a peek inside the fishbowl

16 May, 2008

Thinking aloud as I clean out the basement

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

We’ve been having issues with our Television Provider. We’re with Bell. We’re not happy with Bell. And besides Bell, there is only one other: Rogers. Some people we know are happy enough with Rogers. We’re debating whether or not to switch. Or what.

I hate to admit this, until recently I had no clear idea how much we were paying for the Priviledge of Having 100 Crappy Channels Beamed Into our Household 24/7.

We pay around $70/month. That is $840/year. For te-le-vis-ion! This seems kind of crazy. This is programming which is paid for by advertising, programming which is transmitted via invisible beams in the sky which can be captured and turned into pictures on a screen … for free!

This is mostly Mark’s territory, so I’m hovering on the sidelines, but you know what? Even though I would miss The Office, and House (although I am growing more and more irritated by it), ANTM (which is probably rotting my brain anyway) and the occasional film, I think I could live without it. Could you?


24 Responses to "Thinking aloud as I clean out the basement"

1 | Krista

May 16th, 2008 at 4:04 pm

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It does seem kind of crazy. We cut our cable last year, and we still get House, the Office and ANTM on public access, as well as my personal weaknesses, American Idol and ER.

Too bad I don’t still get the 24 hr kiddie channels. That would do wonders for my sanity some days.

2 | porter

May 16th, 2008 at 5:48 pm

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I TOTALLY could live without television and would cancel in a heartbeat. I have total say over the television when it comes to the girls so they would have no choice if we cancelled it (obviously) and would be fine with movies for their television time…and I think they would quickly get over it. Bert on the other hand would really miss it, he loves television and he is the ONLY reason we pay for our satellite tv. I thought I’d also add that we have basic service so it’s closer to fifty-something dollars I think.

3 | Allison

May 16th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

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I’ve been cable free for 3-4 years now and still manage to watch way too much. I’ve been quite content with my antenna selection of stations (about 6 english and 4 french). The cost of cable tv is ridiculous.

4 | Shan

May 16th, 2008 at 6:18 pm

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I probably could, but I don’t want to. Now the internet, that I could not do without. I would gladly give up TV before that. My brother actually went TV/internet free in the home for a while. They did keep it up for several months which really impressed me, but they are now internet/cable subscribers.

5 | Soire

May 16th, 2008 at 6:37 pm

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We just reconnected it after a year off to get CUTV for some classes I’m taking, but really.. I’m not sure it’s worth it.

I’m thinking about re-cutting it, and just paying the $80 Video On Demand fee for next session (or you know, booking classes I can actually get to…)

But it’s really not worth it. When we had no cable, we downloaded grey’s and ugly betty, and read our news online :P

6 | Lindsay

May 16th, 2008 at 7:45 pm

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We got rid of our cable three years ago and we haven’t looked back! I love it. I have so much more time. We just moved to a new apartment and we actually get 2-3 antenna channels, and even that, I’m not sure if I like. I’m getting into a ‘TV routine’ and it’s really not necessary. We spend some money (about 30-40$ a month) on DVDs, usually TV shows, so we have quite a collection now, and bonus, no commercials.

7 | Chantal

May 16th, 2008 at 8:55 pm

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We have cable and pay too much (like everyone else). I don’t know why since I barely seem to have time to watch it. I have heard that the cable companies are turning off the analog signal in 2009. I don’t know what (if any) effect this will have on those who use an antenna. It would be worth checking out before you quit cable all together.

8 | Mark

May 17th, 2008 at 6:57 am

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Chantal…I think you might be thinking of the US when it comes to turning off the analog signals. In Canada we are still far from that step. It won’t affect your ability to watch Television for free though. The airwaves are still public and we own them. HD can be picked up with an antenna. In fact here in Ottawa many people would be surprised to discover that they can get CBC HD for free with an UHF antenna and a TV with ATSC HD tuner built in (I think all TV’s sold since March 2007 have to have them). If you don’t have the tuner you have to buy one to get HD. The best part of all is the signal is totally uncompressed so as hard as this is to believe the picture is far superior than what you would get with cable. Since it’s digital you would never get that snowy look or bad reception. All your local stations will be broadcast HD “over the air” in the near future so it’s worth looking into !

9 | The Veg Next Door

May 17th, 2008 at 8:10 am

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We have stories about our experiences with both providers that would make your hair turn grey. Seriously. Both suck!

Currently we have our phone service with Bell and TV with Starchoice.

Can you live without TV? Yes! If you want to see The Office just rent the episodes from Blockbuster.

10 | Julie

May 17th, 2008 at 11:00 am

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Interesting. We are moving to the country in a month and our location does not offer cable. None. So if we want TV (or internet for that matter), we have to pay an arm and a leg. We’re going to subscribe to internet only for the summer and see how we make out. I think the summer will be relatively easy since we’re never inside anyway, but the winter will definately be more challenging. I’m a little afraid. Maybe that shows how dependant I am.

