4 Real Benefits of Cutting Your Cable Cord

Simon Slangen 11-03-2013

getting rid of cableI grew up with very little television. Don’t get me wrong: we had cable, and a pretty decent television set, but my parents had dictated that my sisters and I wouldn’t watch television during the day. Getting home from school and turning on the TV was a strict no-no. Of course, rules like that aren’t set in stone. When I was a bit older, everything changed. Home alone, it was a little bit too easy to drop down on the sofa with a zapper in hand. The aforementioned rule was forgotten over time, and cable TV became a steady companion.


A few years ago, attending university, I started renting an apartment. I took over the current electric plan and went to a different Internet service provider, but the television provided a bit of a conundrum. Cable television had become an intrinsic part of my day-to-day routine, but was it worth the money? Or was it even worth the hassle? In the end, I decided to cut the cable. Or, well, not to reconnect it.

Getting rid of cable television has a number of advantages; some distinct, some more personal.

1. Saying No To Couch Surfing

The most advantageous effect of cutting the cable for me personally was that it broke the bad habit of couch surfing. Earlier, television had become such a ritual that the actual content, or television programs were secondary. Getting home tired, zapping up and down a ridiculous range of channels….watching decent programming seemed to happen almost by accident.

getting rid of cable

All that changed when you narrate your own entertainment. You turn on the TV when you want to watch something; when you know what you’re going to watch. Incidentally, I appreciate the content I watch even more, even though I spend far less time behind the tube.


2. Enjoying The Netflixes Of This Age

So, maybe you can miss those programs you watch when nothing else is on. But what about the other TV shows? Just because you’re cutting the cable doesn’t mean you don’t want to watch TV anymore!

getting rid of cable tv

Netflix, Hulu, and other harbingers of the entertainment revolution provide a great alternative to conventional cable subscriptions. You can watch your series on demand (no headaches about TiVo-ing them), and can even save a lot of money in the long run. With applications like Tunnelbear (which Erez reviewed on MakeUseOf Access US-Only Websites Internationally For Free With TunnelBear If you’re living outside of the United States, here’s a familiar scenario for you. You’re reading your favorite tech blog, and suddenly see a post about the latest and greatest in web services. Maybe it’s... Read More ) people all over the world can enjoy the on-demand goodness.

Add in the ability to watch Netflix on almost any platform known to man How To Access Netflix On Almost Every Platform Known To Man I don’t like horror movies. Classic horror I can cope with; I enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological horror, for instance, but I’m not a fan of scares and gore, as a rule. My wife, on the... Read More , and you’ll wonder why you ever got stuck with cable.


3. Digital News Is Key

In my eyes, regular news broadcasts are one of the biggest advantages to television; they keep people up-to-date and informed. Netflix may not give you the same news ensemble as regular television does, but there are still plenty of ways to get your daily dose of news. Earlier this year, we asked you where you got your news; getting a great response, and some truly interesting tips.

getting rid of cable

Digital news is only one such example, as you may still favor listening to the radio on your way to work, or reading the paper over a cup of morning joe. But even within the category of digital news, you needn’t just think of the New York Times website. In fact, there are a good number of professional news streams you can watch online for free 6 Live Professional News Streams You Can Watch Online For Free Watch what's happening in the world right now, without paying for a cable subscription. Several TV stations from around the world stream their English channels directly to the web, giving you access to what's happening... Read More .

Better yet, if you’re building a media center How to Build a Great Media Center PC Looking for a media center? read all about the different hardware components, best places to buy them, software candidates and media extenders, in this ultimate guide! Read More to replace your TV, you can kill two birds with one stone and watch online news through XBMC How to Watch the News Online Using XBMC Read More .


4. Don’t Underestimate The Social Benefits

The above examples are mostly practical; how it helps you stop wasting time, or alternative sources where you can get your daily, or weekly fix. However, you also shouldn’t underestimate the detrimental effects television has on our interpersonal relationships. It has been shown that couples who watch more television bicker more, and have a generally less healthy relationship.

That isn’t to say you shouldn’t be able to enjoy your shows. But pushed too far, television can push us apart just as easily as it can bring us together.

Are you thinking about getting rid of cable? And if so, do you have any other motivations than the financial? Drop a line in the comments section below the article, and share your view on the subject!

Image credit: tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Related topics: Media Player, Netflix, Television.

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  1. scottb
    March 17, 2013 at 12:26 am

    internet TV is here to stay and will only get better. Looking foward to watching what I want when I want.

  2. scottb
    March 17, 2013 at 12:23 am
  3. Grr
    March 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    watching TV through Netflix or hulu is going to be more expensive given the bandwidth limitations/cost attached. However, given the cross-platform feature of these options, bed & a mobile device would eventually take place of the couch viewing. In all, the mode changes, nothing else.

