Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, February 7, 2011

Cutting the Cable

My name is Nathan Bransford. And I only have basic cable.

Now, if you are stopping by the blog for the first time, this may not be such a big deal. But know this: I LOVE TV. I love TV like Tyra Banks loves models screaming at her surprise arrival. I love TV like Chris Harrison loves rose ceremonies. I love TV like Don Draper loves almost but not quite unattainable women.

You get the picture.

The decision to cut the cable wasn't the result of some high-minded, erudite reasoning, like waking up and realizing that TV was rotting my brain. (That dream about Jeff Probst interrogating me about my job performance at Tribal Council? Totally normal!)

My wife and I just noticed something one day: we weren't really watching TV anymore. And cable is a really, really expensive thing to pay for if you're not watching it.

In my old job as a literary agent, on weekdays I was working from 7:30 in the morning to 8:00 at night, and I was spending a huge chunk of that time reading. On the weekends I was writing from morning until night. After a day of reading and writing, it's not particularly relaxing to end it with still more reading. TV was the perfect antidote.

And it just so happens that my time as an agent coincided with a Golden Era of Television, with both reality TV and scripted shows that raised the bar for what was thought possible on television. It was really easy to get sucked in when there was such excellent entertainment to be had (and also The Hills and The Bachelor, which were non-excellently but deeply entertaining).

But now that I no longer read for work, I have rediscovered this crazy indulgence called reading for pleasure. Including books published before 2005! Before 1930 even! I'm even re-reading books I've read before! It is amazing!

And I'm sorry to say that I'm feeling like TV overall just isn't as awesome as it was five years ago, with many reality shows feeling stale and only a few scripted shows that are really killing it. At this point there are only three shows that I feel like I can't miss:

Parks & Recreation, Modern Family, and Mad Men.

Two of those are on network TV, and one is on hiatus.

Hence: basic cable for us. It still gives me the chills from time to time when I realize I can't watch ESPN, but the truth is that I'm too busy with other things anyway. For anything else I can't get on network TV, there's Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes. We're saving a ton of money, I'm re-reading The Great Gatsby, and I couldn't be happier.

How about you? Have your TV habits changed at all, and have you thought about cutting the cord?

Regarding the reference to Jeff Probst and Survivor, which is produced by CBS, which is the parent company of CNET, which is where I am employed: the opinions expressed herein are purely my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CBS.






186 comments:

Nate Wilson said...

We, too, have gone basic. Sports we watch live; almost everything else comes via Netflix, Hulu, etc. Why pay for TV when that money can go toward more important things? Like books. And charities. And ice cream.

Phil said...

Good for you, Nathan! I don't own a TV, and instead occasionally stream things on my laptop when I decide they really need watching. Not that I grew up in a household that barred TV watching, but I've simply always had my nose in books, and never could tolerate commercials. TV-free is the way to be ;)

patricia said...

Rabbit ears. We get four channels on a good day. Life is good.

Whitney said...

I've lived in a rural community where cable wasn't even available until about 3 years ago. Then we only got basic.

Today I could totally go without cable altogether. I get Netflix through my Wii and there's Hulu, surfthechannel.net, youtube, the list goes on and on.

I just read, write, play Warcraft or talk more on the phone. I don't feel like I'm missing much at all.

Laura Pauling said...

We have basic cable. And compared to five years ago, I watch way less television. I save my tv hours for a couple shows I really enjoy with great writing behind it. There's too much else to do - like read and write.

dwkazzie said...

I'm curious -- when you go down to basic cable, what's left?

Today's word verification: bionoun
sounds like something Margaret Atwood thought of.

L.G.Smith said...

Don't even have basic cable. We went old school and bought an antenna.

I love movies so I pay ten dollars a month to Netflix. I also get access to some of the television series from Starz, HBO, and A&E. I do have to wait a little longer for some of the shows to become available, but it's not a big deal. I'm getting pretty good at delayed gratification.

Laura Campbell said...

I have a small addiction to TV. As I move into my writing life, I'm not watching TV as often. I love DVR and Netflix. They keep me entertained on MY schedule. My boyfriend doesn't even have basic cable. I think he's on to something.

Courtney Odell said...

We moved 6 months ago and made a decision to save money by not signing up for cable. It hasn't been easy. I miss so many of my shows, but I have read a lot more books. And nextflix has filled the gap for us. I've calculated that in 6 months, we have save around $420 (that's basic cable prices, by the way) making it a whopping $840 for the year. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Jayme Stryker said...

When we bought the new place, we decided against all TV simply because anything we are interested in watching is available online. We use Netflix and Hulu now and then, and we don't really miss it. But then I grew up without TV, so it's nothing new.

Jennifer said...

We have no cable at all. None! And, like you, Nathan, I love TV. Used to love lots of TV shows. But we realized what an expensive time sink it was, and -snip- went cable-free.

At first it was kind of painful. But what I've found, now that it's been a few years (uh, wheels grinding as I calculate the time: almost a decade), is that TV is a like a language I used to speak. Courtesy of the Internet and Netflix, we still have access to shows if we want. And I'll hear about shows that are awesome! you have to see it! And I'll watch a couple episodes and think... eh. So I don't miss cable TV anymore.

clindsay said...

I've been down to the floating seven or so channels I get on rabbit ears for about three years now. (They are - weirdly - not the SAME seven or so channels on any given day.)

I make up for it with Hulu and Netflix Streaming.

But I agree - since I left being an agent, I read SO MUCH MORE for pleasure. I really missed that.

S.P. Bowers said...

We've only ever had basic satellite and we decided a couple weeks ago to cut it. We never watch and, as you noted, why pay for what you don't use?

kellye said...

We do basic cable and have ESPN. I'm surprised you don't! But, alas, we don't get Oprah's new network, which I would probably watch 24/7 (should I be embarrassed to admit that out loud)? Watched Parks and Rec for the first time this week...and died at the Twilight jokes and then the great satire about book banning. Like I need another show to add to my list. I used to watch a ton of reality shows--it's a way to "relax" after a hard day--but then I started to notice that although they can be kind of interesting, it really was bumming me out. I mean, I wouldn't hang out with these people IRL. Finally (sorry so long!), I'm happy for you reading for pleasure. I would give up just about anything before I gave up books . . . even (shudders) chocolate.

Nathan Bransford said...

dwkazzie-

Definitions of "basic" vary, but I'm pretty sure I'm just down to ABC, NBC, CBS, CW, and PBS.

lora96 said...

I don't have cable. Before we got married, my husband had a massive ESPN pack to while away his bachelor days. I read. He plays on the computer. Or vice versa. Despite his angst at being unable to watch the super bowl b/c we get ONE CHANNEL only (ABC) with our rabbit ears, we're cool with that.

Or should I say I'm cool with that and he dreams of cable but expects me to pay for half of it. Hence the one channel.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Basic. Yes there are a few things I miss - I was royally pissed all the bowl games were onESPN- but mostly it's no big deal. We realized when we had more channels we were just watching them and - hey! - it's just TV.

Robin_Lucas said...

So what you're saying is "Television hasn't been the same without LOST"?

I feel your pain. Getting Apple TV and cutting cable altogether.

Anonymous said...

I switched to Verizon Fios to save money and love it.

And my TV habits have changed. I don't watch network TV anymore at all. I think Modern Family is funny, but not accurate, being that the gay couple is way too stereo typical compared to most real gay couples in America. (We're not all like that, trust me.)

I find programming on cable channels like Showtime and HBO are superior, and when it comes to the way the lgbt community is represented it's far more accurate than the fluff that's portrayed on network TV. I also think it's worth the money to see how these changes are happening during my lifetime, and to see how one TV show like the "United States of Tara" portrays a young gay man with accuracy and humor while Modern Family just hangs on to the old stereo types.

However, TV in general has seen better days.

scarlettspace said...

We have the works & yes it's expensive. My husband & I both love NatGeo and HBO series and my son watches Sprout and NickJr. I usually read a book a day and only watch TV at night so there is truth to the paying way too much money and not watching but alas we love it so it stays = )

Scott said...

Chalk up another vote for No TV, No Cable, No Problem. My time is my own. Netflix and Hulu fill in the gaps when I hear about something I really want to see; sounds like it's the new American way.

Sean said...

