Considering Cable?

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We lived without television for about ten or twelve years of marriage. For the first five we didn’t even have a VCR. And we lived a very happy, book-filled existence without TV.

We still live a happy, book-filled existence, but we also watch a little TV now. Four years ago when our family began to embrace football, we bought rabbit ears — and later a converter box —  just for the Chiefs. And about two years ago when our digital converter box failed to work in our area, we got DirecTV — just for the Chargers.

We don’t spend a ton of time watching TV. I have absolutely no clue what’s on network television. In fact, football is our main attraction with some back up Disney Channel and Food Network every once in awhile. And Dora the Explorer is in the mix, too. In the past, we’ve enjoyed watching the Olympics as well as the World Cup.

In justification mode, I call it keeping us culturally literate.

Either way, we’ve been pleased with our DirecTV service. We’d prefer fewer channels for a lower price, but so far, it’s been fairly competitive pricing. While cable is definitely on our list of “luxuries,” it’s one that we’ve enjoyed adding into our life now that we’re out of debt.

Currently, DirecTV has a number of different specials to choose from, including a few extras thrown into their premier package. If you’re in the market for a cable package, I think it’s a viable option to consider.

Just read all the details carefully and be prepared for a longterm commitment.

Is TV a must-have or a luxury at your house?

PS. If you are interested in signing up with DirecTV, email me. There’s a referral program that gives $100 to you and the referrer each. I don’t know the details, but it might be a nice way for you to save some change.

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  1. I shopped around before finally deciding to have more than network tv for a few years. DirecTV has the best bang for your buck! We don’t have the lowest package, but the second to lowest and couldn’t be happier! 🙂 LOTS more channels than the competitors and for the same price!

  2. We had Directv for probably 8 years and canceled them 2 years ago because the cost was just too much. We actually just hooked up Dish Network yesterday because the price was better and it was only missing a couple channels that we wanted on the package that we got. I would have loved to went back to Directv but they are just a bit too pricey still. Also, as a homeschooling mama I find it nice to be able to take advantage of the History, Science, and Discovery channels.

    I would love for someone to come out with a “make your own package”.. I would pay $30 a month for 15 or 20 of the channels that we actually watch the most.

  3. We do not have tv. No cable,satelitte,or converter/antiena.We do have a Blu-Ray and Netflix.At times I miss cable , but we are on Dave’s steps so for now we are doing w/o.

    1. @Vicki, that is a great move. Like I said, it is a luxury for us. We know that in a pinch we can let it go. If there were another way to watch sports, we would.

      And in many ways, sports are a luxury, too….

  4. It’s a luxury. We actually cancelled our cable service in July and we love it. We have plenty of Disney movies and Elmo or Wiggles DVDs for our daughter, and my husband and I have been enjoying more books or playing board games together in our free time. We do miss football on Sundays, and we’ve talked about an antenna for that, but we’ll see. For now, it works!

  5. We had cable for one year when we had our first child. It was a gift from my husband since I was nursing all the time and just bored sometimes.

    Our son is now almost 3 1/2 and we don’t have anything but basic TV (which we don’t watch) and Netflix that streams through our Wii system. DS watches videos and DVDs and DH and I watch a select few shows through the Wii. I really prefer it this way and I get a lot more done around the house than I used to! 😉

  6. We use Netflix streaming and other streaming sites to view programming. I prefer it, because it allows me to have better control over what my toddler watches and also she never sees commercials.

  7. We have DirecTV’s family package. It’s $29.99 a month and you get the locals plus mainly kid channels. We’re in contract until June ’11 but we hardly ever watch it because we love Netflix streaming through the wii. If we get satellite again when this contract is up we’ll go with Dish and pay the $99 at startup so we’re not in a contract. I wish the converter box would give us channels here but even with a $90 antenna we get one channel in English(and we don’t watch that one channel).

    That said…there really are some great channels I miss! TLC for the Duggars for one…

  8. When we lived in apartments, cable came with it – and it was on all.the.time.

    When we moved into our own home in 2004, we didn’t have the money to pay separately for TV. So it was rabbit ears.

    Gradually, our TV watching has reduced to almost nothing. I watch Biggest Loser. DH watches DVDs. Mostly it’s now used for the Xbox.

    Here’s a funny – DH went into Best Buy recently and was cornered by a dish or cable guy. This guy kept trying to tell him what a deal it is to pay $70 a month to watch TV and DH kept telling him he only watched maybe an hour a week tops. How is going from paying nothing to paying $70 a good deal? Then he told DH to call me because I may want to watch – I’m much less likely to pay for TV than DH. It made our friends chuckle LOL

    1. @Melinda M, that is hilarious! Kind of like the credit card calls we used to get all the time. Honey, you’re talking to the wrong person. LOL.

