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We Cancelled Our Satellite TV!

Retro TVLast week, I made the phone call I’ve been planning for months. It was to Dish Network, and I asked them to cancel our satellite TV. When the agent asked if I was sure or if she could offer me a discount, I did briefly hesitate, but stood my ground. The programming went dark right away, and we are now sans paid TV. Am I sad? Nope, I’m free.

Despite a brief time during my residency, I have had some sort of cable or satellite TV for fourteen years. While it did serve it’s purpose, we are now at a point where we don’t watch that many programs other than to offer background noise while we are doing other things. There are a couple of network shows that I enjoy, but nothing I can’t live without. We also don’t want our daughter to hear some of the things that pop up on seemingly benign programming. When your three year old is running around the house saying “Dammit” after watching Pawn Stars or the now six year old is asking what a vaginal mesh transplant is, it gets a bit old.

We aren’t going completely TV free. We still enjoy watching  in the evening, and we had to shell out some money for a few things to compensate for our lack of paid programming.If you are considering cutting your cable cord, there are ways to get your TV fix.

The New TV

We found an awesome deal on a TV at Sears of all places. I thought that store went bankrupt, but apparently not. They had a Panasonic floor model on sale that had originally been $1679 marked down to $679. It is HD, smart, has something like a million mega hertz, and has the most fabulous picture I could ever imagine. The sales person offered us an extra 5% off to sweeten the deal.

The fall back was that it had been in use for three months in the store and had a minor scratch on the screen that you have to put bifocals on to see. It did have a one year warranty, and the salesman was certainly pushing the extended version for an extra $200. One call to my Chase Sapphire Preferred card confirmed an extra year on any manufacturer’s warranty, so after politely declining the pricey version, we brought our new TV home.

Roku and Netflix

By using a  Roku on the older TV and having the technology of the new smart TV, we can stream Netflix. So far, there are more shows and movies than we could ever watch. The best part is no commercials ever, so our daughter will never want the magic ice cream shaker as seen on TV or have to worry about an erection lasting more than four hours.

What About Sports?

One big hangup in our talks to cut the satellite was about live sports There is no way to have ESPN without a subscription. We finally realized that paying $66 a month for the few sporting events we actually have time to sit and watch was not cost effective. We have decided to get an antenna for network TV. This way we can have the NFL on Fox and CBS and see most of March Madness. Since the antenna only costs around $100 EVER to buy and have installed, it seems like a great compromise. We will finally also be able to get Denver instead of Albuquerque news that is standard on satellite in our area. It might be nice to actually see what goes on in our state instead of the neighboring one.

It certainly took us long enough, but I’m very happy to have cut the satellite cord, hopefully forever. I will also enjoy the extra money in my bank account each month. I’d like to thank Jake at I Heart Budgets, Zimmy at Money and Potatoes,  and Holly and Greg at Club Thrifty for inspiring us to consider this. Without savvy PF bloggers, I don’t think we would have ever made the change.

Have you cut the cord? Why or why not?


About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.


  1. While I plan on keeping my satellite/cable for the foreseeable future, I am very interested in how companies like Roku and Netflix will change the industry and (hopefully) bring down the price of cable/satellite.

    • I think eventually cable will have to go the way of downloadable music. You can’t hold a monopoly forever with changing technology. If enough people drop it, they will have to change. Eventually, I see you being able to buy shows or channels through Roku without a contract.

  2. Yay! That’s awesome. We’ve had Netflix/Hulu for a few years and we haven’t missed satellite at all. You get used to it and you’ll start saving a ton of cash!

  3. We ended our pricey cable subscription a few years ago and have never missed it. We have Netflix and there is plenty of variety – commercial free! And if my husband wants to watch a particular sports game, he meets some friends in a local sports bar for a guys night out.

    • That might be a good idea to have a sports night out. I know that always have Broncos games on somewhere if we can’t get them with an antenna.

  4. Congratulations on cutting that cord! When my boyfriend & I moved in together, we both decided to continue not having cable. The commercials were driving us nuts and the programming made us both very angry. We have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and a Redbox nearby if necessary. If there’s anything else we want, he’s got some strategies of finding those things online. I think we are happier, smarter, and less stressed due to our decision to not have tv. Plus, we save good money (though it’s ridiculous that internet alone is about $60-70, and for double that price, we can have another 2,000+ channels, HBO, Showtime, etc…)

    • I do think you can watch anything you want without cable if you are willing to wait a little while. I don’t think we’ll miss it at all.

  5. Cool! We did this with DirecTV several years ago and haven’t looked back. Our antenna works fine for broadcast TV on most days. And our kids get all the shows they need from Netflix. Plus, I think you will enjoy the added time not watching TV brings into your life. We have filled the TV watching time with a great many other activities that are more profitable for the family.

    • I totally agree. It’s hard to have a good conversation with cartoons blaring in the background. I think my child turns into a zombie when the Spongebob song starts playing.

  6. Hey! I thought it was my piece on cutting the cord and buying Roku that did it….awesome to see you make the switch. Nice work!

  7. We do Hulu on the iPad and have a projector that we use to watch movies and stuff. It’s great! Can’t imagine why we’d want a big tv cluttering the decor in our living room after living so long without.

    • I was just saying the other day that we should find a way to hang the TV on the wall to get it out of the middle of the floor. Somehow big TV’s don’t say cozy, relaxing home.

  8. Good for you Kim! We’re still with DirecTV and probably will for some time. The sports thing is the big hang up for me. It’s the only way I can see all the football/basketball games for my alma mater. I know, I know…it sounds silly as I type it 😉 but we enjoy it and can afford it. That said, if we can find a way around it, I’ll drop it quick!