I think you might be rushing into things a bit here, Nathan. I mean, how are you going to know whether or not Snooki has finally found a decent juice gorilla? Or what about whether or not those newlyweds just out of college decided to get that 4 bed/5 and a half bath Colonial for $5.3 million on House Hunters?

In writing circles I always hear about "word economy", around here we like to use "TV economy" with 2 DVRs, which are pretty much standard equipment these days. I can watch an entire episode of Modern Family - great show btw - in 19 minutes and 47 seconds. I save so much time now, I actually have way more time to sit around and watch TV. It's really somethin, and I think owe that much to myself.

Shanky B. said...

Since I have been off work, I find myself addicted to the internet and reality TV. I just upgraded my cable. I feel like this is an illness that I have no control over.

Loralie Hall said...

We cut the cable as well. We got rid of it completely and whenever the Dish sales people come and knock on our door, they look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them we don't have a cable provider.

But it was for a simliar reason. We weren't watching any more. We have two channels we watch, and they both offer internet streaming from the official network site. Beyond that, we rent the occasional movie and don't mourne the extra spending money from not having cable each month.

Barbara Kloss said...

My hubby and I cut ALL TV about 4 years ago. Didn't want to pay for something we weren't really watching. We do Netflix (albeit not watch that often), but I must say--we do not miss TV one bit! We find ourselves actually talking to each other more, which, of course, is great for any relationship ;)

Stephanie (Luxe Boulevard) said...

I don't have cable either. I get the basic channels (Fox, NBC, CBS) that are provided. I don't particularly like TV. I would rather craft, read, or write. As hard as it is, I try to keep it off to encourage my kids to use their imaginations. It's hard. Many days I give in. But I, too, agree that I'm not going to pay for something I don't hardly use.
Good for you and your wife for making that choice. I hope you get to take those hours you spend on reality TV and do something nice, in reality, with each other!

Erin McGuire said...

We're down to Netflix and the occasional thing on Hulu, or we'll rent a series on Netflix if we've heard it's good.

I think my generation is the first to want their entertainment a la carte, and not have to pay for channels we don't want.

The way I see it, in 5 years I don't think I'll miss the TV I didn't watch. :)

Anonymous said...

My husband and 21 year-old-live-at-home son are serious tech-driven men. I live with them, 6 T.V's, and a home theater complete with 112 inch projector screen, all equipped with top notch cable boxes for recording. Me? I often need to be reminded how to use the remote to simply turn any one of these televisions on! Other than select Food Network programs and football season, you'll find my eyes glued to my NOOK.

Mira said...

I'm so happy to hear you're enjoying reading again. And re-reading old favorites - I love doing that - I learn new things every time, it's like digging deeper and finding new treasures.

I don't watch too much T.V. partly because I prefer something I can interact with - like video games - and partly because I'm tired of getting attached to a series just to have it end abruptly without closure. So, now I won't watch a series until it's completely over and I know there is an ending - which means Netflix.

But I do love to tape movies on T.V. - especially the old classics. Those are relaxing and fun.

In terms of basic cable, I could be wrong, but I think you still have access to some channels, Nathan - things like comedy central, Fox, FX, family channel, etc., but I could be wrong.

Funny though. There's so much entertainment available, but there is nothing like curling up with a good book. :)

Kiki said...

if you like modern family and parks and recreation you have to watch community. i'd be really surprised if you didn't love it!

Liz Pezzuto said...

We've also cut cable. Aside from football and just a few shows (e.g. Mad Men), we really weren't watching much TV anymore. All the things we like are available on streaming services such as Netflix. Plus we have Roku boxes on each of our TV's, which makes streaming all the easier.

With the ability to stream so much content over the internet, cable is quickly becoming irrelevant...

Leah Petersen said...

A couple of years ago we made the same decision. So when we moved into a new home, we didn't get any cable/satellite service at all. My husband hooked up a computer to the TV and put up an antenna. Now everything we watch is on one of the basic channels or streamed off Hulu.com, Netflix or similar.

Mr. D said...

I beg to differ with you in regards to which era was the "golden age" of television. In my opinion, the "golden age" of TV was the '60s. That's when you had true classics like Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Wild, Wild West, Star Trek, the ORIGINAL series, Lost in Space, I Spy, The Man From Uncle, High Chaparral, and many more. And The Flintstones was more than enough cartoon for prime time. These days, yeah, there's a show now and then I like, but nowadays I'm more likely to be disgusted by what's on prime time than entertained.

Deep River said...

No television for six years now and I am a stranger in a strange land. And I love it.

Mags said...

I'm fortunate to live in an area where I get pretty good antenna reception, so now with the digital switchover, I get lots of channels (3 for PBS!) and all the networks. Anything on cable comes out on DVD eventually, and once I get my stuff together and get a Roku box, I can stream it from Netflix and/or Hulu Plus. Paying for all of those services, plus Sirius radio, costs less than cable, and I get more.

DeadlyAccurate said...

Cut TV nineteen years ago. For years that meant not watching anything, but once TV shows on DVD started to pick up, we started catching up on shows. Now all my TV watching is either DVDs or whatever is on Netflix.

I just don't know how you guys watch TV with all those commercials. When I visit my in-laws, I'm ready to kill people after just a couple of hours of commercial television. Try going even a few months without commercial-interrupted television and see if you don't notice how insane it is.

Erin said...

We've cut off TV completely. Netflix, baby. I find TV shows so much more enjoyable when they're presented seamlessly, sans commercial interruption. And um, CHEAP.

MJR said...

Don't think we could cut the cord, though I agree, there isn't a whole lot on. But we watch Steven Colbert (who interviews lots of writers so I get ideas for what to read next), Jon Stewart, etc, and we'd go nuts if we couldn't watch MAD MEN(starting again in the summer I think). I also chill out to the Soundscapes channel--very repetitive mindless New Age music...

dwkazzie said...

Nathan

You gotta give yourself more credit -- I think most people would think that's no cable at all! Way more hardcore.

My wife and I have been teetering on the fence as well. Like you, most of the shows we watch are network (but for Mad Men and my other new favorite on AMC, The Walking Dead).

I keep telling myself I need ESPN and SportsCenter but then I wonder how often have I sat down and watched a full ep of SC in the last five years. Not that often....

HL said...

I gave up cable when I moved back to Chicago from a smaller town in Wisconsin. There, I was isolated and the streets really rolled up about 9 p.m. except for college student bars. Here, there's always something to do and people to hang out with. I have Netflix for when I need something mindless and beyond that--well, I miss Alton Brown but that's about it.

Joseph L. Selby said...

St. Louis had the best analog signal in the country. So after five years of not watching any TV, I bought rabbit ears. Now that I'm in the Northeast where the trees and mountains interfere with the signal, I went to the internet. Between Netflix, Hulu, and individual station streaming, I see almost every show I want to see within a day of when they're on the air. (AMC was the only loser in that boat and Rubicon was cancelled before I saw more than two episodes.)

This has actually caused us to watch more television than my wife and I previously did. It's relaxing to watch something episodic without having to invest the 2 hours of a movie. Eureka, White Collar, West Wing, Lie to Me, the Wire, Firefly. Watch it for the first time or watch it again and again. It is the future of television!

Kat said...

I've actually stopped watching TV for a few years now, give or take a few months when my brother also got cable but we never really used it. It's been nearly six years now. I literally don't have a TV at home... but we do have three computers. I don't miss local shows the most.

Anonymous said...

i went out a couple years ago and bought a brand-new, shiny big screen tv. but i don't watch tv, haven't at all for more than 15 years.

the shiny big-screen is for gaming :-)

Scott Marlowe said...

I've never been a big tv watcher and I would have cut the cord a long time ago if not for my wife, who does like to watch certain shows. So, we have satellite, but the most basic package, which still has a zillion channels (most which still never seem to have much worthwhile on). On the other hand, I do like to watch CNBC or CNN while working out, and we have a tv in our game room where we'll watch sporting events. We'll keep it, but I will look at other streaming options if and when they become a viable alternative.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I cut off all TV service when I moved six months ago because I just wasn't watching that much of it, and when I was, it was to combat boredom. Thing is, I have plenty of other things I should or want to do when I'm bored! I could get basic with an antenna, but I don't even watch that, and there have only been a few shows I really miss. (The Puppy Bowl yesterday was one of them.) I much prefer using Netflix or Hulu to marathon shows, anyway.

