We’re Cutting the Cable TV Cord. We’re Cord Cutters.

We’ve cancelled our cable TV. Not because of any high-minded desire to get ebil television out of our lives. We did it to save money.

With a third child we need a bigger house and we need to rearrange our finances to do that. That third child spent his first week in the NICU and we decided we wanted to pay off those medical bills sooner rather than later. My wife and I are also starting Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University to tighten up our finances. First class is this week.

Once we made our choice we didn’t hesitate. We decided to cut the cable. Just as soon as “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” ended their seasons. Now the cable’s gone as of sometime this afternoon (“the agent will be at your home between 10 and 4 because we run our cable company like a Swiss train”) at least until the medical bills are paid off.

What we’ll watch instead of cable TV

  • We bought a $40 digital converter to watch over the air HD channels.
  • We already have an Amazon Prime membership, so we can watch lots of free videos on the computers, on the Kindle Fire, or on the two flatscreen TVs that have PC/VGA inputs. Between free shipping, free video and free Kindle books Prime is a steal.
  • Last night we connected a laptop to a 40″ TV with a VGA cable I had lying around and watched some Amazon Prime free video. The quality was outstanding.
  • We’re going to buy a Roku box for watching Amazon Prime and other video on TV. Compared to the laptop the Roku is smaller, doesn’t tie up a laptop, doesn’t require a TV with a PC input, and has a remote. Plus it has zillions of other features. I talked to Uncle last night and he loves his.
  • The kids have a Wii and lots of DVDs. They love watching Amazon Prime videos on the Kindle Fire. We’ve already taught them the difference between the free Amazon Prime videos and the pay videos. Only once has one of the kids bought a pay video.
  • We have hundreds of hours of TV shows and HD movies saved on the TiVo. If the spirit moves us we can use the TiVo to rent movies from Netflix and Amazon.
  • I need to introduce the kids to Hulu.
  • We can get free DVDs through the library, which has a good online catalog and reservation system. They have seasons 1-3 of Breaking Bad, which my wife and I have been meaning to watch.

So, yeah. Somehow I think we’ll survive without cable. It’s amazing how much free video is available in 2012 without a cable TV subscription.

Beyond that we hope to spend less time watching TV and more time walking, reading, taking pictures, and doing things like family game night that we’ve gotten away from.

15 Responses to We’re Cutting the Cable TV Cord. We’re Cord Cutters.

  1. Brick says:

    You probably already know, but you can use the Wii for NetFlix, too.

    Also, don’t forget Redbox.

    One of my work buddies, uses the Apple TV box along with iTunes to get even more options.

    I’ve not figured out how to live without ESPN yet. Otherwise, I would do the same.

    I am using Knology instead of Comcast. That switch saved me more than $60/month when I did it. There were fewer HD channels on Knology at the time and the DVR is a bit rough around the edges. I still think it was a good decision – especially when I do my usual trick and annualize any expense or savings.


  2. Sean says:

    I wish I could get my wife on board with this. We have all the complimentary digital services: hulu, netflix, amazon prime.

    2 years ago I watched the superbowl live on a $12 HD antenna I bought at the supermarket. Came in 1080p, beautifully – but only 19 channels total over the air.

  3. Alesa says:

    We’ve been wanting to do this since Shawn got his beloved Roku a few Christmases ago. The one thing I can’t live without is real-time CNN on a TV screen, not a monitor or a smartphone. And we love Food Network. If/when news capability ever comes via alternative means, cable is out.

    If anyone has any ideas re: getting the news, please let me know. Congrats on cutting the cord, Les!

  4. Rob Reed says:

    We’ve never had cable. Just didn’t want another monthly bill. We bought a new antenna when everything went digital and recently bought a Plasma when our old tube TV died. That’s it.

    I’m thinking about getting a Roku, but I need something that will put Youtube on the TV screen and I don’t think that does that. We also refuse to sign up for any subscription service like Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime or Netflix so I’m not sure of the utility of a Roku for us yet.

    I agree on the library DVD’s. Check if your library has a inter library loan system. That will extend your choices.

