Kill Your Cable Television

My wife and I have been wanting to start a bold new experiment in our household: wean ourselves off of cable television. Why does anyone need cable when virtually all of television shows worth watching come out on DVD? Which means, all anyone really needs is Netflix. Plus, we would stand to save a lot of money each month if we discontinued our satellite and TiVo services:
TiVo Membership$9.95/month
DirecTV$58.98/month
Netflix$18.99/month
Total$87.92/month
$1055 is a lot of money to spend on watcing television in a single year. If I eliminate cable television I will save $827 per year! Eight hundred and twenty seven dollars! Plus, NetFlix has the added benefit of being the perfect rate limiter for watching television, something that TiVo is notoriously bad at. What I have found is that when my wife and I are in possession of a television show on DVD we ration our television watching much more effectively, for fear that we may be without our favorite television show while we (yikes) wait for the next disc in the series to arrive in the mail. Which achieves yet another goal: watch less television, or at the very least, further refine our television watching to a few elite shows. For the most part it is a great plan with a lot of benefits. But it has one small drawback: it kills the water cooler effect. Which is honestly almost a show-stopper for us. No pun intended.
We want our cake and eat it too. We don't mind waiting a little bit to watch our favorite show, but we don't want to completely miss out on the conversation that inevitably follows any good television show. The thought of having to wait 12 months for us to be able to rent Lost Season 2 on DVD is honestly: unacceptable. We are totally addicted. So much so that we resorted to buying the first 5 episodes of Lost Season 2 on iTunes just to catch up with the show. So if iTunes is going to going to continue to increase the number of televsions shows they are willing to sell me, why do I still have to wait a year for the DVD, especially when I am so willing to pay to watch the show? What television networks need to do is ship DVDs as soon as they are able to fill a DVD up with a set of episodes from the current season. For example, each DVD for Lost contains 4 episodes. That means all ABC would have to do is press a DVD once a month, and at the end of the season they can simply package up all the DVDs from the season in a boxed set. Plus, they wouldn't even need to worry about packaging, jacket art, jewel cases, inserts or anything for their incremental DVDs. All they need to do is team up with a distributor like Netflix who has no need for those frills, further reducing their cost and increasing their profit margin. Then just like on TiVo I can buy a "Season Pass" to "Lost" or "The Sopranos" and as soon as the next DVD is available for that television show, Netflix ships it to me. It's the best of both worlds: it gives me the relative immediacy of watching television on TiVo or (eeek) live television, but the cost benefit of using Netflix exclusively. Plus, it seems like a huge win for television studios looking to fight the DVR market. Everyone wins, so why hasn't anyone thought of this?

1 Comment

Great idea. Media costs are out of control for a single household. It's no wonder newspapers can't find anyone to spend $10-$20 a month for a couple articles a week. But, I do have a couple of questions. (1) Do you actually have cable? Sounds like you use satellite instead. (2) What are you going to do when the Cal Bears play out of town? Sure you can get season tickets, but going to a bar for away games will cost you more than you save by giving up live TV.

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  • Great idea. Media costs are out of control for a single household. It's no wonder newspapers can't find anyone to spend $10-$20 a month for a couple articles a week. But, I do have a couple of questions. (1) Do you actua...

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