Kevin said...

We don't even have basic cable.

We just have an HD TV that has the ability to search for channels with its digital-ness (digital antenna?) and gives them to us for free, including all the major network channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox).

So giet Parks and Rec (my favorite) for FREEEEEEEEE!!!

Emily White said...

I grew up without paid tv, and I will die without paid tv. I just don't watch it enough. Movies, on the other hand, I can't get enough of, and I have Netflix for that.

kellerme said...

a television is like another person in the room, it demands attention.
i do not have a television in my house and i love it!

Munk said...

Antenna, no cable, but we stream Netflix and watch movies like fiends. Sometimes, while watching, we even laugh like fiends.

sheribomb said...

My husband and I have had basic cable + Netflix for years and have been satisfied. Recently, we realized that all the good stuff is on Netfilx + Hulu + Amazon On Demand + You Tube. So, we decided to get rid of the basic cable, on which we only watch bad reality TV. We called Comcast, who also provides our cable, to tell them of our plan.

"If you cancel the cable, your internet rate will go up," they said, "saving you only $4 per month."

"But we only watch it when we're procrastinating," we said. "We just don't need the distraction."

"Hmm," said Comcast. "What if we lower your bill by $9. Would you keep basic cable?"

Of course we said yes. Note that they are now paying us the difference of $5 per month to keep our basic cable. And we are dutifully watching it when we procrastinate. Yikes.

I guess they need to have a certain number of viewers so they can get more money from advertisers, but it just feels so dirty. I agree that the quality of programming has gone down, but I am unable to stop procrastinating with Top Chef and Jersey Shore. Comcast just won't let me! ;)

Julias__Child said...

I don't own a TV either. I gave it away when West Wing was cancelled. If Aaron Sorkin writes another show, I'll get it on iTunes or Hulu.

I have two small kids, and I write books and articles. Who has the time for TV?

Whirlochre said...

I've never equated choice with channel number.

Here in the UK we have 5 main channels. 3 are great, one is pretty good, the other is rubbish.

Then there are accessory channels to the main 3 (mainly extra BBC stuff) which have more than enough back-up material.

After that come 80-odd free channels of repeats, crap, marketing TV — and more crap.

Once you start paying subscriptions for EVEN MORE TV, the crap does that thing zits do when they get infected, and I have no desire for stuff like that to come bursting in on my life.

So — I'm happy to have zero subscriptions and a FAVOURITES hit-list on my remote control numbering just over half a dozen.

Drama, news, documentaries, films, drama: that's what I watch TV for. Niche quizzes, talentless talent shows and spurious "The Woman With A Penis For A Neck" kind of offerings are such a waste of airspace — and in my experience, mainly on cable.

Maureen said...

Reading your post and the comments has been very informative. I am as put out with our current satellite situation as I was with our previous cable connection. So many channels but very little to watch. Being technically challenged, I keep putting off investigating other TV viewing venues. But I am now resolved to remove all those wasted channels and expense from my life. Thanks for bringing this up!

Nicole said...

We have a digital cable package we got with phone and Internet that takes advantage of our HDTV. Hubby loves it. (He's a big TV guy.) I like having the toddler/preschool shows for my son.

But I find myself turning something on "just for noise" while I'm doing something else, so I'm trying to do that less. I am, after all, very behind in listening to podcasts.

If we hadn't gotten such a good deal for our bundle, I don't think we'd have cable TV at all (even basic) since we can get so much of what we watch on Netflix and Hulu. That may be where we go in the future.

Yat-Yee said...

I use to follow certain shows faithfully but stopped after the second season of 24. First of all, I was mad at myself for not being able to tell it wouldn't be as good as the first season and instead watched it till its sorry end. Also, I found myself getting annoyed that my child wasn't in bed by 8 before the show started. Something was very wrong with my priorities.

So I stopped following shows. I still would watch Anthony Bourdain or Law and Order reruns during the day when I ate lunch at home. But eventually I found even that no longer appealing. So all I watch are movies on our Roku. Haven't missed TV shows at all.

Ulysses said...

Personally, I don't watch much television. Never have.

My wife is a major sports fan, though, so we maintain the minimum level of cable that allows for TSN and SportsNet (think the Canadian version of ESPN with less football and more hockey).

It's amazing that, in a world that consists of hundreds of channels, there seems so little worth tuning in for. Surely Weird Al was right.

M.E. Pickett said...

I never had cable TV since I am a recent college graduate and still haven't started earning enough money to warrant it. But I have gotten by with Netflix, ESPN3.com, and Hulu streaming through my roommate's XBox 360. I don't know if I'll ever get cable with this setup.

PJ Lincoln said...

Nathan, how can you not be a fan of Smallville? It the final season ... he actually gets to wear the freaking cape and fly!

You know, honestly, I could probably go the route you're talking about, but the rest of my family would kill me. The wife couldn't survive a week w/o Glee, Castle and House. The kids would murder me where I sleep if Cartoon Network and iCarly were no longer available.

Kaitlyne said...

I don't have cable at all, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. These days I can watch most anything worthwhile on Hulu or Netflix (five dollars a month!), which is handy.

What I miss is being able to turn on the TV to some basic documentary or crappy sci-fi b-movie while I work. Sometimes I like having the sound, or something I can look up at periodically.

There are about five channels I would love to have, and I'd be willing to pay about five bucks a month for those five channels, so it really isn't worth it for me to pay $60+ for cable when I just want some fluff sometimes.

On the other hand, I've been watching more documentaries on Netflix lately, and I've learned a lot. Back in the day before Discovery and TLC became primarily reality-based shows, I used to love sitting around watching documentaries. It's cool to be able to do that again, so I'm getting more out of it. :)

Now if I could only get Hulu to put up the early seasons of Chuck streaming...

Annikka Woods said...

We did away with TV because we couldn't afford it. We did away with internet because we couldn't afford it either. Hey, YOU try to decide if you want to eat or have entertainment. It sucks. We now have internet again (obviously since I spend so much time on it) but still no TV.

Our roommate has a TV and has the converter box so she can watch network television. I may stop for a minute to watch while I wait for water to boil, but then I'm back to my books, my writing, and occasionally watching streaming stuff on my laptop or the big computer. I'll even watch the occasional DVD - okay, okay, I'll LISTEN to the occasional DVD movie/TV series...watching requires actually looking at the Mac where it's usually playing - while I'm writing to provide background noise.

When we get a place of our own, the only thing our TV will be used for is for my gamer husband to play his video games. We are just not a TV oriented couple anymore.

Susan said...

We have never had more than basic cable until a few months ago when my sister-in-law moved in and had to have ESPN. As soon as she moves out, we're back to basic. For the few times we watch TV, that's more than enough. I just can't find much that's worth my time to watch.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Television is both expensive and distracting.

My kids were really upset at first, but we have Netflix which streams television shows...granted they are a season old, but they didn't really seem to care.

So the habit to plop on the couch is not totally gone, but seriously curbed.

I get a lot more writing at night done when I'm not worrying about Pacey and Fringe.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Ann Best said...

I was a teenager in the Fifties (I'm much older than all of you!) Nowhere near the number of commercials then on TV. And I still read books, books, books, and played outside with my friends. Then came Cable, and now DirecTV, which I canceled last summer; they kept raising the rates My disabled daughter agreed all she was really watching was weather (which she can get on her iPod and I on the Internet) and old movies/shows (which we now get through Netflix via Roku). Why pay almost $70 a month? That's a lot of money! Hooray for those who have done the same, or use antennas, etc.

Hilary said...

Haven't had TV since I was seven. I watch House on Hulu and that's pretty much it.
Also, not having a TV to center my living room around makes my living space so much more zen.

Misha said...

All... the... time.

Unfortunately, our Networks suck.

Sigh.

T. Anne said...

*hugs* It's a tough world, but thanx to the internet we can have it all if we really want to. I don't watch too much TV either and I could survive on basic cable if I needed to, probably less if the truth be known. Thank God for the internet. I don't miss my newspaper prescription, or even watching the news. It's changing so many things, even the way in which I read (ipad). It's a good thing.

Avery June said...

No TV. Just Netflix and a projector. It's great.

Not watching TV, when everyone else does, is probably the best way to take over the world. I'm sad you're jumping on that boat too. I'd rather not divide that pie again.