    While you are at it, see what other monthly recurring expenses you can pare down. Every little bit helps

  5. Les Jones says:

    Rob: We’ve eliminated one other utility expense that saved $40/month. We’re looking at ways to cut the landline bill and cell bill, too. (My wife’s cell bill is almost as much as the Internet, TV, and phone combined.) I considered MagicJack, but the reviews at voipreview.org were pretty terrible.

  6. Alcibiades says:

    YouTube’s relatively easy to get on televisions. Some Blu-Ray players carry the capability. Apple TVs have it as well. The situation with Roku is odd as at one point it was unofficially supported (?).

    A lot of low-end Dells and HPs come with HDMI out these days. Hooking one up to an HDTV should be a snap and play everything with either web browsers/Flash or VLC and MPlayer.

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  8. Alan says:

    My advice is stop worrying about how to keep watching TV using cable replacement technology and do something else with that time. You won’t miss TV at all.

  9. Pingback: Cutting The Cord | Shall Not Be Questioned

  10. Les Jones says:

    Alan, I’m hoping that’ll be the case, but there’s some major anxiety going on in some corners of Casa Jones. And hey, some days after a long day at work I enjoy me some mindless, passive entertainment myself, so it’ll be nice to have some options. But, yeah, I’m hoping this will mean less time in front of the glass teat and the whole family getting out of some ruts.

    Originally we were going to get rid of the Internet for a while, too, but my wife convinced me to keep it. We’ve got a newborn and she breastfeeds, which means an hour or two a day of sitting still not being able to go anywhere or do much of anything, sometimes in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep. I think she’d go out of her mind without something to do.

  11. Tam says:

    Originally we were going to get rid of the Internet for a while, too…

    Okay, yeah, see, that’s just crazy talk right there. :p

    Keep your priorities straight, man: I can order bottled water from the internet, but I can’t get books out of my faucet.

  12. Larry says:

    Turned off cable last year; so much of what’s on TV is such absolute stinking crap I found I was watching less and less of it, and now the nice ladies at the library know me pretty well. Couple of shows I like to watch occasionally, but I can get them the day after broadcast via the internet. A $40 DTV antenna gets me about 20 channels, everything but an ABC station, but most of their shows are trash, too.

  13. Todd says:

    I have the new MagicJack and it works like a charm. No landline bill.

    I bought a Mohu Leaf indoor antenna and it works like a charm. I also rediscovered XBMC that will run on Windows/Mac/Linux, etc., or self contained via OpenELEC. The content available from it is unbelievable. I also have Netflix and Prime via my blu-ray player. I’m cancelling my Uverse TV soon.

    My next cellphone will be through Ting. Google search them to find out their unique billing plan. Once my cell contract expires, I’m going with Ting.

  14. FatWhiteMan says:

    While I didn’t completely cut the cord, I did cut my Satellite TV service back from $80 to $40. If I could get more than three network channels via the airwaves, I probably would have cut it completely.

    +1 on the ROKU box. I got one 2 years ago and that is about all the kids want to watch. Between Netflix and Amazon Prime, there is plenty on it. Our new TV has Netflix and Amazon built in so we don’t even need the ROKU for it.

  15. Cord Cutter says:

    Cut Satellite and went with two Home Theater PCs I put together running Media Center. Free OTA HDTV via on-roof antenna. 21 US and Canadian channels DTV channels (Most content is High Def) in my area (Lake Ontario in Toronto) in Winter, 25 in the Summer. Consistent 21, with very few drop-outs. Media Centers make great solutions because you aren’t stuck with a box that doesn’t work or is no longer supported if the online content format changes. We get all the streaming we need, OTA TV and two very capable PVRs with free 14-day programming guides from our HTPCs.

    We also have AppleTV. Although you could get movies through iTunes on the HTPC, the AppleTV interface is just so much easier to deal with.

    Dropped our land line in January in favor of Ooma. More expensive initial investment than their competitors, but the hardware is simple to use and the features, online interface, and voice quality are outstanding.

    National news is available via Podcasts. Sports are limited, but living without the specialty channels was really easy to get used to. When you have a HTPC and a VPN service like Strong VPN, you can enjoy content from other countries as well.

    The one thing you cannot cut is the cord to your internet. Need that.