The Joys of No Cable

It’s been 2 months and 12 days since I cancelled my cable. BIG EXHALE.

OK it really isn’t that bad.

I’ve enjoyed reclaiming my life…it’s a kind of trash purge.  No more Bravo TV trash (aka the Real Housewives series) and no more channel surfing over 400 channels and finding nothing to watch.  And then I’d get my monthly bill and cuss…so instead of holding on to aggravation, I got rid of it.  My pocket and brain are grateful.  I do miss ESPN and ESPN2 dearly but I can still watch the big events online or somewhere in my building.  The thing is that I watched only a handful of channels, and much of what I like to watch airs on network TV…and I rarely watched live since I had a DVR service. Most of my programs are on the internet – Hulu, the network websites – or on Netflix, which I finally joined.  So I’m covered.

On Saturday mornings while I have brunch I like to watch some TV so I’m becomming well acquainted with public TV.  I’m already an avid NPR listener so checking out MPT, WETA, and WHUT seems a logical step.  There’s lots of WWII and UK royal family programming, British drama and comedies (the Brits do these genres so well) + I love Masterpiece Mystery.  I’m about to become hooked on Downton Abbey!  I’m set.  I’m also slaking my thirst for books (my new Kindle helps a lot), magazines, news  without the little niggle of anxiety that I’m missing some or other program. You know, it’s been good to be disconnected from CNN and the like…away from the constant bullshit punditry.  It’s great to reclaim control of how much news I take in and how I take it in…easier to separate out and dismiss the crap.  Life without cable is fantastic. Plus I’m not alone since @shumpynella joined the No Cable Club months before me and is enjoying it.

I’ve discovered that ION TV has a contract that requires them to show Under Siege starring Steven Seagal.  Listen, it’s been on every weekend for the past 6 weeks, and several times each weekend.  How many times do I have to hear Tommy Lee Jones cuss about the damn cook?!  But I digress. I’ve also discovered fantastic cooking programs like America’s Test Kitchen and Avec Eric.  There is also New Scandinavian Cooking, which focuses mostly on Norwegian cuisine (lots of fish)…I felt a pang as I watched it this weekend since the horrific terrorist attacks that killed 76 innocent people was still unfolding.  Christian right wing extremism struck, not Islamic extremism.  Stieg Larsson was on to something, no? (Yes, he wrote fiction critiques of Swedish society but some of those critiques seem applicable to other countries in Scandinavia.)

By far the best thing about public TV is a series of ads by The Foundation For A Better Life.  My favourite is one about Encouragement. Go >>> here to view (I can’t embed it in this post, oops) and you’re a Scrooge if that doesn’t make you smile.  Somehow in 60 seconds the ad captures what I think is a cornerstone of parenting: encouraging your child.  The impact is unimaginable and priceless.

So, here’s to the joys of no cable: lots of reading, discovering new shows, more chatting with friends, quiet time, more rest…and wonderful ads that make my heart smile.

8 Responses to “The Joys of No Cable”
  1. Carole-Anne says:

    Love it Ren!! I mean, I am not too motivated as yet to give up cable… especially since I have a roomie… but, I do love my Netflix very much… and am considering keeping it even w/ their price changes. And also loving my Nook very much… reading is the bee’s knees son! 😀
    Anyway, when we finally see each other I’d love to taste some of the Scandinavian cooking which I’m SURE you’re gonna try… 😉

    • DWEEIT!! Seriously, at least try. Worst case you can go back to cable and maybe even get a cheaper rate. Congrats on the Nook, though I wish you’d joined Kindle-land 🙂 As for Scandinavian cooking: we shall see!

  2. Ms. Nikks says:

    I don’t know if I could do it. Like you I rarely watch live tv, my pvr does all the recordings. Sometimes watching all the shows is like a part time job. Goodness.

    I love when I go to Jamaica, I spend time outside and only watch tv at night. No internet, not cell phone, I love peace and bonding I get without technology. I still don’t know if I could do without it forever. Lol. Good for you though.

    • When I was home a few weeks ago I barely watched TV. Before, I’d be beholden to not missing this or that show or CNN. Now? Sat on the verandah reading, chilled in the kitchen, out with friends, hanging with Grandpa. Much better experience.

      And you can do it! Believe me, so many shows are online now. Watching them after DVRing was indeed a part time job…kinda defeated the purpose of recording them to watch when you had the time because then watching them gobbled up all your time!

  3. shumpynella says:

    Kudos! It is surprising how much I do not miss it (Housewives, Top Chef, Iron Chef, etc) – I love not being beholden to anything streaming from the black box. Even surprising is the fact that my football addict doesn’t miss it either. We watch the Spanish channels to catch up on football. Netflix does help though.

    Can I also say we are a different type of consumer now? You hinted to what I think is a huge part of not having cable – no more commercials or exposure to a different kind of commercial. The other day someone was describing this hilarious commercial for some product and I was like, I don’t watch that much TV anymore so I no longer get bombarded with all that stuff.

    • Thanks, Shumpy. I agree: different type of consumer. I want less and when I see an advertisement I’m less affected by it. Amazing how my thought process has changed.

  4. Emma Lewis says:

    Well done… You have extricated yourself from cable! Here in Jamaica we have hundreds of channels, and it amazes me that I can sometimes find nothing that I do want to watch… But we do have public television too, which I have always loved and appreciated (the NY one). Frontline and POV are two excellent documentary series. I have to say I would definitely miss the football, unbearably… That would be hardest for me. But it’s good to get a little more balance in your life, and there are SO many good books out there to read!

    • Thanks. It’s a truly break free moment. After writing this I found out that a high school classmate had cut out TV altogether and she’s living just fine and enjoying the quiet. My apartment building has several public spaces with TVs that have cable so I’ll be just fine. I choose what I watch more carefully now.

      And yep: SO many good books.

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