N.A. said...

We dropped cable. The husband and I had a wonderful honeymoon in a house on a beach without telephone, internet, or cable, and we read like mad, wrote like mad, and enjoyed having dinner together sitting at a table.

We dropped our cable package - even went from digital cable with a box to good ole' coaxial in the back of the tv, and kept basic cable and broadband internet, and we're probably going to drop both for mifi as soon as we're convinced it's reliable.

We watch Hulu - Kitchen Nightmares, The Office; A&E online - Hoarders, Heavy; and the Daily Show on Comedy Central. We watch movies on Netflix. We bought episodes of The Walking Dead from Amazon on demand, so we didn't even miss out on that.

It's awesome to be off cable. We may buy a big monitor, so we aren't just huddling around a laptop -- but we may not.

D.G. Hudson said...

I've never been a big TV fan, and I would rather listen to music than turn on the TV.

Haven't unplugged though, due to hubby's attachment to certain channels - like Mythbusters, Top Gear, etc.

For me, I like the movie channels -- especially when there's talk of more charges being levied for downloading movies, Netflix, etc. via the internet (in Canada, anyway). I'm hoping there will be intervention on that one.

Your brain cells thank you when your viewing of reality shows take a dive. (just IMO)

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

We can't get cable where we are, so we have a satellite, but only to watch sports and movies. And a lot of the movies we watch are DVDs, so mostly the sattelite is for sports. We watch almost no TV in terms of shows. Which is good, I think. I don't feel like I'm missing much, and I don't like that feeling of compulsion, of needing to watch this specific thing every week. I can't miss it! And so all your nights fill up with these shows you've scheduled into your life. Freedom and whimsy? No thank you. The next episode of ________ is on.

salima said...

Congratulations on your rediscovered love of reading!!! You're right, when you do a lot of writing/reading, your brain just needs some veg time. That's great. No, I try to watch as little TV as possible, and descend into a crazy nonsensical guilt-spiral every time I find myself loving a show. Only "Twin Peaks," "Lost" (for a time), and "Glee" have ever sucked me under. Oh, and "Inside the Actor's Studio.":)

Sarah Allen said...

To be totally honest, my first thought reading this post was, 'Yay! Another writer loves television as much as I do.' I've always felt like writing and television are incompatible, or at least I feel like I've been told that a lot. But to be honest, I don't really watch that much TV. A few shows that I adore (House, Big Bang Theory, and The Office), and then sometimes I'll lounge with the Food Network on. But I do try not to let it cut in on my writing time. Anyway, I am super glad you are getting a chance to read some books of your own choosing. Hope this new pattern works well for you :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Orlando said...

I have a TV with a digital tuner. I had to cut back on some bills and cable was the first. I put rabbit ears on that TV and got 11 regular channels, 6 PBS channels (didn't even know that had that many), and 4 Spanish.

In Florida where I live we have the red box where you can rent a movie for $1, that's right $1.

The kids still watch to much TV, even with no cable. They complain a little about some of the shows they can't see, but they don't complain as much anymore.

Brooke said...

We cut cable a year ago and haven't looked back. Much. We use netflix and watch online via hulu, etc. The only thing we miss is NFL, but that's what friends are for.

My writing time has skyrocketed, but even better, we're not exposing our two littles to all the advertising.

Katherine Hyde said...

We never had a cord. We don't watch any broadcast TV at all, only videos, and those in moderation. Mostly classic movies and BBC, which we usually get from the library. It's more a cultural and spiritual decision for us than a financial one, although we couldn't afford cable if we wanted it.

The Careerist said...

I just bought a Playstation and stream Netflix through the console. So not only am I fine through basic cable, but I cut down the number of disks I get in the mail. Ding ding! Extra savings! Maybe after 20 years or so the Playstation will pay for itself.

authorsoundsbetterthanwriter said...

I lived in a house without a tv for nine months. It was a basement flat and television signals apparently don't delve that low. Anyway, after these nine months of being tv less, tv was not fun anymore. Too many adverts and too static. I can't sit down for that long anymore. My concentration span it seems is not suited to the television.

-Ann said...

For four years, we didn't have a tv really. We bought the shows we wanted to watch from itunesand used a projector and computer. Then we moved house and are without DSL plus the floor plan didn't allow for a projector.

So we bought a tv but for a month just watched DVDs and downloads that we'd stockpiled before moving, since we knew it would be awhile before we got DSL.

Then I had a baby at the end of November. Four years without any kind of broadcast tv and all it took was two nights alone with an infant to break me. I agreed to satellite television andbhave been watching while nursing my son, who is hungry *all* the time. Since Christmas, I've been on a steady diet of baby-related reality shows, reruns of the 90s (Frasier, Friends, ER, and XFiles), and some pretty good new shows, like Parenthood.

I've felt a little like my brain is rotting, but it's tricky to read one-handed, not to mention the hassle of driving 20 miles to the library or 40 to the bookstore. Then I hit upon the idea of getting Kindle books and reading them on the iPad. It's magic. I've already read 7 chaptersbof Dennis Lehane's latest and am happy out.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Here’s the thing, I hate cable TV but when I met Himself, part of the package along with two great step-sons was Sky TV. Three soccer mad males that need televised games as much as they needed oxygen. I hate sport of any kind – not doing it just watching it but the alternative was being a soccer widow had they decided to follow games at the stadiums. Ten years later and I am a convert. Why? Because I hate adverts even more than I hate televised sport and all the low rent stations that come with cable and SKY+ lets me fast forward past the whole lot at the touch of a button. Magic, worth every penny!

Dorothy L. Abrams said...

We are very retro living out in the wilds of Upstate New York. There is no cable. It is not a choice. We could go for a satellite as our neighbors have, but I object to paying for TV. As a consequence, we have a marvelous big flat screen TV connected to the networks by a reasonably good antenna providing us with more viewing options than we need. Movies look really good on that screen. So does PBS! I am content with my books, my e-reader and the manuscripts I am working on. Now if I could wean myself from FaceBook.....

Anonymous said...

We haven't had a TV in more than 2 years, though we DO watch some shows on Hulu and AETV with our laptops, such as House, Lie To Me, Bones, The First 48 and Glee! =)

I miss having a "real" TV from time-to-time, as I love playing the Wii, but I must say, we've been more productive over the past 2 years than I think we've ever been! We've even lost weight, as we don't snack as much without a TV.

Now that I have an e-Reader (the Nook), I find that I read even MORE than ever, which gives me great pleasure =)

Good on ya for getting rid of cable and its brain-sucking capabilities. I agree, TV just ain't what it used to be with all of the ridiculous, inane reality shows.

Dara said...

I've had basic cable in the more than three years I've been married. It was hard at first, because I live on channels like Discovery and History, but I got used to it. We have Netflix and only pay like $9 a month for unlimited streaming movies and TV shows. We've been thinking of cutting the basic cable too and just using an antenna since all the channels are digital now, and I really have like one or two shows that I watch regularly. And if I miss those--Hulu :)

Becca said...

I don't pay for the cable in my house, so I really don't have a say in whether we keep it or get rid of it.

Anna said...

This isn't as awesome as your lifestyle adjustments, but we recently got rid of HBO and Showtime-and saved $30 a month in the process. Am I still going to watch True Blood? Absolutely! I may have to wait for it to come on DVD, though.

February Grace said...

I watch so little TV I would definitely save the cash if I could- but I'm outvoted in this house...BBC America (Doctor Who, basically) keeps us a slave to the cable powers that be...for now.

I just don't have enough eyesight to go around, I honestly only watch a couple shows, mostly ones I got hooked on while I was too sick to do anything else last year and so I still watch them- Cake Boss and Pawn Stars (which is funny and you learn the coolest stuff on that show).

There are just so many other things I'd rather be doing...believe me when I tell you, Jedi Master, when I went blind, TV was NOT something I cried over losing.

In fact, when the last of my vision was going, I would sit every night and watch the sunset and wonder if it'd be the last one I would ever see. Then, when I got limited use of my sight back, the sights I saw- my child's shiny new braces and the smile that went with them, the stars, for the first time in years, and the ability to see colors to paint again...well, yeah.

TV is still a hugely low priority for me.

