Like buying a new 75″ TV each year and tossing it in the dumpster.


What if you could eliminate your gas bill and still drive 95% of the places you currently go? Or stop paying for heating by keeping your thermostat two degrees cooler? These aren’t possible, but you can stop paying for TV and still watch most of your favorite shows.

Budgets are tight. But most people are still reluctant to give up cable. Even when it may be financially crazy to keep it. Paying $95/month for cable? That’s over $1100 a year. Or enough to buy a 75 inch flatscreen TV each year.

Save the money or put it towards that new big screen TV. Then use free digital broadcast TV and avoid paying monthly cable tv fees. Save the money and earn interest on it. With a 6% rate of return…

  • After 3 years you will have saved $3747
  • After 5 years you will have saved $6648
  • After 10 years you will have saved $15,621
  • After 20 years you will have saved $44,083

Congratulations! You have now turned a major expense into an investment.

What are you missing? Not much. We did it and still watch all our favorite shows. Most were broadcast (Lost, 24, etc.) . Using a $16 digital antenna our picture quality is actually better than our old digital cable. Most of our favorite cable shows (Daily Show, Colbert Report) are available for free on the Internet. Our kids watch videos on and and we get current movies and HBO shows with a Netflix subscription.

Next: What is free digital broadcast TV?

12 thoughts on “Like buying a new 75″ TV each year and tossing it in the dumpster.

  1. Ten Years ago I noticed the quality of Television Programming was heading south. As the years went by I saw more and more quality Drama and Comedy Shows get taken off the air and replaced with Shoddy “Reality”, Game, and News Shows. If that wasn’t bad enough I also noticed the number of Commercials aired during each show increase.

    On January 2, 2007 I stopped watching Cable TV. I took all of the Equipment that belonged to the Cable TV Company and dropped it off at one of their Customer Service Centers and Cancelled my Subscription. The money I used to spend (About $65.00/Month) is now used to Purchase DVDs of my favorite Shows and Movies. By keeping my eyes on the Bargain Bins I purchase 3-5 DVD Box Sets each month. 18 Months later I have amassed almost 7,000 Hours of TV Shows and Movies on DVDs. I actually ENJOY my evenings in front of the TV Again. All my Programs are shown uncut, with no Interruptions, and no Logos, Pop-Ups, Scrolls and Banners blotting out the Screen. I get my news from the Morning Paper and the Internet, and if there is a Sports Event that I want to see there are two Sports Bars within walking distance of my House. I do not miss Cable TV at all! I invite anyone who reads this to join me. You will not regret it!

  2. I recently bought a netflix Roku box for my tv for $99.00. Now for $8.99 a month I can watch as much as I want of a wide selection of movies, TV shows and documentarys. I use my computer to build my netflix que then using my high speed internet connection, my 802.11G wireless box and the Roku box hooked to my 58″ TV I can get great movies and TV shows in a quality that is at most all times very very close to DVD. Some older movies have poorer quality but thats due to the source material not the netflix system.

    Its cheap, its easy to setup, easy to use and and great quality.

  3. Pingback: We’re canceling our cable (and still watching our favorite shows) | Sense to Save

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  5. Hi! I have been looking for ways to kick cable for a long time, waiting for a moment when I can do things “seamlessly.” That won’t happen for lots of reasons, but the huge range of alternatives, all with significant trade-offs, is hard to digest. I think I have my own first step, after a bit of looking here and other places, but what would really be useful to me is something I haven’t seen yet, and probably something your site can do: list the different alternatives with pros and cons, to compare them.

    For example, category 1: computer only, with a bunch of services listed and their trade-offs; category 2, computer-assisted but watch on a TV, with the different devics and how they work; category 3, with no computer at all; and probably a miscellaneous category as well. Columns in the table could include availability of high-rated shows (i.e., 90%, 50%, etc.); availability of movies; availability of specialty programming (sci-fi, educational, nat geo, etc), historical archive availability (I Love Lucy, Get Smart, Kung Fu episodes); and of course, cost. Then, for folks like me, you could have other factors like “this cannot be bundled with phone service” or “this requires a superfast internet connection” or “you need one unit / TV”; and of course cost. One area where cable still beats most alternatives is that it is easy to understand. I bet if the alternatives were just explained better the cable companies would reduce their rates tomorrow, and people would still leave. Anyway, if you have an updated chart like that, your traffic would skyrocket.

  6. I cancelled my cable a little less than 17 years ago and never looked back. I missed Mystery Science Theater 3000 but that was it. I cancelled because my cable provider raised my rate from the sum of $28.00 to $32.00 in December of ’91 and then raised it again to $35.00 in January of ’92. I called to cancel my service and the cable company tried to convince me to keep my service and complained that due to re-regulation of cable they had to do this. I asked them what their excuse was for December ’91 because it was un-regulated back then. No response. They gave me a grace period until April which gave me two more months of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and when that ended I cancelled. Cable rate increase problem, SOLVED!

    I took the money I saved went to Radio Shack and bought a standard set of VHF rabbit ears and a bow tie stack antenna for UHF and they worked great even when TV was just analog.

