It’s been six months since we cancelled our cable TV service, so I wanted to do a follow-up post and let you all know how we are getting by.
Back when we had cable, we felt like slaves to our Tivo. We had over 50 season passes set up, so our Tivo was constantly packed with programming. Every evening, it was like a chore, we had to sit down and watch something so we could make room on the Tivo. They were all good shows and we enjoyed watching them, but we didn’t do anything else on weeknights, other than watch TV. This was our big motivator for getting rid of cable, plus the extra money in our pockets.
So here is what our life was like back when we had cable:
I have to admit, it was pretty sweet. Any show we wanted, any time we wanted it. Ahh…the life. Oh, and the horrible nagging guilt that comes with a Tivo full of shows to watch. But hey, you probably have better time management skills and self control than I do. Anyhow…
At first, life without cable was tough. I felt like I was missing things, all the time. Like life was going on without me. And it took some time to get out of the habit of crashing on the couch every evening. But once a week or two passed, the withdrawal symptoms started to fade and we embraced our newly found evening hours. These first two weeks also cleansed our TV pallet and made us realize which shows we truly missed watching and which ones we didn’t. Then we did some research and figured out how to get those shows back in our lives.
At first we were still paying for the Tivo service (because it works independently of cable service) but our Tivo wasn’t functioning right—it wouldn’t “find” any of the basic (aka free) cable channels. Losing the Tivo service was harder than losing our extra cable channels. We were forced to go back to watching TV on THEIR schedule, not our own. And commercials!!?? Don’t even get me started on having to sit through commercials again…ugh! THER HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY!!!
Sure enough there is—Hulu.
Hulu is an online video service that offers a selection of TV shows, clips and movies that you can watch on your computer. We had never been Hulu subscribers before, but we signed up and gave their free service a try. It was awesome, almost every single one of our network shows was available through Hulu the day after the original air date. We connected our computer to our TV and all of a sudden, we didn’t miss our Tivo so much!
Within a week of using Hulu’s free service we discovered Hulu Plus—a subscription service that expands upon their free service. Hulu Plus offers HD streaming, full current and back seasons of shows on the big networks, and the ability to play Hulu content on devices like smart TVs, gaming consoles and mobile phones. The Hulu Plus service changed our lives because it just so happens that we had a smart TV, gaming console and supported mobile phones!
Our TV has a built in ethernet port and once we hooked that bad boy up to the internet, we had access to all kinds of “Samsung Apps”—one of which is Hulu Plus. I can’t describe what an unbelievably amazing surprise it was to discover this feature.
The Apps feature on our TV means we have instant, ONE REMOTE, access to all of our Hulu AND Netflix content!
Netflix is the other app we use frequently.
Back in our cable TV days, Netflix was another service that made us feel like slaves. Every time a DVD showed up we felt obligated to watch it and send it back so we were “using” the service and getting our money’s worth out of it. Ultimately though, the DVDs would sit and sit and sit and sit and make us feel like we were throwing money away with each week that passed without us watching a movie.
Our lives, with a toddler, are not conducive to frequent movie watching. We can’t watch movies with Adelaide (she’s not interested in them, and the content of the movies Matt and I want to watch is not always appropriate for a toddler). And the hours after Adelaide goes to bed are so precious we rarely want to use them watching a movie when we could be spending it with each other doing the activities that are impossible to do while Adelaide is around. When we finally embraced this new lifestyle, we downgraded our Netflix service to Streaming Only.
Netflix’s streaming content has come a LONG way. We used the service when it was first introduced and it rarely had anything we were interested in watching. But now, today, its rare that we can’t find something we want to watch. What I’ve been most excited about and impressed with is the content they have for kids. We use our Neftlix Streaming account almost exclusively to stream kids shows for Adelaide in the mornings. They have everything we loved watching on live (or Tivo’ed) TV; Sesame Street, Caillou, Blues Clues, Thomas the Tank Engine and more! We could not get through the week without Netflix Streaming!
So, now, six months after canceling cable this is what our list of monthly services looks like:
Now, after our “TV Makeover”, we spend less money each month, less time sitting in front of the TV each day, and we still get to watch our favorite shows on our schedule. It has been a wonderful, refreshing and cleansing transformation for our family. We’re definitely happier now that we’ve taken this area of our life and simplified it.
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