Lexi watching Saved by the Bell through Netflix on my phone
So, here’s all the ins and outs of life without traditional phone or cable.
No Home Phone
Because of the hours I spend on conference calls, we’ve been using a Google voice line in combination with an OBi box as well as our cell phones, of course.
I have had connection issues on my meetings a handful of times but compared to the number of hours I’ve used it–probably 1,000 hours–it’s been inconsequential. In those moments, I’ve switched over to my cell.
The savings of about $500 this year make it worth it. The fact that we’ve had no telemarketers calling confirms we have no plans to go back.
No Traditional Cable
There’s multiple aspects to how we’ve felt about surviving without cable so I thought I’d review from a few different perspectives.
From the Family
The kids had a hard time in the beginning when they couldn’t just switch on the TV and stream their favorite shows one after another.
Since then, Netflix has become the staple. Please don’t make the mistake thinking the kids don’t watch TV without cable. They log plenty of hours (maybe more) watching marathons of a particular series. Sometimes they’ll cycle through all the Good Luck, Charlie episodes while other days they’re cycling through Saved by the Bell.
They’d tell you they want DirecTV back but it’s certainly enough to keep them satisfied.
Scott was a news and documentary TV watcher. He misses Fox News and can’t get enough of it when we stay at a hotel.
We bought an XM radio base for him to listen to Fox News channel but over the year, even time on that has decreased.
Netflix has enough Discovery Channel type shows like Shark Week to handle his sciencey preferences.
Scott agrees it’d be nice to have back but it’s not worth the money.
In the past, you could have easily called me a TV addict but I do not miss cable in the least. In fact, my TV time has decreased over the last year to almost no screen time unless I’m watching something with the kids.
Last fall, I kept up with the last few shows I was watching (Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Parenthood, Arrow) through Hulu but all of them fizzled for me mid-season.
I watched a few of the season finales in the spring just to see how they ended. This summer I couldn’t even tell you what was on TV—except The Bachelorette which I do kind of miss on finale nights like last night!
Every once in awhile I’ll watch a few Mad Men episodes, finally watching Gilmore Girls is on my to-do list and I’ll watch Sherlock Holmes and Downton Abbey when they come back out. Maybe I’ll stay up to date with Parenthood or Arrow this fall but all in all, TV is just way down the priority list these days.
Anything I do want to watch will be later through Hulu or Netflix.
My inner fan girl is shedding a few tears but honestly, I feel more free than ever before. I have plenty of time to read and I’m not constantly hounded by a list of shows I’m behind on. I don’t feel like I’m wasting time while I watch and it’s just right for me in this season.
We have a PS3 in the living room and use our subscriptions on that device but we bought the Roku device for our bedroom. The Roku itself works perfectly but we bought the wifi version and our connection in our bedroom is horrible so we often get frustrated and give up. I would have skipped the Roku or at the very least, gotten the hard-wired one.
We rarely–RARELY–watch live TV. It’s been great to pick up live national events like the Christmas parade or Super Bowl but other than that, we don’t use it.
I’d guess for those that watch Sports, this would be a must if you got rid of DirecTV but for us, it’s a good thing this was only a one-time cost or it certainly wouldn’t have been worth it.
XM Radio Base
As I mentioned above, we bought an XM radio base for Scott to listen to FOX News. His time on that steadily decreased but it has been nice to have the music on in the background. While I doubt I’d buy it again, it is a nice-to-have.
We had Netflix before leaving cable and it’s an absolute must without cable.
We bought this subscription thinking we’d keep up with our shows on Hulu on our Roku but that hasn’t been the case. Even when I was watching my shows, I found I watched them on my computer and given our issues with Roku, I’d cancel Hulu Plus if it were not for the kids who love of Minute to Win It and Wipe Out.
I already had Amazon Prime for the shipping but a few times we have picked up some movies and streamed them through our PS3. I certainly wouldn’t buy Amazon Prime just for the streaming but it’s been nice as a package deal.
All that to say we could do just fine with a regular Hulu account, a Netflix subscription and our PS3 and computer. We’ve saved at minimum $600 this year with no plans to change a thing.
Lots of questions for you—if you have cable, are you thinking of making the switch, what would you miss the most, what shows am I missing?! If you’ve cut the cords, what other tips and tricks have you learned?