Ditch Cable and Still Enjoy TV

A cutaway diagram of a coaxial cable
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Cable is expensive. If you have more than just basic cable, you are probably paying at least $65 per month or more, just for TV.   How can you save on television, without stealing cable?

The good news is that, in the internet age, it is possible to fully enjoy TV without having to pay exorbitant fees to the cable company.

Basic Cable

Basic cable generally runs about $15 per month, but it usually comes with a $10 per month discount on internet access if you use cable for that.   For $5 per month, you can get all of the local broadcast channels, including the news and weather, which we use in the morning while getting ready for work.


We watch movies.  We watch lots of movies.  Spending $14 per month for an unlimited 2-at-a-time plan is a no-brainer for us.  It has also enabled us to scratch the movie itch without resorting to HBO or incessant movie purchases, which used to run $100+ each month.   When you include Netflix instant in the equation, which gives us a ton of older movies to choose from at a moment’s notice, we are more than covered for our movie obsession.


Hulu.com has a metric crapload of TV shows and movies available for free.   They are moving towards a partial pay model, but most of their content will still be free.  But, you don’t want to crowd your family around a 15-inch laptop screen to watch something, you say?  Fine. We went to our local computer parts store and bought cables and converters to go from the video-out and headphone jacks on the laptop to the inputs on our VCR.    That cost about $30 for 2 extension cords and 2 converters.   We use the analog outputs, which allows for cheaper converters.  The quality after conversion is no worse than watching a movie in the VCR.


TiVo comes with a Video-On-Demand(VOD) section, if you connect it to the internet.   It’s mostly free, with hundreds of channels to choose from, ranging from trailers to full shows and movies.   I have a season pass to TEDTalks, which are always impressive and usually inspirational.   There are many more channels to choose from.


I’m kidding.  I’m not advocate piracy.  This is just search-engine bait.

As you can see, it’s entirely possible to save money on cable, without missing out on anything you care about.  How do you save money on TV and movies?

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    1. How about using an antenna?!?! It’s a good option for a lot of people, and with the new digital signals the picture is as good as cable.

    2. Yeah, my parents have been telling me the wonder that is an antenna lately too. With an HD tv, they’re getting 30-40 channels with just a basic antenna…

      • Antennaweb.com will tell you what you’re most likely to have access to with an antenna. We’d get 10 channels. I’m not sure that’s worth the headache and cost.

    3. There are so many better options then having cable and all of which are cheaper. Heck even directv and dish network have specials right now that blow cable out of the water.

      • We used to have the dish, but after 4 years they quit giving us the discounts we kept asking for. Shortly after being told we were getting the full price permanently, we left.

    4. We are about to cancel our basic cable plan. It went from $10 under a bundle to $21 after the promotion period ended. We just got FIOS installed yesterday, so we are getting rid of cable TV and internet tomorrow. We also have the $9 Netflix plan, and with instant watch, it is more than enough.

    5. We use the $9 Netflix plan plus Dish Network $30 plan and $6/month DVR. For about $45/month we can stream Netflix to the TV and the iPad, and set recordings on Dish from the iPad/iPhone anywhere. I’ve also ripped many of my old DVD’s, so what’s not available on instant Netflix, I probably already have it.

      • We had the Dish for a couple of years, but didn’t like it. Trying to watch a storm’s progress was hard when the signal went out. 🙂

        I hate paying for a box for each TV, but cable is going that route anyway, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal any more.

    6. cable companies are also offering broadband internet these days and the cost is cheap too .~;

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