Steve’s Kill Your Cable Adventure #5: Finding The Off Switch

Been awhile since I posted one of these columns, though at least you know I haven't been busy watching cable.

Essentially in the month since the last column, no one in my home has watched cable.  In fact, only recently did we go "hey, wait, we should cancel this."

The shift happened that quickly.

So now this week I've got to go get rid of Cable and TiVO.  Both have their own challenges, but it's also going to mean about $80 or so we don't spend a month.  So, yeah, if you've got a deluxe cable package, you're spending more, and that adds up.

Getting away from cable, after a short time, was pretty easy:

  • Hulu and Netflix of course made it easier to get old and new shows.
  • Some companies put their shows online anyway (though I expect there's some odd battles coming).
  • There are companies that put specific content online, such as anime.
  • If you really want it, get the DVD from Netflix, or buy one, or buy one and sell it to a  used media store. 

So pretty much if I want television of some kind, I can probably get it.  In other words, yes, you don't need cable.  Also you probably have Netflix anyway.

I also noticed definite psychological shifts:

  • We all know a lot of television is crap.  When you're not watching it, the crap becomes more, painfully, apparent.
  • Having cable is like having a ticket to a buffer of mediocrity.  You'll use it because it's there, but in actuality, you're not getting much out of it.
  • Having to decide on my entertainment and video viewing as opposed to flipping on the TV has gotten me exploring a wider variety of content.  Cable, in some ways, is also limiting.
  • My interest in different media extended to other areas of my life – such as webcomics.
  • I feel even more social.  Television doesn't become a tool of socialization so much as a tool for shared experiences.

The shift in mindset is still something I'm analyzing, and there will doubtlessly be more analysis to come.  In the end I came to the following conclusions:

  • You probably don't need cable and it might be good to get away from it.
  • It's easy to get away from it.
  • Cable companies are going to need to change radically to deal with the changes in the world – and I think they could, but I'm not sure they will (essentially becoming "internet providers plus").  Hint – potential career opportunity.

So probably one more column to come on how I turned it all off . . . then silence.

Followed by me watching Netflix.

Steven Savage