My Story: Life without Cable

contributed by Adam


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My wife and I got married nine years ago. Soon after, we bought our house. As we began to transfer the utilities, telephone, and other monthly services, she suggested, "What if we dropped cable?" I agreed to try it for a while. After nine years without cable, here is what I've learned:

  • Human beings adapt to their situation. If you don't have cable, you're going to fill the time with something else. That something else quickly becomes just as satisfying, if not more. We read good books, talk, read to the kids, and do crossword puzzles.

  • Most of cable TV is poor in quality, especially moral quality. Read Newton Minnow's "Vast Wasteland" speech that he, as the head of the FCC, gave almost 50 years ago. His prophecy has come true.

  • TV tends to make you stay up later than you should. It's easier to push the "next channel" button than to get up and go to bed. We keep flipping, hoping to find something fulfilling, but it rarely shows.

  • Bunny-ear TV is sufficient for news and sports. If you have to have your fix, there's usually enough on to keep you happy. Our local PBS produces programs of equal quality as Discovery Channel or the History Network.

  • My kids' attention spans seem to be better than the media saturated kids. I don't have any hard evidence, but my kids can sit still and listen to someone tell a story without interrupting or getting bored. Their peers seem to need to be constantly wowed to keep them interested.

  • Less TV means more opportunities at quality time with family. I heard someone say that quality time is a result of quantity time. You can't schedule quality time; it appears in the midst of a long stretch of spending time with someone (either playing a board game or working on a project). With quantity time, your odds at quality time are very good.

  • Services, like Netlix.com , can help you see the movies and TV series you want at a pretty reasonable price. You get to choose what you're going to watch rather than watching what the networks and cable services offer in their schedules. They stream a lot of movies and TV shows.

  • If you have the Internet, most of the "hot shows" are available any time on the TV network's streaming system.

  • Libraries carry movies. Library cards are free. Our local library sells their movies when they get too many of them.

I'm not against the cable companies. I just think our life is better and we are more in control of what we see without them.


"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com

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