10.1.11

Life Without Cable

It has been a year since we cancelled our cable and land line. We still don’t miss it. It was not such a huge step for us as we had lived without it before. All throughout Dr. J’s schooling/residency we did not subscribe to cable, as we didn’t have the money for extras and cable is certainly not a necessity. When the monkeys were younger I hated the idea of them watching TV anyway. I have always been an avid library user and would order and borrow whatever shows they happen to be into. I felt like it was a good way to monitor what they watched without being hyper vigilant while they watched TV.
Eventually we settled down bought a big flat screen TV and ordered the whole kitten caboodle cable package. Not only could Dr. J watch all the football games but he could see every bead of sweat roll down the players faces. I could record any program I wanted and watch it anytime I wanted. I could use the DVR as a personal library for the kids programs.
So why did we get rid of it? Well it started to stress me out. Our DVR was so damn full that I would say to the kids: You NEED to watch your shows or we can’t record anymore!’ ‘We NEED to watch this documentary because it is taking up three hours’. How ridiculous it sounded when I finally realized that watching TV was now part of our to do list!!!

So we canceled it all.

We bought an antenna box at Big Lots and made a weekly 'official' movie night. The monkeys love having movie night- We discuss what we’re going to get and make themes out of it- (for example we are on a Tim Burton theme at present). They occasionally watch documentaries weekdays after they have finished their homework and we still borrow TV shows that they like from the library to watch on the weekend.

Dr. J and I love getting TV series from the library or watching shows on Hulu. Some of our more recent TV shows that we’ve watched are Weeds, Arrested Development and Modern Family. We use the Red Box often and we love to watch films on Top Documentaries and Hulu.

The shift has been tremendous for us. We went from needing to watch TV to occasionally watching a program to wind-down. Dr.J and I never watch TV before the monkeys are in bed and I love setting this example to our children. All four of us read more and it is not uncommon for the four of us to be sitting in the family room (where our TV is) together listening to music, reading, doing puzzles or playing.
Top Documentary Films
Hulu

What are your TV viewing habits?  What shows to you love to watch?

32 comments:

jeanette from everton terrace said...

I'm the same though we do have cable and TiVo. My TiVo is usually quite full but I don't worry much about it. I watch TV for an hour about 4 nights a week. It's rarely on in our house. We play games or go for walks or work on some project or another (or jewelry). I like our life without much television. I did get totally into Weeds last summer. Started watching it on Hulu while I was on the treadmill and found myself exercising much more just to get in another episode. I think Modern Family is hilarious.

and flowers pick themselves said...

i am a TV nut. you may already know this about me, but i adore TV. i have tons of TV shows i watch: supernatural, the good wife, dexter, mad men, united states of tara, breaking bad, law and order: SVU, 30 rock, deadliest catch, the office, psych, damages...and that's just current!

but in all honesty, i don't really need cable. i could totally live on netflix, DVDs, and watching TV online, and would probably get rid of cable if it wasn't for the fact that i have to have it in order to have the premium NHL center ice channels, which comes before food + water in my house. :)

okay, end of babble.

xo Alison

p.s. arrested development deserves a shrine in my house. i was beyond heart broken when it was cancelled. best show ever!

Erika @ ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

i don't think i could live without cable - i love the mindless Real Housewives series, the shows like Bones and Fringe, then of course Boardwalk Empire and such (i don't like Weeds since they moved from Majestic, since they were gonna cancle the show, the plot just stinks)

*kiss kiss*
Erika
~Tiptoe Butterfly~

Pat Tillett said...

All I really watch are cable shows. I record most of them and watch when I can. Regular TV doesn't do much for me. History channel and things like that I LOVE. When I was a kid, we seldom if ever watched TV, there was much to do outside. Now, it's hard to get some kids to even go outside...

