I did it! A couple of weeks ago, I cancelled my subscription to cable TV through Comcast. Why? Gosh, so many reasons but primarily because it was costing me $120 per month and my family just doesn’t watch that much TV. Don’t get me wrong. We watch a lot of shows, just not cable TV. So far, here’s how we’re surviving and thriving without cable:
- HD Antenna. We had an HD antenna that lets us watch network television in HD. Finally putting it to use. Works pretty well. $50.
- Netflix. My 3-year old is fond of saying, “I love Netflix.” We watch all kinds of shows and movies on Netflix. Like the rest of DC, I’m hooked on House of Cards. $8.99 per month.
- Amazon Instant Video. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member, I get access to tons of free shows and movies, many of them not available on Netflix, like The Wire, my new favorite and Stargate SG-1, my old favorite. Free, if you don’t count my Prime membership.
- Hulu. I just signed up for this. I love that I have access to most of the latest TV shows, including the late night talk shows. My husband loves watching movie trailers. $7.99 per month
- Network television apps. I’m pretty impressed with the ABC, CBS and NBC apps. I get access to all of the shows, although I’m not nuts about the ads and the fact that shows expire too soon for me, since I don’t watch regularly. The Taste disappeared on me last year when the season ended; why not keep up old episodes for a few months? Free. On the CBS app, I’m now locked out of some content because I can’t log in to my Comcast account. Bah.
- Specialty channel apps. I’m in love with the PBS app. I binge watched A Chef’s Life earlier this year.
- Chromecast. This $35 device from Google lets us stream shows from a table or phone to the big TV in our living room. It’s also handy when we’re traveling and want to watch a movie with the kids.
- iTunes, Sony and Amazon stores. Maki, my husband, has banned me from buying movies on physical media. So no more buying DVDs. Instead, we rent movies through one of the online stores. If it’s a movie I know we’ll watch multiple times, like The Lego Movie, I’ll buy it through iTunes and download it to whichever iOS device my child happens to be on at the time.
What gets tricky is figuring out where and how to watch a specific show. For example, my 3-year old wanted to watch Blue’s Clues. This show used to be on Netflix but one day, it was gone. I googled “Blue’s Clue on Netflix” and found lots of threads about Netflix no longer having the show. So I started checking different apps but what a pain! I found that TV.com has a nifty database of shows and where they’re available. Search for the show you want, then click Watch Online. Hover over an episode and TV.com will let you which platform has it, e.g., Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, etc. Love this.
What I don’t have is a way to watch CNN and live sports that aren’t on network television. So I settle for the CNN app, which doesn’t have live streaming unless you’re a cable subscriber. Bah. So I turn to the NPR app, which has text and audio. And I now listen to the Radio Washington app, which lets me listen to WAMU (the local NPR station) live. Thankfully, my family’s isn’t big on watching live sports. We’ll just have to keep our friends who have cable TV and giant TVs. 🙂
It’s been a couple of weeks and I haven’t missed cable. This might change and I can always re-subscribe. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my apps.
8 replies on “I Did It! I Cancelled My Cable Subscription!”
Those are all such sensible alternatives, especially to someone like me, who doesn’t watch much by way of sports, either.
The other big question is: Was the cancellation process awful like some that have recently gone viral – or is our local agent a decent, by-the-rules guy?
I’ve gone back and worth with this decision but I’m hooked on certain HBO shows and the NFL. You have to be a cable subscriber to access HBO in order to watch current HBO shows. HBOgo.com has yet to offer a monthly subscription 🙁
I also haven’t been able to find a quality ISP in my area without having to use a Comcast or Verizon. I’d be curious to know your ISP?
Welcome to the club, I have been cable-free for years now! My fiance and I just recently got a Roku for the basement, it may solve some of the issues of “where is show X”.
Like SJ, I don’t watch many sports. However, a previous roommate got around cable with an ESPN app, so even sports aren’t too big of an issue.
As far as cancelling, it helped when I told them I was moving and my roommate already set up the cable at the new place. Not sure if it helped or I just got lucky but it was easy and painless.
I’ve been debating whether or not to cancel cable. I still haven’t pulled the plug on it yet since I am not sure what type of reception I will get from an antenna being in an apartment building. I might just end up doing it though in the fall.
We’ve been completely cable-free for ~3 years. I think Joanna covered all the good alternatives but I can chime in on sports:
NFL – This is the easiest for us because local NFL games are always on broadcast TV, as are the playoffs.
NHL, NBA, MLB – Only on the local cable sports channels unfortunately. If you’re out of market you can buy their streaming package which works well and isn’t all that expensive considering how much cable is per month. They reduce the price as the season goes on too so it’ll drop by more than half about 1/3 of the way through the season.
We’ve whittled down our services over the years and now just have Amazon Prime. So we either watch network TV or something we find on Amazon. Hulu kept dropping shows I liked and it annoyed me that they still had commercials so I cancelled it. Same with Netflix, their streaming catalog is so meager these days I would spend 90 minutes trying to find a 90 minute movie to watch. We don’t currently watch that many TV shows though so it’s easier to do without those two.
We’ve been without cable for years. It is great. We use an antennae for when we occasionally watch live TV — e.g., Olympics. The only network show we’ve watched in 3 years was ‘Almost Human’ on Fox, and we watched it via their streaming so we could watch it when we wanted to. And then those rotten peeps at Fox cancelled it, so thank goodness we weren’t paying for Cable only to see good shows like this yanked off. Love Netflix. Love Amazon Prime. Love saving that cable money each year.
Well, we’ve been without cable television for 15.5 years which is almost equivalent to the age of my twins. At first, I felt like we were setting up our kids to not know the shows that other kids might be talking about in school or that they were going to miss some great premier (i.e. High School Musical, Camp Rock, etc..). We have been without cable longer than Netflix has been around… what did we do? I have to be honest that raising twins made me so sleep deprived that I really don’t remember but we did have quite the repertoire of VHS tapes (Blues Clues, Spiderman, Rescue Heros, Barney, Totally Trucks, Totally Construction, etc…). We started with the analog antennae but once the digital first started, we were on the band wagon. This is actually way before the switch over actually happened – we have had a digital antennae since 2004 – it’s been 10 years! We did eventually get Netflix which provided us our movie enjoyment and now we only have the streaming. We have a Roku set up that gives us access to Crackle as well… for the most part, we use our XBOX for all TV watching and we have our own server to tape shows.
The interesting thing is now that my kids are teenagers… they really don’t watch TV or netflix. They watch YOUTUBE! Looking forward to seeing where we are 5 years from now because I know it will be different than what we currently do… I wonder if the Cable industry is seeing what might be the new fad…
I just cancelled my subscription with cox cable here in VA right before my thirty day mark. Here is why for one their prices remained high no matter how much you took away to get it lower. My price was at 158 a month I decided I’ll remove mostly all the channels get rid of the boxes and lower my internet speed. And the price raised by 70 cents. Insane right, then I decided you know what f the tv and the telephone just give me Internet, Internet alone is 75 dollars a month. Unfortunately I can’t ax the Internet because that’s how we stream everything to get rid of the cable. But long story short whenever there is one cable provider covering an area they can pretty much do what they like. It sucks, oh yeah and if you have roku or Amazon fire tv, for just twenty dollars a month you can stream live premium channels right from your box including all the sports and kids channels for five dollars more. Between Netflix, Amazon prime and sling that’s your cable. Now just finding a cheaper Internet provider would be awesome ….