tv with intention

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Since moving to the new apartment, Mr. Lively and I have switched cable providers. Over the past few years we had Tivo through a special offer. I loved Tivo because it recorded my shows easily and also recorded shows I might like. We loved that second feature so much that we rarely watched live TV.

However, now that we are in the new apartment we have a regular Comcast DVR. After using Tivo for so long we were not crazy about the functionality of the DVR and the fact that it did not offer the recorded shows that we might like. So rather than just get accustomed to the DVR although we didn’t prefer it, we decided to drop cable entirely. (We also had considered ordering Tivo through Comcast, but the cost was more than we really wanted to spend.)

So now we are getting into a new TV routine. Though we are not massive TV watchers, we definitely like our fair share of time watching our favorite shows a few nights a week.

Which meant before we dropped cable entirely, we made sure to have a plan for our must-see programs. When it comes to my morning routine, The Today Show is a must. For this and other non-cable channels we got a wireless antenna. And a few other cable shows we will stream through Apple TV from the iPad. We also have Netflix and HuluPlus (which we are testing out, not sure if we’ll keep Hulu) to surf other movies and recent shows that won’t be recorded by a DVR or Tivo box.

All in all, with the cable antenna and Apple TV supporting Netflix, HuluPlus, and online streaming we aren’t missing many things cable once provided.  The only real losses now are HGTV and The Food Network which I loved to watch while I was cooking or cleaning. But I’m sure I’ll adjust over time or simply listen to music.

Either way, the cable switch has definitely made things just a bit more intentional. It takes slightly more effort to connect the Apple TV to an online program or to start to HuluPlus. Which is a good thing. It makes us pause and think about whether we really want to watch TV or if we can do without.


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  1. Helena

    I got so annoyed with the cable options here in Chicago that I got rid of cable (and TV, actually) for 4 years. Everything I wanted to watch was online, so it wasn’t like I was completely missing out. Now, we have a TV (brother-in-law won it in a raffle and gifted it to us), so we can hook the computer (with Hulu, Netflix) to the TV to watch.

    I do love to binge on HGTV when visiting my parents, though. Love that stuff.

  2. Kelly P

    I haven’t had cable for all of my adult life (I’m 34, so that’s quite a few years). I’m sure there are things I’m “missing out” on, but I haven’t really felt it. Like you, I like that it requires more effort to find things. I did Netflix for a while and eventually found that unnecessary too. Now I just get things the really old school way – from the library 🙂 I’ve watched pretty much every major cable series I was interested in that way (for free!). It’s belated, of course, but I’m not really bothered.

    You better believe that when I go on vacation or to my parents I am glued to HGTV though!

  3. Maggie Rose

    We’ve had the same setup for about two years now (though before we had an Apple TV we used Ryan’s XBox to stream Netflix). We haven’t used the antenna thing in at least a year now, but we like having it just in case. We use Netflix a majority of the time, but keep up on Parks and Rec via Hulu. And if we want to watch something newer, we rent it through iTunes on the AppleTV. Works great for us and is much cheaper than cable.

  4. Melissa

    We canceled our cable about 6 months ago when the Comcast bill crept ridiculously high (those introductory rates don’t last forever!). We also found our whole family watching too much “junk food” tv, instead of taking time to read, practice instruments, or work and play outside. We’re suburban, so we got a rooftop digital antenna, and subscribed to Netflix, which we stream through the Wii. Turns out we don’t miss cable (or even the DVR) much at all. We always loved PBS, but now it’s our choice 75% of the time. The kids’ choices are easier to control, and they watch less tv now. I don’t even miss HGTV or Food Network, because we watch similar shows on PBS Create. As our kids get older and our family schedule gets crazier, we have to be protective of our time and money. Cutting the cable was a really helpful step for us.

