We did it. We made the leap. We got rid of our satellite dish.
It all started when I was reading an article at my mom’s house, I believe it was in Newsweek, about a guy who had decided to cancel his cable television. His main point was basically that most shows are online, or on Netflix, or some other medium. Of course, not all shows were, but for the money he was paying for cable, it would be worth it to miss those shows.
This really resonated with me. Most of the shows we watch are on network television. Yes, there are a few shows that aren’t available online and aren’t on network television that I will miss. But are those few shows worth the money we pay? If someone came up to me on the street and said, “Hey, if you stop watching show X, I’ll give you $500 a year.” I would take it so fast the guy’s head would spin.
There were a few other factors as well that affected our decision. First off, as you probably know, we don’t watch t.v. with Evie. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no t.v. before the age of two. But of course, after two years of not watching t.v. with her, there didn’t seem to be much point in starting when she turned two. We have plenty to do in a day. So the t.v. doesn’t come on at all until she is in bed. Depending on how tired we are, we can probably watch (at most) two shows. So we’ve already weaned ourself down quite a bit, to where the t.v. isn’t on all day.
Second off, if t.v. is so bad for kids, is it really so great for adults? Don’t get me wrong, we still watch plenty of t.v., but I’ve been making an effort to watch left. Honestly, I feel like I never have enough time for my hobbies as it is, and I’d really rather be doing them than watching t.v. in most cases.
For me personally, there was a third factor to consider. We have had our Tivo for years now. It worked great when we just had regular cable. But with any sort of box, satellite in our case, but also digital cable, etc., the Tivo has some trouble. Most people rent a box with a DVR included in it, so they don’t have these sorts of troubles. But it didn’t make sense to pay extra for that when we already had something. Anyway, long story short, but if we didn’t remember to “fix the t.v.”, the Tivo would blindly record an hour of satellite screen saver. This happened constantly, meaning we were missing shows left and right. And if we were gone for a weekend or something, forget it.
Okay, so, the short version is, for whatever reason, we don’t watch much t.v. anymore, and we decided it wasn’t worth it. So I got a digital converter box for my birthday and decided to give it a whirl. After a short trip to Best Buy for a $13 antenna, we’re in business.
I have to tell you, I couldn’t feel better about this. Basically, the downside is missing a few shows I used to watch (and I basically only mean The Soup and Robot Chicken, maybe the occasional football game). The upside is saving about $500 a year and not missing shows from when the Tivo / satellite connection messes up.
And let’s be clear, this isn’t exactly like going down to 4 channels, like when I was a kid. The combination of digital signals adding sub-channels, and maybe the fact that I live in Chicago now, I receive a full 39 channels. That’s like how many basic cable used to give you.
So anyway, I dumped all of those horrible monopolistic television providers, and I have a new lease on life. A spring in my step. And I recommend to all of you to do the same.
One funny anecdote about the whole thing. When I went in to Best Buy, the checkout lady tried to get me to get a credit card. She asked me, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas? We have no interest right now, you could get that big t.v. you always wanted.” I looked at her and said, “Are you seriously trying to sell a big screen high def t.v. to the guy who just bought the cheapest pair of rabbit ears he could find?” She repeated about the no interest, and I just laughed and left.