropped cable. Shopping both Comcast and Verizon, I found the average savings was something like $20, if I kept my unlimited calling and internet. I pay something like $90/month; internet and phone together was $65. I even looked at dropping the landline and going with just internet and they wanted somewhere between $50-70. I guess what I’m trying to say is I think the major players recognize that television isn’t the essential service it once was and almost give it away, compared to internet at least.

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