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Life Without TV

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A few years ago, we decided to discontinue our cable television service and keep the $80 we were spending each month for our greedy selves.  But, we didn’t go without any television.  Instead of paying Comcast (a.k.a. Worst Company Ever), we bought a Roku Box and subscribed to Hulu and Netflix.  So, instead of paying $80 per month, we started paying $15.98 per month (Hulu and Netflix are $7.99 per month each).  Needless to say, we were pretty pleased with ourselves.

After a while, we quit missing the few shows that weren’t available on Hulu and Netflix.  For instance, my beloved Real Housewives.  I love those bitches.  But I learned to live without knowing what those hussies were up to.  An added bonus: I found myself with a lot more free time.  I used that free time to do productive things- like write, work on my blog, and organize my home.  And the less TV we watched, the less we wanted to watch.  We also started to see television as a giant waste of time.

Life Without TV

Well, we moved a few months ago and quickly found out that we couldn’t watch TV at all.  Since we’re currently paying for wifi per gigabyte, it’s far too expensive to watch anything on Hulu or Netflix.  Hell, my bill was still $120 this month, and that was after I called and bitched.  Regardless, we haven’t been able to watch anything that didn’t come through on the antenna or play in our DVD player.  And it’s been interesting…..

Now that we’ve gone a few months without any television to watch, I have to admit that I really do miss it.  After all, all we can do at this point is watch whatever our antenna can pick up, which is often “hit or miss.”  Some days I can get NBC or CBS.  Other days I can get PBS.  But, even when it does come in, the reception isn’t great and you basically can’t move once it’s on.  Why?  Because the reception is so unstable that any slight movement of our antenna can cause us to lose reception altogether.  So, it’s almost not worth it to try to watch TV at this point.  It’s too much trouble.

We’ve also rented a whole lotta Redbox movies lately.  Want to know what we’ve seen?

  • After Earth
  • The Call
  • World War Z
  • The Colony
  • Jack Reacher
  • Elysium
  • Despicable Me
  • Oblivion

The fact that I attempted to watch another M. Night Shayamalan movie should indicate our desperation.  We miss television and we’re so ready to move into a new house where we can get unlimited internet and the amount of television we’ve become accustomed to.  I’ll never go back to paying $80 per month for cable but we’ve realized that we do enjoy having some sort of access to television, even though it’s a lot less than what most people have.

What about you?  Could you live without any television at all?

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  1. In the summer yes, in the winter, not so much. That probably has to do with the fact I can be outside more in the summer since I am not really a cold weather outdoorman (yeah I know should probably not live in Indiana if I hate cold winters). We are in the debate of weather to cut the cord since we found out we can still pay for HBO (and thus use HBOgo) if we keep the lowest basic cable with Comcast, which they will pretty much give you for free if you have their internet and you get the right person on the phone.

    1. Maybe that’s the problem….winter. I’m freaking out over here. We’re in this smallish home with nothing to do except stare at each other!

  2. When I’m home alone, I don’t turn on the tv whatsoever. I would love to be able to cut the cable but it’s my husband that loves to watch tv and I don’t think he’d be happy having to watch shows online. He tends to watch 2 to 3 shows at a time and can’t stand sitting through a commercial so watching online would not be an option at the moment.

    1. We don’t watch online- we watch Hulu and Netflix on our TV. It’s a lot like watching regular TV!!!

  3. I was just visiting family and friends over the holidays and someone showed me their Roku. We are definitely going to look into it!

  4. I really don’t watch much TV and wouldn’t shed a tear if we decided to go without.. My achilles heel has always been sports.. Which if you want to watch, you need to pay for service. But lately, my interest has been waning a bit.

    At this point, the biggest obstacle to us getting rid of cable is likely my wife’s fascination with those same housewives you mentioned. Is there no way to get those shows online?

    1. Not sure. I just read the episode recaps at They provide a basic recap of each episode and only take a few minutes to read.

