October 23, 2006

I can't seem to watch television anymore.

And my cable bill is over $130 a month. Is that better or worse than the fact that I'm paying $37 a month for my land line phone, which is used almost only to receive automated political ads -- "Hi, this is Kathleen Turner..." -- and efforts to get me to submit to a political poll -- "We don't do those," I hear myself saying these days?


Daryl Herbert said...

Ask your students tomorrow how many have land lines. Probably somewhere around 10-20%.

I think the major news sites like CNN, etc. offer subscription video services. That would net you on-demand internet video whenever you wanted to watch the news.

But I doubt you're willing to forgo the reality shows as they're broadcast.

Joe said...

In my area, $130 a month will buy you expanded digital cable, a DVR box, digital phone, broadband and possibly HBO.

Joe said...

(All through the cable.)

Maxine Weiss said...

You know what my advice is.

Peace, Maxine

Unknown said...

That's nothing. MIne is $212.

Moxie said...

$130 bucks a month? That's insane! Ann, you might want to shop around for other providers.

I've got Dish Network, two TVs with DVRs, HBO and I pay about $80/month.

Can't even think about downtownlad paying over $200. Must be a regional thing.

John Stodder said...

And how much do you spend on printed newspapers where the content is available for free or for a charge much less than a terrestrial subscription, on line?

Cable is trying to take advantage of the final days of its local monopolies to vacuum as much money out of your bank account as it can.

There's a tipping point coming.

Victor said...


Brent said...

Three years ago my wife and I sat down our 3 children - ages 20 (college student living at home), 17 and 16 - and told them that we thought that $2 dollars a day for cable TV was ridiculous. They agreed. We of course already had all the networks and UHF for free anyway. So we invested in a nice antenna, and then upgraded to cable internet from dial-up, coming out ahead financially.

When we paid $64 a month for cable TV, I personally felt compelled to watch something - anything! - everyday just to make certain that I was getting my money's worth. In 2000, as with every election, I was a news junkie, with 3 TV's on at all hours to the cable news stations.

But by 2002 the Internet was faster AND more accurate than MSNBC, CNN and network news. We took the plunge in 2003 knowing that I would likely experience withdrawals from multiple news channels in the 2004 elections, but I actually found the opposite. Friends with cable news but without the internet were calling to see if I knew anything ahead of the TV. The answer was yes. The internet had exit polls before TV could or would report them. The internet provided faster information about polling location problems, and gave first-hand insights inside campaigns. And face it: Cable news doesn't provide really anything at election time that you can't already get with the network news.

Most importantly - and even better today - the internet can tie you directly into a county registrar's computer count, allowing you to see real-time results as fast as any news source can get them.

Cable TV? They should pay ME to have it in my home.

Maxine Weiss said...

Why does the Midwest need cable?

I'd have thought the Midwest gets the best reception of anyone.

Peace, Maxine

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's a lot of money. We have Direct TV w/ HBO and TiVo for $70.

All that, and I only watch Battlestar Galactica and Gilmore Girls, both of which I could rent on DVD a few months later for just a few bucks (with extra features and no fast forwarding through TiVo'd commericals).

I ditched the landline in 2001.

More money to spend on liquor.

Revenant said...

I would cancel cable and just wait for the DVDs, only I don't want to hear any spoilers for Battlestar Galactica before I have a chance to see it.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am in the crowd here who really doesn't watch TV any more. I own four of them, ranging from fairly small to one of the largest tube TVs I have seen. And I don't have any of them hooked up (though I am thinking of hooking the later up to one of my computers).

Every once in awhile, I will get access to a TV, such as in a motel room, and watch non-stop, getting it out of my system for another month or so. I used to be a cable news junkie, but most of the time in motels, it seems like you can get CNN and not Fox. And I find myself screaming at the TV the facts that the "reporters" are intentionally leaving out in order to intentionally slant the news in the prescribed direction. So, I don't watch cable news any more, even when I do have cable TV available.

But I do want to point out that this is an extremely self-selecting sample. Even though there is some erosion in viewership, there are still huge numbers of people out there who get their "new", entertainment, etc., from TV. And I don't see that ending all that soon.

Those of us who are most susceptible to the Internet as our source of information, entertainment, etc., have mostly left TV already. But there are many more who don't have that inclination, and are happy to get such things from TV. I know far more in the later category than in the former.

Hunter McDaniel said...

Ann, my recommendation would be to get a digital TV receiver (can be acquired separately, but are usually integrated with new TVs in the last year or so) and have someone put up an antenna for you. That way you can drop your cable subscription but still continue to provide your extended coverage of Project Runway which the rest of the blogosphere depends upon.

If you have any time left for TV after that I would recommend you get a Netflix subscription (they start at $6 per month) - it is far and away the best 'Video on Demand' service in existence today.

Bruce Hayden said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ann Althouse said...

Actually, the cable bill includes my internet access...

Finn Alexander Kristiansen said...

Oooh, communications set ups.

Previously, I was spending $55 for local and long distance phone service via Cox cable. I had dial-up, using AOL free disks, which often would get extended for months at a time when I went to cancel. My semi-icky apartment complex includes some cable (namely TBS and CSPAN, CSPAN2) but that's about it. I do have Netflix as well.

I just added a Sprint cell phone because people (meaning my mom) said they could not ever reach me, my wire line tied up by my dial up. So Sprint is $39.99 (give or take a bazillion extra taxes and costs).

Then, in the process of eating up most of my income, and engaging in a long range telephone gab fest, my fixed rate of $55 went unpaid, with a bill appearing finally for $280 or immediate shut off; however, the dollars to pay that were in my stomach in the form of chinese food and pizza'

So I was without a land line, and internet! But,I had the cell, and while traveling about on the Sprint website (while slumming on a friend's computer), I learned you can use your cell phone as a modem. So I added a data package for $39.99, and now go online via my cell, plugging my pc into it.

