Why we cut the cable TV cord

Nearly 5 million people now live in a "Zero TV" household.

That is a household with no incoming television signal. No cable. Not even bunny-ears. My wife and I aren't quite in that category, but we did cut our satellite cord a couple of months ago.

The truth is we don't miss cable TV at all.

We certainly don't miss the monthly bill either. When we first signed up, the bill was reasonable. It was under $100 for both TV and the Internet. After a year, though, the bill seemed to increase every month. Finally, when it reached $145 (without any movie channels) we said enough and called to cancel.

Sure, money was a motivating factor but there were so many reasons to drop the service. I got tired of the daily routine of coming home from work, plopping into my favorite spot on the couch and turning on the TV. I got tired of saying, "There's nothing on." And I finally got tired of paying to watch a movie I've already seen 20 times, especially when I already own the DVD.

Ultimately, though, the deciding factor was the availability of the TV shows on the Internet. We have Netflix, which we have used to catch shows we might have missed. There's Hulu and Amazon for current TV shows. It requires a little work and a little organization to keep up to date, but the savings alone have been worth it.

Amy and I now watch TV for a purpose. Not just because there is a flat-screen TV in the living room or because there is nothing to do. I couldn't justify spending that much money on cable channels I'll never watch. Sure, I miss watching live sports. I don't get ESPN anymore. But I'm still able to catch some that air on the networks with our fancy new digital bunny-ears. Truth be told, dropping $145 a month to watch a couple Boston Celtics games per month isn't money well spent.

I even understand that making great television costs money (about $3 million per episode to make Showtime's "Homeland," $2.5 million per episode of "Mad Men") and I'll continue to watch them wherever I can find them when it's convenient for my schedule. Technology has made watching TV a reality without even needing a TV.

Technology has long had this affect of making goods more available and affordable. Before Henry Ford installing the assembly line, it took 12 hours to build one car. After, the process took only an hour and a half. Because of this new efficiency, the costs came down dramatically so that middle class families could afford their own Model T.

There's no question technology has changed the way we watch TV. It brought hundreds of channels into our homes. With that came the expansion of original TV programming. But, unlike with the Model T, cable prices have only increased every year.

My hope is cable and satellite companies embrace these technological advancements by offering different packages that might cater towards my television viewing needs. Something more along the lines of what I'm willing to pay for it.

If not, Amy and I will be happy to stay cord-free and continue to watch the same TV shows without giving any money to a cable or satellite company, even if I miss out on a few basketball games.

6 Comments   |   Join the conversation »
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    sweetmama wrote...
    Since most of television
    has become a haven for bad behavior and propaganda, we decided that being charged to watch this nonsense was something we could opt out of years ago. Now we read more and get our information, and whatever few shows we like to watch, via the internet. Keeps life simpler and much more reasonable.
  • Abuse
    SurpriseMe wrote...
    pay for tv your a sucker
    i got rabbit ears. havent had cable for over 15 yrs. instead I go to the park, hike, camping, friends house, grow a garden (fresh tomatoes are the best), bike ride.
  • Abuse
    wangradio wrote...
    cord cutting since 2006
    We cut the cord from Directv in 2006, never went back to watch programming from the Cable Ghetto since. I use the internet and a simple small TV antenna to record stuff with my hauppauge DVR . I never watch live TV so I can skip the commercials. For live sports on TV I use the DVR to delay the playback then watch and skip the commercials anyway but only watch it about 30-45 minutes delayed.
  • Abuse
    larry h. wrote...
    A couple of thoughts
    First, I agree, the cost for cable is getting completely out of hand. Next, I think you failed to mention a very important topic regarding Netflix - its venture into content generation with House of Cards. That show is awesome by the way. Finally, keep in mind that when broad band internet and cable come from the same source ( COX for example), I firmly believe they will start heavily enforcing bandwidth limits as people drop cable and opt for streaming.
  • Abuse
    John B. wrote...
    i would love to do this!
    how and where does a person start researching this? the cable bill just for internet is bad enough but would be more realistic if i didn't have to pay for the tv and phone too. what's the first step?
  • Abuse
    AZoldsettler wrote...
    There are lots of choices
    for getting internet video on your TV. I have a video card in my desktop computer that has a hdmi digital output so it is plugged directly into my TV. Here is a link to a site that list several choices and most are just buy hardware and don't require a monthly fee. http://www.labnol.org/internet/watch-internet-videos-on-tv/12177/
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