    2. I’m with you, jefferson. I couldn’t care any less about TV, but sports is another topic entirely. Luckily I have access to WatchESPN through my employer, so getting rid of cable wasn’t that tough for us! It’s bowl game central right now. 🙂

  5. I have Hulu on the iPad – I like to have something on the background when I’m doing chores or cooking in the kitchen for a while. Mr PoP never watches it, though – unless it’s to pop over and ask what’s going on with “the doctors” (ie Grey’s Anatomy). I didn’t have a tv at all between the ages of 18 and 27 and it wasn’t a big deal. If I wanted to watch a show it was usually because other people were watching it, so we’d get together and make dinner and watch it together. Lately I’ve considered cancelling Hulu since I worry about watching too much of it.

    1. I miss having Netflix for the kids mostly. There are some sweet kids shows on there that they used to watch while I was making dinner or cleaning.

  6. I wouldn’t miss TV, but I would sure miss the “unlimited” Internet! Our usage is in the 50-100 GB/mth range easily, and we don’t watch much streaming content (most of it’s stored on a local file server).

    1. OMG, I cannot stand paying per gigabyte. I can’t wait to not pay attention anymore.

  7. We got rid of cable this year. It’s been amazing. Except I’m not sure I can convince my husband to give it up during another football season. I don’t want to go back… But it looks like we may next fall. Lame!

  8. Yeah we pretty much live without TV right now other than using DVD’s. I just can’t justify the cost and there is more than enough entertainment on the internet!

  9. We have basic cable, which we don’t personally pay for (our tenant does) and we also have Netflix. We don’t watch all that much TV except on Netflix, so it’s all we really need. I could definitely live without TV but I would miss a couple of shows if I couldn’t watch them online.

  10. I desperately want to give up TV. Sure I watch it as much as anyone in the house. But I’d be the first to ditch it if I could. I’ve turned to reading over the last year or so and it’s been awesome.

    1. My hubby reads a lot….that definitely plays a factor in how little TV we watch.

  11. I went without anything but a DVD player for almost a year and I was so much more productive. Now that I’m spending a lot of time in a house with satellite I’m finding TV has a horrible effect on me. I’ve been watching the freaking breaking bad marathon for like three days straight now – and I can’t stop watching!! I did the same with Sons of Anarchy. Bought every single season and watched it from beginning to end for dayssssss or maybe weeks?………I’m now addicted to Sons of Anarchy. I shouldn’t have watched TV!!

  12. I definitely do like the ability to have at least some form of TV! We have an antenna and Netflix, and between the two we still get more than we need (our antenna picks up a lot!). Honestly the only thing I miss about our cable package is the fact that without it we don’t get Monday or Thursday night football games.. but like you pointed out, that’s not such a terrible thing because now I’m not spending a those hours parked in front of the TV anymore 🙂

    1. We don’t watch sports so that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about.

  13. Since DC2 was born I’ve been watching hardly any tv. She gets bored when it’s on and then goes off and destroys things. Sometimes at work I’ll stream The Daily Show in the background when doing boring data work.

    DH, otoh, has way upped his video consumption– he watches on his ipad while walking the sleepy baby/toddler at night while I snooze. He recommends video game high school. One of these days DC2 will be less destructive and we can watch more Mythbusters… maybe start Perry Mason where we left off… and then maybe see what else has been going on in our absence. We’re so far behind on everything we used to watch. But there’s something to be said for not having to wait for the next episode to come out.

    We did watch an entire season of BBT while DC1 was at his grandparents for a week this summer. That was amazing.

    1. I like being behind on seasons. That way we can watch them all at once. We just started watching Breaking Bad this fall and got up to season 4 before we had to move. Once we move (again) I want to finally finish it.

  14. “The fact that I attempted to watch another M. Night Shayamalan movie should indicate our desperation.” LOL!! I have a roku box and if I want to watch live TV I have a digital converter box and rabbit ears. It’s mostly good but some nights have a lot of interference. I could not live without TV. It’s my main source of entertainment since I don’t go out that much. But I was very happy when I cut my cable. I don’t miss it at all.

