I know it's easy to blame everything on “the economy” these days, but honestly, who wants to pay $55 a month for basic cable service, even in a good economy?
In an effort to reduce our monthly bills a bit while we ride out the poor economy, we decided to axe the cable television service. Our rationale is that we never watch TV on a schedule, and we've got broadband internet access, so why pay? We can watch all the shows we're interested in online. Granted, we won't be able to watch the season premiere of Lost next week as it airs (ABC.com will have it available for online viewing the following day if they do it the same way as they did with season four), but is it really that important? Is it $55 a month important, just to see it as it airs? I say no. Two days ago, I spoke with Comcast and canceled our service. Yesterday, the technician showed up to collect the box and do whatever it is that technicians do to the lines. This is an account of our first day, yesterday, without cable television service.
Quitting Cable: Day One
I woke up to the sound of the house alarm being turned off and the cable guy coming into the house. Angela dealt with him while I got up, and by the time I made it downstairs, we were a cable-free house. First order of business: figure out…
Okay, the first order of business actually had nothing to do with this. But after I was finished, the next order of business was to figure out my audio/video situation and how to tune in our local channels. Our TV is a five-or-six-year-old Sony, standard. It's got the coaxial connection and component connections in the back, and that's it. Needless to say, simply setting it to channel 5 had absolutely no effect. Lots of lovely snow.
Well, I figured that with the digital transition coming up next month, it would make sense to just go ahead and get the converter box and an antenna. I had a chiropractic appointment at noon, and stopped by Best Buy afterward to pick up the necessary equipment before heading home.
Side note – I didn't bother to wait for the government coupon, or even to apply for it yet, because according to a report on the radio a few days ago, the government is out of money for the coupon program. I'll get on the waiting list later, and try to work something out with my receipt from the store if I ever get a coupon (I'm not holding my breath). If it doesn't work out, well, I still paid less than I would have for a full month of cable service.
Installing the converter box and antenna took about five minutes. Using the remote control, it searched for signals and found a few dozen – far, far more than I expected. The downside? Nearly all the stations seem to be either Spanish-language or Christian. It's the strangest thing… there's NBC, there's ABC, there's PBS… then there's about 32 channels in a row with names like “God TV”. Weird.
Winter was watching me work on the TV with great interest, and asking if she would watch Word Girl, to which I could only respond with, “not right now, honey. Daddy's working on fixing the TV”.
Many months ago, I connected my MacBook Pro to the TV and home theater system, so I didn't have to worry about setting that up. I'm able to move a browser window over to the TV and stream shows from a variety of sources.
For the rest of the afternoon, we watched a few shows online on the TV and, well, that was about it. Dinner. Bedtime for the kids. A bit of online poker, then some work on my sites, with the TV off the whole time.
So far, I'm not missing cable.