After musing about it for a while, doing some research, and reading/listening to some testimonials, we decided to go ahead and do it. We canceled our cable television service. We just weren’t using it enough, but we were paying nearly $100/mo. So we moved on.
The new system consists of both old and new technology. The old tech is the modern version of “rabbit ears”—an indoor digital antenna to pick up the over-the-air signals from the local networks which can be decoded by the built-in TV Tuner in our HDTV. So we’ve got the major networks, PBS stations, and a whole lot of local foreign language, public access, and religious channels, for free.
We also bought an Apple TV. We bought it for basically two reasons. First, since we wanted to be able to take advantage of stations that stream programs for free (either via Internet or iOS apps) the AirPlay feature is great. Also, the ability to buy TV shows on iTunes means that we don’t miss any of those dozen shows that aren’t free. Not only that, but purchasing an episode of a show puts more money directly into the hands of the creative teams of the show than does simply paying for a cable subscription.
This is when the more h4ck3r-oriented out there are thinking “just go to teh torrentz! You can get everything for free!” I know all about torrents. I’ve downloaded stuff via torrent, etc. But as artists ourselves we firmly believe that the creators of art should get paid. And I’m right with you, hypothetical h4ck3r-d00d, in thinking the pricing structure is too high, the studios rip off the producers and artists, and all of that. But the thing is, when you don’t pay for a show (or a song or book etc) you don’t only screw over the big corporation, you screw over everyone involved. And yes, the corporations and studios can take it, but the little guy can’t. Trust me on this—I’ve seen my own books and music pirated. I know that feeling, and I don’t want to do that to other people. So as long as a show is available for legal purchase, I’ll buy it rather than steal it.
(of course, sometimes shows aren’t available, and the only recourse is teh torrentz; in that case, the producers and studio are idiots, and they reap what they sow.)
While we were re-evaluating, we also took the opportunity to dump our land-line telephone. Why not? We both have iPhones that are on 24-7. How many phones do we need? So that saves us even more $$. In fact, we saved so much all told that we quadrupled our internet speed and we’re still saving nearly $1000/yr.
Anyway, the point of writing about this is that a few years ago, it seemed mostly the “tune out, I don’t watch no stinkin’ TV” types, or hackers with pirate media servers, bothered making a serious go at a cable-free setup; but these days, more people are jumping on this bandwagon (we’re far from the first). And if you live in the USA with it’s extremely expensive cable rates, it’s quite an attractive option.