    1. We couldn’t watch it. Turned it off after about 15 minutes. WTF Awful movie.

  15. We still pay for television (with the roommates covering half, we pay about $37 for TV and internet combined) but agree that the streaming options are the smarter play. I think we would have a hard time going cold turkey all together, but some of those HDTV antennas pick up a good amount of channels. I think we got like 8 or so English channels when we were just using that.

    Here’s to the swift return to unlimited internet streaming in 2014!

    1. $37 is not bad at all. I paid $34 per month at my last house just for internet.

  16. Yeah, we’re pretty addicted to Netflix. It would be a harder transition to lose Netflix/Hulu than it was to cancel cable. However, my husband has taken to watching sports and shows over the air quite frequently since we moved. He might not mind too much going without Netflix for a while, but we do have several channels that come in pretty well. I don’t like appointment TV so I would struggle. Your comment about not being able to move made me laugh because I’ve received that instruction on a few occasions while he was trying to get a tricky channel!

    1. I can’t use the microwave when it’s on either!

  17. We cancelled our TV a while back and just watched Netflix. It is amazing that it really is possible to live without TV and cheaper.

    1. I agree! Netflix is $7.99 per month where I live. I don’t mind paying that at all.

  18. I could live without TV as long as I had Internet (I swear I could spend 10 hours a day or more online, just reading, surfing and commenting on other blogs). Truthfully, I like watching TV as a way to relax after a stressful day. I never had cable until bf and I moved in together and it’s something he’s not willing to give up (which is fine with me-he pays for it and I “reap” the benefits, or the “brain rot” as many would say ;-)).

    1. Yeah, I couldn’t live without internet….for obvious reasons!

  19. Yes and No. I don’t actively watch a ton of TV but we do unwind at night with some TV. So I admit it would seem strange not to have it all! Is it terrible that movie I am most familiar with is Despicable Me? LOL! Happy New Years!

    1. My kids just saw that movie for the first time and loved it!

  20. I now have good antenna TV, and haven’t watched any for years, so I’m getting addicted. The problem is that the news doesn’t come on until 11:00 and my favorite shows run from 10:00- 11:00. I used to get in bed at a decent hour but don’t anymore. Hulu Plus is probably the answer, because I could then pause the program instead of staying up past my bedtime to see how the drama ends. I got in to work today at 10:00AM…

    1. LOL. We have trouble turning it off at night sometimes too.

  21. “my beloved Real Housewives”, hahaha, Bravo TV really got us hooked and I do love Andy Cohen! Right now we have cable, and a couple of roku boxes with access to netflix. We do enjoy tv, catching up on the news and watching movies, hbogo is great too. We are considering cutting back especially once our contract is up with Verizon Fios because I’m sure the rates will go up.

  22. I wish I could say that I could go without TV at all, but I don’t think I could. I love watching TV! Our cable bill recently went up to $70, and I even tried to bargain them back down to the usual discounted price that we have had for years and they said no. I plan on trying again this week though.

  23. I recently dumped Comcast cable for a Roku 3 with Netflix and love it!! Btw- if you have amazon prime, you can “rent” episodes of certain shows for $2/ea. My reasoning is paying $7 for Netflix instead of $$$ for cable well offsets the few bucks a month for me to keep up with one favorite show ( I love Criminal Minds!)

  24. I could give up TV, we did it for Lent a couple years ago. But no sports would be hard for me which makes Netflix/Hulu bad options. So I just call up DishNetwork regularly and negotiate the hell out of my bill. Right now we pay $30/mo and get 220+ channels

  25. I’ve lived without TV completely before and it was fine during the spring and summer when I was busy and outside a lot. However during the winter I almost consider some form of TV a need. I don’t have cable anymore but I have basic local channels, netflix, and hulu. I don’t watch a ton but I definitely like having it for cold winter nights!

