Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tightwad tuesday: fire your cable/satellite provider

Back in April, Jim and I decided it was finally time to call and cancel our satellite service. We just couldn't justify spending $80 a month for dozens of channels we didn't even watch. We also reasoned we'd waste less time sitting on the couch channel-surfing by simply not having the option available--which has turned out to be true; our evenings and weekends are much more productive now!

We'd been gearing up for the switch for several months. Techno-geek that he is, Jim wasn't satisfied with just streaming shows through his X-box--no, he took part of our tax return and bought a new computer that would be our dedicated home-entertainment unit with all the bells, whistles and yes, a Blu-Ray drive, to run our favorite shows and movies in HD on our 72" flat-screen TV (Jim's 40th birthday present last year).

You can, however, go cable/satellite-free for a lot less than we did. With a few inexpensive cables, you can connect your computer to your television and watch your favorite shows through Hulu or Netflix for a significantly lower cost, or sometimes even the network websites for free.

If you still want to be able to pick up your local channels, you can do so with a good-quality antenna. In fact, Jim built one himself using instructions he found at Makeprojects.com, for about $15. With the new antenna, we pick up almost a dozen local channels, most of them in HD quality.

So, if you find the thought of "killing your TV" too extreme, you can at least cut back on your costs (and consumption) by cancelling your cable and watching only those shows you really want.

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