2.17.2011


Allow me to illustrate our household relationship with television over the years.

2002: Jamie moves in with Ben. They have no cable, and mostly watch DVDs, if anything. This suits them just fine. They are not that into TV.

2008: Carinna moves in with Jamie and Ben and insists on cable. Fine, Jamie and Ben are flexible, the household gets cable.

2008: Carinna moves out, but Jamie is now addicted to cable. Or more specifically, DVR, which allows her to watch all of the shows she has become addicted to as an escape from the stresses of working + studying architecture. The cable does not move out.

2009: In a fit of budgeting, Jamie cancels the cable. Ben (ever easy going) is fine with this decision. Jamie and Ben go back to watching DVDs, and keep up with shows as required on the internet.

Early 2010: Jamie gets a big shiny new computer. More and more often, Ben and Jamie watch their DVDs on the computer, whose screen is so much better than their TV screen. They donate their crappy old TV and DVD player.

Late 2010: Jamie decides that she misses TV. She misses cable. She does not want to keep using her computer as a TV. She wants to be able to have endless choices of channels to surf through when she is big and giant and tired in her pregnancy, and during all those late night feedings she hears about. She wants to be able to DVR things like gossip girl so that she does not get so behind that the episodes are too old to find online, but too new for netflix. She wants to get the computer out of the damn living room in order to make room for a Christmas tree. Ben is supportive. They start looking at flat screens.

2011: Christina knocks sense into Jamie: as soon as that baby starts turning his head toward the screen, you won't be watching much TV, she tells her. This revelation changes everything.


So now we have come full circle and decided not to get a new TV, not to have cable, and to keep watching DVDs and streaming shows on the internet. I feel really relieved about the decision, actually. The only thing I am worried about is when True Blood starts back up. I don't mind being a season behind. Except for when I have to hear about it on twitter all. the. time. So let's try and keep it to a minimum, shall we? Just a little?

How about you guys? Do you all have & love your cable, and find me completely insane? Also, should I edit this entire post so that I am not refering to myself in the third person?


photo by Noele Lusano

38 comments:

  1. When we moved to the US we looked at the cost of cable and decided pretty rapidly against it. We have a TV for DVD and Netflix watching and then Hulu on the Laptop. I love the way it's turned out and don't feel like I waste quite as much time channel surfing aimlessly...

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  2. Right now, I'm in an apartment in my parents' house, so I don't have cable in my apartment, but I could easily go upstairs and use it whenever I want. I mostly DVR House (I know), but could easily find it online. Since I was without cable for five years before moving back with them, I don't think it's something I'll ever want again, but I may change my mind when I'm a little older and sick of watching things on my netbook. (Actually, I'm already sick of watching things on my netbook, but my boyfriend has a MacBook with a huge screen, and is generous in letting me watch it, so we'll see how long that suffices!)

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  3. I'm kind of addicted. Mostly because I can't watch any of my soccer games without it (which means we have to have the 2nd most expensive Uverse option out there, ugh).

    I don't find you completely insane, though. I think not having tv is actually a pretty good decision with a little one about to arrive. Kids seem to watch entirely too much tv these days.

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  4. My husband and I haven't had cable for two years and we don't miss it at all. We bought a new set of rabbit ears and they pick up all the local channels just fine if we want. We watch a handful of shows on Hulu and rent from our library's crazy huge collection of shows and movies. It works out pretty great.

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  5. My husband and I have cable. We are the HBO mecca for our friends.

    I think its great that you don't have cable or tv.

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  6. No cable since age 18. We watch all of the cable series on DVD and it doesn't bother us a bit.

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  7. i promise that i will never, ever talk about true blood on twitter.

    i'd love to kill the cable, but english football is one of joe's greatest joys. if we pulled the plug on that, he'd have every reason to start questioning my interest in buying books in hardcover on a regular basis. no one wants that.

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  8. I haven't had a television in five years. There's too much mean stuff on there.

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  9. ah, the age old problem of shows being too old for hulu, but not old enough for netflix. TOTALLY hear you on that one. I haven't had cable in three years and at this point I'm totally content watching stuff on hulu/netflix. sounds like like a good decision for the little one!