All of this seems rather precarious. If I just brought my bill up to date with Cox, I could pay a flat $100 for cable, hi speed internet, plus local phone and limited long distance.

Obviously, I have to keep my paychecks from going in my mouth. In any case, it seems that if I want a cell, cable, hi-speed, and minimal land line (with flat rate long distance), I am looking at a cost of $200 or so. (Each item being about $50).

MadisonMan said...

We don't watch TV, and only had cable in our house when we moved in, until the Cable Company disconnected it -- maybe after a month or two. The landline/DSL is $63/month. We don't have a cell phone, much to my teen's dismay.

The DSL isn't really fast enough to stream video, but other than that it works for us.

Dave said...

$150 per month for internet and cable.

On a data per month basis, I figure I'm paying around a couple of dollars per gigabyte.

On an hourly basis, I figure I'm paying less than a dollar per hour.

Given both of those calculations $150 per month is, to use a legal term of art, de minimis.

Jeremy said...

I'm pretty sure that my cable company IS paying me for cable. For some reason it's 5 bucks cheaper to get Cable Internet AND basic cable TV (networks, TBS, TNT, USA, A&E) than just Cable Internet.

Maxine Weiss said...

"Actually, the cable bill includes my internet access..."---Althouse

In other words:

If-I-Don't-Watch-TV, This-Blog-Will-Be-Shut-Down !!!!

So-Start-Supporting-My-TV-Addiction-And-Make-A-Donation-Today !!!!

Peace, Maxine

PatCA said...

I'm thinking of going back to an antenna, too. There is nothing I can't wait for a DVD for. Any way you look at it, cable TV has been a loss for viewers. Remember when we were told that pay TV meant no commercials and a renaiisance in programming? Ha! Now we have to buy a Tivo to escape the incessant and poorly produced commercials, and we're watching Leave it to Beaver reruns!

Hunter, I don't understand your digital receiver thing, but it sounds good.

MnMark said...

If you have TiVo, you really don't need cable, except perhaps the $9 basic cable that gives you the local channels. That's what I've found. With Tivo, I can get programs from all times of day when I'm not usually watching t.v., and since all of the programs I like to watch regularly are on the networks anyway (which are available on the basic channel package), the combination of Tivo and basic cable gives me all the t.v. I want for just $9 a month. I got rid of my expanded basic cable service (that was costing around $30 a month) a year ago and only once in the last year was there a program on one of the cable channels I no longer receive that I wanted to watch.

And because I only have the basic cable now, I don't need a cable box, so I no longer have that cluttering up my entertainment cabinet and I no longer pay the monthly fee to rent it. And I bought my own cable internet modem on eBay and no longer have to pay the monthly rental fee for that either.

And then I dropped by land line phone service and long distance provider, and switched to using my cell phone (with its unlimited evening and weekend minutes, and all-the-time free long distance) and have been saving $50 a month on phone service. The net total is about $100 a month of savings on cable/tv/phone and no inconvenience that I've noticed in the last year.

knox said...

Idol starts in just a few months...

sam said...

Here in Latvia we get 5mbit DSL, 30-channel internet TV, (Latvian, Russian, English), and unlimited free calling to anywhere in the country for about $30. I love it here...

Anonymous said...

These things often devolve into a kind of moral preening over TV watching, but rest assured, that is not my purpose.

We don't have a television.

We have several screens, and various forms of technology to power them, but there is no TV.

I like to watch football games. I disconnect a rabbit ears from an FM tuner, and attach it to the cable input on the largest screen. I can get the football game unless it's Monday Night, which is cable. After the game is over, I disconnect the whole mess.

I watch, for a few hours, what the general public watches every day. The commercials and coming attractions spots are interesting to me, as I am out of the loop. I have a few questions:

1. Doesn't anyone have a car already?
2. Can't anybody get an erection?
3. Are kidnapped children just some kind of fun puzzle to amuse yourself with?
4. Can't David Caruso go to a chiropractor or something so his head won't be cocked like that when he turns and looks at the perp EVERY FREAKING TIME?
5. Do you all think you're immortal,and you have time for all this? Are you all elderly housebound agoraphobes?

Christy said...

I still have a land line but I've taken long distance off and I'm limited to 30 calls a month before a per-call charge kicks in. Never has.

Never have had cable, but I download Battlestar Galactica from iTunes for $2 the day after the new episode airs. Fact is, most all broadcast TV shows that interest me are available for streaming, free, the week after they first air.

aaron said...

I am moving this year and do not plan on getting a TV.

aaron said...

Other than cable news, all the shows I watch are on network TV (Lost and Family Guy, sometimes House).

I'd like to just get Fox News, CNN, CNBC, and Comedy Central.

KCFleming said...

You think you all have it bad.

Not only do we not have any television, we have to sit around a big bonfire every night and listen to Eegah tell that same damn story about the teeny-bopper he lost long ago.

And we eat gravel for lunch. And like it.

Contributors said...

I live in L.A and I get all the premium channels and all the regular channels thru Charter for $50, and I get DSL for $13.

It's actually pretty easy to call your cable company and get them to reduce your rate. I just call to cancel or downgrade every time a special I'm on is about to expire. They always find another deal. I'm not bluffing about cancelling or down-grading, because I find it obscene to pay tons of money for television when I'm old enough to remember when it was free.

But EVERY channel for $50 is to sweet of a deal to turn down. Even though there's still not shit on.

Cable companies hate to lose subscribers. Hate people who downgrade. It's worth a call.

As far as the $13 DSL - AT&T has a special. The modem's even free after the rebate and you just plug into your phone line.