IT HAPPENED, IT FINALLY HAPPENED! I have been fighting the good fight against
my wife for a while now. Why are we paying for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and
the occasional Redbox movie on top of paying for cable? NO MORE! We are now
cable free and I couldn’t be happier. The wife and child are still getting over
the initial shock of it though.
Why cut the cord? As mentioned, we have all of these additional services, not
to mention YouTube and Vimeo and such. A lot of our consumption is on smaller
screens and I really hate how the cable companies pricing models work. Seems
like every few months channels are being added and dropped and how come a new
customer can get the same package as me for 20$ less a month? Don’t even get me
started on the lifetime investment on renting their hardware.
What I really hate about cable is the advertising. Commercials suck and when
advertising is involved, you’re the product, not the customer. Yes, Hulu has
commercials too, and I hate it. I wish they would offer a higher priced ad-free
service. Just the price you have to pay to get most of the first-run content
out there, for now.
My wife’s argument is always that she likes the ability to channel surf. You
can easily do the same thing on Netflix. Hell, I’m notorious for just going
through the movies and shows for 15+ minutes before settling on something to
watch. In reality, my wife mostly watches the same few shows and as of late has
done a lot more series bingeing on Netflix than anything else.
The next contention has been regarding being able to watch XYZ show that she
watches on a regular basis when it airs. With the exception of a few shows,
notably Criminal Minds, everything else she watches is available on Hulu around
the time it airs. I think there is a day delay or something like that. The
latest season of shows will show up somewhere eventually and then she can binge
on it. Not my favorite habit but it definitely can be accomplished without
To help alleviate any consumption issues now that we are only streaming, we
went ahead and bumped up the speed of our Internet access from 25/25 to 50/50.
Can’t wait to be in an area with more competition and/or Google Fiber so we can
experience amazing speeds at a good cost. I also picked up a cheap antenna to
pick up local stations just in case.
What’s been interesting about cutting cable is the perception that people have
towards you for doing so. The last time we cut cable was before our daughter
was born. We cut cable to save money, nothing more. Now we are cutting cable
because I wanted to help make a stand against the cable companies. My thought
is that if more people cut the cord the cable companies will be forced to
change. Cutting cable can easily be considered armchair activism.
Okay, so the perception thing. Now that we have cut cable and proclaimed it on
the interwebs, people have made a few negative comments regarding our financial
stability. Whoa, hold on there buddy, just because someone chooses to get rid
of something doesn’t mean they are doing so for financial reasons. In
technology, I find that more people don’t have cable than those that do. It’s
the foresight that you just don’t need cable anymore.
Sure we are able to save some money, but that was never the primary motive. To
insinuate that someone is in crisis because they cut the cord is very
shortsighted and reaffirms my beliefs that we need to lead more private lives
and never post anything on the Internet. Especially on mediums that allow for
the peanut gallery to chime in.
Come to think of it, this isn’t the first time it’s been implied that we were
in financial trouble over the last few years. The first was when I decided to
ditch my car and just bike every where. My car battery died or the
alternator went out or some shit and I decided not to fix it. My wife’s car is
still in working order so we weren’t without a ride. I took what I would have
spent on repairing the car and invested in a bike. At the time I was working
for myself with an office 5 miles from the house, round trip. I was able to get
a workout and enjoy being outside all while getting where I was going.
The immediate question was usually “why?”. It’s as if to say you are doing
something that you shouldn’t do and there must be some terrible reason for you
doing such a outlandish thing. I had been asked if I couldn’t afford to fix my
car and the attention would turn to how my business was doing. Rude, but
understandable I guess.
The next time this happened was less than a year ago when I decided to bring
my lunch instead of going out. I was focusing on eating better and I tend to
eat like shit when I go out. Immediately one of my co-workers implied that I
was having money issues and should perhaps “cut out all those Starbucks runs”.
This was a lot less understandable because so much was being implied. It
astounds me at unsolicited advice that people are so willing to give.
Outside of the fact that people think we’re about to fall into bankruptcy, the
transition away from cable has been fairly smooth. Surprisingly, the biggest
issue we have run into is that we now lack a clock in the living room above the
TV where the cable box used to be. It’s amazing at how reliant we had become on
the clock that never blinked eights. Got me wondering if anyone’s made a
smallish clock connected to the Internet that keeps the time updated. I’d
probably buy one.
What’s been interesting about no longer having the clock in the living room is
that our evening routine no longer has a time keeper. The first night without
it the kiddo and I played WiiU until midnight, not realizing that it was way
past her bedtime. It is reminiscent of what I read about Edison not keeping a
clock in his workshop because it was a distraction. Our post-dinner family time
definitely benefits from being a bit less scheduled from time to time. I think
I am going to ditch the clock in my menubar again as well.
Not even a week into having the cable cut, and I don’t think we’ll go back. My
hope is that the wife will adjust to consuming media without it and we never
have to subject ourselves to the tyranny of the cable providers again.