When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Friday, July 8, 2016

Living without Live TV

I "cut the cable cord" about two years ago. I couldn't afford the extra $50 a month for the service when 1) the DVR they gave me didn't work, 2) neither my daughter nor I spent more than 2 hours on any given day in front of the television, and 3) we didn't really have anyone with whom we could discuss the latest & greatest shows (and we didn't always watch the super popular shows anyway). We had no real reason to need to stay on top of the latest TV trends. If and when we did watch TV, it was very purposeful; we rarely turned on the TV to watch whatever was on at the time.

I still have a bill with the local cable company, but it is solely for Internet. I'm actually satisfied with the Internet service. I will most likely keep what I have even after the provider switches to its new parent company. I'm not the type of person to shop around every month or two for better deals; I find a service and stick with it until something horrendous prompts a change.

We only have one television in our apartment and we don't have an adapter or antenna for it, so we don't get the local channels. Honestly, I think this helps keep my stress levels reasonable. I stopped watching news in October of 2011. I worked on my college's newspaper, which prompted me to keep track of the news. After the attacks on 9/11/11, though, I decided I couldn't take it any more. I was tired of being inundated with the same emotional images over and over, with heartstrings tugged, conspiracy theories fed, hatred and anger fueled. I found that I don't need to see news on a regular basis to find out what is going on in the world. I have the Internet, social media, and radio stations. I get way too much information as it is, even without access to CNN or local news.

My daughter and I didn't even realize what we gave up when we got rid of the cable service. It wasn't until we visited my parents over this past Christmas (2015) that we experienced life without pre-recorded shows. What we were missing truly hit home, however, when my parents came to visit us for three weeks in June. See, my parents watch a LOT of television. My dad is now retired and my mom uses the TV to fall asleep most nights (something about the glow, I'm sure). They never had a DVR until we gave them one a couple years back, but the never use it. My parents know the schedules and channels of all their favorite shows and they are perfectly satisfied with sitting down to watch what happens to be on at the time when they turn on their system. Needless to say, they were at a loss when they came to visit.

My dad actually ran through 75% of the the animated shows (non-anime) that Netflix had to offer. My mom took to her laptop to try to find news channels. She even asked me what I did for news. I explained to her that I didn't feel I needed it. We get by just fine with Netflix, (now) Hulu, YouTube, and Amazon prime. With all of the streaming services we have, and with a really good and reliable Internet service, we haven't been deprived of shows to watch. We can watch all of our streaming services on the TV, as well. If not through the TV itself (Netflix and YouTube), then we can watch it through the PlayStation 3 we have (Amazon, Hulu). Plus, we have a decent sized-collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays at our disposal.

Yep, I don't see me paying for cable (or satellite) service again any time soon. I really enjoy my untethered viewing freedom.

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