This is part 2 of 2 about cutting the cord. If you missed part 1, read it here.
It’s been 4 years since my family last had cable TV in our home and closer to 7 years since we first canceled it. We re-subscribed in 2014 when we got a really good one year promotion, but canceled it for good when that deal expired. We really haven’t missed cable over this time period. Below are the details on how we cut the cord and never looked back!
My wife has never been into watching sports and I have been less interested as I’ve gotten older. By the time we cut the cable, I really only watched two sports or sporting events.
I have been an Atlanta Braves fan since I was a little kid, back when they were really bad in the 1980’s. That all changed in the 1990’s when they were one of the best teams of the decade. For the first year or two after cutting cable, I was able to keep tabs on the Braves by subscribing to the MLB At Bat app on iOS. There was a loophole where you could disable location services and use a VPN to watch in market games. That is how I was able to keep up with the Braves initially. That loophole was eventually closed when the app would no longer show you video if you did not enable location services. I stopped subscribing to their video product after that. I subscribed to the audio only version for another year or two but no longer pay for either subscription now.
Tour de France
I first got into Le Tour (aka The Tour de France), as many Americans did, during the Lance Armstrong years. Cycling appears as an individual sport to those unfamiliar with it, but that is absolutely not true. The tactics of the teams, race leaders, and the course are very interesting when you understand it all. I also enjoy seeing the French countryside in the TV coverage. Fortunately, there has been a way to stream the Tour for a number of years. I have paid for the NBC Sports Gold Cycling Package for many years now.
My wife and I have kept up with TV shows a few different ways.
Our Netflix DVD membership eventually turned into a Steaming only subscription and this is one way we have kept up on our TV shows. We don’t mind if we are a season behind what’s currently showing on TV. We also have an Amazon Prime membership and watch content on Prime Video as well.
We live fairly close to a number of local TV stations and are fortunate enough to be able to pick up HD TV signals with a digital antenna. We use a Mohu Leaf antenna to pick up the TV signals. We then feed the signal from the Mohu Leaf into an HDHomerun Extend and use the Channels app to view live content on our TV. I have used both an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid running on a Mac and a Plex Pass subscription running on a Synology to record TV shows from the antenna. Those recordings go into iTunes or Plex so they can be played back on other devices in our home. Our current setup utilizes the Synology and Plex.
On the rare occasion when the TV recording fails or I somehow miss an episode, we may purchase the episode on iTunes.
My father-in-law has a mountain house and has a Direct TV subscription for TV service. We are able to utilize that Direct TV account to authenticate to a few apps on Apple TV. We don’t utilize it very much, but we do watch a little content that we wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Netflix and Amazon Prime are our primary ways to watch movies. In addition to that, we occasionally get movies from our local library. Even more rarely, we’ll rent one on iTunes or buy a physical DVD or Blu-ray.
I never watched much news on Cable TV, but I realize that is something that many households watch. We have the ability to watch local news via our over the air HD antenna. Besides that, most of our other news comes from online sources.
In recent years, content from other sources has become a bigger part of my life. I listen to a number of podcasts, mostly while I commute to work and do chores around the house. In the past few years, I have watched more YouTube as well. Once every year or two a game on my iPhone will capture my attention for a while. The occasional free audiobook from the library or a digital book from a variety of sources (library, Humble Bundle, Kindle Store) rounds out the “Other Content” category.
Overall, I watch less TV now than I did when we first cut the cord. Much of that has to do with the fact that I have children now and there is frankly not much time for TV watching. I feel like the inability to channel surf has played into the reduction of TV time too. As I stated in part 1 of this series, I really wanted to do other things with my TV time and that is what I have done. Over the past two years I have switched positions at work and obtained two job related certifications. Later this year I’ll be studying for a third certification. I could not have achieved either of those accomplishments without setting aside significant study time outside of work.
Has your family cut the cord? Share your experience in the comments below!