    • I think if you weigh the benefit vs cost, you know if it’s working for you or not. We used to feel the same way, but really don’t watch much TV anymore, so it was time.

  9. I don’t even know what vaginal mesh transplant is! Ouch! I cut the chord some time ago and have rabbit ears so I can get some network TV shows, but I LOVE roku and actually use that a lot more than the rabbit ears. I “media share” with a friend so he used my netflix account and i use his Hulu plus account. Works out great! Congrats on making the switch!

  10. We haven’t cut the cord yet. I really need to talk to W about this!

    • We would never have done it as a young couple about to get married. We used to sit up till 2AM watching Law and Order marathons or whatever. We can’t stay awake long enough to do that now!

  11. I still have cable! I view it as part of my entertainment. They also provide internet service for me.

  12. Awesome! I haven’t had cable for over a decade and I have no regrets. We have a Netflix subscription (just streaming), rent movies from Redbox and watch over-the-air news programs in HD with some awesome bunny ears my husband created. We also have a dedicated computer to run our system through Windows Media so we can DVR our favorite programs and skip all the annoying commercials. I didn’t realize you hailed from Denver — I’m a Fort Collins native and travel to Denver weekly for news segments!

    • We actually live down in the SW corner of Colorado, so we are technically closer to Albuquerque. However, it’s pretty sad when I can name all the representatives and senators from New Mexico, but don’t know all the Colorado ones!

  13. I admit that I’ve been hesitant to cut the cord. I live in an apartment so I’m not entirely sure I can use an antenna which I definitely would need to know before I ever canceled my cable. Right now I got a great deal through Verizon where they bundled my internet, cable and phone for what I was originally paying for cable. Plus I got a $300 visa gift card. But after my contract expires, I may take a closer look at Roku as I’ve heard so many great things about them.

    • It took us a looong time to get to this point, so I would never say you have to cut your service. I know some antennas do work indoors. I walked into Radio Shack and asked all kinds of questions, so maybe you could look for a store that sells them and see if they know.

  14. I haven’at cut cable – even though its only a broadcast signal because [1] I don’t know how to get tv without cable; [2] I have an old tv that can’t utilize the newer options like roku and streaming hulu and netflix.

    • That was an issue we had with our main TV. It was big, and had a good picture, but was too old to connect all the modern connections. We did invest in a new TV, but it should pay for itself in less that a year without the satellite.

  15. Congrats on cutting the… signal? We have the same set-up you guys have transitioned to – a Roku with Netflix and an antenna. We are not wanting for sports programming, honestly – there is a lot available over the air and online (legally). And I was loving not having to watch commercials, but now Hulu and YouTube have gotten into that game. 🙁

    • Bummer on the commercial, but I guess there has to be a price for free programming. We haven’t tried Hulu yet, and maybe we won’t. I’m hoping our TV time will gradually drop off to the occasional movie or show.

  16. Good work! We’re in the process of doing this too, and ESPN is really the only thing I’ll miss. Though I’ll miss it a lot. We found a blu-ray player that will also stream netflix, hulu and the like so I think we’re going with that, but otherwise I would pick Roku as well. I’m looking forward to being done with satellite/cable companies.

  17. Congrats on cutting the electronic umbiblical cord.

    I like to watch the occasional movie on TV, and now with all these new stations poping up on non-cable TV, there are several channels (such as THIS TV) that show movies 24 hours a day.

    Granted they’re not the newest movies, but I can enjoy older movies that I missed in the past, or have seen but enjoyed them enought to watch again.

    Who needs cable or satellite?

  18. Congrats Kim. I think you will find that you rarely miss it. That has been the case for us over the 2 months since we have made the shift. Sports were the hardest for me to give up, but I’m surviving.

  19. There is no cord leading to my house so the choice was easy. I download shows and movies, that’s about it. That is awesome you can get premium channels on the antenna, in the UK we could only get a dozen basic channels.

    • We haven’t installed it, but it sounds like it will pick up several channels. Honestly, we don’t even need them right now, but when football and basketball start up again, I think we will.

  20. We have a Panasonic Viera Smart TV and love it. I’m always streaming something and it’s fun to jumo on Facebook or Twitter sometimes as it’s so big!! I don’t think I’ll be cancelling cable any time soon but we don’t go to the movies or out to eat often so it’s our splurge.

  21. YES! YES! and more YESS!!!!!! Nice work! So glad you have jumped ship. Don’t worry, the water is fine over here, and you won’t miss it. Trust me. There’s something incredibly freeing about it. 🙂

    The extra monye is a nice side-effect 🙂

  22. Yea!!! Great job, you guys. We are sans paid TV too and haven’t looked back. Have you checked out the T-Mobile prepaid plan for cell phones? Here we have great coverage and it’s cheap. I’ve been using them for years.

  23. Good for you. I’ve often wondered what the future is for advertisers. If I’m not watching something on Netflix, I’m TiVo ing the show and skipping through commercials. It’s been years since I’ve seen a commercial. And I know I’m not alone.

  24. Yeah, the decision to cancel cable to switch to Netflix and Hulu Plus can save you quite a bundle. Even if you throw Amazon Prime into the mix, it is still only around $20.00 a month. You could even throw in a month Redbox budget of $15 and come nowhere close to what most people pay for regular cable.

  25. Yes I have cut the cable chord long back and enjoy the free tv shows as you mentioned and I have shared a similar post

  26. We use Excede satellite internet, it takes about 30minutes to setup, and works well. Just point south with a clear view of the sky and you are set! It’s great to have if you are RV’ing and are in the middle of nowhere as it’s a great distraction.

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