  9. Since my husband installs directTV and that shelters us, feeds us, and clothes us, I’m going to be biased here but… I love satellite!! It’s nice having a variety of shows available for whenever I get a little down time and don’t feel like reading.

    With that said… I watch about 3 hours a week.

  10. I’ve been married 9 years and we’ve never have cable or satellite. We do use Netflix and watch network TV 1-2 hours a week. TV is definitely not something we spend out money on.

  11. We have DirecTV. One thing that we did this year is suspend our service. DirecTV allows you to do this once a year or so (read the fine print). We suspended our service all summer. No sports, no new shows that we cared to watch, and plenty to keep us busy outside. It was nice to save the money for 3 months and to tell the munchkins that the TV doesn’t work. You’ll have to do something else. We turned it back on in time for Week 1 of the NFL. 🙂

    1. @Stacy, that is brilliant! I wish we had thought of that for the spring. (We watch baseball and we watched the world cup over the summer.)

    2. @Stacy, That is a great idea! We have Dish since Direct doesn’t carry our locals and cable is too expensive for the channels. We’ve been flirting with the idea of cancelling the satellite but have been reluctant to do so for various reasons. Might be worth it to give it a test run this way – I’ll have to look into it!

  12. I grew up without a tv and my husband grew up with full-satellite-I-like-my-900-channels-thank-you, so our compromise was to have a tv and just get free over-the-air signal. The digital switch hurt us and we went from having 10 strong channels to 3 flaky ones, but we refuse to pay for something that should be free (that’s what my husband says anyway). So now we catch our shows online, if at all, and we read a lot more.

  13. I haven’t had cable in *thinks about it* well, a very long time. We’re probably going on 7 or 8 years now. Thankfully, I now live in an area where my little rabbit ears/antennae can pull in the local PBS stations, all FOUR of them…and that’s all we watch. I could care less about the drivel that’s on the local networks. Whatever shows I do want to watch, I find online now. I can watch when I want to, which is heaven sent for this single-working-out-of-the-house-mama. 😉

  14. We haven’t had cable at all during our entire six years of marriage. Our Netflix subscription and Hulu pretty much fill our need for entertainment. You can pretty much watch everything on Hulu (with the exception of sports, maybe.) that would be on network television. You just have to wait until it’s posted the next day.

  15. we’ve been married since may 09 and our apt complex requires cable & internet… because it’s bundled with our water. but otherwise i wouldn’t care about having it one way or the other…. but my husband is obsessed w/ sports so he’d really miss it if we didn’t have it…

  16. No tv here! I found my husband and I were watching rather than reading or even talking. So we kicked the tv to the basement and haven’t looked back. Now if I could just kick my computer habit….

  17. We’ve been married for 17 years and have never had tv reception. We didn’t have anything for years, but finally got a tv (no antenna hookup) and vcr after maybe 5 or 6 years. We now have 5 children and lots of dvd’s that we watch together. We’ve gotten lots of the “old stuff:” Andy Griffith, Mr. Ed, Looney Tunes, Pink Panther, Dick Van Dyke, etc. Both of our parents have cable, and so the children watch Noggin or Nick Jr. when they are over at their grandparents, and we check out dvd’s from the library and occasionally Blockbuster.

    My hubby and I just got back from vacation (with just the baby) and it was a treat to have cable in our hotel room! (although we were very disappointed that we didn’t get the History Channel–our main channel along with Discovery!) We watched a few shows each night, but on the way home my husband said, “I’m so glad we don’t have cable at home. There’s just so much junk on there! Even when you’re watching a ‘good’ show, they slip in immorality, immodesty, and language either in the show or the commercials!”

    I just love this man…he is the greatest. 🙂

  18. At our previous house, the TV was in the basement family room and we had Dish Network without the network channels. We found that we didn’t watch it because you had to make the effort to go down there. When we moved 1.5 years ago, we never renewed our subscription even though our TV is in the living room upstairs.

    Our old TV finally died and we replaced it with a flat screen. Then we couldn’t get local channels with an antenna. Digital. Sigh. So we now say that we don’t have a TV, we have a large monitor. We use it to watch movies on VHS and DVD and to play Wii.

    I really don’t miss network TV at all. Some people look at us strange when we say we don’t know what they are talking about from last night’s TV schedule.

  19. Unfortunately, there are TV junkies in my house, I’m not one, except for the news … we do cable, can not bring myself to go the dish route … I guess becasue we have a TV in each bedroom, each living room AND the kitchen 🙁 which would equate to quite a few of them little things you need for each TV (unless things have changed?) … I would just as soon get rid of ALL but one but nope, not happening

  20. We have basic cable. For about 9$ a month we get about 20 channels or so. My kids watch some PBS shows like Curious George and Clifford and my husband has to watch his beloved NY Giants every week, but other than that we dont watch much tv.

