Instapundit points out an article about a family that ditched their satellite TV: You don’t need satellite TV when times get tough

After a few Google searches, James said she found a wealth of legitimate sources for TV programming online. Sites such as Hulu, Fancast, Joost, YouTube, and most major TV networks’ Web sites offer TV shows and other video content for free. Using an existing rooftop antenna, James plugged her TV into the hook-up to get more than 50 high-definition TV channels over-the-air. The cost for these HD channels: zero.

And instead of spending an extra $20 a month for HBO or any other premium movie channels, James subscribed to a $17-a-month Netflix service, which allows her to rent three movies at a time and download some movies right to her computer.

They took the exact same route that Murdoc’s family did last spring when we ditched our satellite service for six months.

We actually watched a lot of programming during the summer, including DVDs and video on demand from Netflix (which we already subscribed to), Hulu (which a commenter pointed out for us) and the online offerings at the television network web sites. We watched the Olympics online, and I think I watched more coverage than I ever have before, while also watching only events that I was interested in. How often can you score a quality+quantity double for free? However, our attempt to follow our Detroit Tigers via MLB.TV was an utter failure.

We’ve always watched a lot less television than most people we know. Cutting back even further didn’t really bother us all that much. Sure, we missed a few things that we would have liked to have seen, but overall we saved money and still watched plenty tube.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!

One other thing I forgot to mention was that we also make good use of our public library’s DVD collection. Some libraries charge rental fees for DVDs, though ours doesn’t. We’ve watched a lot of documentaries and classic movies, plus old television series, this way. It’s worth checking out. (Pun unintentional but so bad I left it in…)


  1. Awesome – I am in the process of trying to convince the wife that it’s feasible as we speak πŸ™‚ – I might even get to score an Apple TV out of the deal. The kids have been watching classic cartoons off and on today with Joost and that has been a breeze.

  2. Pfft…who needs that when you have *coughutorrentcough* Besides. I find news from BBC, you, some other places, and I often lose the battle for the remote…

    I’m behind on a lot of anime anyways. I need to get cracking on Najica Blitz Tactics and Gunsmith Cats, the Nadia…Haibane Renmei…

    You get what I’m saying >.>

  3. Who needs T.V. satellite or otherwise?

    I listen to the radio.

    I get quality programs like Howard Stern, Don Imus, Rush Lemback and the Michael Savage show.

    Can’t get any better than that.

  4. Honestly, I had actually planned to check out torrenting some shows to see how it worked and what was out there. I thought that maybe we’d keep up with a series or two that way. But the fact that the shows were already available online for free meant I never tried.

  5. If you really want to cut back, go the library route. You might have to wait for some of the more recent releases, but you can’t beat the price.

    And for those titles your library doesn’t have in circulation, you can request a copy from another facility through the interlibrary loan system. I make use of that all the time for both books and movies.

  6. “You don’t need satellite TV when times get tough”

    Times aren’t that tough…

    I got great joy out of watching the Patriots give the Cardinals a beat-down in the snow yesterday. I’ve already informed the family that I will be unavailable for any activity (including conversation) the evening of Jan 1st as the mighty USC Trojans (my alma matar) plays in the Rose Bowl.

    Hell YEAH!! What were we talking about?

  7. Bram,

    yes, I too watched the Pats game. Nice win, there.

    I’d love to ditch the TV, but I need the NFL channel and I can only get it through cable. In fact, I can only GET 2 TV stations with a regular antenna. I live right alongside Bath Iron Works, and between their tall cranes and several story tall metal buildings, everything is blocked. I can get PBS & the local NBC affiliate. I don’t have a dish because I don’t have a credit card.

    Thus, it’s cable for me. I do admit that having a couple dozen digital music stations is very nice, and I often just turn off the TV and use the music stream through the surround sound system. I don’t subscribe, however, to any of the HBO, Showtime, etc. Just the HD box and the digital channels, which gives me what I need. I borrow DVD’s from my neighbor who is a movie junkie.

    We’ve cut back by not having a car. As much as it’s nice to be able to go when you want to, we’ve found that between walking, taxis, and public transport, we save a TON of money. I admit it’s not for anyone, but the health benefits are excellent, and the location for us also works. I can walk the 1.25 miles to the grocery store and take a cab home for $4.00, or if the weather is bad, use the city bus for $1.00 and then the taxi. When we need a car, we can rent one through Enterprise, but most trips we can take the local bus to where we need to go.

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