Giving up Cable

Updated on September 06, 2012
E.B. asks from Downers Grove, IL
26 answers

We are looking to cut some household expenses and are thinking about getting rid of cable TV. We are in a suburban area, so we would still have the big networks (ABC, CBS, etc) and are considering a HULU subscription.
Our kids are 4 and 20 months. They watch a little TV in the morning on non school days and some in the afternoon. The shows they watch are either on PBS or are available on line (and we can hook the computer up to the TV if needed).
Has anyone else done this? Pros/Cons?

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answers from Dallas on

We gave up cable over a decade ago. Rarely, if ever, do we miss it.

We do have Netflix and that has been enough for us. We have also learned to utilize the library for movies and such. Many of the kid sites, like DIsney add new episodes of their shows online rather frequently. That gives us some variety for the kid.

I think most people I know have the hardest time the first month or two. Since there is a bit of delay getting shows onto DVD, they feel like they have seen everything.

I don't really see a downside to life without cable unless you are a sports fan. There are many sporting events you can't see if you don't have cable. Fortunately, there are not sports nuts in this house. Other than that we don't see a down side. We save money. We have much cheaper options for tv entertainment. My children are not inundated with advertising. And the biggest benefit is we really don't watch too much tv. We are busier doing family activities together instead of vegging out on the boob tube.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We've never had cable and watch PBS, Qubo and some MeTV of old, family-friendly classics. It works out great because we don't want to watch any more than we already do. Thinking of getting streaming Netflix to watch shows on rainy days, etc. All much cheaper than cable and less tempting I think; TV when you want/need it but not just available all the time.



answers from Chicago on

We just went to Best Buy and bought the $100 antena, pointed it to downtown Chicago and we get 50 some channels for free! All the local, but some have different numbers, like Fox is 32.1 instead of 12. We really don't watch TV, but when we do it is local channels or Netflix movies.

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answers from Washington DC on

If you give up cable, how will you watch quality shows like "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo"?????

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We live in Bolingbrook and cut the cable and got an antenna off of Ebay. It took $100 for the whole setup (my DH did the install - he owns his own handyman business so it was no big deal) and in 5 months it had paid for itself. We get PBS and all of the major networks. It works really well. We've had it for 3 yrs and are happy with it. You will not get hardly anything without an antenna on the roof. We use a small HD one. My friends say we have a better picture than theirs through cable b/c it is TRUE HD. Even with HD via Comcast, they have to compress it some and so ours is even better.

If you need my DH to install the antenna let me know.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

Hey Katie L you better redneck-inize!!! LoL!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

If you are just trying to save money, then getting rid of cable is a good idea. But you can probably save more by watching what you spend on groceries.

There have been lots of posts here on how to save on groceries. If you spend more than $25 per week per person on groceries and house hold items like toilet paper and dog food and cleaning supplies, you can save money.

Good luck to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Three years ago, we gave up cable and the whole darn TV. I cannot be happier with our decision. We just don't miss it. Everything we watch, we watch on the computer (we have two laptops, so it's easy and portable). Youtube offers quite a bit, and you can search for exactly what you want. Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Nick Jr., and other kid-friendly options have their own websites with videos. We also pay about $5/month for Amazon instant videos and discounted rentals. We've purchased whole seasons of Dora...unfortunately...sigh...where was I? oh yeah...

And here's the thing: Since we watch just the show at home, our son is used to A Life with No Commercials. When we travel and he watches hotel TV, he hates the interruption of a commercial. He's not quite 4, so eventually, he'll come to understand the Gateway to Material Consumption offered by commercial TV, and then he'll clamor for it, but for now, I'm so happy he hates commercials!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

We just got rid of cable tv last week. So far, so good!

A few things we did:

1. We already had an indoor HDTV antenna to receive local over-the-air channels (NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, etc.). I'm watching it right now with no problems. They range from $30-$59, that I've seen.

2. We already had a Roku box. This allows us to stream instant videos on Amazon Prime (an account we also already had for the year), gives access to Netflix, HuluPlus,, plus some other shows/networks/sites and games. I think my husband paid about $40 for the Roku.

