For the vast majority of us, it's easier to simply pay what we know to be 'too much' per month for the convenience of cable television, than to try to figure out ways to work around it. Using current technology, it's possible to watch almost all the content that you currently get through your cable television subscription in some form or another. But you have to do some homework, and you have to create some work-arounds that will add some level of complexity to your television viewing. If you have some level of technical ability, or you're really strapped for cash, or you simply are sick of dealing with the cable company, you can cut the cord and not look back.
From solutions as simple as an old-school television antenna to things like a Roku box, Apple TV, Hulu, Google TV, BitTorrent, etc., you can find what you want to watch, and probably watch it fairly conveniently in your home―on your big HDTV. But again, you have to put some effort and some research into the process. As sick as you may be of dealing with the monthly fees you currently pay to your cable provider to get hundreds of channels you don't watch, you have to consider everything when you think about making your move.
First and foremost, can your family handle the change? If you're going to catch a lot of heat from a spouse who depends on the television to help manage the kids at certain points of the day, then you might want to wait on taking the leap. The reality, however, is that you can navigate around anything in terms of creating a set-up that will work for almost any situation. But again, it's going to take a little effort and patience―and the end result is going to be different than what you're used to with your current cable set-up.
Ultimately, we could all use a little less television in our lives, regardless of how much you're currently watching. If we can come up with ways to entertain ourselves that don't involve hours of motionless staring at an ad-serving machine, the world would probably be a much better place. But that's a discussion for another time, perhaps. For now, it's just about whether or not you think you can make the jump away from cable.
For me, I'm probably not in a position to do it. I want to do it, but the other issue that weighs on me―beyond the moderate tech research and my standard resistance to change―is that I feel like the cable provider is going to get me one way or the other. My current bundle includes television, phone, and Internet, all through Verizon Fios. I have zero complaints about any aspect of the service, with the exception of the cost. We pay a little extra for the HBO and Cinemax package, but that's really it. We've got the multi-media DVR, which is really cool and a second DVR that is standard on a non-HDTV in a bedroom.
My standard line of thinking would be that lopping off the monthly charges related to the television service would save me the most, guesstimate of around $80 per month, right? Well, Verizon Fios is a bundled service, which allows Verizon the freedom to never define how much each individual service costs. So, if you should choose to cancel any aspect of the Fios package―television for example―Verizon is going to say that doing so isn't going to save you very much money. Essentially, if you're only trying to cancel one portion of the service, then that portion is by default going to become the cheapest, thus reducing the incentive to cancel. It's a nice strategy to combat half-hearted attempts to beat the system.
And since I'd still need my broadband Internet connection to get around the cable television fees to begin with, it makes things a little tricky. So, even if I canceled the television portion of Fios, I'm guessing that my service cost for the other two services would gradually increase anyway. As it stands, I think we'll be ready to make the move, whatever the hurdles, in a few years. Until then, we'll be sitting tight with the Fios package, dreaming of cheaper days ahead.