I actually did it, I canceled cable TV

I can’t believe I actually did it, but I canceled cable (FiOS TV actually), but not for the reasons you think. I have to say it feels weird and I fill a little disconnected, which is very odd since I really didn’t watch it much. But there is something comforting about knowing there are 100 HD channels at my service if I get bored. But then again, that comfort isn’t worth $60 a month.

As for the why, no it isn’t because I’m going to get my content from the internet. Because unlike college kids, the nicest display I own isn’t on my laptop and once you are accustomed to HD, it’s hard to go back.

I canceled because I realized that without Football, all I watch is broadcast TV and movies. So I can get all the OTA HD I want for free on my Vista Media Center with an antenna, and all the HD movies I can watch for $21/mo from Netflix.

Now that’s not to say I’m never going to watch Netflix watch instantly on my new LG BD300, or that I won’t download anything else via other means. But after selling my two CableCARD tuners (thanks Robert) and not paying $60 a month to Verizon for the next eight months, the $880 I saved was more than enough to pick up a new Pioneer VSX-91TXH AV Receiver which features both TrueHD and DTS-HD decoding.

So today is the first day of my life without cable TV — and counting.

17 Responses to “I actually did it, I canceled cable TV”

  1. Congrats, I tried to do this too, but Comcast offered me a sweet deal to keep being a customer so I’m sticking it out for now. I have a funny feeling that this is only the beginning of a new trend for television. The cable and phone companies may have a monopoly in most of their locations, but competition from free PVR/OTA content and internet delivered content, is actually starting to put some pricing pressure on the big telcos.

  2. Patrick says:

    I’ve been cable free for 2 years (still pay for it through my stupid HOA), but I download most shows I watch in HD .mkv format off torrents, and they look great on my 60″ screen. I know they are still compressed, but I rarely see any artifacts, and coupled with the fact that there are 0 commercials in the files, it’s a winning solution. I use them with my media center pc as well.

    I tried the dual ATI external cablecard pc thing last year and sent it back after less than a week.

  3. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    My problem with VMC and MKV is you can’t fwd and you can’t integrate the shows into the same list as the Recorded TV.

    What I’ve found is that I never think to go over to My Videos to find something to watch. I suppose if I ever watched everything in Recorded TV I would.

  4. Brent says:

    I’ve seriously considered doing this next summer – but then what would I do with my Hauppauge HD-PVR? Might be worth a trial run though. I’ll follow your experience to see how it goes.

  5. Craig Eugea says:

    Ben since your going OTA, are you going to give Windows 7 Media Center a try? I downloaded it today. Going to give it a try tonight on my box. Let us know how it goes for just OTA.

  6. Congrats Ben. I will be watching the experiment closely and see how long you last. I think you’ll make it until next football season.

  7. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    Nah, I’m still gun shy from the TV pack. At this point I’m just happy that my MC environment has been stable for a month. I literally forgot how stable it could be and don’t intend to do anything that will mess it up.

    Between going back to Vista SP1 and adding a Blu-ray player everything once again seems right with the world.

  8. John says:

    I’m actually thinking of doing the same thing. Do you have any recommendations for a good indoor HD antenna?

  9. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    Sorry, but I don’t. If you search OTA HD you can find a story I did a long time ago on how to pick out an antenna. I still recommend antennas direct.com, but I don’t know if they have any indoor ones.

  10. Bill says:

    I’m trying to dump Time Warner Cable right now for the same reasons and I am trying to get Media Center working as I would like, but it is a bit painful as I’m trying to bridge the worlds between Windows (WMV/AVI) and Mac (MPEG4/H.264). I wish I could easily use my H.264 encoded MPEG4 with Windows Media Center/Xbox 360.

  11. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    That’s a tall order now and in my opinion not really obtainable with Vista in any satisfactory way.

    Luckily Windows 7 is supposed to fix this by adding native support for H.264 as well as enhancing the playback of 3rd party files — you’ll actually be able to ffwd now.

  12. Carlton Bale says:

    I dropped DirecTV about 18 months ago in favor of OTA HD and Netflix — I don’t miss it one bit. In fact, I have over 100 hours of unwatched programs on my 2 TiVo HDs and a Netflix queue that is over 70 titles deep. All of the Colts games are broadcast on local stations in HD, even if they are the Monday ESPN games.

    I keep telling my wife how we should buy a new projector for the home theater with all of the money we’ve saved. 🙂

  13. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    No doubt the NFL is easily covered. Unfortunately college football isn’t as simple and as a devout FSU fan, the family of ESPN networks is a must unless I want to start watching half the games at a bar. But I suppose that even with all those $5 beers, it’d still be cheaper than cable.

  14. Dallas Knox says:


    What are your impressions of the Pioneer VSX-91TXH? I have been on the fence about this AVR for the last month.

    P.S. When your thinking about the Bucs season, just remember it could be worse, you could be a Jet Fan or Lions.

  15. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    I haven’t even gotten to play with it yet. It arrived yesterday, but I’m in CES all week so I don’t get to play until I get back.

  16. Chad says:

    I have been thinking about doing this for a while now, and reading this makes me want to do it even more. The problem I have is my wife. She isn’t very tech savy and is happy with DirectTV. Oh well, I’ll just keep trying to persuade her.

  17. […] in December when I wrote about how I canceled cable, I received some greate encouragement and was solicited for updates. Well obviously I haven’t […]