The cable television industry is broken. Certainly, it’s not as broken as the economy (DOWee!), but it’s based upon a single logical fallacy, that viewers watch channels. This is simply not the case. When is that last time you said, “I’m going to watch a little NBC“? People don’t say that; people say, “I’m going to watch America’s Got Talent because it’s what I consider quality programming.” (Okay, maybe no one’s ever said that, but you see my point.)
It was, with this in mind, that I began a spreadsheet. One by one, I searched out the shows we felt we must keep up with: Lost, The Office (the last episode of which had me in tears, I laughed so hard), Grey’s Anatomy, Jon & Kate + 8, Scrubs (if it has another season), and Project Runway (for Holli). The goal was find legal, online ways to view all of our shows. This mission was made exponentially easier by the networks themselves. Both NBC and ABC offer full video versions of some of their popular shows online. This means that, as long as what you watch is popular, you can find your shows for free.
Unfortunately, there were two casualties to this process: Project Runway and J&K+8. For Project Runway we’ve managed to find another, temporary solution (and the show’s almost over anyway), but jayenkayplusay seems to have no decent online presence. We’ve decided that we can purchase VHS tapes for Carol to use to tape the show for us. However, with us being short a VCR, this means we will only be able to watch the show when we’re there. If anyone has any other ideas regarding this dilemma, please leave a comment.
EDIT: After doing some research for this post, I discovered that TLC has added JK8 to their video library, boasting entire episodes of the latest season until the end of December.
After doing the research and adding up the potential cost of this new method, we sat back in awe. The results were astounding. We discovered that we could save around $37.90 a month by getting our television online. iTV was our winner.
It’s been two weeks since we made our choice, and so far it’s going well. Also, we’ve been doing it a lot more. And by “doing it” I mean reading, of course. Holli has turned into a voracious reader, even though her work hours are getting closer and closer to full-time. I split my time between reading, Half-Life 2, and programming/research. It’s much quieter, and I feel better reading than I do watching TV. With all this new reading time, I have a goal to read and remove enough books from my “library” to allow us to get rid of a bookshelf. There’s one shelf in particular that could use a chucking.
If you’ve been considering getting rid of TV, be ready to fill that time with something. Do some research to see if your “must have” shows have an online equivalent. Our goal wasn’t to get our TV for free, but to get it online somehow. Even if you have to pay $1.99 or $2.99 per episode, that cost will still be much lower than paying for a full cable subscription.
Have any of you done this? Do you have any tips for would-be switchers?