Cutting the Cord

We’ve noticed that most of our TV use lately is Maya playing video games, or us watching Netflix.  For awhile there, we were getting good use out of our cable On Demand service, but not lately.  Perhaps that’s because we don’t have a DVR, so when there’s a new show on that we want to watch, we seldom watch it live.

We keep hearing about people cutting the cord and getting rid of cable, so we decided to give it a try.  We can use the XBOX 360 for Netflix, Hulu Plus, whatever else.  But what about our local channels?  Nance successfully uses an indoor antenna to access local channels, which sounded like a good idea to me.  So we cancelled the cable, and I went out and bought an indoor antenna.  I hooked it up, programmed the channels, and the results was….3 channels.  If they had been PBS, CBS, and NBC (which is kind of what I expected), I would have been thrilled.  But they were three channels up above 400 on the spectrum, all Spanish language soap operas.  I don’t like soap operas, and I don’t speak Spanish, so that’s a no go.  There’s a website you can use to estimate which channels you might get.  It says 2 for us, neither of which came through the antenna.  Sigh.  So now, what to do?  Seems like we can watch our network shows on the internet, we can do à la carte viewing to download shows on Amazon when we want to see Mad Men or Downton Abbey (which we likely could also watch online…I just don’t really like watching TV on the computer.  It makes me sleepy.  Perhaps because the preferred screen is in the bedroom.).

So then there’s the channel surfing kind of thing.  Jeopardy, which I do enjoy.  CNN if something goes wrong, like an airplane crashes in SF, or a terrorist attack somewhere, or a gas line blows up a neighborhood.  Isn’t that strange, wanting to have a TV channel to turn on when something happens?  I guess we can look at the computer for that as well, but it’s not quite the same. I guess there’s always radio.  So we’ll see what happens.  For now, we’re happy enough without the cable, and figuring out what to do this fall when the new season starts, that will have to take care of itself.

11 thoughts on “Cutting the Cord

  1. No one who I know likes cable TV, but as you mentioned we all keep it because of news in case of emergency. We have the bottom of the line cable plan which gives us cable news + not much more. I consider the expense part of the insurance category in our budget. And if by chance we get some entertainment from this expense, so much the better.

  2. Did you relocate the antenna several times and then scan? We did that, and each time the pickup was different. Ours are up in the crawlspace right now–we have one for each of our 3 TVs. And we’ve moved them once when we lost a channel suddenly. Picked it right back up by moving them all down 4 inches. We have a hospital a few blocks away, and it sometimes can interfere.

    • Nance, we did try moving it around the living room, though not the crawl space. Perhaps that’s the next step. I’m afraid to go into our crawl space, and I don’t want to run wires. See how lazy I can be?

  3. I got rid of cable a little over two years ago and I have maybe missed it 2-3 times. I was expecting to miss my ‘regular’ weekly TV shows and I did watch them online faithfully until the end of that season but I didn’t pick up most of them again after the summer hiatus. I just learned to unwind in other ways, which was a nice surprise.

    Like you, I was worried about access to local news, especially tornadoes and severe winter weather, given where I live. But I’ve found that my local NPR radio station and my little weather radio give me all the details I need… and Twitter and Facebook fill in the blanks. 😉

    • So Nance, they’re talking about positioning it on the wall or window behind the TV, but that didn’t work for you, right? You had to put it in your attic crawl space? Do you then have to run wires to the TV somehow? You have the basic, not the plus? I can’t find this product locally, so before I order it I want to make sure I’m willing to do what I have to do to get it to work. 😉

  4. I’m in the same boat–spending money for cable without getting much bang for the big bucks. A friend gave me her Roku–I have to figure out how to get it hooked up. Another friend raves about it — says he gets beaucoup channels on his, including local channels. On the other hand, I still get the newspaper, so do I really need to watch the 30 second blurbs about murder & violence every night? Maybe not …

    • Kate, your friend gets TV channels on his Roku? I guess I thought I understood Roku more than I do. I thought it was for things like Amazon streaming, Netflix, HBO Go, etc. Maybe he meant you can watch next day shows on the Roku? Or maybe there are channels you can watch live there? The world of entertainment is sure changing quickly.

  5. We have talked many times about getting rid of our dish, we use our Wii for Netflix and Amazon. But for some reason HH wants to access local news channels, so we haven’t yet.

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