5 Reasons to Finally Ditch Cable


How many times have you opened up your monthly bill from Comcast or Time Warner and thought, that’s it, I’m ditching my cable — only to keep on paying? Well the time has come. With countless ways to watch your favorite shows online, ditching cable has never been easier. And with the economic crisis tightening its grip, there’s never been a better time to save some money.

Chances are there’s already a line-up of customers at your cable company’s local office looking to returning their Motorola boxes. The Wall Street Journal this week did, after all, declare that being off the cable grid is now socially acceptable. As much as 20 percent of all TV viewers watch shows online, the paper reported, and half of those people don’t watch TV at all anymore. Still not convinced? No worries, we have five good reasons to finally cancel your cable subscription.

  1. The fundamentals of our economy are screwed. Seriously, do you want to keep sending hundreds of dollars per year to your cable company while your retirement fund tanks? Four out of five American households pay an average of $70 a month for cable or satellite TV, according to the WSJ. Do you really want to be one of them?
  2. There are a ton of ads. Sure, we’re willing to sit through a few of them, preferably entertaining ones, to get content for free. But network and cable TV are increasingly oversaturated with them. Hulu & Co., on the other hand, have far fewer ads. A typical half-hour show features eight minutes of ads on TV, but only two minutes online. That’s six minutes you can spend looking at web sites like ours, making our advertisers happy.
  3. Cable boxes suck. The simple truth is that cable companies are used to competing with pretty much no one, which is why their technology is horribly outdated. The web is full of complaints about Comcast’s DVR, and even newer boxes like Verizon’s FIOS HD DVR don’t stand a chance against TiVo’s interface. On the other hand, there are tons of new and cheap devices that bring online TV into the living room. The soon-to-be-opened-up Roku box is only $99, and it’s easier than ever to download movies through your TiVo, XBox or Apple TV.
  4. There are so many other options. Hulu, NBC Direct, Amazon, the iTunes Store, Joost and Netflix Streams will all let you watch TV shows and movies free or very cheap. As the WSJ noted, 90 percent of all network shows and 20 percent of all cable shows are available online. Sure, there are some hold-outs, and networks like Showtime generally don’t make shows like Weeds available until after the end of the season. Some of our shadier friends tell us that you can always find everything right away on those torrent sites, but we of course wouldn’t know anything about that.
  5. Hulu can save your marriage. People tend to argue that online TV is inferior because you can’t watch it on your living room tube. That tends to be true for most people, but it can also be a good thing. Chances are you and your spouse are busy web workers, which means you’ll both be hammering away on your notebooks while The Daily Show is running in the background. You might as well be sitting in different rooms. Remember the times when watching TV used to be a shared experience? You can go back to that. Just cancel cable, turn off the TV and cuddle up in bed watching Hulu. You’ll thank us later.



I have Directv with everything, and I still watch about half my tv online, a lot of it I stream from my PC to my Xbox 360 via Windows Media Center. With Playon I can stream sites like Hulu, Fancast and Veoh which gives me a huge repository of content I can watch instantly.


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Alex cobar

Here’s a quick way to get all your services HD TV, phone and Internet for under $99. Sign Up- for Dish Network’s TurboHD (either Bronze 24.99 or Silver 32.99) I have 2 HD Tvs with PVR on one, 2 SD TVs and pay 46.00, then switch to a DSL starter pack for internet (under $40), then switch
your phone to Packet8 (annual plan, $16.58/mo unlimited
calling), BAM! no more Comcast, and you have HDTV and all the goodies for under $100 bucks.

William Maggos

mike and ben –

get a mac mini and hook it up to your tv, and youll begin to understand the possibilities. hulu isnt there yet, and 3 bucks a show sucks too. im most impressed with the independents out there video podcasting their own tv show basically.

we need to focus on the boxes we will all have hooked up to our tv. getting this right is so important if we really want to transition to newteevee. it needs to be all-purpose – to serve as a cable/sat box & handle services like itunes/netflix/amazon/hulu/youtube well & do bittorrent RSS to support the independent video podcasters. most of this is software, minimum hardware requirements really. keep the price as low as possible, and consumers will feel comfortable that the device will get them ALL the content they already get on computer, onto their nice big livingroom HDTV. for now, the hardware is too tied into the individual platform, and people dont want to feel tied down in such a changing media landscape.

but once a lot of people have such a device, the independent producers will have a real shot. a better revenue model than pay-per-show or advertising would help too.

Ben Katz

I can’t make much sense of the 5 reasons. only 20% of the content available online…most of it for what- 3 bucks per show or something? The package deals are cost effective…ala carte-ing your way to the choices you’ve got on cable would bankrupt you.

DVR, ondemand, 50 channels of HD on my 40″ lcd. Can’t see watching stuff on my pc comparing.

Mike Mertz

Janko – this is by far one of your weakest articles. Your five reasons suck. You and every other journalist need to jump off of the Hulu bandwagon. I’m a fan of Hulu too but it’s no cable or satellite TV replacement. Neither is every other technology out there. Not yet at least. You should have focused more on “five reasons why cable/satellite co’s should introduce a la carte services”. I’m with you on saving money but taking entertainment from the big screen to the little screen will be extremely hard to accomplish.


I am not watching football, or hoops, on a computer, unless it’s a 50″ one.


The sports gap needs to be filled before we can fully commit. Sports and some news events are the only things we really need to watch in real time, and only ESPN-produced sports events are even close to being functional.

The critical FOX and Comcast regional networks are dragging their feet on all technology improvements (many don’t even carry HD signals, let alone online). We’ll get their soon enough though.

The other stumbling blocks remain bandwidth and regulation. We just can’t stream enough HD on copper networks. On top of that, here in LA city limits for example, AT&T U-Verse rollout has been hampered by city/finance rules on how to handle non-cable TV services. Again, we’ll get there… but it’s premature to say no traditional TV service today and still be a full-fledged media consumer.

Why pay for sports?

“Professional Sports” has become a liability to Society. The people who make little to no postive difference in society get paid gross amounts of money.

Their affect on society is mostly opposite of positive. Looking at many of these athletes, they are far from being desirable role models. Some franchies, for example Oakland Raiders, foster attitudes of intolerance.

Professional Sports is a luxury that society can no longer afford. It has little to no value and is given way to much priority in these uncertain times we live in. For you fans out there, what has “your team” ever done for you for all the devoition you’ve given it?

Deanna Briggs

I couldn’t agree more. I don’t consider TV the only option for my entertainment and frankly refuse to pay for such an enormous bill for a service that doesn’t provide much value. I’m a Gen X and I have not had cable tv since I was in college almost 10 years ago. Who needs it? Instead of satiating ourselves on worthless reruns and reality tv, we should spend more time reading and being informed about our financial futures and the tough times that lie ahead.


Barry, I’m not exactly sure if people would continue to subscribe to two services from a single company if they realize they don’t need one of them and the other one keeps getting worse …


Of course, the big companies that provide internet often also provide television service. They will prevent people from ditching TV, by introducing internet bandwidth caps. This conflict of interest forces consumers to keep paying for TV separately.


You neglect to mention one of the most compelling reasons to ditch cable – free HD digital broadcasts of broadcast networks available in most markets.

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