An Insider’s Insight into Cutting the Cable Cord
By Yolander Prinzel
A few weeks ago, my household joined the 800,000 others who have abandoned cable recently in favor of watching television shows for free over the internet. For me, that means a $70 monthly reduction in my cable bill.
During these first few cable-free weeks we have had some fun, some frustration and, I’m not afraid to admit, some moments of pure torture. I’ve learned a lot and I want to share those lessons with you. I’m breaking up this advice into two sections, technical and psychological.
1. For every TV, there must be a computer. Have a laptop or other computer connected to each television in your home so that it is still relatively easy to go into any room and watch TV. There is nothing more frustrating than having to hook something up every time you want to watch your shows.
2. Bookmark all the channels you watch and some you don’t. Create a bookmark shortcut to all the major television stations like ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS. They may not have every episode of their shows available for instant watch, but they have an impressive number of them. I was even pleasantly surprised to find that cable stations like BravoTV.com have some of their shows available for viewing over the ‘net. So leave no stone unturned. There are some online services like Clicker.com that are supposed to make it unnecessary to bookmark individual stations, but I prefer the station-by-station approach.
3. For more variety, sign up for Netflix and Hulu. With these resources you can watch old television shows and movies. The least expensive version of Netflix is about $10 a month and you can watch unlimited streaming videos. They are constantly improving their selection, so it’s a great deal.
1. Restrict your choices. If you like to watch some sort of mind-numbing television before falling asleep like my husband does, then not having cable can be lethal. With all the choices available to you on the internet it is much more difficult to just “stick some show on” and fall asleep. So if you like to watch TV before bed force yourself just to choose a random episode of a show that you like and leave it because keeping your wife up until 3AM because you can’t settle on which episode of South Park to watch is just not cool.
2. Stay away from friends who like the same shows as you. Giving up cable during the last six episodes of LOST may not have been my smartest move to date. While ABC.com is really great about having each new episode up on the Website just a few short hours after airing, I don’t always have time to watch it before I start interacting with society. This is difficult, so make sure all your friends, family members and coworkers understand that you may be a few hours behind them.
3. Expect boredom. I don’t think I had any real idea how much TV I was watching until now. It seems that every time I would get bored or tired, I would just start flipping through hundreds of channels. At first after we gave up TV, I felt incredibly bored. Too tired to read or go out, I just wanted to channel surf. Now, I’m much better adjusted. I no longer get the urge to surf and have more time to sit and reflect… which is more fun than it sounds.
Photo credit: Jemimus
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