Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take a Hike, Time Warner!

A few days ago, I briefly mentioned that Alex and I don't have cable. I thought I could take a minute and share a bit more about how we've managed to survive without.

I know, for many, the idea of living without cable or dish is unimaginable. For the past six+ years, Alex and I have been living off of the most inexpensive cable option, a deal for under $15 a month that allows us to view all basic network stations, as well as a few random channels, like USA and TNT. If we really wanted to save more money, we could switch to antenna and receive most of the same channels for the one time cost of a TV antenna. I've seen indoor antenna boxes, which look like a smaller version of a cable box, selling for less than $20.

Now, we're by no means anti-TV. Alex loves his Comedy Central shows and sports, and I love me some TLC and HGTV. We've simply found other ways to access some of our favorite shows.

For about five years, we've been subscribers to Netflix (~ $8 a month). We use instant view to watch movies and shows on our TV, streaming through an X Box. Netflix has seasons of many cable shows, from many different networks, including Comedy Central, AMC, HGTV, and TLC. This is perfect if there are old series you're wanting to try out, as Netflix is usually at least one season behind live TV. Unfortunately, the future of the company seems a bit uncertain. If you hadn't heard, they've made a few questionable business moves as of late, and their stock price is plummeting.

Netflix has a decent selection of instant view movies and old TV shows, but Hulu Plus is a better option if you're looking to replace cable and still get your fix of current shows. For $7.99 a month, you can stream shows to your TV through a video game system. Hulu Plus allows you access to shows the day after they air. You are able to view most series from the big networks, like ABC, NBC, and CBS, as well as many from cable networks. Some people use Hulu Plus as a replacement for having any form of TV, cable or antenna. I would have a hard time giving up access to live news, though. Alex and I just began a Hulu Plus trial subscription. We're trying to decide if we prefer it to Netflix.

Being sports fans, and moving to a state where our teams aren't regularly shown on TV has been tough. Without dish or cable, we've had to look for other options if we want to watch games that don't involve the ACC or Panthers (ugh). One option, that was a lot more enticing pre-baby, was watching games at sports bars. Since little one's bedtime is before most game times, we've tried a few other options. Alex subscribed to a season of, which allowed him to view any MLB baseball game on our computers. This was a one time fee and much less expensive than subscribing to cable for the duration of the season. Unfortunately, we're still looking for a good way to view Badger games. The Packers...well, we've been able to see most of their games. Being Super Bowl champs doesn't hurt your TV schedule.

Giving up cable is not without its tradeoffs, but if you're looking to save a significant amount of money each year, it might be time to consider this change.

Reader Response: Have you given up cable? What replacements have you found to fill the viewing void?

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