  5. Laina

    My boyfriend introduced me to a cable-less life after I moved out of an apartment with roommates and into my own place. I love my HD antenna + TiVo + Roku box for HBO Go (through a friend’s account) & Netflix. With all of that, I have way more TV to watch than I need and that’s without having cable! I think I’d feel overwhelmed with options if I had cable. The think I love most though is that I don’t have any monthly fees (the bf bought the Tivo with a lifetime membership so I lucked out). I love it. I do miss food network and HGTV as well, but you’d be amazed by some of the great replacements on PBS channels (Cook’s Country, America’s Test Kitchen, gardening shows, travel shows etc.).

  6. Style Tutor

    My husband and I made the Apple Tv/Netflix switch about three years ago and have never looked back! We found ourselves watching less and less TV, so the expense of cable seemed pointless. At first I missed HGTV a ton, but now I am totally over the heartache!

  7. Valerie

    My husband and I cancelled our cable when we realized that we paid a lot of money to basically watch one channel. Hulu, netflix and Play on are awesome. As much as I miss HGTV, its definitely nice to have the cash.

  8. Lauren M.

    I also signed up for Netflix and am thinking about Hulu Plus. I have a Roku box which is an internet device that you can stream different shows and movies through. I just need to make that call to cancel cable…it’s kind of hard to make the call though! I’m sure the $$$ savings will be a motivator.

  9. Carisa

    Ohhhh! I so want to get rid of cable, but my husband just simply cannot live without his live sports. I tried and tried, but it’s the only thing holding us back! We do have AppleTV, Netflix, and HuluPlus in addition to our Comcast, which is a bit much really. It definitely is very nice to have lots of movie and old tv series options to watch!

  10. Sage Grayson

    We just recently got rid of cable too. I was wasting so much time watching reruns and junk TV. I feel like my days are much more focused and intentional now that I’m not tempted to turn on the TV.

  11. Kate

    I’ve been TV-free for over 2 years (maybe 3!) and I love it. It’s soooooo easy to get sucked in and I would rather spend my time other ways. It’s like auto-intention when it comes to wasting your time. I’m slowly removing myself from facebook via ‘nanny’ Chrome programs…and then the only ways to waste time will be to read or do something productive…like clean!!

  12. kelsey

    Yay! This is very similar to our situation, which we wrote about here: We are saving $775/year by not having cable, and we don’t miss out on anything! Through our antenna we get ABC, NBC, CBS and a country music network. We watch Parenthood and Modern Family online, for free, whenever we want. We watch DWTS and Wheel of Fortune live on Monday nights. I guess my husband misses some of his sports games. We also have Netflix, which has awesome series, movies, documentaries and children’s shows (no Hulu or Apple TV, although we’ve considered the latter). What are your favorite TV shows? If you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, Parenthood or LOST, I highly suggest them 🙂

  13. Daily Q

    You know you can watch Chopped on Hulu right? For free, not Hulu Plus, just search for it. Also, I highly recommend plugging the smartphone or laptop into a speaker and streaming some podcasts from iTunes, or finding a favorite radio show that streams for a few hours. It’s good background stuff.

  14. Daily Q

    Also, if there is something you *must* must watch (for me, it’s American Horror Story – immediately!) you can see if Amazon Instant Video carries it the day after it airs. I limit myself to one show at a time and buy an episode a week, still much cheaper than cable.

  15. Elsa

    We’ve been cable free for over a year and don’t miss it a bit! We purchased a Roku box instead and subscribe to Netflix & Hulu Plus. We stream things as well by connecting my iPad into the the tv. Since I’m an Amazon Prime member we get a TON of free shows/movies as well. As soon as we got rid of cable not only did I notice the awesome savings of over $150/month, but we don’t watch as much “junk” and spend time doing much more enjoyable things.

  16. Kelly

    We always walk this line and have been cutting back on cable to the point that we only get the basics plus a few extra sports channels. HGTV was one of the first to go, but I found that you can watch some shows on their iPad app for free!

  17. Marguerite

    Anyone else notice that HGTV has gotten very….bickery in the last 6 months? Everything is arguing, whining, complaining, “it’s not everything we wanted, it doesn’t have dumbwaiter…” I’m not sure I’d miss it if I got rid of DirecTV or simply stopped watching. (They must be editing to make it this way, right?)

    Sounds like everything is going great!

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