This is going to sound really dumb after reading the title, but hear me out. OH GOD WHY WON’T YOU ALL GIVE ME A CHANCE?!?
Here at Chateau Financial Uproar, we currently don’t have cable. We have a Netflix subscription Vanessa pays for out of the allowance I give her each month ($46 and not a nickel more) and I enjoy watching the odd baseball game from MLB.TV. I’m too cheap to pay for a subscription to that particular service, so I use my buddy’s account.
I then used his password to hack into his email account, where I responded to a Nigerian price. Turns out that one was legit, and he is now a millionaire.
Anyhoo, cutting cable isn’t such a hard sacrifice. We just turn on Netflix and go to town if we’re in the mood to watch TV. If I want to watch a sporting event like the NFL, I’ll either go to a friend’s house or just find a stream online. This isn’t really a problem because I so rarely watch games.
I’ve cut my television watching to virtually nothing, in other words. I might watch two or three hours of TV a week, choosing instead to spend my leisure time reading books for free, looking at stupid gifs on Reddit, or throwing things at my cat so it’ll leave me the hell alone. I guess I’ve also been trying to spend more time with actual people rather than what I did previously, which was mostly brooding and yelling at teens to get off my damn lawn.
Speaking of stupid gifs, here is my favorite one.
I guaran-damn-tee you at least one squirrel was harmed in making that gif.
If you’re like me and you just stop watching TV, then by all means. Cancel your cable and never go back.
Where I have an issue is with folks who end up cutting cable and then don’t decrease their television usage. These people want to have their cake and to eat it too. They desire the ability to watch TV almost like normal without paying any of the associated cost.
Related: How to get (nearly) free TV
They’ll do a number of things to get that sweet free TV. Installing an antenna is usually their first step, a move that gets them anywhere from two to about ten free channels over the air. They’ll rave about the quality of the picture. Because hey, the only thing better than HD is free HD, amirite?
Except unless you live in a very specific part of Southern Ontario, you’re only getting a handful of channels for free over the air at best. And even then, who cares? You’re getting CBC for free. That network shows four shows and twenty hours a day of highly entertaining test patterns.
Call me when I can get HBO for free. I’ll get excited then.
The next step is usually getting one of those Android boxes that are preloaded with all sorts of ways to get pirated TV shows, movies, pornography, and probably the feed to your neighbor’s nanny cam. In theory, these boxes can give somebody access to a whole internet worth of media. It’s a cutting cable orgasm in a plastic box.
Reality is a whole lot different, though. I’ve talked to a few people who got these boxes, and it’s the same refrain over and over again. They’re great at first, but then access to the media starts getting taken away as hosting sites and apps are shut down by the Feds. Within a few months people have abandoned them because it takes more time to find an episode of The Big Bang Theory than it does to watch it.
And then when you do find a stream, the picture quality is hot garbage. I went through this while living in South Korea a couple years back when I wanted to watch the Super Bowl. I was able to find a stream online and use my Chromecast to watch the game on our provided TV set. But the picture looked like blurry ass. The TV could handle 1080p. The picture quality was about 6p.
And if that’s not enough, the damn feed buffers every 14 seconds, magically right when DREAMY Tom Brady was about to throw a pass. Remember when Seattle lost that Super Bowl on that dumb passing play on the goal line? What I remember is Twitter losing their minds and then my slow-ass stream telling me what happened twenty seconds later.
Life is too short to watch crummy streams and trying to figure out where you can find the latest episode of your favorite show.
When you think about it, TV is terrific value. Where else can you get hours of entertainment for $2 or $3 per day?
Yeah, a certain amount of TV is trash. But come the hell on. There’s a reason why The Bachelor is still on the air after 5,203 seasons. It’s because people eat that crap up.
Readers like to belittle TV watchers as slack-jawed yokels, barely able to stop drooling over themselves long enough to watch the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Meanwhile, readers are buying cheap romance or mystery paperbacks that are just as consumable as the latest Hollywood blockbuster. And at least some TV watchers are watching PBS.
If you get value from TV, go ahead and keep your package. And if you don’t, then start cutting cable with all the gusto of Taylor Swift being crazy. But as it exists today, free or nearly-free streaming options have a lot to be desired. If you value your time–and you should–then just pay the damn cable bill.