Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cutting the Cord: January Update

I've now been without cable for a couple months.
The initial transition was tough. No way around it.
More than a few times, I found myself sitting on the couch in front of a blank screen.
Decades of habits are hard to break.

I find I'm still watching TV.
But a couple hours of DVD instead of a whole evening of broadcast.

Now, the idea of spending all that money on cable seems preposterous.

The Numbers:
I can't even figure out what was costing all the money, but when I dropped my cable, the bill was $120/month.
That was digital cable plus a couple premium channels.
No on-demand. No Pay-per-view.

By watching for sales, I'm spending about $30/season for hour dramas, and $20/season for sitcoms on DVD.
On most days, I watch two shows.
Assuming 14 episodes/season, and no "reruns," that means I could watch one show a week.
That would be $100/month.

Or let's flip it: for that $1440/year I could get over 50 complete series seasons. Wide-screen. Without commercials. On-demand.

Even a top tier Netflix or Blockbuster account would be under $20/month.

What I'm Watching:
The reality is that I already had a bunch of unviewed DVDs and that I DO re-watch a lot of shows.
I'd say I spent closer to $60 these last two months, but I'm getting to watch shows that aren't currently airing.

For news, I've gone to the radio.
For "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report," I occasionally watch them online. But they are no longer a part of my daily life.

My prime time lineup right now: "Veronica Mars," "The Closer," "Firefly," "Eureka," and "The Big Bang Theory." Pretty awesome TV season!

I love "Morning Joe" on MSNBC. They podcast the first segment everyday. Not as good as having the whole show, but it's on my iPod every morning when I boot up for work.

"Meet the Press" also comes as a podcast, and I usually watch that at the computer.

What I'm Not Watching:
I'm not a huge sports fan, but I hadn't missed a Vikings game in many years. It's a short bus ride to Metrodome, so I think I'll just watch in person a couple times next year. The average price of $73 is a bit steep, though.

Daily News. No TV News. All radio and web right now.
I think the 24-hour news stations were the greatest time-waster.
I find I really don't miss them.

CNBC was a casualty. I would usually have them on when working from home, but they don't stream online, so I don't have any way to watch.

Once I upgrade to a wide-screen TV, I'll probably buy "Mythbusters" and "Penn & Teller's Bullsh#t!" from iTunes.

Next Steps:
Whether the DTV Transition officially happens in February or June, most stations are already broadcasting in digital format. Those that aren't required to keep broadcasting an analog signal will probably stop in February anyway.

My plan was to purchase a digital Over-The-Air receiver after 100 days without cable.
This would let me watch regular broadcast TV and get the news.
But I really don't think there's time for "The Today Show" or all that crap reality TV.
So right now, I'm reconsidering that plan.

DVD Swap:
I'm making plans with friends and family to trade TV series DVDs.
Watch a show. Trade it for one you haven't seen.
Everyone wins.

Media Center:
If I manage to upgrade one of my computers, I may convert one of my workstations into a Media Center. It would be nice to have all the DVDs ripped. But that's not a high priority at this point.

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