why I cut the cable

After I dropped Cole off at school this morning I hauled that big ugly digital cable TV receiver down to the Northwestel store and gave it back. In the end, paying a $45 a month for digital HD cable just wasn’t worth it.

Here’s why.


$45 per month is just way too much. This is a very personal perspective, but I watch maybe 2-3 hours of tv a week. So over a month, that ‘s like $4 to $5 an hour, and I consider that just too expensive. And when you consider that the shows I watch (Lost, House, Grey’s Anatomy, Star Wars: The Clone Wars) can easily be downloaded at no cost and commercial-free, that $45 is better spent elsewhere.


I hate commercials and sometimes with cable TV it feels like that’s all you’re paying for. If I have to pay for my media, I think it should be commercial-free. (Alternatively, give me the media for free and I’ll watch the commercials.)

the service isn’t quite up to snuff

The “pluses” of digital cable are really just pains with Northwestel Cable. The “Video On Demand” service is absolutely terrible (northwestel cable video on demand: not ready for primetime), and the pay-per-view selection is pathetic. Plus, with the PPV adult content randomly mixed in with the family fare, I got sick of explaining to my son why we couldn’t watch101% Real Tits.

the interface sucks

I’m a Mac user. I demand and expect more from any technology interface I use. The programming interface of the Motorola receiver is beyond lame, it’s pathetic. After you’ve experienced media interfaces such as those on Plex, Apple TV, or Boxee, there’s just no going back to this mid-90s rendition of the television universe.

lack of portability

This is my biggest gripe. That one HD receiver I rented from Northwestel is stuck to one television screen in my house, which is located in front of one couch in one room. So anything I want to watch on cable, I have to stay put. That’s lame. I’ve grown accustomed to taking my media with me on my iPhone, my MacBook, or to streaming it to wherever I might find myself from my desktop Mac. I could never again return to a media solution that doesn’t let me cut loose.

power savings

That HD receiver was a juice hog that demanded its own UPS. I don’t have any hard information on this, but I’m sure I’ll save quite a few bucks on electricity every month by pulling it off my personal grid.

rerun season is coming

I am not going to pay $45 a month just to be constantly frustrated by a lack of new content.


Of course, the spin off benefits are more time to do other, more enjoyable activities than vegetate in front of the boob tube, and the release from the pressure of consuming heavily-controlled media. It’s that latter benefit I’m really interested in: so often it felt that I had to watch television just to keep up with the various plots and slightly-less-than-objective coverage of the mainstream new media. Better to pick my information sources more carefully online in an effort to gain a greater degree of insight into world events.

4 thoughts on “why I cut the cable

  1. Great choice!! We opted for no satellite when we moved south to Faro. We were watching way too much tv and needed to cut the umbilical cord. I watch the few shows I like online. And then once in a while we borrow a whole series and watch it. I love being commercial free!

  2. I turfed Navigo as soon as my cable came back. I can’t believe that Northwestel has the gall to charge people money for Navigo. Worst internet experience of my life.

    You don’t need TV to order cable internet.

Comments are closed.