Courtney said...

it sounds like my dream! i am SO addicted to tv (seriously...i took an AOD class where we had to give up 1 thing we loved for 2 weeks. i gave up tv...but failed miserably). i grew up in a household where the tv was always on, even if no one was really watching it. i, my mother, and all my siblings use it for background sound and movement--something that comforts us.

boyfriend and i don't have cable JUST for this reason, but we still have lots of movies and netflix that i watch all the time. i am proud to say that i've cut back, but nowhere near what i envision is a healthy level for me. perhaps things will change when i have children and want to set better examples for them.

thanks for the post! sets a good example for me :)

The Barefoot Crofter said...

We don't have a tv in the family space and haven't for the last 10 years or so. There is a portable in my elder son's room, and J is right now watching the bedtme hour on bbc children's programmes. They are nice gentle windy down shows, and it has become the start of bedtime preparations. That is all he watches and doesn't ask for DVDs etc. We don't have a recorder either. We've never been into films much, but I quite like your idea of a movie night maybe when J is older. He gets spooked quite easily even by the mildest things, so I am quite vigilant. My own Dr J (I have an older version) is sitting in the kitchen right now listening to the Rangers game (soccer) on the radio, while I am having a wee browse on the iPhone while watching said bedtime hour. There is life outside the box. xx

Mo Pie, Please said...

That's pretty awesome, I must say. TV is a big part of our life but I think we're both pretty okay with that. We do crossword puzzles together in bed, I read books, we'll sit together in the living room and he'll do work and I'll knit and we'll play music and all will be well. We have a DVR and it's changed our lives for sure but honestly, we record the Daily Show (very important, right?) and Jeopardy and unwind from our days by watching an episode of each. We have HBO and Showtime and stuff for Dexter/Weeds/Curb/etc. and it's kind of a waste considering there is hulu and netflix but for now I think we're ok. It's winter! :)

Sourkraut said...

Oh, I definitely know the feeling that clearing things off of the DVR is on the to-do list. I hate getting stressed about that but I've done a better job of whittling down my TV show list to a more manageable number. I actually grew up without cable, only got two channels, and we survived just fine. Sure, I miss out on 2/3 of the cultural references people my age make but I don't think it's hindered me in life any way. I kind of wish my husband and I could scale down or cancel our cable entirely but because he's not into reading, board games, walking, etc. there'd be nothing else for us to do together. I'll just have to admire your effort and live vicariously.

tulpen said...

I could get rid of the TV no problem. The only thing I care about watching is Glee; and I watch that on the computer 'cause I work tuesday evenings.

We went six months with no tv when my son was four. He was just so obsessed with it, it took over our lives. He didn't miss it at all.

Krystal said...

That is cool that you just got rid of it all...We rarely watch TV (it helps that it's not really in my language anymore) but once you don't watch it for awhile you really don't miss it!

la petite coquine said...

I'll admit, I watch more tv shows than I'd like to, but we also do not have a television or a cable subscription, because it's just too easy to get sucked in! I adore Modern Family, 30 Rock and Arrested Development, and I do splurge on trashy tv after a long day at work, but I also carry a book with my everywhere, so the hour or more I spend commuting is filled with reading!

Andrea said...

Wow, good for you! I wish we were brave enough to do that. We lived for 3 months in a rented house with no tv and I loved it. I have weened myself from soaps and really don't get a choice what to watch anyway. In fact I have no idea what is going on in the world:)

Amber Blue Bird said...

i have been thinking of doing this but chicken out every time i am about to call to cut it off. i am not sure what i think i am going to miss but one day i will get the balls to do it

Kristin Hjellegjerde said...

Do have cable... it is a bit of a savior for my boys... but me... I stick with only netflix movies... Never do watch TV... except for Mad Men, Sex and the City and Boardwalk Empire:)

Erin said...

I watch some tv, but not a ton. I, too, would much rather read or write. There are a choice few shows I am slightly addicted to, but otherwise? My hubs is the tv head in the house.

dotblogg said...

Oh Ren, that's a really good way of organizing the high quality family time:) I love your ideas! I've been always thinking about such a tv-life for my future family ;) it's so good to read that I'm not alone:)

hugs!
Just

tsonodablog said...