3. To really watch anything on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, you have to pay a subscription fee. We are weighing which ones to continue. No sense dropping cable to start paying the same amount in other services. We are trying the HuluPlus free month to see how much we will use it.

4. We can hook my laptop up to our TV and watch a lot of the networks (even cable ones) that have their shows posted on their own networks pretty quickly after they air. This might negate the need for the other subscription services.

I agree that we are already watching less TV and my son hasn't even really noticed. We did of course tell him (he is 4) when we did it that some shows, esp all of the DVR'd episodes, would be gone. He put some of his favorite on his birthday list as DVDs, we can get some from the library and we found a lot on the Roku subscriptions or computer already (like Oswald, Little Bill, Blues Clues, SuperWhy, etc.).

Good luck!



answers from Chicago on

I don't have cable my son watches a couple shows a day on netflix... thats enough for us... He get 1 1/2 hours of tv a day usually he only does 30 minute to an hour, and it's broken up, I never really watch tv. Get netflix pay 8 bucks a month, and use it with your computer hooked up to the tv. :)



answers from Minneapolis on

We have never had cable or dish or anything that requires paying for TV. I think it is a great expense for you to give up. My kid hardly watches TV and finds TV character stuff really boring. He would much rather pick up a good book. We rent a movie once a month at Redbox for a dollar.



answers from Anchorage on

We have not missed it, but be warned. When you watch shows on things like hulu or netflicks it takes a ton gb, we used to get nowhere near 40, but with no cable we watch more netflicks and now have a hard time keeping it below 100 gb per month for usage, so see how much net costs compared to cable to see if it will really be a good deal for you.


answers from San Antonio on


We live out in the country and get NO chanels with bunny ears. And even without that, we watch a lot of tv. All we need is a computer with good internet connection and a HDMI cable that we attach to our tv.

Hulu - free for most shows. We watch Grey's Anatomy, Touch, Fringe, Master Chef, Hells Kitchen..... just to name a few. Most shows, with the free version of hulu, are available on hulu a week AFTER they air on regular tv. So, we just don't care. I tell my mom "Don't tell me who gets kicked off Master Chef! I haven't seen it yet! I won't see it for another week!" CBS hasn't joined hulu, really. We don't get updates on my hulu account about what shows are new/available. Gotta go to cbs's website for all that which is a pain in the butt IMO.

Hulu Plus - If you want to start a show from Season 1 Episode 1, paying for Hulu is the best way to go. There have been a few times I've said to myself "Grr. Wish I had PLUS!" But really, not that big a deal for us. Try Hulu free for a bit and see if you can't live without PLUS.

Netflix Streaming - $7.99 a month I believe? This is where my son watches his tv (he's 4). Superhero Squad (2 seasons), Martha Speaks (30+ episodes), Dinosaur Train, Garfield .... There is a LOT on there. PM me and I will search a show for you if you'd like and let you know what shows are on there. Shoot, we've watched Shaun the Sheep Seasons 1 and 2 probably 5 times. Kids don't mind watching the same episode again. My husband and I, when there's nothing in our Hulu Queue to watch, will watch Psych (tv show, Seasons 1-5 on Netflix) or watch a movie on Streaming. Movies on Netflix are not amazing, but there are a few.

So, giving up cable:
PROS - very very cheap, you don't waste your day away with the tv being on in the background, no need to try to DVR your fav 6 shows at the same time. On hulu they'll show up in your queue when they're ready!

CONS - kiddo requires your help to get computer on, using your tv as a second monitor, computer and tv have to be nearby eachother or get a wireless HDMI signal (one time expense), NO LOCAL NEWS - I miss the news alot. I have to listen to the radio or get internet based news.

added: SB is right - if you love watching sports, then you will miss cable. Oh and also - we do a LOT of library renting. I've rented the movie Rio probably 8 times from the library. Heck it's free! For "newer" movies, we do Redbox ($1.28 a night).