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  10. I used to be super addicted to my tv/cable & dvr. Then I moved out on my own and wasn't sure how my budget would fit in the expense, so I decided to just stick with the free channels, netflix, and whatever I could watch online. A year later I don't miss it at all. Yeah, sometimes I have moments where I would kill to just have Bravo, since they are super stingy with their online content, but otherwise I'm doing well. The one show I couldn't give up is Top Chef, so I purchase it on itunes. I figure 25 bucks every 3 or 4 months is still way cheaper than a regular cable bill.
    I do think I waste less time, read more, and watch some better content (documentaries & indies on netflix rule!).

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  11. Because all of the shows I enjoy watching (twin peaks, arrested development, flight of the conchords) are old enough and not shown regularly on t.v. (aside from portlandia) I have no need for a television. Plus, I like watching movies better. If I did, I would end up wasting unnecessary hours watching things I regret afterward (i.e. I used to be fat, I didn't know I was pregnant, etc... you get the idea).
    I think that it is a brilliant idea to raise children without cable and today, there is so much on the internet, I think that an actual television is unnecessary. I plan on doing the same and getting old episodes of sesame street and mr. rogers to show.
    Good choice! And I'm glad you've come full circle.

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  12. nope. i like third person jamie.
    honestly, we shell out quite a few dollars for cable specifically for mad men and now, pawn stars (for joe) and storage wars (for me), and it's totally worth it for us. being a season behind on mad men is something i. just. can't. handle. joe and i don't really like movies (i know, we're weird), so having cable just works best for us. i guess everyone's different. i do have a "one tv" rule, though. which means that i don't think it will be necessary for us to EVER own more than one tv, and it will always stay in a living room/den setting. my brother is one of those people who has a tv in practically every room of his house, including his kitchen. that's just crazy.

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  13. When Francis and I moved in together he broke the news that he wasn't planning on shelling out the dough for cable.

    Me: "WHAT? Yeah, that's not gonna fly..."

    But, I stuck it out and 2 years later, no cable. We have a projector for hulu/netflix and it suits us just fine. I actually like it much better than having cable. With cable, it's just too easy after a long day to come home, sit down, and turn it on. With our projector we have to go on hulu or netflix, FIND something to watch, TURN on the projector and the speakers, etc.

    Suffice to say I read a lot more, and I like that.

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  14. My roommate and I cancelled cable last summer- and it has been a great decision. Basically anything that I want to watch, I can get on hulu. If I have a hankering for live TV, I can use the gym membership I replaced my cable bill with, and watch it there while working out. It was a fabulous trade, and I don't regret it in the slightest!

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  15. We've never owned a TV together. We're in a furnished temporary place right now, and it has a TV, but we've only turned it on once. Plus, all the programming is in German so it's not exactly entertaining.

    We watch movies on our laptops, and sometimes buy television shows on iTunes. We've had Netflix in the past. I'd like a more comfy set up someday, but it's not high on the list.

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  16. I'm addicted.

    I grew up without a television, went through college without one and then moved in with D and we got cable + dvr. It was all over.

    I'm just not a movie person (poor D - it's like pulling teeth to get me to sit still for a full movie at home), but I looooove TV shows. I save entire seasons of stuff on our DVR so I can re-watch shows when I need to do tedious crafting projects.

    I kept considering dropping it and making do, but honestly? We love watching TV together, and we have several shows that we like watching but wouldn't be able to get online. So whatever. We're keeping it.

    Weird thing though - I almost never channel surf. If there isn't something in my DVR that I want to watch, I'll re-watch something. I hate commercials that much.

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  17. I haven't owned a TV in 8 years (whoa, feels weird to figure out the math), but I often want to get one, but no cable, just to watch movies on because moving my computer to somewhere that we can watch movies on is a pain in the ass. BUT! I don't miss TV. However DVR didn't exist back when I had a TV so I don't miss what I never knew the wonders of?