Always thought this was a great idea but never had the guts to pull it off. Kudos to you!

sherri said...

we went back to basic cable and now the kids only watch pbs or a video that we own. love it. no more commercials. that was the part that killed me the most about them watching tv. good for you guys!

Mama Gone Green said...

Good for you! We have the whole satellite package as my hubby is a football freak. But, I find that I only have a few shows that I really enjoy watching and everything else that is on tv is pretty terrible, so I don't bother wasting my time. It is harder as Finn gets older and understand that there are shows on tv that he COULD be watching if his mother would let him....

Phoenix said...

Awesome. I lived without cable for quite a while, while living with a roommate. My life was much more productive!

Now that I live with my guy, we watch TV while we eat dinner sometimes, but never more than about an hour a night. If we bond over our favorite shows, we keep watching them. If we find ourselves sitting in silence after a whole day of being apart, we turn the TV off and talk to each other instead. :)

Noodles and Waffles said...

Christian and I watch more movies than tv although we do like tv series on HBO.

I'd love to get rid of cable though.

Lady Grey said...

I completely agree... although we have a tv now, I grew up without one. I've always been grateful to my parents for that.

Grace said...

Oh, TV! Love it, hate it. We've done without one and we've had one. We've never done Tivo. We have limited cable now and are discussing getting rid of it. Our kids can take it or leave it. Some days they watch 30 minutes and other days they chose not to - they'd rather play.

As I write this, I see we are wasting our money (and time) -

this free bird said...

I love that you have not fallen into the brain suckage of television. I have it, but barely watch it (except Teen Mom b/c it is my one guilty addiction...and Y&R, but that really is it). DVR? hell I can barely work the DVD player.

xo,
C

Felicity said...

I haven't had a TV in years, isn't it so liberating to be rid of it? ; )

naomemandeflores said...

I've never been a TV buff, but my husband loves it! Now I can't help but watch a few shows with him!


Camila F.

Jenny said...

this is great! I can't afford cable, so I do pretty much what you guys do - hulu and the library. I've also recently started watching way more PBS, and it is awesome! I don't feel like...dirty after watching TV now. haha.

bklyn76 said...

we have cable and it stresses me out too, but more b/c i think most tv is wasting my time yet i end up watching way more than i want to.

i do like the dvr tho b/c i can control what indy watches by taping the shows i like and not just turning on treehouse.

we're considering getting rid of cable too...maybe i'll get e to read your post to convince him!

Stacey said...

I only had a landline phone for when the hubby was deployed(since cell phones and their towers can be unreliable). However, since the hubby and i would frequently use messenger to communicate, i got rid of my landline. I also got rid of my DVR and went down to basic cable. Maybe one day, i'll be able to get rid of cable all together. However, i really don't watch much tv. My problem is with the computer:-). XX

Valarie said...

I love TV but we have balance in our viewing life. We have dishnetwork and have many foreign channels, some of which we don't even speak the lanugages. We really love our korean shows, which we can't understand. I also have a couple of shows that I just can't miss like, Deadliest Catch and of course there is are great love of movies. We also like to craft while we're watching. There are very specific times and shows when we turn on the TV. We don't let it run aimlessly. Thanks for sharing how you are working with the TV issue. It's so interesting to see all of these perspectives.

Patricia G said...

I haven't had a TV in my home at all for several years - maybe 10. I now find I have become sensitive to shouting, violence and gore and I find commercials very irritating when I see it at others' houses. I do make a point of hiring or borrowing DVDs to watch on the laptop and really get wrapped up in the stories - usually. I enjoy going to the cinema and get a buzz from being consumed by the big screen. I really wouldn't want a big screen in my home. This way it's special & sounds like it will be for your family too.

Lovely World said...

We pay quite a bit for cable, but use very little. We follow the Boston Red Sox games all summer, and I love Sunday evenings on PBS (Masterpiece). We SOMETIMES tune into cable news if some breaking news is going on (although I prefer to listen to NPR news stations). I wish we could choose only the stations we want (a la carte TV). Maybe someday.

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