OH and I forgot - Hulu and Hulu Plus both have commercials (many think that when you buy PLUS you don't get commercials. Not true. YOu just get acccess to more shows). Netflix has NO COMMERCIALS. YAY!



answers from Milwaukee on

Before you cut the cord, if you like to watch tv too, run out and get an antenna. Then hook it up and turn your tv from cable to antenna and see if it works. I upgraded my tv's to digital ready tvs and went out and bought antennas. I figured even upgrading the tvs would pay itself off w/out cable in a short time. Nothing but pixilated tv w/ constant pauses and it jumping to catch up. Then I took those antennas back and got bigger, stronger, more expensive ones. Same problem!! I had to get cable again to watch any tv, even PBS :(



answers from Chicago on

We have done without since 2007. Used to pay 100.00 a month and got a increase warning...had it removed. We have put aside our cable bill amount every month since just in case so it was still a bugeted item. We watch through antenna and hulu and networks online. Oh and also gonna take a disneycruise with the savings for a family of 5. There are so many things to do that we hardly watch it anyway.



answers from Minneapolis on

My husband and I have never had cable beyond the "basic basic" which get's us the regular channels (NBC, ABC, PBS, Fox, etc.). I think we also get some public access and CSPAN... but never really venture beyond my regular stuff. We do have a Roku and a Netflix subscription, which we like.

The cost for the basic is $9.00 per month and Netflix is like $15 I think... so for less than $30 we are getting all we need. Last I knew, cable was over $80...




answers from Chicago on

We've done this a while back. Works great for us. We watch a lot of Hulu and get most of the kids shows and movies from the library. One very positive aspect is that the kids were way less whiny about new toys. After a while I realized it was because they didn't watch a gazillion toy commercials when they watched their shows.



answers from Chicago on

We did it over a year ago. I don't miss anything except maybe ESPN for Monday night football. :) We also hooked up our computer to the antenna cable and then to our large tv. So we watch tv on our computer, but it shows on the large tv if that makes sense. (like the tv is the computer's monitor) This way we can use Windows media center. It shows a tv guide onscreen like cable and also records shows like a dvr. Our computer is only a couple years old and came with a tv tuner in it.
We also have a subscription to Netflix, the streaming version. So my 3 yr old can watch movies or even cartoons like the ones on Nickelodeon and some Disney ones. He can also watch Disney cartoons on the computer or our iPad as well.
So I say go for it! We save a ton of money and really don't miss much. Sure, I'd like to watch HGTV sometimes, but I don't really "need" to. Too much tv isn't good anyways.
My husband sometimes likes to watch sporting events that are only on cable, but you can find them streaming online too. Sometimes you have to pay for a subscription, sometimes you can find free sites. So there's never been anything we wanted to watch that we couldn't find. :)
Oh, and my husband got an antenna from a company online. It goes on our roof and we can control it remotely from in the house if we need to move it or adjust it. We get a ton of channels I didn't know existed. There are two pbs like channels and a couple other ones that have kid cartoons. :)



answers from Memphis on

We did this for a while...antenna, tivo, and netflix. It was great and cheap. We didn't really miss it. My kids have since outgrown PBS, I still love it! Curious George is my fave! When we moved to a neighborhood that has U-verse we are giving it a try. We still only watch a few channels but are really enjoying watching some of our favorite show current instead of Netflix. I'm not that familiar with HULU. BTW our HD picture was really good. Definitely don't miss Comcrap!



answers from Rochester on

We have not had cable for 10 years and i love it. Our kids (4 and 2) watch most shows on PBS or netflix. Most of the shows I like (when I get a chance to watch TV) are either on network or I watch them later on Hulu (free hulu) or netflix.



answers from Springfield on

We cut out cable about 12 years ago and went to DirecTV. We cut that out about 7 1/2 years ago. I think this was one of the BEST decisions we ever made. Our daughter has been raised without cable TV! What did she miss out on? Attitude, snottiness and scheming and lying... Now, we do not have a rule that she can't watch cable, if she is visiting someone, she can watch it - but I am glad she is not immursed in it. Until you spend some time watching PBS, you have no idea what you are missing. The childrens programing on there is out of this world! I can't believe the things she knows about science and nature - when I ask her where she learned it - it's from Sid the Science Kid or Wild Krats or Ruff Ruffman. Word World, Cat in the Hat, Curious George - they are amazing. And, they don't have any bad behavior - the only thing that does is sometimes the Electric Company (and she did learn how to beat box... :-)). However, when someone is bad on that show, they almost always get into some sort of trouble for it - so it's a learn a lesson thing.

