Unplugging your cable or satellite can help you save money for a world-hopping adventure, and it will make you more productive, too! But you don’t actually have to give up your favorite shows. With a computer and a decent internet connection, you can ditch the monthly cable bill without missing out on the stuff you really want to watch.
We used to have a gorgeous 60″ high definition TV, and a $100 cable bill every month to go with it. But despite the near-infinite number of channels, there were really only a few hours of programming each week that we really wanted to watch. The rest of the time we were just mindlessly surfing to see “what’s on”, or leaving it on as background noise.
Realizing this made it easier to unplug that big, pretty distraction and sell it to fund a couple weeks of our adventure and save money every month toward that goal. But we weren’t ready to give up our favorite shows, so we took advantage of the following:
Watch TV Online
hulu is a free internet streaming service owned by 3 of the major networks, and one of the best ways to watch TV online – with limited commercial interruptions as an added bonus! Between this site and the other network websites, you can keep up with nearly all the most popular shows on TV today.
With Netflix, for less than $10 per month you can get DVDs mailed to your house every few days plus access to their growing library of streaming movies and TV shows. You can watch them instantly on you computer or on your TV set (if you haven’t sold it yet) through your Xbox, PS3 or Wii game console (and certain dvd players). We used this to catch up on all the shows we missed during our world tour.
When all else fails, you can always buy episodes of your favorite shows on iTunes for $2-$3 each. Still much cheaper than a monthly cable subscription, as long as you don’t get too carried away.
Watching Sports Without a TV
ESPN streams some college games live, along with recaps & highlights of major pro sports. You can watch a graphic representation of just about any game using their GameCast service:
Your local sports bar is another good option: let them pay for the NFL Sunday ticket, you can borrow it for the price of a drink or two. It’s more fun to watch sports in a group setting anyway.
Other Ways to Watch TV Without a Subscription:
Friends / Neighbors: find someone you know who has a TV and likes the same shows you do, then suggest having a little watching party at their place – you can bring refreshments.
The Gym: lots of them have their treadmills, bikes & stuff wired for cable. Get a workout while you watch!
The Black Market: As someone who works in the video content production industry, I’m not a big fan of piracy. But nowadays you can find just about anything online somewhere, if you’re willing to hunt for it. Just watch out for viruses, OK?
Unplugging your cable saves time, too!
Without all the commercials, an hour-long episode of your favorite show takes less than 45 minutes to watch online. Plus, just turning off the constant flow of programming from a cable or satellite dish allows you to be more conscious about how much TV you watch, making it easier to free up time for more important things – like planning your escape!
These strategies have worked so well for us that 2 years later, we still haven’t bothered to get a cable or satellite subscription. We don’t miss it – and we don’t miss our favorite shows, either.
Ready to give it a try? Got any other unconventional TV tips? Tell me about it!