Are you still paying for cable TV? Why?
With all the streaming options out there, you really don’t need cable television.
Some time over the past few years, I realized that I was watching less and less TV. There were few TV shows that I felt were really good. Too many were getting too weird, Criminal Minds, I’m looking at you. Others were getting too repetitive, all the Law and Orders. The medical dramas, the cop shows, and the slapstick comedy were all the same to me. There was really very little unique, good programming on. Especially if you weren’t in the premium channels, which would cost even extra.
At some point, I just stopped watching television.
And it was wonderful.
Too Many Shows on DVR
Don’t worry that sometimes the shows are not available until a day later. Really, how many shows do you watch live these days? How many shows do you have weeks and weeks of shows built up on your DVR, waiting for a good binge session?
When I realized I had 100 hours, give or take, on my DVR, I realized I would never watch all those shows. No way would I catch up. And it became a mental drain on me to either 1) watch enough shows to free up space for the next shows that I wouldn’t watch or 2) decide which ones I could delete. Finally, in burst of “I give up,” I deleted all of them.
If I decide that I just have to see a show, many are available for streaming directly from the network, either on the web or through an app. Others, you can get on Netflix.
The Draw of ESPN
But yet, I still hesitated on dropping cable because of sports – I needed my ESPN. But have no fear sports fans, there are still a lot of options out there for you to get your sports fix. NFL plays on broadcast TV. College football has a lot of games on those same stations. And if you need a game that is out of your network, wouldn’t you rather go to a sports bar and watch with other fans? Community is better than watching and drinking by yourself.
If you are a fan of the other major sports, there are more games and you probably don’t want to be sitting at a bar all the time. Each of MLB, NBA, and NHL have their own streaming options, but subject to a lot of black-outs for the hometown teams. So if you are in Florida, wanting to follow the Cubbies, you are in luck, the MLB.TV option will work great. If you are in Chicago wanting to watch the Cubbies, well, good luck with MLB.TV.
Instead, I recommend getting Sling TV. Sling’s lowest priced option is $20 and gives you ESPN, FS1, NFL Network, the SEC Network and PAC 12 Network. You’ll even have access to Watch ESPN. And with no contracts, you can cancel your service at the end of the season! No reason to keep everything all year long if you only watch certain sports.
How I Cut The Cord
For years, I had played the game jumping back and forth between the two major cable providers in my area – Comcast Xfinity and AT&T UVerse. But with all the shows I’d never watch piling up on my DVR, it was time to make a change. First, I dropped down to the most basic package – from Uverse’s U200 to the basic package. That saved me about $50 a month right off. It let me ease into the idea of not having cable, but I also knew that if I really couldn’t deal with not having my sports fix, it would be as simple as going online to up the service level again.
After a couple of months of just basic cable, I realized I still wasn’t watching TV, even during college football season. And if you know anything about college football in the south, well, you know it is king and I didn’t miss any games I wanted to see. So in the middle of the fall, in the middle of the prime college football game season, I made the final switch – no cable at all!
Once I cut everything out, including basic cable, I was able to save about $115 a month. It’s amazing what all those DVRs and HD service fees add up to, even on basic cable.
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Alternatives for Cable TV
Even when I cut the cord, I didn’t get rid of my television. After all, it’s still in great shape and awesome for watching movies or whatever. And it would be really weird not to have any TV, right?
First, I did get a nice HD TV antenna to get all the local broadcast stations. That’s ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC. I also get ION TV (great for those Law and Order marathons) and a slew of what I’ll just call weird stations. Want to watch a really old western movie? Go hook up your antenna to get over the air stations! Oh, and the “no whammy” game show!
I’ve also got a Roku streaming stick. With my Amazon Prime subscription plus the free content available through the Roku, I’ve got lots of options to watch TV shows. Add on specific subscription channels, and you can get pretty much everything you want to watch.
Obviously, Sling TV and Netflix are options if you need more. But be careful about adding all these other services – you’ll soon lose all your savings from cutting cable. Really be judicious in what you really need/want for entertainment options.
Trust me, as one of the biggest sports fans out there, there are plenty of other options that don’t cost $20-40 a month. You can find plenty of free entertainment, especially if you are willing to wait a day or so to see new episodes. Because really, you want to save them up for a binge watching weekend, anyways.
So, why do you still have cable?