They don't know how long I'll keep the vision I got back- already lost a great deal of it in the one eye. The other has a clock ticking on it but no one knows when time will be up. So every day, I have to decide what I spend my eyesight on very carefully.

For just about a year now, as much as possible, this blog has been one of those things. :~) Soon as I figure out how to make it work i'l have my reader program reading your words to me in a British accent and that will amuse me highly.

and I never like, link my blog here and stuff but I know you have said you love Disneyland- if you want to see something cool, there's a post on my blog from August 10, 2010 where I talk about going to Disney World to see the fireworks after getting my sight back.

The Cast Members there did some pretty cool stuff for me when they found out about my eyes- you may enjoy it.

I just wish I could adequately describe what it was like to see the individual little lightbulbs lighting up Main Street for the first time in my life. I never saw them right, even as a child. It was incredible...and so much better than TV. And I remember sitting in Rocket Tower Plaza, eating popcorn for breakfast before going to see the Jack Sparrow pirate show and thinking- THIS is the kind of thing I fought to get my sight back for.

Sorry for the detour there...I just hope that maybe somebody reading this will decide to unplug today too and appreciate their vision a little more in the process.

~bru

Martin Rose said...

Stopped cable in 2003. Best decision EVER. If I find a television show I like, it's cheaper to buy it or to rent it.

Anonymous said...

I am so geared up it is ridiculous. Digital cable with premium channels, Roku box and Apple TV. Stream Netflix, Amazon VOD as well as Comcast On Demand. Cable is outrageously expensive. I have thought about trying to cut cable out all together but it comes down to a math equation. If you watch a good 6 shows or so (especially premium cable shows) and want to catch them on original release it can be more expensive to buy them online. That said if you only like a few shows cut that cable. The prices charged for top of the line cable service are absurd.

J. T. Shea said...

Great minds (?) do not always think alike! I'm going the other way soon. I've hardly watched TV in 3 years, but I do miss it. Movies and documentaries more than series, though.

I do watch DVDs though, and Blu-rays when I can get the damned blasted AACS Key work-of-the-devil-himself thingybob updated. I hope e-books work better than Blu-rays, or we could all be doomed! DOOMED, I tell ya!

So, your indirect employers are indirectly rotting your brain? But not in their view, of course. I see a plot! An SF plot. JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE TRIBAL JOB POW-WOW?

P. S. You won't LITERALLY cut the cable, will you, Nathan? I have visions of thousands of SURVIVOR-deprived San Franciscans throwing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge and causing one helluva traffic jam.

kathrynjankowski said...

I cut back ages ago and found some interesting alternative channels were included in my basic DISH lineup. Nothing like Free Speech TV, Link TV, and others to remind you of how filtered our news is on regular channels.

Elaine AM Smith said...

If the UK's Syfy, E4, Skys and the channels that are loosely BBC's, weren't available, I'd be gnawing on my TV set like a Daybreakers-bad-vamp. Nasty.

Chris Phillips said...

Dumping ESPN gets you a corner cut off your Man Card.

Lily Cate said...

We cut the cable completely about five months ago. Nobody really misses it, the six year old included.
I have books to write, my husband has films to edit, and my son has lego towns to build. Once in a while we make some treats and watch a movie.
Life is good.

Sheila Cull said...

Oh my God - i'm the only one i know (up until i read your post responses)that does not have television. that is so not a reflection of the national average. me included; i don't have a television.

are we the only beings in the Western Hemisphere that prefer, dare we say, something else?

Rick Daley said...

We have basic cable, but don't watch that often. We're more likely to set the TV to a cable music channel or Pandora Radio.

99% of what we watch is DVR-

Modern Family
Big Bang Theory
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
America's Funniest Videos

And of course, read/write as time permits.

Jessie said...

My fiance and I have a TV that we only use for watching DVDs. We don't have Sky (British cable) and we're not even sure if our house has a TV license (which you legally need in order to watch TV in the UK). It's great. We spend loads of time reading and writing, we only watch shows we really like on DVD or on the Internet, and we don't have to sit through inane commercials.

MacDougal Street Baby said...

We cut the cord when our first born was about a year old. That was almost 10 years ago and haven't looked back since. And thanks to good ol' fashioned commercialism and utube, our kids haven't been sideswiped by it. They're just as familiar with Sponge Bob and Phineas and Ferb as the next kid.

J. R. McLemore said...

I used to be a TV junkie. My weekdays were driven by what shows to watch on each night. Even if I wasn't watching TV it had to be on (it was like having company, a distraction from the silence where you can hear the house settling). Needless to say, I wasn't much of a reader (or writer) at that time. Since I found the joys of getting lost in a book or creating my own worlds through writing, however, I've weened myself from the idiot box. Now, I find that I watch one or two shows on network television. For anything else, such as Dexter or Dead Like Me, my family and I will catch those episodes on Netflix during "family time". I've come to revel in the pleasure of life outside of the glass tube. Cheers, Nathan. Thanks for sharing!

heyjude said...

We haven't had any cable at all for years. Not even during
9/11. It was a week until I actually saw the horror of that on a TV screen. I read a lot, write a lot, and watch movies on Netflix.

Anonymous said...

We go with the basic package which is already highway robbery.

I'm sort of a news junky, which is usually a complete waste of time as it just loops and teases.

I have three shows I really like, so they will probably not last long:

Glee (LOVE it!)
Harry's Law
Parenthood

Others, I might tune in for or not.

If I could just rig a set of rabbit ears and get the main stations, I would be happier not paying $80.00 a month!

Over the weekend I ended up watching an hour of National Geographic on my computer on i-tunes: a documentary about crocodiles. It was unbelievably moving and I realized how different and intimate it was with headphones and the screen right there.I was affected so much more than on the TV across the room. I noted that there are over 2,000 such documentaries on i-tunes of free National Geographic with awesome footage, original music, and that bring you into the universe.

Welcome back to rereading and the love of reading for relaxation.

Anonymous said...

Not itunes, watched it on Youtube.

(brain on after Superbowl loss of wiring)

Joe G said...

You should be watching Community. Best show on TV.

I've never really understood the aversion to television. As long as it's not your only source of entertainment, why not watch T.V.? Sometimes, after a week of running around constantly, being around people all the time, and taking in endless reams of information, it's just nice to sit and veg out in front of the television for a little while.

That said, I'm quite sure I watch much more television now than I did when I was younger.

Madara said...

Nathan,
I was going to tell you not to shit where you eat, but if CBS is one of your handful of channels they should be happy.

I'm wondering if it would be possible for you to pick up more digital channels with an antenna than paying for basic cable? I've tried the indoor antennas and they suck. I bolted a Wingaurd (sp?)to my roof and was able to pick up about 20 channel between Chicago and Madison. If you search Google for "over the air digital TV" you will find a site which tells you which channels are in your area.

Unfortunately I'm a DIY and HDTV junkie.

Anonymous said...

We fired our Cable company two months ago and haven't looked back. Have a ROKU box and Netflix and digital rabbit ears (we get about 20 HD channels with this alone). We watch MAYBE one regular show - Big Bang Theory - a week.

Have watched a lot of interesting movies and documentaries.

And of course READ!!!!

Sommer Leigh said...

My husband and I ditched cable a couple of years ago because we just weren't watching that much tv. Now we can't even get regular television channels and that's ok. I watch streaming shows on Netflix on my XBox or on Hulu and if I can't get something on either of those that I really want to watch, I'll buy a season pass on Zune on my XBox. Right now I only watch Supernatural this way. I really don't miss cable as much as I thought I would.

Livia said...

We have basic cable. We'd have even less if it were possible, but we have to buy cable to get cable internet (and I'd give up my hot water before I gave up my cable internet). College pretty much weaned me off TV. I'd rather be writing :-) But I do watch nikita online.

educlaytion.com said...

Welcome to our world Nathan! Cable cutting is taking over my friend. Haven't had it now for a year plus. I also happen to be writing much more in that time frame. And if you ever want to watch something the internet has it all anyway. TV is only useful for live sports these days.

Charlotte Sannazzaro said...

In New Zealand we have "Sky TV", which is like your cable. I too have been thinking about cancelling or suspending our account. Over the last few months there's only been a couple of good shows a week, if you don't count the regular shows they have on every day about antiques and food.

I suggested this to my husband and he protested vehemently.

Kim G. said...

Basic cable for us as well. I am happy Parks and Rec is back, and we also are mad for 30 Rock.

