About six months ago, I embarked on a journey that could have taken me down a lonely path. It was one had I had been down before, but struggled to do permanently. I made a life-changing decision — and I’m now certain it was the right one.
On Feb. 18, 2012, I cut the cord. I canceled my cable television subscription. Why? The simple answer is that I was paying far too much for something of which I was consuming very little.
It pained me to look at my cable bill every month. With both TV and Internet service, my bill exceeded $120 — and that included zero premium channels. And I probably watched less than two or three hours a week.
I had it “just in case.” I work in the television news industry and thought that if something major were to happen, I’d want immediate access to the cable news networks. But as mobile technology has evolved and the idea of social media being a news source (namely Twitter) is a reality, that need for immediate access is fulfulled through various other means.
Now — just to be clear — I cut the cord from cable, but not television altogether. Using an indoor UHF/VHF directional antenna, I am picking up most local stations in the Cleveland market with little effort. That’s nearly 20 channels at the best price possible — free.
And the quality is better, too. There’s no middleman to compress the signal, so it’s as genuine as it’s going to get (I’ll save the technical details for another blog).
I think my quality of life is better now, too. Instead of mindlessly turning on the TV after a long day to programming I would rather not watch, I now find myself being creative in how I approach my free time.
It just felt so good to walk up to the counter and turn in my box, knowing my next month’s payment would be considerably less (I kept the Internet service — can’t go without that).
What would it take for me to go back and tether my television to the wall via coaxial cable? Perhaps an a la carte system, in which each individual channel could be picked without being lumped into a giant, expensive package. There are some great shows on cable, I just don’t want to pay for all of the bundled channels to go with them.
Perhaps someday the service providers will cater to people like me. I am willing to pay to watch terrific shows like “The Newsroom,” but give me another option. I would gladly give up a chunk of change to make such programs accessible outside the traditional cable/satellite realm.
For now — left with no other choice — I find workarounds to these contraints. But I’d rather provide some support to help keep the great shows going.
Have you cut the cord? Or thinking about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Chime in via the comment box below.