How To: Live Without Cable TV, Part 2

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This is the second in a series of three posts dedicated to life without cable television. Check out the first post here and the third installment here.

How are you watching TV? How, and what, you want to watch greatly impacts if you can make the move away from cable television. Yesterday, some astute readers raised the question raised, why, why should we move away from cable? We're not suggesting that at all, if it's not right for you. We're merely leading you through our process of discovery, and maybe you can find an alternative that applies to your lifestyle. Today we're tackling how and what you watch.

What do you watch? Are you watching your cable? We haven't been lately, and even when we did we weren't watching that many of the channels. Before you take the leap, you need to prioritize what channels and shows are important to you. If you can't live without HGTV, and you can't find a suitable substitute for your home fix, then maybe you can't give up cable. But just because something is on cable doesn't mean it's not available elsewhere. Plenty of shows are available on iTunes (Project Runway, for example), and if you can wait, it can be more enjoyable to watch a TV series DVD at your leisure, rather than being glued to the tube for weeks on end. We'll talk more about alternative sources for your favorite shows tomorrow.

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How do you watch TV? With the advent of video on the internet, and it's popularization through podcasts and YouTube, we find ourselves digesting media in smaller chunks, and for more limited amounts of time. With the ability to purchase shows on demand, all the major networks and even MTV streaming their latest broadcasts, do we really need to be sitting in front of the television at 8pm, waiting for the latest episode?
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Where do you watch TV? Sure, when you watch a movie, you're going to want to be in a comfortable seat. But do you need to watch TV in your living room? Take a minute to think about your habits, and how you and your family watch television. Do you need to watch it the way you have been doing your whole life? You don't even need to be getting rid of cable to consider this. AT Reader, Wende reported that she watches HGTV recorded on her Slingbox and streamed to her laptop over her home network. Tailor your habits to your lifestyle, make your media work for you.

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How much money are you spending? Again, are you watching your money's worth? With cable, we'd love an ala carte network, for Turner Classic Movies alone. After you figure out what you're watching, decide if it's worth it. With free internet streaming, DVD rentals, and a digital antenna, you could be completely happy and your wallet will be too.

Tomorrow we'll tackle the plethora of sources for non-cable TV options, from DVD rentals to the Internet.

Thanks for your photos, Gerard Yates, Johan Koolwaaij, alykat, and texasgurl.

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