Monday, August 10, 2009

Why I (you) don't need my (your) cable?

Why don't I need my cable? Let’s do simple cable math.
One year cost of cheapest cable for me is 803.20 (63.60×12+40 setup fee) without any taxes. According to Nielsen Company, average American watches 1812 hours TV per year, which is about 4.94 hours per day (that’s a lot!). If you watch TV 5 hours everyday, then you are paying $800 for 1812 hours, which comes down to just under 50 cents per hour. Unlike average Nielsen viewers, I watch 2 hours of TV per day by myself, which makes my cost $1 per hour.
Nielsen Company also indicated, about ¼ of viewing take place during primetime.Most of prime time is available free time-shifted viewing on networks website or on Most of primetime shows are on free over-the-air stations such as ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, MyNetworkTV, PBS, or The CW. In the same way, you can argue that, more than one person can watch the cable too. But really, how many households of more than 5 or 6 people do you know? Usually digital broadcast from station has additional digital channels with minor programming like weather, local events etc. See list of over-the-air television network .
To save a cost without sacrificing quality of your TV entertainment, you may need to spend a little upfront. What I suggest is;

  • Get a digital TV (which is under $400 for 32 inch now), if you already haven’t done so. All digital TV have RGB port for connecting computer to TV.
  • Get an antenna ($10-25)
  • If you don’t have laptop and wish to watch time-shifted TV on screen, get an extra computer/laptop ($400). Note, don’t upgrade old computer because hi-def video needs a lot of CPU. If you are debt free get computer with decent graphic card, wireless, HDMI output and TV input capability. Free alternative for TV is Hulu and less expensive alternate for other entertainment includes Netflix’s ROKU (subscription required).
  • Connect your computer to TV.
Look for other blogger such as, Mike Elgan’s experience on online TV is much better and Marguerite Reardon’s alternate ways to eliminate $100 cable bill. Save or pay your existing debt. I expect to pay more than $1000 this year toward my debt payment by cutting my cable.


  1. Don't forget HULU. Lots of free shows and movies!

  2. Thanks a lot HallyZ! I have updated the post with link to