11 | Kent

May 17th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

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My wife and I went cable free in 1995 when we moved to Vancouver.
And when we came back to Ottawa in 2000 to raise kids we just didn’t get cable.
Now our kids have very little idea that there is a 24 hour cartoon channel and they very rarely ask to watch TV. We have a small selection of DVDs, so we have better control over what they watch and thet aren’t exposed to all the advertising and unacceptable shows. and best of all…they don’t even know they are “sheltered”.
When we are at other peolpes houses and they watch the grown up shows we can sit there saying “we get this show” most times and when the kids are watching kids shows my kids usually watch for a while and then get up and start playing because they find them boring.
Best of all for the $500/year that we save we can buy a lot of DVDs, museum fees, and swimming classes to keep them occupied.
And now we can watch most of the shows, we the adults want to watch, online, at our convienience. Which is about three.

12 | Sam

May 17th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

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Hi-from the US.

We choose not to have cable. Really because I hate of the thought of paying to watch TV and adverstising. I do miss having a few channels- but I guess I’ve lived with out them.

I am not sure I could do without a TV at all- because I do like to rent the occasional movie.

I admit I am a bit addicted to the internet- but I could learn to live without it as well.

Thanks for all the thoughts. Very interesting.
Sam

13 | Nicol

May 17th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

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We got rid of our satalite over a year ago. I really thought that I would miss it because I was a TV junky. Honestly, I haven’t misssed it. I get so much more done and if I am really needing to watch something, I will watch it on the internet. They have Office and House that you can watch online (plus so many more).

14 | Scattered Mom

May 17th, 2008 at 5:48 pm

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I could totally do without TV. Internet is a completely different story, but if I was forced to, I probably could as well. I’d just read a lot more. I grew up with only 2 channels and spent all my childhood playing outside (which these days is completely unheard of)

Hubs, on the other hand, would go into a coma and fall over dead should I ever force him to go without television. Even on vacation, our hotel room MUST have a TV in it.

Jake can do without both, and does, on a regular basis. He also plays outside all the time because we’re evil and we make him.

LOLOL.

15 | LO

May 17th, 2008 at 6:20 pm

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I could live without it-especially in the summer but don’t know if i truly want to. BUT, the things I would get done…especially the writing. How about seasonal tv-just for the winter when i hibernate?
Good compromise, no?
:)Lo

16 | tali

May 17th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

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Well, we don’t even have a TV, so I guess that answers your question!

Many shows you can download for free after the fact (some legally, some not) and watch on your computer. Since I used to be a graphic designer, my computer screen is pretty big, and we have a couch in our den, so that’s what we do. The only TV show I need to see in pretty much real time is Lost, the rest I’ll rent some day when I have time…

When the kids are old enough, we’ll have movie night on weekends in the winter, and rent something…they’re too young for it now, though.

17 | Javamom

May 18th, 2008 at 11:51 am

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Only basic cable here, which is still more channels than we ever watch. We (adults) watch one or two channels, and mostly news, maybe once or twice a week, the child watches Treehouse, PBS or TVO because they’re commercial free, which is the true culprit if you ask me (the commercials I mean), and we still pay waayy too much for mostly crap.

Why can’t we have an a-la-carte tv menu? I would like PBS, I like Global for the news (Kevin Newman), and if I could have the Food Network without all the other crappy channels I would have those 3 plus Treehouse for Ben. That’s it.

In terms of not having tv at all, it’s never been a problem here. When the tv was disconnected due to renos, no one missed it. In the wintertime it’s nice to have it, in the summer no one cares.

18 | BeachMama

May 18th, 2008 at 8:21 pm

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My parents just got satellite last year. Except for a brief period in the ’80s my parents did not have cable. When I moved in with Hubby I didn’t really know or feel that I was missing anything. Hubby insisted that we get cable so he could watch sports. And now, I enjoy all the extra stuff we get. We are with Rogers and we only pay $50/month we get digital cable basic package. We do have a bundle package so we save a few extra bucks. So far we have not been disappointed with our services.

19 | ChristinaTE

May 19th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

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We have Charter down here in St. Louis and I think they’re terrible. We canceled our cable two years ago and switched to just internet (still $40/month). When we moved to our new house we added basic to our package for $5/month. If they ever raise it higher than $5 we’ll cancel again. We honestly never watch the TV unless one of us is sick. We’re big fans of Netflix and we don’t mind being a season behind everyone else for the shows we do like, like The Office. :)

20 | Laura

May 20th, 2008 at 7:50 am

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We haven’t had cable for about 10 years. Our first house was in the country and cable wasn’t available. We still got a handful of channels with bunny ears so we still could watch the news or primetime shows at night. I still have watched shows like LOST, Grays Anatomy, and so on but by borrowing them from the library. Its a little rushed sometimes to watch a whole season in just one week, but you can watch them when you choose with no commercials – love it. The only thing is recently we moved to Toronto and our bunny ears don’t work as well, but we still get the eleven clock news on Global and even if it is slightly fuzzy we still wouldn’t go to cable.

21 | AlisonG

May 26th, 2008 at 10:26 am

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My husband and I are too cheap to pay for cable, so we have been without for the last five years. We belonged to Zip.ca for a while, which was a great way to get movies and TV shows (we didn’t mind being behind a season or two). We are in downtown Ottawa and get no good TV reception through an antenna or rabbit ears.

We only paid $20 a month to Zip and had all the TV/films we could watch. Now when we watch TV the advertising looks so bizarre and repulsive. My two-year-old just watches Signing Time videos and music videos (she loves The Last Waltz and the Twelve Girls Band!)

Hopefully there will soon be a way to legally download movies and shows over the internet in Canada. My husband has watched some hockey and news streamed by CBC.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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