Several months ago we decided to take the plunge into a cable-less existence. A few of our friends had been living with out cable — some without a TV at all — and they seemed to be getting by fine. As we were adding more tech into our lives such as the iPad, we felt we should be compensating elsewhere by taking away the cable television. And looking back in retrospect, it is probably one of the greatest tech-related decisions we've made in a long while.
We watched TV constantly. Actually, watched isn't the proper term. Maybe "we had the TV constantly on" is more accurate. It acted as background noise most of the time — the $80 a month, ad-filled noise machine. Of course there were plenty of times having the TV around was really useful such as premier nights or live events (we're not a big sports fan so missing the ball game or something was never an issue). But after weighing the options, we decided to kick it to the curb and give a cable-less lifestyle + a Netflix subscription a test drive. Here are some of our positive observations from the experience:
The first thing we noticed was the extreme silence. No longer when we came into the room did we flip the TV on. This was because it required a bit more navigation through menus to pull up a show on Netflix rather than the "instant on" quality of cable. Instead, we now enjoy some peaceful quiet after coming home from a busy day in the office or at class.
Since our attention is not constantly being diverted back to the television and away from our work, we found that we get a lot more work done at home. Also, not flipping through the channels trying to find something we want to watch is a time saver. Now if we do want to watch a TV series, we turn on Netflix and easily work our way through a commercial-free season. No muss, no fuss.
As we mentioned before, we're saving money every month on the cable as well as a bit on electricity. When you're living on a budget and you're strapped for cash, cutting cable might not be the most obvious first choice but in fact, it does work out to be a fairly substantial savings when you add it up month-to-month.
Now that we own Netflix in place of cable, we're more likely to find what we want to watch, when we want to watch it rather than settling for "whatever's on". Consequently, our time spent watching TV is far more enjoyable.
Since cutting out cable, we freed up a lot of time that was once spent exclusively watching television. Instead, we've found that it has forced us to listen to more music and read more books/magazines. For some reason TV seemed to be a black hole of our attention, it sucked us in without giving us much in return and now, we're enjoying ourselves more and learning a lot from other media in our apartment.
Having a Backup
There are still those rare times when it's nice to have cable (we're looking at you, Office w/ Will Ferrell premiere tomorrow night). So having a friend who lives nearyby and is willing to share their TV on a rare occasion is certainly a bonus.
In conclusion, we've been very happy with our decision. Cutting cable certainly isn't the solution, or even necessary, for all lifestyles but it certainly worked for us. If you're considering making the move but have been too wary to take the plunge, take our word for it and give it a try. You'll likely find it to be a rewarding experience as the weeks go by.