Life Without Cable

I love television unapologetically. And I thought it was going to be hard to give up cable, but it hasn’t been. The hardest part of the experience was flipping on my TV and seeing a black screen. And there are a few shows that I like to watch in real time because comments cover my Facebook page when the show airs. This morning, the cable installation technician came to my apartment to hook up the basic “cable”. Cable is in quotes because I will receive ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, WGN and the CW. Yes those are the free channels. But I’ll be paying $15 dollars a month (at least that’s what they’ve told me), to receive channels that used to be free through the cable company. The next cheapest cable package is $60. But that requires a box, which is also a $10 per month rental. Then there are about $15 in taxes and fees. Which will be approximately $85 per month. After three months of looking for alternatives to cable I’ve devised a plan where I can see the shows I want and still save money.

Amazon on Demand – Since I will continue to keep my TiVo, I have access to popular TV shows that I can download to my TiVo Box for $1.99 or so (it might be more for shows on premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime). I believe iTunes has a similar situation. I can download over 30 episodes before it becomes more cost effective to upgrade my cable.

I also discovered in this experience that VH1, Lifetime, MTV, A&E, TNT and TBS all run original programming on their sites. I can also catch shows from USA on hulu.com, along with shows from all of the major networks except for CBS. They run full episodes of The Good Wife, the Young and the Restless, the Amazing Race. I’m particularly excited that the Amazing Race is online so I don’t have to deal with the notorious football delay.

In fact, the only shows that I have downloaded from Amazon on Demand have been Mad Men and Top Chef episodes (they run intermittently on Hulu and Bravotv.com). You won’t be able to find Law & Order: SVU online. But I’m confident I’ll be able to catch the missing episodes in reruns, if I don’t download them from Amazon.

What has changed the most is that there is less background noise. While I used to channel surf, sure that I would find something on E! or the Style Network, or the Food Network. But as I type this I am watching a marathon of The Next Iron Chef. I suppose the Tivo will also remedy the lack of background noise since I can replay recorded shows.

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~ by 2muchtv on October 18, 2010.

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