Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Life without cable TV is pretty livable

There was a time when people who dumped cable TV were seen as the kind of folks who were looking to live “off the grid” and possibly hunted their own meat, but it’s become a mainstream idea of late, and I recently joined the club.

Back in the day, life was pretty simple. You bought a TV, hooked up an outside antenna and the world came through to you. Cable TV was for mountainous areas and other remote places where the over-the-air signals were just too weak for good reception. Sometimes in the city, you could pick up distant stations, especially on the UHF channels, but mostly you stuck to your local tried and true stations.

The rise of CNN and other stations on cable made cable service almost a necessity, though, and the advent of “must carry” rules meant that local stations were on the system, too. I still remember that at the Boca Raton News we had cable on the TV in the sports department, but had to pick up the local channels, including the Super Bowl, on rabbit ears. It was fuzzy, but it worked.

Everywhere you moved to, job one was getting cable hooked up. You had to pay their price and take their packages, bringing in a ton of channels you didn’t plan on watching just to get your favorites.

With a VCR, you could time shift and record shows for later viewing. In 2005, I bought a TiVo and found a much better way to get my favorite shows. Since I worked nights and weekends, it was a lifesaver and I could follow shows easily and without worrying that I might have forgotten to set the VCR or had run out of tapes.

An effort to cut costs was behind my recent decision to cut the (cable) cord. I was also going to get rid of my telephone landline, a “package” deal, but was advised that to do so and still get Internet, I needed to buy a cable modem for “just” $80. I decided to keep the landline for two more months and continue to use the company’s modem.

Still, I cut $80 off my budget, though I’ll miss some shows.

The thing is, I can still see some of them because they are streamed through the Internet. And the stuff I missed, well, someday I’ll have the money to buy the DVDs.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot more reading. Losing cable TV was a sacrifice, but I feel I’ve gained a lot more.

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January 3, 2012 - Posted by | Living in the modern age | , , , , , ,

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