Why I Can’t Break Up With Cable

Cable prices suck, you’re paying more for less — that’s the gist of a New York Times report that said cable prices have gone up 77 percent since 1996, almost double the rate of inflation. Adding insult to injury, we’re only watching 13 percent of the channels offered. I hate dealing with the cable company, but I just can’t seem to break up with it. Maybe NewTeeVee readers can offer a few suggestions to help me cut the cord.

There are three main reasons why I stay in this lopsided relationship: laziness, HD and discovery.

It’s hard to beat the one-stop shop of cable. It’s all right there at literally the touch of a button. It always works (well, almost always), I have a DVR built-in and on-demand movies to rent. All the channels I want are available, and within 10 seconds of sitting on the couch I’m entertained.

I bought the HD TV set, may as well enjoy HD content on it. TV shows on Hulu are great and convenient but are not in HD. I could stream HD content on ABC, but I’d have to watch it on my Mac, and then my only options are between Lost and McDreamy (I’m not a Dancing with the Stars fan like Liz). iTunes doesn’t offer HD versions of its TV shows, and lord knows how much that will cost when it does.

Yes, I know I don’t watch the vast majority of channels that are pumped into my house. At most, I watch a dozen, but if I only got stuff I liked, I wouldn’t stumble on stuff I didn’t know I’d like, or be able to easily try out a new show. Plus, there is a Zen-like satisfaction to flipping through channels and finding a cable oddity that I didn’t know existed (or maybe just enjoy the mindless flipping).

I know it can be done (Om did it). I know I don’t need cable in my life, and I’d probably get more done if I didn’t have it (do I really need to watch the mildly-amusing Bones just because it’s on right before House? No. No, I do not). I could spend that time writing a novel, or, as corporate would prefer, writing another blog post.

Who out there has cut the cord for good? What system do you use now (don’t say satellite), and how has it worked out for you?

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