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  19. We are a no TV household. In my land on the other side, cable is not that good anyway. We love it. It kind of makes the place a sanctuary. There are plenty of studies about screen-time and small children. But I have friends who warned me that I would just have to get a TV once the baby was born. You know for those night feeds and when they need quiet time in the afternoon i.e. when toddlers go batshit crazy. But so far, no. He is now 18 months, doesn't go particularly crazy in the afternoon and has no patience for TV at friends and relatives houses. As for DVDs. Yes well I do like watching them, but sleep and being with my man take priority so we watch less now. Oh, and recently, seeing as said child has officially taken over all of the former study, we got an old bureau desk for our living room. It folds out and hides our computer when not in use.

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  20. Tricia2:56 PM

    We haven't had cable in years, but that doesn't stop me from watching tv. With all the online options, it's kind of silly to pay for cable. We do have the Roku player for netflix, which is AWESOME! Not only can you watch all of the watch it nows, but it now has Hulu plus, which I hear is pretty cool. I would get a tv, but not cable...you really don't need it, but only watching stuff on the computer gets annoying.

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  21. We have a TV which is as deep as it is wide and tall. It cost 30 dollars on Craig's list. This TV is hooked up to an amazing device called WDTV which can be plugged into a flash drive or hard drive. It has its own remote and you can put anything you want to watch on the flash drive. It is awesome! Kind of like DVR I guess, you can put shows or movies on it then watch it when you feel like it.

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  22. Resist it. We don't have cable, and yet I seem to manage to watch a fair bit of telly via the internet. If you're not too fussy about the legality of streaming sites, I end up watching things on Megavideo and Sidereel and Zshare a fair bit. If you're a thrifter, you'll be good at hunting until you find a quality stream. I'm perfectly content with this system, and—oh, I mean, Jasmine is perfectly content with this system, and she is particularly pleased to think she won't be rotting her kids' brains with TV in the future. :)

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  23. Ha, love this, I have the same love/hate relationship with cable, and TV in general. Sometimes I feel like it's sucking all my time, energy and creativity, but... but.. I love it! I used to have no TV, and stream shows thru the internet like you guys, but I moved from the UK to New Zealand where technology seems to be 10 years behind: you have to pay for a limited amount of internet, and pay fines for going over (or buy more) every month! This is shocking to a girl like me. So only worthy movies are downloaded, and everything else seen on cable

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  24. P.S. I also agree it's great not to have TV for a small child!

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  25. First of all... this post is pretty funny. Second of all... I have never had cable in my entire life. Not as a child, a teenager, or an adult and I'm really happy about this. I'm also happy that I never opted to get it. I have a few choice shows on dvd and what I don't get to see, I watch online, but for the most part I have no favorite cable shows. Also... I think that if I had cable, I wouldn't get half as much done as I do now. It's a nice treat when I go to a friends house to relax, but it's just not for me... and that's because my parents raised me without it. Thanks mom and dad :)

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  26. i SO want to cancel my cable and just get an apple TV. we all go to a friend's house every sunday night during summer to watch true blood... i'm totally with you. i can't deal with the tweets and FB posts and i'm already DYING for this season so no way in hell would i want to be a season behind! anyway, get a TV but not cable. it's a waste when you can stream it all.

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  27. We were seriously addicted to cable and the DVR. But then our cable box stopped working and we were too busy to call AT&T. We realized that we didn't even miss cable. Now I just watch Buffy and Bill watches Battlestar Gallactica on Netflix streaming (and sometimes Glee on Hulu). It's quite nice though I do miss the news sometimes....and Conan.

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  28. Dude, you made the right decision.

    When we moved to JTree we had the same predicament- to cable or not to cable. In the end we decided to take the money we would have spent on cable each month and spend it on groceries for dinner parties with friends. And we actually did it. Farmer's market veggies and good wine in the hi-dez are pricy, as you know, so it kind of gave us permission to go full-out and put some killer menus together and share with the people we loved.

    So spend the dough on the kid, or renovating the shed into the studio. Or one last restive weekend at the ACE before Hankypants shows up. You won't miss all that fun garbage on cable *that* much.

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  29. we have a tv. it's hooked up to our wii and our dvd player. netflix is our besssssst friend.

    cable is our worst enemy.