Anyway, I wish everyone would try it! If we want to see a movie, we go and rent one for about $1. We don't really have a lot of time for watching TV.

Another benefit, there are no commercials! And therefore, she has never asked for Christmas presents by brand names! If she wanted a doll, she asked for a doll! The downside, when she watches a morning show on network television, she asks for each thing because she is totally believing EVERYTHING they say! :-)

We handle the weather way better than TV - we have Midland Weather radio - not the one that is always in the grocery store for about $20-30, but one that is a little more, maybe $30-40. With it you can program your county and what warnings you want - i.e. we live where we will never flood, but there are flood warnings, I choose not to get them. We get tornado's only. Keep the back up battery and program it for what we want and need.

Once in a while, I wish I could watch HGTV or Lifetime - but I do that if we go out of town! Ha! And the truth is that I don't have time for it!!! If I really want to see something, I can go on line and find it....

And, forgot this - my picture is sooooo much better than anyone else's cable! Some of my friends call my way "Country Cable"! :-) We get ABC, CBS, NBC, The CW and Fox TV, plus 3 PBS channels. We do have an antenna that cost about $30 - we put it where the dish was and it is wired to the house and TV's with the same cords as we already had. We asked our local TV station about antenna's and they were very helpful steering us to a company that could help us pick the right antenna.



answers from Dallas on

Same as Traci C...only thing my hubby misses is football/baseball on ESPN/Fox Sports, but that's about it. We got rid of ours maybe 5 months ago, have an antenna in the attic for local channels. We have a similar setup with Windows Media Center, as well as utilizing our Xbox/Wii for Netflix, Kylo, Hulu etc and we will be saving over $1000/yr. My inlaws have AT&T Uverse and we pay $12/month for an extra box at their house and use a MonsoonVulkano device to stream wirelessly from that box so hubby can get the games he wants to watch that aren't on network TV. Perk of being married to an IT guy. My boys (10 and 3) don't miss it at all. Best decision ever!


answers from Los Angeles on

We do it every summer. Partly to save $ and partly because we are so busy it seems silly to pay for it when we are gone so much.

I do miss some of my TV shows, like True Blood but then I just have a marathon of what I have missed on OnDemand and everything is better.

It really is easy to get used to. Where we live we get all the major networks, PBS and the Discovery we're good!



answers from Chicago on

We have had cable or satellite for only 3 of the last 11 years.

We stream with Netflix, and the selections for kids is great. We also rent Vudo movies on the weekend. It works for us.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I can honestly say that the main reason we keep cable is the weather. You live in a place where tornado's can and will touch down and destroy the world of many people. I will not do without my one lifeline to the weather.

If the weather is bad you cannot count on a signal for the computer any other way than cable. I am on the same power grid as Walmart so I am rarely without power during storms. When I am out of power we use the battery back up to watch stuff on both TV and online. Without cable we would not have had anything due to no signals getting through.

The cable never goes off or gets interference from the weather or crisis going on around.



answers from Washington DC on

We haven't had cable in over 3 years. At this point, we don't miss it at ALL. We have Hulu and Netflix which we stream through a Roku box in the living room and a bluray player in the den. I'm ready to drop Netflix, but DS is really into the old Power Ranger seasons and Hulu doesn't have them.

There's less stuff to just FLIP through, so when you want to watch tv you actually WATCH tv.
You get way MORE channels than you'd think. We get like 25 or 30 channels... sure some are weird, but we get all major networks, CW, ION, ION-life, PBS, Qubo, and some local living NBC affiliate stations that are actually pretty good.
Hulu Plus is basically like having a DVR for current shows. They're available the day after they air on tv, so we stay pretty caught up on the stuff we actually like.
Most primetime shows on on network tv anyway.
With Hulu Plus, you can start watching shows that you've missed the first season and watch any time you want instead of waiting every week.

It takes some getting used to.
You need rabbit ears plugged INTO the digital ready tv to get reliable reception.
No real DVR, so you can't pause live tv, or rewind etc.
If Hulu doesn't have it and you miss it, oh well.

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