  21. Our “introductory cable deal” is just running out, so we’re in the midst of figuring this out RIGHT NOW. In Indiana, we were content to go with an antennae and the few stations we could pick up… here in CT? All the mountains and trees make it impossible to even pick up one. We like to have at least one channel available to us. (Yes, yes, I am well aware it is very possible to live without TV…) Anyway, I was going to pop over on your DirecTV link up there, but it didn’t work for me? I’ll try again later, but wanted to let you know!

  22. I love that people come into our home and they look around and say, “don’t you have a TV?” Yes, we do, but it’s hidden away downstairs in our “movie room”. We have rabbit ears and that converter box, but quite honestly, there just isn’t anything on that is worth our time to watch. Every two years, however, we are glued to the TV for two weeks…the Olympics of course! 🙂 I used to be a TV junkie and my husband has always hated the time that is wasted watching junk – as I’ve slowly come across to his way of thinking, I have found that I don’t miss it at all. We do watch movies (and have a projector and a big, pull down screen – left over from our years as support-raising missionaries) and we buy old TV shows on DVD that we watch and now we are spoiled by no commercials (on DVD) and have a hard time watching a show if we’re at a hotel with cable. I certainly do NOT think that TV (of any kind – rabbit ears, cable, satalite – even movies) is a NEED. It’s a want and it’s even fun at times, but we can most certainly live without it. 🙂

  23. We are in the midst of tv withdrawal. We “forgot” to pay our cable and decided to use this as an opportunity to see how well we would do without it.

    So far, so good. Especially considering we were one of those families where the tv just had to be on even though no one was watching. DH and DD have been watching dvds but I have kept it off. I’ve enjoyed the quiet.

    Now I wonder, how do you keep up with the local news and weather if you don’t watch the news report on tv?

    1. I have never ever watched the news. Is that bad? The few times we’ve watched it, all I saw was “sensational journalism.” There’s rarely been anything I “needed” to know.

      I do read online news reports, though.

  24. I’m a self-confessed tv junkie. But, when my husband and I reviewed our expenses last year, we agreed we were paying too much for television. (We had a Directv basic package that was costing us around $80/month.) So we called Directv and they have a package called the Family Package (I think) that has most of the channels I would want for a lot less money. We get our local networks, lots of kids channels, Food Network, HGTV, and more for around $50/month. It’s way friendlier on our wallet and way less frustrating to go around 100+ channels and find there is still nothing on. This Family Package is unadvertised, but they do offer it, so if you are interested, contact Directv.

    1. It’s interesting to me how it must vary across the country. We pay $30 a month for the Family Package. Weird.

  25. the history channel has some GREAT stuff on it too! we loved the series America; the Story of Us!

  26. we have moved since hubby just got a new job and we are having trouble finding reasonably priced tv. the only options in our area are direct and dish and both have 24 mo committments! since we are renting anddon’t know how long we’ll be around (we signed a one year lease, not a two year one!) i hesitate to sign up for 2 years of service. we love our tv shows and tho we could watch some of them over the interenet, we would miss out on sports, disney, news and financial shows. any ideas on how to get the companies to back off from the 2 year agreement?

    1. We moved in the middle of our commitment and they moved our service for us free of charge.

  27. Timely — we are actually getting cable, tomorrow. It’s the first time I’ve ever paid for TV at all, but we finally couldn’t get any channels at all, even local ones, with the converter box and antenna, and it’s about to become hibernation season in Minnesota. Plus, if we didn’t have TV by the World Series at the end of this month, that would be very, very bad news for my baseball-loving husband. I did find a deal where we are switching phone and Internet providers and paying the same amount for TV, phone and Internet that we had been paying for just the last two. Now we just need to come up with some family rules about TV watching.

  28. We are thinking about getting rid of Direct TV and using the Wii or a Xbox360 to get our tv. We have to buy either the Wii or Xbox which one would you buy if you had your choice. Also I know there is Netflix and Hulu are there any other ways to get your shows for free.

    Thank you

  29. I wanted to thank you for advertising this deal.We have been with DirecTv since 2005 and thought we was getting the lowest price package.The price has gradually increased trough the years from $29.99 to $57.09.Well I did some investigating on the computer and finally called them to find out they have the family package at $29.99 and the select classic at $39.99.Needless to say I changed our package to the family package.Thank you for saving our family $22.50 amonth.You have to add in N.C. taxes.