Cable TV free

We have done it. As of yesterday, we are Cable TV free. Cable boxes were returned, bill adjusted (just $59 per month for Internet & basic cable), and now figuring out what to do next. The price drop is over $70 from our previous cable bill.

So far so good. We definitely have watched a lot less TV, although we haven’t been home much either. When we were home yesterday and this morning, my 4-year-old nephew was over, so I ended up streaming cartoons for him over Netflix. Including the original Popeye cartoon from 1936, which was really neat to watch with him.

While my bedroom TV can see the few Clear QAM channels in HD, my 2007 era living room TV cannot (it only sees the SD versions). This is something that will need to be rectified. I may experiment with a TV antenna just to see what channels are in the area.

I’ve begun to think of what is next. I’m seriously considering a Mac Mini server & home theater computer. Combined with the Elgato EyeTV we could work around the HD issue I mentioned in the previous paragraph, record anything on basic cable worth recording, and also have a centralized server for movies, music, etc. Then use an AppleTV for easy access. Another option would to build a Windows Media Center PC as that seems like fun to play with, although it seems to have its own annoyances.

I also have been wondering whether to get a receiver and start building a home theater sound system. The problem I’ve had so far is that all of the receivers I have found are bulky, have tons of connections & buttons I would never use, and aren’t my definition of simple. There are also very few that are even Energy Star qualified. Where is the Apple of home theater receivers when you need one?

Operation Cable TV free so far appears to be successful. More updates to come.

Going cable free

Tonight my wife and I decided that by the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs (roughly a week or so from now), we are going to turn in our Cable TV boxes and go Cable TV free as an experiment this summer.

Why we are doing this:

  • It is the summer, let’s get out and enjoy it instead of sitting in a chair being zombies.
  • Online options (Netflix, iTunes, and similar services) are now very viable options for when we want to watch TV.
  • The only time we watch TV is for local news & sports. Here is the kicker though…we rarely watch the sports, we just listen to it while doing other things. Use the radio for that, much cheaper.
  • We want to do more reading, work on our condo, and hopefully be moving into a house this summer. The last thing we need to do is be distracted by whatever is on the Food Network.
  • Of course the big part, our cable bill will be significantly cheaper. An early estimate is a reduction of half our current bill.

The only thing I will miss is the sports game that I WANT to sit down and completely focus on. Like a Red Sox/Yankees game. But maybe in this rare cases I will go to a family or friend’s house, a local bar, or just listen to it the old fashioned way as well.