I’ve had cable TV since 1976. I didn’t acquire it at first for the variety of channels, as there really weren’t many at that time, but for improved reception. Air Force planes with pilots practicing takeoffs and landings nearby played havoc with the local TV signals and having my TV watching interrupted every 10-15 minutes was getting very tiresome. Cable TV was inexpensive then, and we received only the local channels, plus WTBS, “The Superstation,” from Atlanta and WOR from New York. A few years later cable via the Weather Channel kept me company during 3 a.m. baby feedings, provided my classic movie education on AMC and later TCM, and still later taught me new ways to cook on the Food Network. I’d never seriously considered NOT having cable TV until just recently.
My daughter and I decided not to move at this time for a variety of reasons, which will save us some money, and we’ve also been looking at other cost-cutting measures. A couple of weeks ago she said, “We hardly ever watch TV. Why don’t we just cut out cable altogether?” That suggestion sounded like cutting the entertainment umbilical cord at first, but as I began to think about it, what would I be missing? A year ago we cut down the number of cable channels we were receiving, and now on the rare occasions we watched TV it was usually either PBS or one of the other broadcast channels. But in thinking about the logistics, we live in the hills in Portland; what would our local reception be like? And we had an older TV; would a digital converter box work all right? And what would I do without AMC when “Mad Men” starts up again in April?
Saving money won out and we stopped our cable TV service a few days ago. I removed the cable converter box with some trepidation and dutifully installed the digital converter box and the small inexpensive “rabbit-ear” antenna that had been recommended so highly on Amazon.com. Keeping my fingers crossed I turned on the box and the set and was instantly pleasantly surprised with crystal-clear reception on about 30-some channels, quickly realizing I was missing nothing by stopping cable service. As for Mad Men, I can purchase episodes the day after the broadcast on Amazon for $1.99 to download to my computer; much cheaper than the monthly cable bill!
But more than saving money, divesting myself of cable gave me a new feeling of lightness, a feeling of having cut one more burdensome thing from my life. I’ve always been a person who likes to “travel light” through life, and I’m in the process now of seeing where I can cut out the jetsam and flotsam from other areas of my life as well. It feels good to have cut the cord!