Pulling the Plug on Cable TV

receptionIn general, I probably watch too much TV.  Maybe not compared to some – I suppose there are shows on roughly three nights a week that I watch – but the TV is often just… on, in the background, tempting me with Family Feud and tryouts for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.  And while that might not change in the immediate future, I’ve just taken my first step into a much larger world: I’ve gotten rid of my cable TV.

I started moving toward this decision months ago.   I love my DVR, but it was mostly getting used to tape Golden Girls reruns instead of current shows, because I just wasn’t watching that many.  Then, Netflix Instant really began pumping out the content – TV as well as movies – and I found I was using my TV as a giant monitor, hooked up to my computer, instead of actually using the cable.

Still, it was hard to let go.  My family has ALWAYS had cable – I was one of the few kids I knew who always had KIDS Incorporated and David the Gnome in addition to Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.   As silly as it seemed (my laptop might as well be an appendage), getting rid of cable felt like cutting myself off from the world.

Last week the decision was all but made for me.  I turned on a show that had been taped on the DVR, and it played for a few seconds… and stopped.  And started.  And stopped.  It was like watching a stop-motion version of the show, with the audio all garbled.  No amount of stopping, fast-forwarding, or restarting helped.  And it happened to every. show. that I taped that week.

So.  I had a cable service that I pretty much hated to begin with and overcharged, and a DVR that was intermittently useless.  I thought about switching to satellite, but there are too many factors (are there too many trees in my area? ) that I just didn’t feel like messing with… and more and more people I know are getting rid of it altogether, and using the Internet instead.

Thus, I made the somewhat rash decision of ditching it.  Today.  As in, I got off the phone, walked into the living room, and it was already gone.  I admit, I haven’t really planned out all my backups.  On the list for today: checking out Hulu and seeing if a subscription is worth it, and finding out what stations have their content online (do news stations have live feeds?  They should.).

I do still have network stations, not that I’ve been watching anything on them since LOST and Dancing With the Stars (a not-so-guilty-pleasure) ended.  I think I’ll wind up watching more PBS, which is a plus, I think (as long as it’s not Barney).  I’m looking forward to Sherlock, of course (still a Moffat fangirl).

I think I’ll be able to find most of my TV shows online, eventually.  And if not?  Well, it’s not the end of the world (I hope).  I don’t need to see The Soup (sob) or Degrassi (dear God what have I done).  My TV will still get plenty of use from watching Netflix and playing WoW (yes, I play it on my TV.  It’s enormous).

Because I would love to think that I’m the wave of the future and not making a choice I’ll regret, I’m telling myself that this is what we’re headed toward, anyway – an integration with the internet and TV and hopefully we’ll get away from paying for tons of channels we don’t even want.  On the other hand, I know that part of the reason I’m even able to do this is because I have fast internet, and a good chunk of the country doesn’t even have the infrastructure to have the option (we need to get on this, I have relatives on dial-up because it’s their only option).

So, have any of you taken the plunge and gotten rid of cable, or the TV altogether?  If you haven’t, do you think you ever could?  Is HuluPlus worth it if I already use Netflix?   Any tips as I embark into this brave new world?

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