Buh-bye, Cable!

I am a child of the 1980s/early 1990s. Cable television was a big part of my childhood. I grew up with Nickelodeon, Looney Tunes, Animaniacs, and occasionally, when the cable companies offered free trials, the coveted Disney Channel. When I was old enough, ahem, when I snuck it in without my parents’ knowing, I lived for MTV’s Real World and music videos, you know, back when they actually showed music videos. I didn’t spend too many hours watching T.V. as a child, but but it was omnipresent, always available in the background whenever boredom or rainy days struck from the time I was elementary school-aged onward.

So, if you told 15-year-old me that in 2014 I would be saying “sayonara” to cable, I would have thought you were crazy. But, I have, and I’m not looking back.

Why have we cut the both literal and proverbial cord with our cable-filled past? For so many reasons!

First, cable is expensive. Our bill kept creeping up. When I called to find out why, I was simply told that our “package rates had changed” and that was that. I was able to argue it down by $15, but it seemed crazy to pay so much, especially when we had two other digital media subscriptions on top of cable.

Cost aside, we didn’t use it much. We aren’t big sports fans over here. My husband enjoys watching the summer Olympics, and I don’t follow any sports at all. That means every four years, we should be sure we have good sports coverage for a few weeks of that year. Otherwise, we were spending lots of money for the luxury of Curious George and Bubble Guppies on-demand.

Another impetus was that television had become our default time-filler. Bored? Let’s watch something! Don’t want to clean up after dinner? Procrastinate with some mindless channel surfing! I found myself cycling through the hundreds of channels, not even watching anything, wasting hours in the evenings and complaining that “nothing good is even on…”

Finally, we realized that for people who don’t watch much television, we had cable, Netflix streaming, and Amazon Prime Video. That’s right, three separate media subscriptions. How did that happen?

So, we did it. We bought a Roku box, and we are all still standing.

How is life on the other side, you ask? Fantastic.

Though we still have plenty of media available to us even without cable, we are watching less television and not missing it at all. The urgency of “Oh! It’s after dinner! Is ‘Sophia the First’ on? Can we pleaaaase watch it before bed?” is gone. All the shows are available to be streamed anytime, so there’s no more feeling pressure to watch things when they’re on. There’s also no more channel surfing. The shows I like are all “out there”, ready to watch when I want to zone out with a show or movie, but there are no channels to click though. It took about a week to adjust to this (after 32 years of channel surfing), but now I’m finding myself with more free time and less couch time. Finally, we have more options, not less, when it comes to kids’ shows. While my pre-mother self swore up and down that my kids would never watch T.V., let’s just say that hasn’t been my reality. Now, when they want to watch Wild Kratts for the 500th time in a week, we can stream entire seasons instead of the limited “on-demand” options we had. This means I don’t have to see the same episode over, and over, and over. Win.

So here we are. Cable-less, and still surviving and thriving. It can be done! Have any other families ditched cable and lived to tell the tale?

9 thoughts on “Buh-bye, Cable!

  1. My dad eliminated cable/TV when I was about 6. I remember missing Sunday cartoons but otherwise, I was in school, over my friends’ houses, or outside with the other neighborhood kids. At the time, I didn’t realize he got rid of it because we were, well, poor. As I got older, sometimes I felt left out when my classmates were talking about last night’s shows like a cult following lol. I guess I just never really got it. Fast forward to high school, a part time job, then college with a full-time job…I just never had the time! Then enter “real world” after college ended….new job with more responsibilities, new relationship, trying to find time for friends and family…and now baby! It honestly boggles my mind that people really feel they “need” TV. I totally don’t mean that in a judgmental way!!! I guess because I didn’t have it, I don’t understand it, much like I imagine how some people don’t “get” how some of us “need” coffee to function in the mornings LOL I’m 30 now, and we do have the Roku with the Netflix streaming. For $8 a month, it’s nice to have it for ‘date nights’ since we don’t have the budget or a sitter to go out. There are also some great educational tools I’ve found within it. And let’s be honest, there have been days where I’ve been sucked into a Grey’s Anatomy binge LOL My dancing days are limited and mommas need down time too…it’s one of my few vices 😉

    Sorry to write so much. I guess I’m trying to give a viewpoint from someone who grew up without it and continues to do so – I promise your kids won’t miss it. For the most part 😉

  2. I love that you traded cable for the minivan.
    I’m looking to cut back on the cost of TV (our “entertainment budget” was how we’ve justified it) and just can’t bring myself to cancel the cable. I’m too much of a TV lover…maybe the Roku is the answer?

  3. We’ve been without cable for a while now and don’t miss it at all. Well, sometimes for baseball, but otherwise it’s been pretty pain free. We have netflix, Hulu, and Prime through apple tv and have everything we need. We also have an antennae that covers the local channels.

    1. Agreed!! So the local channels antennae thing works? I do miss watching the local news after the kids are in bed, but to be honest, it’s just depressing anyway…and I read it all online during the day…but I still may pick one up.

  4. My mother (Chris) got rid of cable when I was 14 years old and we survived. My mother never got it back until her 90 year old mother moved in. My husband and I agree in our next place we will do as you are and only have, Netflix, HBO go and HULUPLUS. Not worth spending the amounts of money you do to only watch a handful of channels.

    1. Haha!! My mother hates that I don’t have cable now. She watches my younger son at my house when I work, and she’s not a fan of the Roku. Maybe she’d be happier if I got the antennae. Cable is just too expensive. It was one of several bills we decided to cut in favor of getting a mini-van. When did I get so old?? haha

  5. We actually just GOT cable haha! We haven’t had it in, um, 5-6 years, we got a great bundle rate. Might I suggest adding hulu plus to your bag of tricks? It lets you watch the current season of shows, you just have to wait for the day after the show airs. We did a combo of neflix and hulu plus and it worked great for us!

    1. HA!! That is so funny. We *had* a great bundle, but didn’t realize the rate would randomly reset. It was good for 2 years, then suddenly started creeping up. I will definitely look into Hulu Plus! Netflix streaming has been great for kids’ shows and movies.

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