Life Without Cable TV

I mentioned it in one of my Budget & Accountability posts – but didn’t focus on it much.  When we found our townhome to rent, I realized we would most likely run into a problem – as we only face north. DirecTV requires “access to the southern sky.”  Ooops. After having a tech come out, he confirmed that we wouldn’t be able to set up dish from our balcony.  We had already been a few days without tv and were trying to figure out if that would be ok.

Imagine that. Our grandparents would freak out at a statement like that.  Ok without cable? We live in an area where it means NO tv whatsoever – not even bunny ears will get you the basic channels.  You’re suckered in to paying money monthly to catch anything.  But Jon and I took it as a challenge, and we’re slowly figuring things out.  We’re past the month mark, and I think it’s getting easier.

One thing we have on our side is the internet via iPads, a Chromebook, Apple TV, and an iMac.  Most shows, nowadays, are streaming the episodes online.  Some post the same day, some the next, and some the following week.  The most difficult thing for me, was trying to remember what shows aired when. (enter hashtag FirstWorldProblems…am I right??).  I probably should have paid attention to all the shows sitting on my tivo before we packed it up. Oh well.

We signed up for the one week free trial with Hulu Plus – and were NOT a fan.  It seemed like too much money would be spent on shows that a) still had a ton of commercials and b) were available online anyways.  Sure, its major boast is you can view the items from your iPad.  But we have a regular computer and chromebook that can remedy it.  So then we went back to Netflix. If you follow me on Twitter, you might recall some choice words we had for Netflix when they split up their monthly subscription, and then had absolute crap new releases for the streaming option.  But, when you have an active toddler that loves to hang out with you while you try and cook dinner, we needed something for her to watch on tv. We don’t have a very big collection of DVDs for her yet – as we’re still trying to figure out what shows she likes to watch.  Her favorite is Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS Kids.  She used to love watching Baby First TV but that was also a cable show.

Netflix has an awesome selection of kids shows.  Each day I’d try out a new one with her. She can tolerate Calilou (unfortunately, I cannot), likes Blues Clues (a little), loves the Phonics Numbers (with her friends Scout & Violet), and is not a fan (yet?) of Yo Gabba Gabba.  She didn’t really like Angelina Ballerina, but she does have a fondness for Kipper, the British pup.

When we were getting ready in the morning, we’d pop on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood from PBS Kids’ website and while they do have the full episodes, they only have 3 at a time, and they take about 2 weeks to replace one of the 3 with a new one. She doesn’t really seem to care, but I cared. I love the show, but you start hearing the songs in your sleep.

That’s when I had a brilliant idea one Monday night.  We couldn’t find any DVDs for the show (why not PBS???) and I thought of iTunes. I’ve never purchased anything other than apps & music, but i knew they had some tv shows. I found the entire first season for digital download for $15. DONE.  I downloaded that, cloud-downloaded it to the iPad, and also set it up on our Apple TV. Now, we have 10 episodes (containing 2 shows each) on hand at all times! We can rotate! We can keep her entertained and safe while I make dinner 🙂 All is good in the world!

So, we’re a month in, figuring things out, and I think we’ll be ok. We’re going to try and go the whole year while we rent, without cable.  I really hope, though, that CBS gets their apps & site together – their online streaming leaves much to be desired and also the quality is awful. I really want to watch my CSI and Criminal Minds!!!


  1. says

    We got rid of cable in July 2010. It’s nice keeping that $80 a month in our pocket. We do have Netflix. I love that it has a nice selection of PBS shows for G to watch. We also have xBox Live and are able to rent movies through it, which is really nice.

    I really love that the TV is rarely on during the day. It’s great to enjoy the quiet and watch G explore the house. He’s a little TV zombie when it’s on, so I try and limit the amount he watches.

  2. says

    We went back to netflix too….mostly because the kids want specific shows when they want them. Others will not do 😉 Glad you are surviving.

  3. says

    Great timing with this! We are trying to figure out what we will do in our new house when we move later this month. We had pretty much decided on directv, but the friend we are living with while we are between houses has it, and with all the storms we get, it seems to always be off! I think we have to have something though because Matt needs to watch his sports.

    • says

      Where you live can you get basic channels for free from an antenna? You can’t here (wish we could!) not sure what we’ll do during football though. It’ll be interesting

  4. Sarah says

    My fiancé and I have gone almost a whole year without cable. I’m a tv show junkie so once I find a show I can watch it until Netflix runs out of seasons. Basketball season was tough, luckily my parents live a couple neighborhoods down and love seeing us. I would recommend Bones, there’s a gazillion seasons!

    • says

      Ya I’m a bit nervous for football season. Yikes. But I did watch bones (forever) and stopped a few seasons ago. I should see about the seasons where I left off!

      Oh and I just started Drop Dead Diva and its awesome! I’m learning a lot about law LOL

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