March 14, 2013

Life Without Cable


Last fall, we canceled cable TV. Andrew and I just got to the point where we looked at the bill, which would slowly and insidiously creep up month after month, and we realized we were watching maybe less than 1% of what was offered on cable. We were constantly switching from one provider to another when one of them would up their rates out of nowhere. The whole thing just seemed dumb.

So we got rid of it! I sent many emails to my buddy Danzel, who had already been through the experience, asking her all about what she used in lieu of cable, which shows her girls were watching, and basically HOW PAINFUL WAS THE PROCESS OF DITCHING CABLE? She was so super helpful and put up with all of my inane questions.

We already had Netflix. And to that we added Hulu Plus and joined Amazon Prime, which I'd been wanting to do for years. That affords you access to all of the shows and movies on Amazon.

Now, one doesn't really need all of three of those options. I was so panicked about losing cable I felt like we needed EVERY OTHER AVAILABLE OPTION (which altogether is still cheaper than cable!). If I had to toss one, I'd ditch Amazon and just go with Netflix and Hulu. Hulu is super important because that's the way I watch all of my 'quality' network programming, like 'Vampire Diaries' and 'Supernatural' and 'Once Upon a Time'. (which is BAD this season. I might have to give up on this show.)

Thus far, it hasn't been too terrible. I do miss surfing 'The Hallmark Channel'. I was able to watch 'Downton Abbey' via pbs.org and hooking the computer up to the TV.

Andrew says to tell you that Hulu also has a large catalog of Criterion films.

What I was most worried about was giving up the Disney Channel. Julia and Disney Channel were LIKETHIS. Turns out, she couldn't have cared less because one of her great Disney Channel favorites, 'Tinga Tinga Tales', was already available on Netflix.

Here's what she's been watching. We recently watched 'The Muppet Movie' for the very first time. Oh I laughed and laughed and laughed. I saw that movie when I was 9. I almost cried when Kermit sang his song in the rowboat. Not sure what Julia thought, I was too busy laughing and crying.

'Panda Go Panda!' is something we found on Hulu. It's an early Miyazaki-written movie! It's not really a movie, it's kind of like 3 minishows strung together, but they all go together so it's like a movie. JULIA LOVES IT. OMG SHE'S WATCHED THIS THING ABOUT 5 TIMES. It's totally bizarre, about a little girl who has Pippi-braids and is taking care of herself because her grandma has to go to some other town for awhile for some reason, and a giant panda moves in with her and sort of adopts her and is her new Papa. But the panda has a baby panda, and the little girl says she will be the panda's new Mommy. So she and the panda are now like Mommy and Daddy. Except the panda is also her Daddy?

WEIRD RIGHT? But despite that bizarre family configuration, it's delightful and sweet. Julia seriously adores.

We discovered that on Netflix there are these short 'Eloise' movies, about 42 minutes in length. Julia has watched each one about 4 times. PLEASE NO MORE ELOISE. When Julia loves something, she loooooooves it.

When Julia was sick a couple of weeks ago, we found 'Aesop's Theater', which is just the most gorgeous show I've ever seen. The art on this thing is like art from the most beautiful picture book. It's on Netflix and Hulu and it's about a little acting troupe of animals that puts on plays based on Aesop's fables. It's really super cute and THE ART, holy #@$%^ you have to see it! My pix didn't come out well but seriously it's amazing.

Here's a short snippet:


The great love of Julia's television-watching life however, is 'My Little Pony'. She watches at least one episode EVERY DAY. She's watched the entire season that's available on Netflix and is now watching the whole thing again. THE FLIPPING PONIES, I swear all they do is talk about how to be a good friend while also yelling constantly at one another in HIGH PITCHED VOICES. Sigh. She loves it loves it loves it.

Oh and speaking of high pitched squeaky voices, Julia's also been having a resurgence of affection for 'Little Snow Fairy Sugar' (this is just a DVD that we happen to own).

Watch at your auditory peril. Your ears might never be the same.

She's been getting into the new version of  'The Electric Company' lately, that also seems to involve a tremendous amount of yelling.

Ok so that's it for now. I tried her on one episode of  'Shelly Duvall's Faerie Tale Theater' but her eyes glazed over. I think we need to revisit that one at a later time. I LOVED that show when I was about 10.


