One year ago today we cut ties with cable TV. Did you know the marketing world calls people like us cord cutters? Cord cutters sounds a little too “A Baby Story” to me, but I guess we’ll take it.
Now, before I go even further, this is not a post to get you to see all of the great benefits of cutting the cord. The change made a lot of sense for us but for others, it doesn’t. And because I know that, I’ve checked the selling tone at the door. I just want to share my experience with you now that we’re a year in.
Our Life with Cable TV
At the time, I would consider Aaron and I pretty heavy cable TV watchers. He was definitely invested in certain shows he would watch each week… Mad Men, Suits. Â And for me, I really liked to have plot-less reality TV on in the background while I’m busy-body-ing around the house. Teen Mom, KUWTK, that type of stuff. So all in all, yea, we’re TV people.
Why We Made the Decision to Turn It Off
The reason for the decision was a 100% functional one. We needed to save money for the wedding. Our cable TV plus internet was at $132 a month. Removing the cable TV service from our plan left us with an internet bill of $56 a month, so we were looking at a $76 savings a month. Not a huge amount of money but certainly not pennies either. My turning point was when I realized that I was paying $76 extra a month to sort-of watch Teen Mom and KUWKTK and hey, what did they ever do for me? (Ok honesty here. What I really said was, “I’ll be damned if the reason I can’t upgrade our honeymoon drink package is because I wanted to watch Kim Kardashian every week! Bible?)
How We Coped / How We Watch TV Now / Our Gear
Let’s just say we aren’t exactly suffering now. We have NetFlix, Hulu Plus and Apple TV. Aaron is also allegedly known to flex his internet pirating muscles from time to time. If he’s downloaded anything to his laptop that’s not Apple TV-compatible, we use AirPlay to get it up on the TV. With the older Mac OSX, we used Air Parrot for this same function.
NetFlix and Hulu Plus do cost money, which eats into our $76 a month savings. Hulu Plus is $7.99 and NetFlix is $8.99, which whittles the savings per month down to just $59. To us, losing cable is still worth it at that number but it may not be for you.
What We Love
- We’ve found new-to-us shows that we have fallen in love with: Friday Night Lights, Sons of Anarchy, Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Who, Misfits, Skins, Weeds, Sherlock, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, The Killing, Scandal, Parenthood, Super Fun Night, The Carrie Diaries, The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Breaking Bad
- More educational / real-world stuff seems more easily accessible to us. We are big fans of documentaries that give us a peek into a pocket of culture we may otherwise overlook: Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Man on Wire, The Bridge, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, GLOW, Superman, Business of Being Born, Craigslist Joe, Helvetica, The Lottery, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Bully, Bronies, Meet the Fokkens… and those are just the ones we really liked!
- We can control how we watch the shows. We can binge on a series in one sitting, we can watch one episode a week, whatever…
- Less commercials. Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely still commercials. But they last about 30 seconds and then it’s back to regular programming
- No scheduling or worrying about recording. We don’t have to remember to do anything. When we want it, it’s there for us to watch.
What We Dislike
- The new stuff is on a one-day delay. For example, we can’t watch Saturday Night Live until Sunday afternoon. We can’t watch our precious New Girl until the next day. This means we do a lot of “Ahh! Don’t tell us! We haven’t watched it yet!” when our cable TV friends talk about something that happened on TV.
- This one is related to the above, but news is also hard to get. Our work around is video podcasts. Video podcasts of the evening news is available to us the next morning.
- We (I) miss out on award shows. This is especially painful as we approach awards season.
- Sporting events are non-existent with the set-up we have. We can sign up for certain subscriptions but that would negate the whole purpose of the saving money thing. And we aren’t really into sports anyways…
- Questions like, “Did you see so and so!?” almost are always answered with, “No.. we don’t have cable. :(“
- Good reality TV is really non-existent without Cable TV. And if you do find it, it’s over a year old.
- Our internet connection gets stretched to the max. It requires outtages / reboot sessions once a week and it’s due to the strain we’re putting on the bandwidth (plus laptops, phones, iPad). I should probably update the internet speed to something speedier but meh, it doesn’t bother us too much at the moment.
Do We Feel Out Of The Loop?
Sometimes! We’re a day behind on the stuff that most people talk about back at the office. Award shows, sporting events, news conferences. If we’re really dying to know what happened, it’s easy enough to just google it, but it’s just not the same!
And then other times, we have early access to shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black that are exclusive to Hulu or NetFlix. And then we feel more in the know!
So all in all, that’s been our experience this past year. What about you? Do you hold on tight to your cable package or are you a cord cutter too?