Anonymous said...

I just watched a program I "missed" on my computer and it was way better as there were only a few seconds of commercials, not enough to interrupt the program the way TV commercials do.

NOW that I realize all my shows can be seen on my computer,my biggest consideration is just the "sharing the show" part with my hubby.

Hmm, but now some ideas on rabbit ears. Thanks guys. I thought they wouldn't work anymore after TV changed over.

demetrab82 said...

We only have basic cable. Our ah ha moment came when my husband and I figured out we were watching a lot of DIY home improvement shows when we could be working on the house. DUH! Couldn't agree with you more. Bring back Seinfeld! ; )

AM Riley said...

I cut the cable a few years ago. I work in television and find Reality TV impossible to watch. I found that the only thing I was watching were sports and cable shows. Oh, and sometimes the news.

Now, my smartphone gives me the news.

Netflix gives me a season's worth of good tv shows. All I have to do is wait, and I don't mind waiting.

And I get the sports via my computer.

To the list of great scripted shows I'd add to yours; Dexter, Southland and The Closer.

All available on your computer.

My tv is rarely even on anymore.

kim said...

I am a former news and reality tv junky who gave it all up for only two channels 9 years ago

I still dream of Jeff though-can´t hep it :)

Joy N. Hensley said...

We've cut it totally. Haven't had television for three years, except for a brief stint when I was home on maternity leave.

The only two shows I miss (and which I watch on the internet at their channel sites) are Bones and The Vampire Diaries.

I don't miss anything else except news. And anything important in the news is on CNN live. :)

Rachelle said...

I watch TV less than anyone in my house... but I haven't cut the (DirecTV) because it makes a great babysitter for my husband. Um, I mean my kids.

kdrausin said...

Embarrassed to say I read, The Great Gatsby, for the first time two months ago. Loved it!

Big Bang, Modern Family and Glee, that's about all our family watches. Guess I should think about cutting the cable too.

Ingrid King said...

I've never had more than basic cable, and that I only pay for because I need it to get decent reception. The few shows I still watch are on network tv, and for everything else, there's Netflix. There's just too much else I'd much rather do than watch tv.

Stephen Prosapio said...

I have lived WITHOUT A TV for SIXTEEN MONTHS now!!! It's amazing how life changes...and how much you can still watch online these days. Saving a lot of money and got wayyyyy more writing etc done last year.

Amber Slattery said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanne said...

I have the opposite problem: all the shows I follow are on premium channels (Showtime, HBO, Logo, Bravo, SyFy, RFD-TV). Many of these are not available on Hulu yet, and I'd have to wait until the seasons came out on DVD to rent. To cut cable means to go without completely.

I wish there were an ala carte option, whereby one could pick and choose only the "favorites" and leave the remaining 7,000 channels off the roster.

Well, I suppose there is--iTunes subscriptions might do the trick. Hmm. You've given me an idea.

Susan Lewis said...

Oh, I stopped watching TV 10 years ago and haven't really missed it. I don't even own a TV and don't want one.

But now I have the distraction of the internet. Smack in the middle of writing something, I suddenly have this "urge" to check my email.

So, I turn everything off, do my work, get some reading done and then at the end of the day, have fun on the internet and deal with the emails I didn't get done during the say.

HNK said...

Basic is what we've been the last four years since returning from Asia where we lived for a couple of decades (without cable). The only reason for Basic is because the antenna has terrible reception, it comes cheap with the internet connection, and I like to watch the local news on occasion - plus Bill Moyers was great before he retired.

m. christine weber said...

No cable whatsoever. BUT I just finished The Great Gatsby over the weekend :-). I absolutely loved it. Pop culture melds with Shakespeare…so genius.

Also, I came across this youtube of The Office spliced together to form The Great Gatsby. It made me laugh.

the office

a girl & her books

Gehayi said...

Can't do it, as I have a package deal--cable, phone and Internet. Reduce the size of the cable package and I also reduce how much I can download per month.

I've talked to the cable company about reducing the cable but keeping the Internet at top levels. They don't allow that. Nor do they allow me to pick which channels I'd like to pay for. Because there are plenty of channels I never watch and never will...but I'm not allowed to just pay for what I use. It's very silly.

Amber Slattery said...

Once we reached the point that even the ten-year-old had his own laptop, someone IM’d someone else to turn the TV off because it was so noisy and no one was watching it.
But really, the ten-year-old usually plays outside until the sun goes down and then reads until he falls asleep, unless this schedule is interrupted by whatever sport practice is in season. We are all so busy that we watch things on Vudu or Netflix when we really want to see something, and most days no one even bothers to find the remote.
We could save some serious $ if we made the call to cut the cable. I think we are ready to take that step too.

Bethanne said...

I don't have cable at all. I used to have bunny ears, but now I have the digital version of bunny ears, which btw STINKS! because that fuzzy picture that you could sort of watch, but more listen to doesn't come in at all now. It shows an icon, No Signal. Boo! I want my static back! LOL :D Besides that though, no cable is not that bad anymore. I get lots of channels...and I even catch reruns of Burn Notice, not to mention THREE channels of PBS that feature all the cool stuff PBS used to never have, including craft, cooking, world news, travel, and kid shows. It's like cable, compressed into three stations.

Way to go Nathan. A dollar saved is a dollar earned. ;) LOL

The Red Angel said...

I've got cable but I'm the only one in my family who doesn't really watch TV all that much. Everyone else does! I only watch roughly two hours a week.

~TRA

http://xtheredangelx.blogspot.com

christwriter said...

I have no television.

Okay, technically I DO have A television. It doesn't work. I tried to turn it on one day so my mom and I could watch a movie (Time Traveler's Wife. The only way I can get them to read good books is to go watch the movies based on the good books) and the thing made a fizzling sound, and has since refused to turn on.

It is not missed. I have the internet (and an employer who buys 52 inch flatscreen TVs for the breakroom) and if I really want a movie, I can buy the download off of Amazon. And because there are three or four things I need to be doing at any given moment (work on knitting designs, paint something, write, read a book) having a TV that actually functioned wouldn't be a good plan.

And I hate reality television (excepting Deadliest Catch) because most of the time it portrays terrible people doing things a brainless monkey would know not to do. (Teen Mom. TEEN. MOM. WE ARE GLORIFYING PEOPLE MAKING REALLY BAD LIFE DECISIONS GOD HELP US ALL) Most scripted TV is also terrible (2 1/2 men) and the handful of exceptions have lost me due to my not having a TV. If I want a well written story I will buy a book.

I think I'm going to take the tube out of the Telepaperweight and turn it into a bookcase. Just 'cause.

Bethany Robison said...

I actually just RESTARTED my cable for the specific purpose of having ESPN. And, almost immediately upon the cable guy leaving, I realized that you can get quite a bit of ESPN programming live through their website. So...

Tess Cox said...

Hi Nathan,

Last year I gave up cable TV for Lent...and never turned it back on. Not only has it been better for my check book, it's been good for my spirit. I used to be addicted and if the tube was on i couldn't get anything done! Especially Writing!
It's been a year now, and I couldn't be happier. I can get most all of the shows I enjoy (Castle, NCIS, Project Runway, Bones) online the day after they air!
And I've written one book and working on another...thinking of writing a screenplay, too! And I see my friends more, socializing now with REAL people rather than the 2D ones....And I've read a lot more as well.
Good for you!! I look forward to your post one year from now celebrating "Cutting the Cable."

Jourdan Alexandra said...

Nathan! I just had to comment because I'm currently re-reading The Great Gatsby too--albeit for school, haha. I just love everything about it, especially the setting and the melancholic descriptions of the summer as it comes to its tragic close. Great choice after years of being unable to pleasure re-read!

G said...

I usually watch t.v. at night as a break from writing & blogging. No network, just cable channels and movies.

Sherrinda said...

Never had cable. Ever! There are times I think I'd like it, but I have a few shows on regular TV that I watch regularly and that's enough for me!

Adeptus Fanaticus said...

I haven't had cable, satellite or as much as rabbit ears in 8 years. All my "TV" needs are satisfied through the internet. While everyone complains about paying for HuLu or pays a monthly NetFlix bill I enjoy the free TV shows on the internet right from the three main channels. ABC.com, NBC.com, and CBS.com. THey are as easy to change channels as they always were.