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  30. 2006: senior year of college, melissa moves into 4 bedroom apartment - finally having a room to herself. depressed (new birth control & a lingering break up) and armed with a DVR for the first time in her life, she records (AND WATCHES) 23 hours of tv a week. TWENTY THREE! it is important to note she is a tv/radio/film major (but come on.. 23?).

    august 2007: melissa lives on a ship for 4 months, circumnavigating the world. she has 3 channels of tv on the ship, but stocks up on bootlegs- full series of shows like arrested development & six feet under - when the ship stops in vietnam. she watches and rewatches and rewatches.

    2008-summer 2010: melissa has tv, cable, dvr, but also a job and normal socialization habits. she also finds a boyfriend (a ben!). in the months leading up to a move in, they sit on her couch and watch hours of family guy, every night, before bed. they don't talk as much as they should.

    june 2010: melissa and her ben move into a tiny bungalow. they bring her tv, but they are poor decide not to get cable. they discover that they talk to each other more. this is glorious, and important. they also discover the awesome ritual of having "our shows" that they wait to watch on hulu until they can watch together (namely, community.. so good).

    (june 2010-present: ben misses watching basketball, but that's it).

    xoxo

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  31. wow. this is like an anthropological study.

    @Rachel yeah, my parents were v. strict about tv too (I had none at all when I was little, and never any at my dad's house) and now I LOVE IT. though i did go for years without tv when i was a snotty theater director...

    @Jamie i think third person jamie is hilar, but she is smoking crack if she thinks we're not gonna talk about true blood on twitter.

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  32. Anonymous3:28 AM

    We gave up cable almost 2 years ago. we never had time to watch shows when they aired & didnt want to pay for the add ons like dvr and hbo.

    but havent you heard of sidereel dot com??? shows are posted almost as soon as they air its how we keep up with shows and there are even some oldies but goodies on there too. i cant imagine hearing about true blood and missing out. the torture. the website was actually the thing that sealed the deal for us to go without cable.

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  33. We have a tv (and cable/dvr) for a couple of reasons. I get really tired of sitting in front of a computer since that is largely what I do for a living...so I prefer leisurely tv time to be in the comforts of my living room, no computer in sight (unless I’m multitasking or something). Commercials drive me crazy and I can’t possibly let my life revolve around set show times, so a DVR is a necessity (to me). Also (maybe because I’m a photographer) I like to watch movies on on a good size screen...especially if the cinematography is amazing.

    BUT...like Celia we have a 1-tv-rule and I do agree that a lot of people (and kiddies) spend way too much time in front of the tube. But I consider the internet/computer to be just as much of a time-sucking hole as television....it’s all the same to me and regardless, I like making the choice to indulge (or not) instead of denying myself altogether. Oh, and if money was the issue, I’d drop cable/dvr and be content with Netflix ( I love netflix!).

    p.s.
    i love gossip girl (and mad men).

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  34. we haven't had cable for 5 years. we're just not that into tv.
    however, we do have a ginormo flatscreen to play video games and tune into netflix. killing zombies is so much better on a big screen.

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  35. I think you made the right decision.

    (We have a tv but no cable. We have this thing here called freeview/freesat that gives us all the decent channels with no subscription. We got an hd pvr box for that, it's awesome.)

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  36. My boyfriend and I downloaded all of our television, so when I needed the TV on for company I'd just put on a 'play all' of whatever TV series I was consuming at the moment. Not too long ago I felt very homesick for my hometown and parent's house and when I'm there I watch cable often. I decided to get it here, just to make it feel more like home. It's worked, but it's quite expensive. And Netflix in Canada is not very good yet.

    I think you made the right decision to get rid of cable - I'm sure it'll happen again for us too, as soon as we decide to start saving again.

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  37. Your motherly instincts are right on. We also used to have a TV and when we had our first child and moved we got rid of it . Now she is already 3, and I can tell you it's the best decision we have made. Although it a lot harder for a parent to raise their children media free, in the end it's the greatest gift you can offer them to develop their imagination and create the space for them to have imaginary play and develop their sense of self before being bombarded with information/thoughts/ideas from the outside world. Let their first impressions be what you and your husband teach them and what they learn from their natural environment...i recommend the book "You are your child's First Teacher" and also "Heaven on Earth."
    Anyway it's a long topic but worthwhile to look into! Congratulations on becoming a MOTHER! It is truly the most transformative experience for a woman! Trust your inner guidance as your are...;) cheers~~~

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