Monday, April 18, 2011

To keep or to cut: Cable TV

I'm thinking about cutting my cable. Now, before I get started, I am not ever going to be one of those people who is all "I don't even own a TV." Eff that, I love my TV. I love both of my TVs, even the little guy in my bedroom who isn't hooked up to cable but plays my 30 Rock DVDs while I'm falling asleep.

The only reason I'm considering doing this at all is to save money. I have a good job, but it's not exactly high-paying. And with the looming possibility of grad school and the associated student loans in my immediate future, saving $40 or so a month by cutting out cable seems like my best option. My plan is to cut out cable, but keep my high speed internet. I'm just guesstimating at my costs here, but I'm paying over $100 a month now, so by cutting out cable let's say I cut that down to $60. I already have Netflix and I can stream it to my TV through my PS3. I have the 2-DVDs-at-a-time subscription so that's $15 a month. This will absolutely be kept, because I love the selection and the instant streaming. I also feel like I have to prove that yes I can finish a queue that long before I die. Basically, you'll have to pry my Netflix subscription out of my cold, dead fingers. Now, if I cut out cable, I will add a Hulu Plus subscription for $8. I used my free 2 weeks a while ago but cancelled it because I felt like I was paying $8 extra for something I could get for free online or On Demand. Now I'm seeing how it would be beneficial to someone without cable. Yes, Hulu Plus can also be streamed to my TV through my magical PS3.

Here are some of my pros and cons:

PRO: I'm already really bad at remembering to watch stuff when it airs, so I usually end up having to watch stuff online or via On Demand anyway.

CON: If I get rid of cable, so goes my On Demand.

PRO: Glee, 30 Rock, The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, 16 and Pregnant (shut up), and Teen Mom (SHUT UP) are all available through Hulu Plus.

CON: Project Runway, Mad Men, and The Killing are not on Hulu Plus. If I remember correctly, Lifetime's streaming video player is crap, which I really hated all those times I forgot to watch ProjRun when it aired. They may have improved since the last time I watched, though. I haven't watched video on AMC's website, so I'm not sure how it will work.

PRO: I'll probably get more reading done, because I won't be able to go "I could read, but there's this Criminal Minds marathon on..."

CON: I know it sounds silly, but one of my favorite things about my cable is the ability to catch an episode of Law & Order, L&O:SVU, or Criminal Minds at pretty much any hour of the day. I don't own any of these on DVD (and why would I? They're always on).

PRO: L&O is streaming on Netflix, and if I'm saving $40 a month by cutting cable, I can buy a couple seasons of Criminal Minds to keep myself entertained.

CON: My DVD shelf is already completely full, and I live in a tiny apartment so I don't really want to expand. I could buy them from like iTunes or Amazon Instant Video, but I'm a huge nerd who loves the special features on DVDs.

PRO: I'll probably get more use out of the DVDs I already own. I have movies on my shelf that I haven't watched in years, and that's really sad.

CON: Award Shows. This is my biggest con. I love that cheesy shit. I love watching a group of actors get all fancied up to pat each other on the back. If I get rid of my cable, I really think that this is where I'm going to feel it the most. As far as I know, there's no where to stream the Oscars or the Emmys online, so to watch I would either have to go over to my parents' house, or just not watch. Honestly, the idea of just not watching gives me a case of the sads.

Those are all the pros and cons I can think of at this moment. I'm going to run an experiment, actually trying to go a couple weeks without watching my cable to see if I can do it. Please leave comments and suggestions.


Caitlin said...

I am in this same boat. I'm moving in a few weeks and I'm toying with the idea of not having cable and relying on my Roku and Hulu, even though I love weekend crap TV marathons.

I'm already set on canceling digital cable and DVR, but that's actually a minor part of the cost, which I find ridiculous.

If you do go cable-less, write about if you like it or not!

miranda. said...

I'll definitely be writing about my experience as I go. I've ordered a cheapo set of rabbit ears to see which (if any) stations I can pick up over the air. If that works out, it will be another nail in the coffin of my digital cable subscription.

Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

I think this is a good financial decision, but it's going to be bad for our friendship. How will we suvive if I can't text you during Project Runway? Can I really wait 24 hours for you to get it online? Can I?

I say go for it. If you fail, you'll still have saved $$ for a couple of months.

miranda. said...

Well, last season I watched the 2nd half of the ProjRun season at your parents' house with your mom, Emily, and Alanna. I don't know if we would do that again since Em has her own place and grad school and all that. But I think it was actually kind of rare that both you and I would be watching at the same time, if I wasn't watching w/ your fam I was probably busy and not watching at all. And I remember that you had to miss the finale and I was all "Don't worry about it, it's not like Gretchen is going to win."