Then I budget in about $20 a month for iTunes downloads. No TV bill what so ever. The only thing I can't get this way is any sports, and that is fine. I can read in the paper.

I will never go back to a TV bill.

Linda Godfrey said...

Hubs and I have never had cable. Whatever comes through the antenna seems to be fine, and I only need to see House, 30 Rock, The Office and Masterpiece Theater. Netflix is a godsend and I highly recommend HBO's Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Superb TV!

Other than that, I'm reading. (Right now Daniel Abraham's four Long Price Quartet books. Awesome!)

Celesi said...

Any TV watched in my house is either streamed from the network or Netflix, or bought per episode or season.

We tried cable TV twice. The DVR kept filling up, and we never used it.

As a college student, my free time for both television and pleasure reading has decreased the closer I get to graduating.

And I agree with Nate Wilson. For the price of Cable TV, I could buy six paperbacks or two hardcover books. I get much more out of reading a book for the first time, than turning my brain off for 24 minutes.

Henya said...

My husband is glued to the TV from the moment he walks into the house. It pulls him in like a magnet. I can't understand it. But he's not a reader. So what's left? I like only a couple of shows. That's it. Much rather prefer to read, write, learn...

Good for you! Money saved.

wendy said...

I can't afford Pay TV - which is what we call it in Aussie - and I'm not a big TV fan. IMHO, which no one else might agree with, I feel the Brits produce the best TV in the world. I love BBC shows like Merlin, The Vicar of Dibley, Dr Who and BBC documentaries. I'm not enamoured with the endless police and murder type shows from the U.S or the over-the-top sitcoms. (Again, this is just IMHO.) However I feel the U.S. does a very entertaining reality TV show. Programs such as The Bachelor and American Idol have me watching every episode. I have to resort to Youtube for American Idol, though, as it's only available on Foxtel or Star something or other.

Laurie Boris said...

Nope, 'cause my hubs is a TV addict, we're fully cable-fied. Although I love TV, I'm pretty disciplined about my watching: only my few favorites (Modern Family and Mad Men included), and only during "brain dead" time.

R.D. Allen said...

We have TV, but I don't watch much except for peeking in on some Glenn Beck when Mom watches it, and Big Bang Theory -- which is a lovely way to waste time, I tell you! I don't get into movies much either -- except good stuff, like Inception, Batman Begins, and Dark Knight. ;D

alexia said...

I find I just don't have much time for TV, what with a full time job, kids, and writing. And since I am not an agent, I definitely prefer reading to watching the tube. But I do have a couple faves.

Anonymous said...

I'm down to antenna only. On an HDTV... just as good as cable reception.

A Paperback Writer said...

I stopped watching TV in 1982. My only regret is never seeing the final episode of MASH. That's it.
"The rest is silence."

Stephanie@thecrackedslipper said...

I have box sets of The Tudors, Deadwood and Big Love. What more does one need?

The Borgias, that's what. Bring it, Showtime.

Anonymous said...

With rabbit ears I get cbs, abc, nbc, fox, cw/wb, 4 or 5 PBS stations, a weather channel, pentagon channel, and about six stations in Spanish. I go to Hulu for what I miss seeing at its original air time. Why pay for anything when I get that much for free? I'm hooked on Fringe right now.
Try rabbit ears for digital signals. You might get more stations than you do with basic cable.

Kitty Bucholtz said...

We LOVE TV and movies! We had the platinum version of cable that included EVERYTHING for over a year, and we loved it. But we work in the industry and we're too busy to watch all the shows we record. We'd have marathon sessions watching all the CSI episodes we'd taped, then all the Dexters, then all the Chucks, etc. And we'd fall exhausted into bed. Then one day someone invited us for lunch on a Saturday - TV watching day! When we hesitated to say yes, we realized maybe we had a tiny problem. LOL! So we cut it all the way back to basic - and then summer came and we weren't missing anything. Now we're reading more again, so we rent or buy the full season of whatever we can't see and we have a marathon session at our own leisure. (We just watched all four years of Farscape over three months! Awesome!)

Michael said...

When my wife and I bought our house, our monthly outflow for housing went from $1100/month to $1400, and my wife was only working part time, so we cut cable. We watch HDTV using rabbit ears and TiVO, and it works great. Anything we can't watch that way, we either wait for DVD or watch it on Hulu.

That said, I'm also almost always within reach of several books, so a lot of reading gets done, too.

jef said...

...cut the cable when my daughter was 5 years old...she's now a scholarship sophomore at Yale...

Jamie Pohlman said...

Holy cow, if you ever get to this one, Nathan, I'll be giddy. My husband and I have thought of cutting cable for awhile now. The problem is, we get cable/cable internet in a bundle and we'd only save about $10 if we cut the cable and kept the internet. It doesn't really seem worth it.

Kerry Gans said...

My name is Kerry Gans. I have NO cable! That's right, just broadcast TV.

Even before our baby came along, I only watched a little TV - my husband didn't even HAVE a TV before we married. After the baby came, well, forget about it! Any time I have free is for writing and other things that do not involve the TV. So, broadcast works for us!

Trish said...

We've never had cable, but just bought a new wide-screen TV because are old one packed in.

Now, there are lot's of new channels, but I still don't watch it much. The only programes I watch are the news and animal shows. I can't miss Bondi Vet. (Chris Brown is awesome.)

I mainly write, read, work, excersise, and life. No time left for TV.

Renee Sweet said...

I don't want to alarm you with The CrazyTalk here, but I recommend ditching cable altogether. We did years ago and don't miss it at all. Between the internet, Netflix, Hulu, etc. we can get pretty much everything we need, with the added benefit of a friends and family filter ("Hey, we just finished watching seasons one and two of Lie to Me. What do you recommend watching next?").

Also? You could spend even *more* money on books published before 2005/1930. ;)

Ostriches Look Funny said...

I only watch Chuck. How could I not? Best Show EVER!

Mister Fweem said...

Yeah, ditch basic too. We've been off the television grid since 1997 and it's only when we stop at my in-laws' house that we realize what we're not missing.

We do watch lots of movies, and have introduced our kids to a lot of the classics. Our boys -- ages ten and six -- were transfixed a few weeks ago by an episode of "The Waltons," of all things.

We don't miss it. We're both too busy to miss it, and so are the kids. My wife and I both write and edit at night after the kids go to bed, the kids have their Legos and other toys to play with and plenty of books to read.

Marla Warren said...

The only network show I watch on a regular basis is NCIS. Never miss it.

But I can't get rid of cable because I cannot live without the History Channel. (At least I don't have super duper cable so I can watch History Channel International.)

Actually the History Channel feeds my reading habits. I discover many great books and authors on there. But then I mostly read nonfiction.

Tahereh said...

yup yup yup. i had the exact same realization. we decided to get rid of our television completely. now if there's anything we want to watch we have netflix, hulu, iTunes, etc. it's amazing.

and.. somehow incredibly liberating.

Other Lisa said...

I've nearly always only had basic, or broadcast over cable, or whatever you want to call it. Every few years I'd get HBO or Showtime for a season. Lately I've had the expanded because I so love AMC. (MAD MEN! BREAKING BAD!) But I could go back down to basic pretty easily.

And yeah, COMMUNITY is pretty awesome. Look for the episode MODERN WARFARE -- you can stream it via Amazon. Sooooo funny!

The Lemonade Stand said...

I stopped cable 2 years ago because I found myself turning it on just out of boredom. All of a sudden I realized that I could do so much more with my evenings if the TV wasn't on. I have five channels and never watch them and because of this I finished my first book. Besides...all the really good TV is on Netflix. :-)

lotusgirl said...

My hubby loves the TV in the evening. He'd never go for basic cable. We watch with the kids usually for a little while. I tend to knit during that time, so I feel like I'm being productive.

stacy said...

My roommate has cable. I rarely use it, and sort of resent being asked to pay my "half" for it. I have Netflix, and I'm perfectly happy with that. But the cable is tied in with the Internet, and I do use that quite a bit.

Áine Tierney said...

Myself and my partner choose not to have a tv. We watch a film a couple of times a week on one of our laptops. We don't download or stream shows. We are both studying and noise of tv in house would just disrupt the other person.

v.n.rieker said...

