Can I Give Up TV?

I’ve been thinking more and more about ending my monthly Direct TV subscription. These days I find myself watching less and less TV. On most days I only watch twice a day. After work I like to decompress with an old episode of Seinfeld and before I head to bed I usually watch Family Guy or American Dad. I also watch Lost once a week and the Hills, (yes I know I’m not 16), every so often.

The only exception to this rule occurs from November to March when I watch Maryland’s away games on TV. (Go Terps!) Oh yeah, and I always try to watch most of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, but almost all of these programs are on local channels. Besides the occasional need for ESPN or the Discovery Channel I really have no need for satellite or cable.

Right now my Direct TV bill is just over $80. $80 isn’t a ton of money, but it seems like an awful lot when you consider that I’m only watching two new episodes each week. I figured I could probably purchase the old episodes of Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, etc. on DVD at relatively cheap prices from eBay. It also looks like I can watch my occasional episode of the Hills right from

So do I really need to keep Direct TV? If you’ve given up TV or thought about giving up TV but decided you can’t live without it, please leave me a comment.

13 thoughts on “Can I Give Up TV?”

  1. We gave up basic extended cable last July. Savings of $50/month. I miss Discovery Health and TLC. But, my life is really fine without them. I have preschoolers and the two PBS stations we get give them more (much more)shows than they need to watch. We talked about getting basic cable for around $12/month, but the antenna basically gives us the same thing. If your TV is old you will need a converter after next February when they won’t broadcast the same way. We got a newer tv and the digital broadcast is fine. I would make the decision to go cable-free much sooner if I had to go back in time. TV, I can live without. Internet connection would be much harder for me!

  2. We contemplated giving up tv for 6 full months before we bit the bullet and did it.
    After getting through a few instances where we reached for the remote and then felt bummed out that we didn’t have anything to watch, we quickly got over it and now spend our time reading and working on projects of interest.
    Getting rid of our cable tv was one of the very best decisions we have ever made! We do supplement with a small netflix subscription, but we still find that we spend significantly less time watching anything at all. Do it!

  3. Do not look at it as giving up TV, but consider changing how you get your media delivered. If you can pick up any channels over the air, a HD Tivo can give you the time shifting / recording (great for catching those old episodes of Seinfield.) I do that now, get NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CW and RTN Over the air (and the high def chanels look better than they did on HD cable.) As for content like the discovery channel I will either buy from Amazon unbox (and have sent to my tivo) or buy though itunes). Another option would be a small $ 5 – $ 9 membership to netflix. This system has a little startup cost with setting up the tivo service and buying the box, but overall dramatically slashes the cost while still providing a ton of fun content to veg out to (and does not require watching from a computer screen).

  4. you can get bare-bones basic cable here for like 12 bucks a month…and those channels still tend to have a seinfeld, king of queens, etc.when you need one…we cancel our HD service after the superbowl and then sign back up when college football starts in september…i think it gives our lives a nice balance.

  5. We gave up paying for tv when we moved from a apartment to a house. I really thought I would miss the food network, but it is amazing how many channels and shows we can get through our antenna.

    The switched has also broken us of the habit of just leaving the tv on in the background all the time. We just watch the shows we want to watch and then turn it off.

    Plus, we have gotten great deals on previously rental dvds at places like Movie Trading Company of shows that we like to watch occassionally.

    Go for it! You won’t regret it.

  6. When we had cable, I found that all I was watching was the movies on HBO and such. I wasn’t watching many of the TV shows. Instead of my $80 cable bill, I now have $17 for Netflix. It’s worked great for me. Now I get to pick which movies I watch and any TV series’ I like are generally out on DVD soon after the season ends. Plus Netflix now has their on-demand service for movies that you can watch on your PC. I take my laptop and hang out on the couch. That’s not really a solution for sports fans, but if you’re a movie buff, Netflix is awesome.

  7. I got rid of the high priced directv package. I have the family package for $29.99 a month. This provides my son with Disney and Nick and I can see my “new” shows on the network channels. During the xmas holiday I will get the basic package so I can see my Lifetime movies (I’m addicted) and then change back. Directv had me sign a contract tho so check before you get a $200 termination bill!

  8. I gave up cable completely late last year, and I haven’t missed it (okay, well I miss Jon Stewart, but. . . .) It’s saving me $37 a month. Here’s a tip: downgrade first, and see how you like it. I was paying for HD cable first, then downgraded to ‘regular’ cable, decreasing the number of channels I can get. Now I just use an antenna and I get local channels, including the public TV station.

    You’ll find that you’ll spend your time in better ways: hanging out with friends and family, taking a class, working out, reading books or magazines. I work two jobs and go to school, and I’m much more productive. I’m not sure I’ll ever pay for cable again (never say never, though. . . .)

  9. Wow! Thank you all for your comments. I’m happy to read that so many of you have given up or cut back on cable and satellite TV.

    In case we’re not ready to cut the cord entirely it looks like we can reduce our monthly bill from $79.99 a month to $29.99 by downgrading to the family package. That is a great suggestion that will allow us to take baby steps toward the end goal.

    Of course, after reading finally frugal’s comment I realized that cutting out satellite means cutting out the Colbert Report. A show my husband and I watch on occasion.

    So I thought about s.abott’s suggestion and looked into purchasing those programs from itunes. It looks like the episodes are a day or two behind, but that will probably do just fine. For $1.99 an episode we could watch 20 episodes a month, (which is more than we’d ever watch), and still pay far less than we do for satellite.

    My husband’s going to do a little research into the Apple TV and in the mean time we’re going to start renting some of my favorite shows on Netflix.

    In a month or two I hope to report that we’ve cut out satellite entirely!

  10. Don’t forget, you can watch just about any popular TV show online. has all the Lost seasons streaming in HD. The quality is great and it is free if you have a broadband internet connection. Checkout all the different networks’ websites to see what shows are online. You may have to watch a show a day after it airs, but it’s worth it, IMO.


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