My final thought for you 'Vampire Diaries' fans today: Still team Damon. I recently left a comment on another blog wherein (misguided) love for Stefan was professed. Here's the thing about Stefan. He's tolerable when he's in a scene with ANYONE other than Elena. And please can Bonnie leave the show soon please because I cannot stand her pouty attitude for one more millisecond. Be a bad witch and get on with it!

28 comments:

  1. Totally needed to read this - we are about to cancel ours!

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    1. oooh it was so scary for me! like being off the grid! and I was addicted to watching the weather report. but I survived! my husband was like, if it doesn't work out, it's not like we can't just sign up for cable again if we want to. but so far it really has been ok. we watch the 99.9% of stuff we like and if we have to wait for some other show, then we can get caught up on something we had been missing before. We just got started on the series 'Justified' with Timothy Olyphant, which Andrew has been wanting to see for ages.

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    2. It is scary! Our kids watch Netflix more than TV it seems and there is enough Bravo trash available through other means so I'm cool, my husband enjoys some sports, he's making the worst sacrifice. It's crazy expensive, though, and I want to spend the money or save elsewhere. I've heard Justified is great, I've been watching super old Law and Orders with young Chris Noth..

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  2. Thanks for all these suggestions! I am curious about the Panda movie! I will try to hide the existence of My Little Pony because I can't stand it LOL

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    1. The ponies, seriously are Julia's FAVORITE. I've had to make my peace with them. :)

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  3. We don't have cable either. I love it. Great post.

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    1. It's freeing in a way! I don't have to be chained to a football game when my brother comes over, ha.

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  4. We keep debating getting rid of cable too. We recently watched the newer Muppet Movie that came out a year or two ago, the one with Jason Segel. It was really cute. I love the actress in it, have seen her in a few things but am blanking out on her name. As for My Little Pony...so annoying!!! Why must 6-year-olds watch that thing??!! Oh and Aesop's Theatre looks adorbs!!

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    1. We debated it for about 4 months! There were all of these Halloween specials on Disney Channel and I was like, ok one more week, one more week, I was hyperventilating at the concept of it all. You're thinking of Amy Adams, she's adorable :)

      I've managed to tune out the Ponies. Rough going though.

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  5. Kudos to you for making the switch! We usually ditch cable for most of the year... and then sign up again for college football season for hubby. It truly is a waste of money, though. Outside of the aforementioned football games, we watch maybe two shows. It's ridiculous.

    I have a great love for all things Muppets. We own several of the movies and Miss C. just started choosing them for movie night. She loves them. Hooray!! I'm hoping this is a gateway for us to indoctrinate our kids with all of our old favorite movies like Princess Bride, Willow, Star Wars and Star Trek.

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    1. Willow!!!! Love that movie. SO many good movies and books that are going to become available as all of our kiddos get older, it's very exciting to my movie-loving little heart :)

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    2. My brother and step dad nearly passed out the first time they came over and realized they couldn't get their football game. They were aghast. Your plan is what we were doing to get Game of Thrones -- the past 2 yrs we would just sign up for HBO when the show was coming on and then cancel it afterwards :)

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  6. I so look forward to my new shows each week... I don't think I could do it. We did a trial Hulu Plus run and I was super disappointed at all the shows it didn't have. Of course we LOVE netflix. I think we are lame and super addicted to our entertainment in this house. Me and Trapper more so than the kids even. Though they love their shows too. I think just netflix would actually keep them rather happy.

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    1. I have a good friend who feels just like you do! Now there are drawbacks of course. We're going to have wait an absurd amount of time for this season of Walking Dead to come out. And we're going to have to wait for Game of Thrones to become available, which is a bummer. But....all in all it seems to be working out. I'm going to look into the possibility of getting a digital antenna so that we can get regular network channels, but we have a large hill behind our house so I don't know if that's going to work or not.

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  7. I didn't like My Little Pony Friendship is Magic at first, but I admit, it's grown on me. I can certainly handle the voice talents on this one over the ones on the old series. (Yes, we have DVDs of the old series, as well as a YouTube playlist. Ever added a private channel on Roku? Add this one: http://streamfree.tv/roku-channels/videobuzz/ Then you can play all your YouTube favorites and playlists on the TV.) Muppets rule. I am going to make the girls watch Popeye The Movi on Netflix over spring break, because I LOVE IT. There are actually a lot of things on Amazon Prime that aren't on Netflix and Hulu, so we renewed ours again this year. I have Aesop's saved on my queue, but we haven't watched it! I think I need to remedy that. My favorite old movie that has never been on DVD, I Married A Witch, is on the Hulu Criterion Collection. Of course, the girls still love Ruby Gloom and Big Sis adores the old Dennis the Menace. I don't watch enough series TV on my own to care one way or the other, but it was nice not to have to give up Stewart and Colbert! Thanks, Hulu.