We can't afford anything TV. We do HAVE a TV, though. Combine that with a DVD player and a library card, and you get hours of Star Trek, Deep Space Nine. (Which I'm just discovering, and am (almost) unashamed to admit it.)

Meanwhile, my side of the bed is overflowing with half-read books. Edgar Allen Poe, Disney's Fairies, Rick Riordon's Red Pyramid, The Grimms Brothers, Lori Copeland's Heavenly Daze... I'm having trouble finding the spark that keeps me reading. Although, the first thirty pages of Suzanne Collins' Greg the Overlander seems promising.

In the frustration of my rut, I picked up drawing again. It's exciting. I'd forgotten the physics of that world.

Wait... this isn't my diary. Wait... I don't have a diary!

Elizabeth said...

I swear, for a split second, I thought you loved TV like Chris Hansen liked rose ceremonies. You know, the guy from To Catch a Predator? I thought maybe TV had reached a new low.

Andi Newton said...

We canceled cable a few years ago, opting to watch everything online instead. Partly it was to save money, but mostly it was because we were fed up with the crappy service and intermittent functionality from our cable provider. Between Netflix, Hulu, the networks' own websites, and fancast, we're missing only a couple shows that we used to watch. One of those we pick up on DVD when it comes out, another releases some episodes online periodically, and the third we really don't miss. We've also discovered so many other shows that we missed the first time around, like Buffy, Angel, Veronica Mars, and Eureka. So I can't really see going back to cable.

Aly Barber said...

After deciding to cut our cable two years ago, we had to get inventive for Hockey Night in Canada. My husband and I call it the "hell raiser". He made it out of a plank of wood and a bunch of nails. When hung at the right angle, we can get the games in HD!

Wanda Vaughn said...

It's simple for us. We live in the boonies where no cable company dares to come. :)

Emily Wenstrom said...

My husband and I have decided to go without any TV—or rather, we still have the television, but the only thing it’s hooked up to is the DVD player. We still watch tons of shows, but we watch through hulu or Netflix. On our own schedule, not cable’s.

I will admit there are few things I don’t love about it … I don’t love that I’m the last to know when something amazing happens on True Blood because I have to wait for the season to be available for rent. And there are three times a year when I truly deeply painfully wish I had TV – the Super Bowl, the Oscars and the Macys Thanksgiving Parade. These three traditions can’t really be watched any way but live, and I miss that. But there are sports bars, fashion magazines and relatives’ houses for those. You get over it pretty fast.

Ben said...

Trying to keep mine closed as much as I can. I put it on "HDMI 1" so it only works with the playstation (games + movies). It's already time gained.

Ben said...

Trying to keep mine closed as much as I can. I put it on "HDMI 1" so it only works with the playstation (games + movies). It's already time gained.

KH said...

I could "cut the cord" in a minute, but my husband is addicted to Turner Classic Movies and sports.
I have been known to sit with my laptop, earphones and a DVD of Man Men while he watches whatever he watches. At least we are in the same room!

Kristi Helvig said...

My hubby and I have never been big television watchers. We do have ESPN due to being crazy football fans, but that's about the extent of our must-watch tv. We're also big nerds and love NatGeo--we've watched about four documentaries in the last few weeks.

The only time we watch on-going shows are through Netflix. We've seen BSG, and are currently watching Glee. I've heard Modern Family is great, so maybe we'll try that next.

Tricia Conway said...

I canceled my cable when I moved into my house and replaced rent with mortgage.

Without basic cable, I had to buy the rabbit ears converter boxes when everything went digital a few years back. Since then, one has died and I'm waiting for the 2nd one to follow suit.

Overall, I don't miss it. I can get my baseball audio feel online, most of my shows via hulu or the network site, and really, when I think long and hard about it, I don't even care about the shows I do watch online.

Susie Sheehey said...

My tv watching habits changed after I had our first child. I needed to record shows that I could watch in the wee hours of the morning while I fed my son but knew I wouldn't be awake or too busy during primetime tv. I also don't watch the news anymore because its too depressing or infuriating.
We scaled back our fios package to save money a few months ago though- diaper prices keep increasing

reader said...

Nice idea, but I'd miss CNN, headline news and others. I use the Weather channel a lot, also.

KatherineR said...

Just found "Being Human" on the Syfy channel (there is also a BBC version). Love it!

Stacy said...

My husband and I decided almost a year ago that anything on tv worth watching we can catch on hulu. We don't even have basic anymore. When we sold the big screen for the computer-sized screen, I will admit, I had a slight panic attack. But it's been great. The kids watch less, I watch less, and more stuff gets accomplished. I savor the special shows for when I'm folding clothes (it makes folding them bearable).

Chase March said...

I don't pay for TV at all.

I use a digital antennae and get about six channels.

The rest of my viewing pleasure comes from free DVDs borrowed from the library. You can even get TV on DVD there so it's a perfect (and cost effective way) to watch.

the Lola Letters said...

I don't even have basic cable.

Why?

Because I am a hopeless addict of all things smut/awful/pointless TV. I will watch ALL day if it's available.

I love smut TV like the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" love cat fights, plastic surgery, and fake Manolos. It's B.A.D.{ and quite sad, really}.

Good for you for making a little break from some of it.

Oh, and your three "can't miss" shows? SO there with you. We stream Mad Men onto the laptop, and love watching the other two on the 5 channels we get for free :)

I'm still waiting for ANYTHING to top Arrested Development though. Ah, those were the good old days...

Constance said...

Goodness What a great blog, i'm sure you get tired of hearing that! Or perhaps you don't!

:-) Who am i to judge foibles.

Thanks for some fantastic links!

I will follow your blog with over avid eagerness I'm sure.

i am a brand spanking new author :-) Just starting to play. What fun! What fun!

this is Moi! --> http://precociousscribe.blogspot.com/p/about-me.html

Well done

Constance (or some other such name)

RosieC said...

Well, despite your advice a few weeks ago to be one of the first 10 commenters, I couldn't get by yesterday, but I want to say that 30 Rock is one of the best scripted shows on TV. For the record, I agree with your top three, but 30 is also amazing and on right after Parks&Rec.

We only have basic cable, too. I was raised on a TV, and so prefer not having so many options that I keep flipping for hours instead of just turning the TV off and reading a good book. The author took the time to think through every sentence and every word. TV shows are written quickly to get to the masses, and it's hard to sense the care involved that is easily found in a nice paperback written with love and passion for words.

mare said...

nathan- i haven't been by in awhile, so wanted to say hi and I can't believe you're not agenting! whoo!

re: tv: we cut the cord 3 years ago when our cheapy introductory rate expired. glad we did! our electricity bill went down by $15/month and we're more active overall.

Horserider said...

We cut the cable about two years ago. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it from time to time (usually on days of big sports events that I have to go over to someone else's house to watch), but most of the time I hardly notice it's gone. I only watch two shows that are airing right now and I can get both of them on Hulu. Anything else I can watch on Netflix whenever I want. And there aren't as many commercials.

Cathi said...

I too am considering cutting the cable. I watch very little during the week besides the news and The Daily Show...and it's just too expensive.

Nicole said...

I'm still stuck with my parents, but whenever I move out, I plan on not having TV. At all. Yeah. That's right. Why?

Easy - all the shows I watch are *online*. Why would I bother paying for TV when I can just get online, watch my 2 or 3 shows and then be done with it? Half the time I'm only looking for movies on TV anyway, so I might as well just pop in stuff I like and enjoy. :)

Nick Lewandowski said...

I think it's ok not to cut the cord, but I do think people should try and be disciplined about the time they spend glued to Jersey Shore etc... just like you need discipline to keep writing!

Alyssa said...

I couldn't do without cable, if only for USA. Burn Notice, White Collar, Psych.. USA shows are consistently excellent. The rest of the cable channels though aren't really worth it, except the HD versions of the network channels.

Chana said...

I cut the cord about 10 years ago when the local cable company raised their prices again. I had a tight budget then, and it didn't make sense to pay for 70 channels when I watched only 8 of them, 5 of which were free over-the-air broadcasters that my tv could receive with an antenna. Now, I don't see a reason to go back to cable or try satellite when most shows are available online or are released on DVD within a year. Plus, by limiting my live tv choices, I'm less inclined to sit in front of the set and vegetate. I fill up my time by writing, drawing, socializing, or anything else that interests me.

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