  26. I about get the shakes during TV show hiatus (ie: RIGHT NOW). I love TV, but I’ve also cut cable for Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. I too miss the Real Housewives, but you can catch them from time-to-time on Hulu. I’ve also binged during this break at my parents’ home where cable still exists. I find watching regular commercials for 3 to 4 minutes is now unbearable though.

  27. We’ve been without cable for 4 years now. It’s a bummer we don’t get any of the “basic” channels like ABC, CBS etc. We do get Ion and sometimes we watch re-runs of Criminal Minds that we have seen multiple times.

    We also poach my sister’s netflix account. Living without TV is no big deal for us. We even have an 80″ TV that we have never watched anything on!!

  28. Holly,
    I don’t think we can live without our satellite as I love my rotting brain. We have renter downstairs that we have DirecTv boxes for so I use that as an excuse as its a neccessary business expense. Happy 2014!

  29. We went without TV for a while when we were in school. We ended up just watching the same DVDs over and over and over. It was sort of pathetic. These days we don’t watch a ton of TV, but it’s nice to be able to turn on the news and see what’s happening in the world. I gotta look into Hulu, though.

  30. I think I would be okay with your solution. Cable is currently included in our rent, but I’ll be looking into the Roku when we move. I’m not a huge TV person, but it is nice to have the option to watch when there’s nothing else going on.

  31. We no longer have cable and I don’t watch a ton of TV, but I would miss being able to watch football. What antenna are you guys using? We got the Mohu Leaf which so far I would give about a B-. For the most part it’s fine, but there are times where the reception is truly awful.

  32. Could I live without cable? Yes. Do I want to? No. We have Dish and my only complaint is that the business channel we watch religiously is in an upper tier package so we pay $100 a month WITHOUT HBO, Showtime, etc. I’d love to bump our package down a tier or two of just by channels ala carte but that option is not available.

  33. No cable here. Antenna (outdoor) picks up all OTA channels. Even with the antenna, after sitting for a while passively watching, I feel like I’m just wasting time. Now with the successful adoption of two Republic Wireless cell phones, we jut cut the home phone cord too in Dec. I’d rather read on the internet, walk the dogs in the fresh air, or more deeply persue my hobbies.

  34. Ah that sucks that you pay per usage. I just got a roku for Christmas (looking forward to writing a review on it) and I think it does have some potential to replace cable but it also is lacking of a lot of shows I like to watch. Anyway, that’s not the focus of this post. To answer your question, yes I could live without TV, but I don’t really want to. I like watching sports and TV shows while working on blogging and other stuff around the house. My wife and I both work a ton and TV shows are one of the things we enjoy (we don’t watch movies really).

  35. I lived without television when I was in the Air Force. I didn’t really miss it much, but that was back in the late 1970s when there really wasn’t much quality TV anyway. I did occasionally stop by a friend’s barracks room where they had a TV when I wanted to watch a football game. My wife and son would be too unhappy with the total loss of local channels, even though we currently have 20 Mbit internet download speeds and subscribe to Netflix and Amazon Prime. For instance, they were just down in Pasadena watching the Rose Parade from curbside. I am sure they will also want to watch the parade again on the DVR, so I made sure to record it off two of the local channels. We are currently paying $25/mo for the local channels with DVR and $40/mo for the 20 Mbit broadband.

  36. Happy New Year, Holly! We were down to basic cable and then got rid of the TV altogether last March. I thought we would miss it, but we haven’t so far. We watch about 15 minutes of live news on our computers at lunchtime. We didn’t watch much at all before we got rid of them – probably 30 minutes total a day. I feel better without knowing all the news. I’m one of those people who gets really peeved and stressed about sad things in the world.

    For now, we’re happily TV-free, but I try not to say, “I’ll never _____” because I know that some day things might change.

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  38. Who needs tv when you have the internet? I never watch it except about one hour a day.
    Too much else to do. I get all my news from online or the radio. But the cable tv is paid for by the landlord. If it wasn’t..there is no way I’d pay for it.