    • Simon Slangen
      April 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Luckily, bandwidth is getting ever cheaper. :-)

  4. Austin H
    March 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    When I had cable--very briefly--I found that more often than not I would use it as background noise. At first this seemed harmless to me, but I eventually realized that it made doing whatever I was trying to do, like reading or even just doing laundry, take twice as long as it should have. It wasn't anything major, but I hated that something that should be quick like folding and putting away clothes would take 20 minutes as opposed to 10 minutes. That extra 10 minutes quickly added up through out the day and eventually the week.

    For me, the biggest reason to quit cable though was that it becomes addicting, or at least very, very habitual. It cut into time I could have spent on a fun, active hobby, or just getting stuff done.

  5. dragonmouth
    March 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    What is the difference between vegging out on the couch watching TV and vegging out on the couch (or wherever) watching Netflix or Hulu endlessly?

    • bigbob
      March 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

      Answer: The price!

      • dragonmouth
        March 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm


    • Austin H
      March 11, 2013 at 3:33 pm

      Good point. I think Simon was assuming that most people, wouldn't just jump from one to the other, or that they would spend that newly freed time doing other, "non-entertainment" things. Which might be a little more credit for a lot of people.

      It's hard to cut the cord on wanting/needing to be constantly entertained, especially when television, Hulu, Netflix, etc. make it so effortless. Having been overly obsessed with tv and videogames that going out with friends is just as entertaining, but it's often hard to even think of that as an option when you're so used to just turning something on to be amused almost endlessly.

  6. Dave Bakker
    March 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I cut the cord over a year ago, and have Netflix instead. Along with news apps for the news should I choose to read up or watch streaming summaries. Saving my self a lot of money going this route and I actually enjoy it much more. Thought I would miss sports, but there are numerous streaming sites for sports if I need to get a fix. I find sitting in a nice lazy boy with the ipad to stream news, or shows is quite nice. Like you mentioned in the article, many times the kids would be watching stuff just because it was on, and not because they liked the show. Also, that running to the set for a 8.00pm show, doesnt happen. With netflix we start when we are ready and pause when we need to do something. Will never go back

  7. Darrick T
    March 11, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I cut the cord 2 years ago and have not regretted it! Since hulu and or other on demand sites. I can catch what i missed or see movies that i can choose. This eliminates the hours spent waiting for something to come on!

    Good read.

  8. Pedro Antonio J
    March 11, 2013 at 6:43 am

    I use TV just for entertainment. I have the feeling that TV news are "cooked" some times. Radio seems to me to be more dynamic for that. TV series are the most consumed programs from my side and now you can have so many offers in internet. You have to think in establishing a media center at home whatever does it mean (XBMC, Android machine, ...) and get read of cable TV.

  9. Shawn
    March 11, 2013 at 6:31 am

    I live in South Africa where we have the choice of 4 public TV stations, a satellite provider who is massively overpriced and shows reruns of the same shows/movies for months at a time. And then we have the competition who is hampered by the fact that the first satellite provider buys the rights to everything for years in advance. So they also show only repeats but of 10 year old shows and movies.

    We're still fortunate enough to get uncapped broadband here, albeit not the fastest. It's still significantly cheaper than any of the other options.
    I still watch TV series and movies but now I get the series and movies I want to see when I want to see them on my schedule. I don't need to wait 3 years for someone to catch up. I get my news through multiple online sources that are customised for the topics I'm interested in.
    I haven't actually watched broadcast TV in over a year.

    I also found that, because I freelance from home and I wanted something on in the background, I ended up watching rubbish on TV all day. I mean real rubbish.
    I now get more work done. I read more books. I'm learning new languages. I have time to do online courses and learn new skills.

  10. Tate
    March 11, 2013 at 3:30 am

    "In my eyes, regular news broadcasts are one of the biggest advantages to television; they keep people up-to-date and informed."

    LOL. TV news is what keeps people uninformed. I ask people whose main source of news is television and they typically don't know what the NDAA of 2012 is, about Americans being assassinated by drones without trial, or what in the world the Federal Reserve does.

    So, yes, I agree with your recommendation to get your news from another source.

    • SimonSlangen
      March 11, 2013 at 8:40 am

      In that case, they're watching the wrong news. ;-)

      No, you're right. Not everyone has the benefit of good broadcast news.

      • dragonmouth
        March 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

        "Not everyone has the benefit of good broadcast news."
        Which begs the question "What constitutes good broadcast news?" For many Huffington Post is not it.

        • SimonSlangen
          March 11, 2013 at 3:54 pm

          Perhaps. Regardless, I posted this particular HP article because of the Time Magazine poll it references.

  11. Dane Morgan
    March 11, 2013 at 3:07 am

    For me first biggest advantage was the same as yours, but the massive reduction of news consumption was a very close second, and no I see news only when it is acutely tuned to my interests and I'm a lot less stressed over all the crap I can't change anyways.