One Year Without Cable

A year ago, we cut the cord. We struggled with this decision. We used cable as a crutch to help entertain Olivia when making dinner. We watched TV during any downtime and, with the DVR, we only watched shows we “wanted” to watch. Our first home, our condo, provided free cable through our HOA dues, so we took advantage of it.

One house later, the HOA didn’t cover the cost of cable and it is rather pricey. We were less than satisfied with the amount of TV we were watching, but if we decrease it, would our usage justify the price? With Catalina here and her uncovered medical bills arriving, we couldn’t justify it anymore.

Looking back a year and a few days, it was an awesome decision. We were given an Xbox 360 as a present and were impressed with the ESPN3 app. When our trial ended, we sprung $50 for an annual Xbox Gold account. Months later, we added on Netflix for $8/mo. The combo means we can watch a good amount of sports programming and entertainment programming for about ~$12/mo. That price makes sense.

I used to watch PBS as a kid. Sesame Street. Mr. Roger’s. Carmen Sandiego. With the Disney Channel, I forgot what free programming existed over-the-air. When we dropped cable, we started exploring KLRU, the local PBS station. We were impressed with what they had for kids of all ages. Personally, I discovered the subchannels. For those of us who had cable before the analog-digital transition, we were used to having a single channel for each station. With today’s digital technology, KLRU now has four different “subchannels” broadcasting. KLRU (the mothership on 18.1) is your normal PBS station, Create (18.2) is mostly (only?) do-it-yourself cooking/crafting/handyman shows. KLRU-Q, 18.3, has a great deal of adult PBS content and 18.4 is a Spanish channel that is much, much closer to PBS than what traditional Spanish television broadcasts. In other words, something I’ll let Olivia watch since I don’t have to worry about a random soccer highlight including the broadcaster surrounded by 30 bikini-clad women jumping around him.

The local channels are decent. Most of the shows we watch now were already on those networks. There are some nice things like a couple “weather” subchannels and one local station has actual music videos playing 24/7 on one of their subchannels (granted, the music is all about 20-years old). UT’s student television station that we’re close enough to campus to pick up including Bloomberg on one of it’s subchannel, so we have 24-hour news too.

Add on Netflix and ESPN3, we’re doing just fine. We miss the occasional UT football game on FX, Fox Sports Net, or LHN (who actually gets that one, though?), so it is a good reason to make plans with our cable-friendly friends/local establishments. Taking the leap to cut cable was more our own fear that we would miss something, which does happen, but doesn’t make the world stop spinning.






13 responses to “One Year Without Cable

  1. Toddblahnik Avatar

    We cut the cable about two years ago and haven’t looked back since.

  2. Dennis Poquiz Avatar

    We cut the cable almost two years ago. Don’t miss it until football season.

  3. Emily Harrison Avatar

    I wish there was an ESPN3 for our PS3. I think I could convince Jamal to cut it if we still got the sports…

  4. Girlie Granado Luna Avatar

    That’s so funny cuz a year ago we did the opposite. After six years of no cable we finally got cable for the first time. But I think we’re ready to get rid of it again.

  5. Natalie Jo Johnson Avatar

    I was actually thinking about cutting the cable when I move to Georgia. I have netflix, and I need to be writing my dissertation, not TV (or facebooking for that matter!). I don’t know if I can do it though… too many showtime shows I HAVE to watch–Dexter for sure! Hmmmmm…

  6. Linda Price Avatar

    We need to cut it too!

  7. Joey Procido Avatar

    For PS3 owners, you can buy PlayOn for a small yearly charge that will let you access the following on PS3: ESPN3, Hulu, Pandora, as well as most network/cable shows that are offered online for free streaming.

    Great post Brandon, and it hope it convinces others to do the same. I have not heard of one case of someone regretting cutting the cord. We need to show these bozo cable companies that we don’t need them anymore!!

  8. Dennis Poquiz Avatar

    We love PlayOn too.

  9. Mblock Graphics Avatar

    I’m not sure if I could find the link to stream this episode, but you can find ways to stream and watch this episode and other live episodes at this site : They have different ways of watching live tv and ways to download full tv episodes as well. just a heads up.

  10. Pat Martin Avatar

    we made the leap 2 years ago and never looked back!

  11. Dianna Kennedy Avatar

    We’ve actually been cable free for at least 5 years — I lost count. We did it initially to save money, but it’s had the added benefit of ‘decreased’ marketing to my kids. We don’t deal with commercials, and the ‘I want this fill in the blank’ that was seen on TV. 

    We stream Netflix through the Wii — we still watch shows, but I look at it as planned TV watching, instead of mindless channel flipping. 

    I missed sports programming as well — it’s actually gotten MUCH better in years past, as you’re able to watch a lot of events online. We’re big basketball fans here in Kentucky, and I was able to watch it all online this year. 

    You’re right — we do miss out on ‘things’ — but watching The Bachelor or Desperate Housewives doesn’t improve my life. 

  12. Jesse Petersen Avatar

    I grew up on PBS, too. We discovered Sprout with our last foster son. It’s PBS programming all day, but all kids shows… with commercials. Nothing like Wiggles in the morning with a toddler on your lap waiting for breakfast. 😉

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