I used to be dependent on my full cable subscription – Full HD quality, 100+ channels, a DVR box that was usually close to full… I also had the full bill that accompanied it and a personal vendetta with the customer service department. So it was bittersweet when we decided to cut cable for good. But it didn’t long to prove more sweet than bitter. I still get to watch all of my favorite shows, and I was able to cut my monthly bull bill in half! Witchcraft? Not quite. Here’s how I cope without my cable subscription.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t use Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime to watch TV. These subscriptions are reasonably cheap (under $10 a month) and provide quite a vast range of current and past television series, movies, and more. Furthermore, Netflix has branched into content creation - bypassing the cable networks and going straight to the viewers. And from what I’ve seen, its remarkably good content (House of Cards, Orange in the New Black)!
Other networks are jumping on this straight-to-viewer idea as well, integrating their content into the world of smartphones and apps. CBS recently unveiled their All-Access app, which provides new and old episodes of nearly every show CBS airs, including my personal favorite Survivor. HBO’s popular steaming app, HBOGo, allows HBO subscribers to watch HBO on the go via tablet or phone. And they just introduced their Apple-friendly HBO-Now for live-television subscription a la carte – no cable provider needed. Just in time for Game of Thrones!
Another popular trend these days is indie-fundraising, where people/groups/companies/whatever call for public support and donations, and typically feature some kind of reward system. For example, I just donated $25 to a web-series idea called ConMan. I say “idea” because it hasn’t been completely produced yet! It’s calling for help from fans to support the production costs, and in return, I get to watch the series when it’s released! It’s more expensive than the other subscription services, but I get to support a cool idea, and get to watch the show which won’t air anywhere on television.
Not having cable also opened my eyes to another fast-growing entertainment option – Podcasts! Some people (myself include) listen to podcast recaps and reviews to supplement television shows, get some behind the scenes scoops, and interact with the fan community. There is also some really good original podcast content that does a phenomenal job building characters and telling a story (Serial, anyone??). Seriously, my commutes haven’t been the same since I started listening to Podcasts.
It’s been three months without cable, and I’m thoroughly convinced it was the right decision. Lower monthly bill, just as much content to enjoy, minus the dozens and dozens of channels I never watched, and all is right in the world. The ONLY downside I foresee will come this Fall, when football season starts up. But that may just a good excuse to spend more Sundays down at the local sports bar.