    I will now let you in on a dirty secret the cable company won’t tell you. I am a ham radio operator and one day I was talking to another ham over my mobile radio. He was a broadcast engineer and he told me how the cable company manipulates the color balance and as a result the picture quality suffers in comparison to over the air TV. I don’t know for sure but I suspect it may be that the cable company does this so that they can squeeze more channels into the limited bandwidth of their cable runs. Well enough of that.

    I really didn’t miss very much because most of the best programming is still on over-the-air TV. (Accepting perhaps “The Sopranos” and the occasional good made-for cable movie” Still those are now available from Netflix and Hulu. It’s important to note here that ‘free’ TV is not really free. If you buy any marketed product you are already paying for ‘free’ TV when you go shopping. So you might as well take advantage of what you have already paid for. Paying twice for the same over-the-air programming because you have cable makes no sense at all unless you live far out from the city where you can’t receive the signal. This was the original reason cable companies came into being. They did not offer any better service. Today there are translators, devices that repeat the signal, so that people in places to remote to receive the original signal can receive them. Translator stations in the U.S. are given call signs which begin with a W or K (respectively east or west of the Mississippi River, as with regular stations), followed by a channel number, and two serial letters for each channel. (The first stations on that channel are AA, AB, AC, and so on.) Television channels are always two-digit, from 02 to 67.

    Today I use my UHF bow tie antenna exclusively for my widescreen digital LCD HDTV. The reception is perfect and all the major stations get full bars. It’s like plugging a HD camera right into the HDMI port. There are additional digital stations off of the majors and while the programming is not much to write home about you can occasionally find a decent movie on some of the digital channels off of one of the majors. I caught a 2004 movie “In Enemy Hands” about a German and captured American crew on board a fictitious U-boat U-429 during World War II. So it’s very easy to leave cable behind.

    If you’re a fan of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart fret not. You can catch it on and you can even watch the Colbert Report too. For other programs is a gem. I have caught up on many old Twilight Zone episodes and the old Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episodes. The black and white ones are good but the color ones just descended into acute silliness with the monster of the week.

    So in conclusion there is life beyond cable especially if you don’t watch too much TV.

  7. Thinking about canceling cable but dont know what I will miss or what the wife will miss. Here is my plan, which needs some answers.
    1. Buy Roku
    2. Get the cheap netflix plan
    So if I do the above here are my questions:
    I am paying 130 for FIOS Internet, Cable and phone, so if I get the netflix that will be $9.
    I then need to get the phone service and Internet separately, so when I look at the verizon plan it tells me that is about $60 for 6 months then it goes up to about 80.
    1. How can I keep the soap operas and the wifes favorite shows like big brother, think you dance and america talent or something like that

  8. I cancelled our cable about a month ago and haven’t missed it at all. We watch a lot of Netflix and some Hulu now. My kids can watch the shows they love (like Nick Jr. shows) without all the commercials I was paying $60 a month for and it’s easier to monitor how long they spend watching TV since they can’t just go over to the set and turn it on, zoning out on it for hours on end. I now pay $35 a month for all our family entertainment.

  9. This weekend we are taking back out cable box but because we only get three channels via digital broadcast TV we will have to pay for the basic cable. The cost will be $14.00 but that is much better than $64.00. I am excited about the savings. I am going buy equipment to stream in Hulu Plus so I can watch the shows I like any time. If that all works out I might just cancel the cable TV all together.

    Thanks for a great site!

  10. I was paying about $60 a month for cable channels I never watched. Mostly watched On-Demand of shows I missed not being home during “prime-time”. I added Netflix awhile back for less than $10 a month and started watching it about 90% of the time. I bought the Roku XDS and love all the things I can add to it from both the channel store and Private channel codes that can be added via the website. I have about 30 things on there now. I updated my Network to Gigabit and Wireless N for about what 2 months of cable cost and dropped all but the Internet from my provider. Now that the wife knows she can still see everything she watches (and in better quality than what we had from the cable TV), we are both very satisfied not having the cable box anymore. No to little commercials anymore as well. We now have money to buy a blu-ray player and start a collection of disks. Between the streaming HD and the Blu-Rays, I finally feel like I actually getting something from having an HD TV now. Something I wasn’t getting from cable.

  11. My cable bill was 205.00 a month for a bundled package of cable, internet, and phone. I cancelled my cable and telephone service and just kept the internet. I use Roku and I subscribe to hulu and netflix.

    Here are my savings.
    Was paying 205.00 a month
    Now paying 65.00 a month for internet
    hulu & netflix 16.00 a month

    Now my savings is about 125.00 a month. Crazy right? In a year, I will save $1500.00. We are all making these big cable companies rich.

    As far as a home phone, I have the new magic jack plus for $29.95 and it works great. The new version plugs right into your router and you no longer have to keep your computer on to use it.

    So what am I missing since cancelling cable? NOTHING! Since I no longer have a DVR through my cable company, I find all my favorite shows on hulu. Netflix offers me movies that are more recent than offered on the premium movie channels like HBO, Showtime, ect. There are also other FREE movie channels on the Roku like Crackle and Popcornflix. Best thing I ever did was dump cable.

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