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    1. OH! And the original Rescuers is on Netflix now. We so watched that when the girls were home sick.

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    2. I have to thank you again for being my Alternative-to-Cable Guru!!!! seriously. and I saw that The Rescuers was on Netflix! way cool. Julia claims she has seen it but I think she's confused and that she hasn't. So I think that may be our movie for movie night this wkend. :)

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  8. We are flirting with this idea, too and I fear giving up the disney channel and nick jr as that is all my kids watch--along with pbs. I also fear giving up hgtv......but we may just do it one day anyway!

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    1. most, I think maybe all, of the PBS kids shows are on Netflix ~ Curious George, Martha Speaks, Dinosaur Train, Word Girl, Wild Kratts (that's on Hulu), Thomas etc etc. Pretty sure Backyardigans is on there too. I was amazed at how much stuff was on there. And for adult PBS stuff, there is a Masterpiece section of Hulu and we were able to watch Downton the day after each episode aired and was put up on the PBS.org site. Andrew has some cord thingy that connects the computer to the TV so you can see it on a larger screen.

      It seems like so many people I know have done it. So that made it less scary for me! I think the cable companies are going to have to get reasonable and adapt, or lose subscribers.

      Still miss my weather report watching and Hallmark channel surfing though...:)

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    2. There are PBS and PBS Kids Roku channels in the works, by the way.

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  9. We go back and forth about this, too. The kids only watch Netflix at this point- Eloise and Sesame Street and Spiderman are the current hits. Plus there's lots of Leapfrog on there. Where we run into a problem with dumping cable is 1) My husband DVR's soccer and when he gets home from work after we're all in bed, he happily mixes a cocktail and sits and watches all by himself. I'd hate to take that away from him. 2) HGTV. Obsessed. 3) I have some other...ahem...shameful reality shows that I'd hate to miss.

    And where did you find Fairy Tale Theater??? They used to be my favorites! My dad would always rent one for me if I had to stay home sick. Love that Shelley Duvall!

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    1. clearly I was missing out by not watching HGTV!!! Not sure why? i probably would have loved it! I thought it was all gardening shows or something.

      I think Faerie Tale Theater was either on Hulu or Amazon, it wasn't on Netflix I think. You can also buy them as a DVD set I believe :)

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  10. So do you have no tv now then? I don't know how tv in America works really haha.

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    1. oh no my friend, we have a TV! we have 2! we just don't have cable. so our programming has to come from online sources via our internet provider. The two big ones here are Netflix and Hulu.

      People with no TV ~ I could never be one of those people. Not unless the Zombie Apocalypse came to pass. I love TV! :)

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  11. We "paused" our Dish for about six months recently. I thought the kids were going to care more but Netflix and PBS (can get all local stations with antenna except ABC ugh!) was more than enough for them. Here's something I've noticed now that the Dish is back on (but about to go off again soon) — I was better able to track how much they were watching with Netflix because I had to find the show, start the show, etc. Now that Dish is back, I turn on Nick Jr and a couple of shows will fly by before I realize hey, those kids need to step away from the screen. Also, Netflix doesn't have commercials. I like not hearing "I want that" after commercials for awful toys.

    I missed the ability to record and having to wait for new episodes to post to Netflix (I'm looking at you BBC!) is keeping me out of the current culture loop but overall, we survived with flying colors.

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    1. want to hear something sad? I kind of miss commercials. i dont miss the time they wasted when watching a show, but I liked some commercials. It's so good for Julia not to see them though. EVERY thing she saw she thought she Had To Have.

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  12. great post! we always end up getting cable whenever I'm pregnant and on bedrest and then we cancel as soon as our "trial" ends and we no longer get the great deal... I cannot believe how much they charge for that stuff!! and it's funny how they give you such a hard time for cancelling, like cable is a basic necessity or something :)

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    1. Thank you Jen!! And thanks for coming by and saying hello! That totally happened to us once, we tried to cancel and they transferred us a dozen times and made the process very drawn out and painful. The last time we left cable, I think I just said I had a question about my bill, I didn't tell them I wanted to cancel until the very last second, so they couldn't pass me around to 50 people. Yikes.

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