A month without cable TV

It’s been a month since we canceled Comcast cable TV. And we’re not missing it at all. Not even just 5%. There is so little quality programming on TV anyway.

We bought two interior antennas in order to get access to the TV networks, and I’m using Hulu via my laptop’s HDMI to watch shows I can’t get via an aerial antenna (e.g. SyFy Channel). Hulu/Flash is slow on my DELL Vostro V130 when setting the TV resolution to 1920×1080, but it’s smooth at 720p.

The rest of the cable shows (e.g. Dexter) I can get via Netflix when they’re out on DVD (or via its streaming service). Then there’s all the content we get via Vimeo, Youtube & Blip.tv on the Roku, and the various video podcasts.

So overall, there is absolutely no reason to ever go back to cable (or satellite for that matter). I bought the two antennas for less than $40 each, and we pay just $12 per month for Netflix (compared to $90+ we used to pay for Comcast TV). No reason to pay for Hulu PLUS either, since PLUS has fewer shows in its roster than the desktop/web version of Hulu.


Michael C. wrote on January 9th, 2011 at 12:35 AM PST:

“So overall, there is absolutely no reason to ever go back to cable (or satellite for that matter).” — Told ya πŸ™‚ I have two antennas: one for $10 connected to my computer, another for $12 connected to my TV, I get clear signal and all local affiliates (one station is 8 miles away, another is 20 miles away). Really, all I need from OTA TV is PBS and sometimes football on NBC/Fox, everything else I get from Netflix and YouTube.

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Eugenia wrote on January 9th, 2011 at 1:10 AM PST:

We got the two antennas for the same TV (it has two antenna inputs) because we can’t receive all channels at the same antenna position. We’re about 16 miles away from the stations.

Jeff wrote on January 9th, 2011 at 5:40 PM PST:

Glad to see your thoughts on this. I would like to dump cable myself (AT&T). I just need to convince the kids they will be okay without some of their shows. I use Netflix for BD and streaming, and our tv sets have the digital tuners built in. Just need to pick up some antennas. Your blog might just give me the push to start saving some $$ every month by dropping cable.:)

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Eugenia wrote on January 9th, 2011 at 11:32 PM PST:

Jeff, I would suggest you get a Roku, I bought one myself and I really find it very useful to get legal content. If your TV is 720p, just get the cheap Roku version ($60). With it, you will have access to Vimeo and Youtube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon on Demand, Blip.TV, video podcasts etc. At least on Vimeo, there are quite a few children’s animations. Netflix has a lot of TV-originated kid programming too.

William Eggington wrote on January 10th, 2011 at 3:19 PM PST:

We ditched cable years ago for a very similar setup. Only ours is Tivo, PS3 and a mac mini. The ONLY shows we can’t get are some of the more obscure cable shows that my wife loves. Clean house, House Hunters etc.

With Game of Thrones coming out on HBO this spring its going to be hard to stick with this though. I love those books and the series development looks to be fantastic. Wish I could just subscribe to HBO itself without having to bolt it on to Cable subscription. πŸ™

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Eugenia wrote on January 10th, 2011 at 3:28 PM PST:

Why don’t you get Netflix to get access to these shows? Netflix is not expensive for what it offers IMO. BTW, “House Hunters” is available on Hulu for free! “Clean House” only has short clips online, but Netflix carries the full season 7 as streaming.

William Eggington wrote on January 10th, 2011 at 5:23 PM PST:

We tried Netflix. The shows they offered streaming were very very limited. I think Cake Boss was the only one we were interested in. And when we had watched all of those. . . our trial wasn’t even up! The whole DVD in the mail thing never really appealed to us. When we want to watch something we want to watch it right there and then. . .

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Eugenia wrote on January 10th, 2011 at 5:36 PM PST:

Well, there’s a lot more on Netflix than reality series. I know you like sci-fi for example. Also, the streaming-only Netflix option has more titles than streaming+disk. In Canada, different streaming titles are offered than in the US, and they always add more and more. So it’s an always flexible listing, week by week.

William Eggington wrote on January 10th, 2011 at 10:38 PM PST:

Well Amazon’s Video on Demand gives us all our Sci-Fi shows at $2 a pop and Red Box has blueray movies now which. . . is better than any streaming service hands down for movies. Doing the math I still save hundreds of dollars a year over cable.

Over the past year or so we have liked Closer, Burn Notice, Breaking Bad, Stargate Universe, Covert Affairs, Nikita, Rookie Blue and White Collar. We kind of get sucked into the cheesy stories. πŸ™‚

Yanni wrote on January 12th, 2011 at 8:46 PM PST:

Hey William, those shows were a problem for me as well because my girlfriend likes to watch them. I found a server called Playon by Media Mall and with a couple of plugins for HGTV (including many others like Vimeo, History Channel, Comedy Central, NFL Network, etc.) I’m able to get them. I use it with my PS3 as well. It only cost $20 a couple of years ago, but I think they’ve raised the price. It’s definitely worth it. Streams Amazon VOD over the TV as well without a plugin.

Mike wrote on January 16th, 2011 at 10:31 PM PST:

I’m confused. You obviously have some sort of “net” connection via an ISP? Where I’m from, using Comcast as an ISP (via cable) is 90% of the cost ($50 USD). Basic cable is only $10 USD per month.

Otherwise, what’s left: DSL, satellite or dialup ?

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Eugenia wrote on January 16th, 2011 at 11:03 PM PST:

It’s actually $13+ per month, and it’s SD analog. There is no reason to pay for this when I can get HD for free via an antenna. As for the additional channels they have on that analog package, I don’t really care about them.

Mike wrote on January 16th, 2011 at 11:24 PM PST:

I suppose it varies on the Comcast market. I can hook up any HD capable television with a digital tuner (QAM ATSC/NTSC) to the cable and get both HD and SD feeds (some at 720)….plus a few upper channels that appear to be undocumented.

The “usual” Comcast plan basically “throws in” the limited basic television feed. Without it the internet access goes up by the same amount.

However, I agree that the programming sucks. What we need is a FCC ruling in the US to allow “a la carte” programming based on the users need.


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