  39. We pay for cable just to watch Romania’s got talent, House Hunters International and the occasional documentary. Here, however, the price is really low – $10 and we don’t consider it a big budget buster. However, sometimes even weeks go by without us watching cable and instead focusing on streaming movies. So yeah, we could live without cable, but not without all the shows and the movies 🙂

  40. Thanks so much for being my test subject – even though you didn’t know you were doing it for me. 🙂

    It’s been heaven ever since I stopped watching the nightly news and prime-time TV. I so very badly want to go the Hulu/Netfix way like you but my wife just can’t cut the cord. So we continue to pay $135 a month for TV, internet, and the home phone landline (yeah, we still have one of those).

  41. I don’t have tv, I watch all of my shows online with Netflix or sometimes stream them

  42. We cancelled our cable about 2 years ago now, too, and I’m right there with you on the OTA antenna reception. We have some rabbit ears, and I hate having to get up to adjust them just because I want to watch FOX and not NBC. We we’re lucky enough to find a Roku at Goodwill for 10 bucks, and we have netflix. I can’t imagine having to pay for wifi per gigabyte! I don’t know how you do it. But, I will say that like you, without TV I discovered I had a lot more free time to do things that actually mattered. And redbox/ tv-on-dvd were some of our best friends for the longest time.

  43. It’s been over a year now without DirecTV, and we love it. Not only saving the $80 a month, but being able to watch what we want, when we want, with NO COMMERCIALS.

    Netflix is amazing.

    I could go without cable much more easily than I could go without Netflix.

    While I appreciate the desire to be completely TV-free, there are some days when I come home where I can’t stand the idea of more time on the computer, and just want to veg. Netflix means there’s always something interesting on.

  44. That’s awesome that you tried to go without TV. At least you tried, you shouldn’t feel guilty about watching at least some TV. I’ve been without cable for going on five years now, and I honestly don’t miss it. For the few years after I got rid of it, I’d relish the chance to watch cable in hotels or at my parent’s house, but now, I don’t even bother with that. I’m netflix all the way, and I’m happy with that.

  45. I think I’ve finally reached the point in life where I could truly live without TV. My computer gets me access to shows and information that are good enough. Having said that, my kids do have their favorite shows, so we won’t go without TV in my household

  46. Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans says:

    I love the idea of living without TV – my cable bill is ridiculous. But it would be incredibly difficult for me to give up watching my Golden State Warriors!

  47. I definitely could live without TV but my wife and kids wouldn’t stand for it. While I’m at it I’d like to ditch the LAN line as well but I can’t convince anyone in my household of that either. What do ya do.

  48. I never thought my husband would be able to live without TV but since we moved into our new place and got hooked up with unlimited internet it’s been a breeze! We quite literally have not watched live TV once – and don’t even know if we can (the city just changed to digital only and we aren’t sure if our TV is set up for digital – haven’t actually tried/tested yet).

  49. Frugal Flirter says:

    We recently cancelled our Netflix account (in an effort to save money!), but also because we found we were spending far too much time sitting in front of the tv and zoning out for the evening. Since we cancelled it, like you, we’ve found we have so much more free time! It also means that when we rent a film or box set, it seems like a real treat! FF xxx

  50. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    Sorry you get bad TV reception! With the new house, will it be better? i am ADDICTED to local news. Weird I know, but I love my morning Good Day NY (I think Fox does Good Days in every major city). Sometimes I just enjoy having the idiot box on in the back ground. I won’t pay for cable again unless I moved to the country and then I’d just pay for that basic cable or satellite TV to get the closest local affiliate channels (my aunt and uncle in Wyoming had to do that as they were too far out).

  51. I almost, almost, almost cut the cord but when I talked to them they cut my bill and upgraded my equipment for no charge.

    We just enjoy the idiot box too much.

  52. We cut the cord a few years ago, as well. It’s made a huge improvement with our finances and quality of life (we’re no longer slaves to someone else’s schedule). We have Apple TV with Netflix and Hulu. Along with the other benefits, we’ve tried movies and TV shows we otherwise would never have considered and we’ve been pleasantly surprised. More people should do it to save themselves money and improve their quality of life.

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