Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cutting the cord. (Not another baby post.)

(No, really, it is just this one photo. Now I'll stop.)

When we moved, back in October, we left something behind: Cable TV.

It isn't like we went off the grid. The Cox guy still came out and hooked up the high speed internet. And we even got TWO phone lines (one for alarm system.)

So, why, then?

Mostly, it was because of Miley Cyrus. Hannah Montana is full of super snotty attitude, and my daughter started acting like her. (She was also being carefully coached by Zack, Cody, and iCarly. And although it didn't seem to be affecting the boys as much, they all sat around watching inane pre-teen sitcoms for hours at a time, without blinking. I tried to block the channel, but they figured out the password. I tried to set the TIVO so the kids could only watch recorded shows. They figured out how to record iCarly. They are very smart and resourceful children.

So we got rid of cable. Now, they don't watch TV all day. They actually go outside to play, jump on the trampoline, and ride their bikes. But I'll be honest. They fight a lot more, too. Jane is horrible to Sam, and vice versa. It is like living with a super mean Hannah Montana.

I read this article this morning. According to the comments I read, everyone is super thrilled with turning off the cable.

My own feelings are mixed.

What I like:
Kids not becoming drooling coach potatoes.

Not paying tons of money to bring lots of nastiness into home. (Although, plenty of nasty in prime time regular TV.)

Extra PBS channels. I watch them all the time.

New kid station called Qubo. Which kids don't love, so only watch occasionally.

Lots of channels are HD, and look great on our big fancy set Jake got for his birthday.

What I don't like:
CANNOT GET GOOD ENOUGH RECEPTION WITH ANTENNA. I get very irate when I sit down at night to watch my TIVO, only to find the reception wasn't good enough, and my favorite show is just a black screen. Yes, I know there's Hulu, but I want to lie in bed and nurse my baby, not sit in the office chair in front of the computer. (Yes, I can see the irony that I write this while sitting in front of the computer.)

I miss the Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Discovery. I miss the Barefoot Contessa. I miss House Hunters International. Okay, fine, sometimes I even miss Survivorman and Mythbusters. Jakes misses Burn Notice. But he watches it at work, where he has satellite. He even gets BBC America there. Which makes me green with envy.

The channels don't change correctly. Getting where you need to go is like wading blindfolded through the La Brea Tar Pits.

Couldn't get Conference on WB this year, and didn't have KBYU. Jake rigged up computer to TV. He is very handy.

So anyhow, my feelings are mixed. And I'll tell you, I am scared to death of having five kids home all summer (110 degrees outside, you'll remember) with a newborn, and no TV to entertain the elder children. If it weren't for the pool, I think I'd have already called the cable guy.

I'm a weak woman.

Have any of you unplugged? Love it? Hate it? Are you considering the switch? Or love your cable and think I'm crazy?


Barbaloot said...

I admire you for unplugging---but I don't wanna do it:) Course, I don't have children to protect at this point, either. I do think it's a good idea-I heard my 6 year old niece quoting Hannah and prancing around all sexy like the other day---not a fun thing to see!

bionictrout said...

In a million years, never.

Anonymous said...

unplugged and love it/hate it. Like you, my feelings are mixed. While my children aren't learning the attitude from Miley or Zach and Cody, they are learning an awful lot about beating the crap out of each other (ok, not really, but sort of). They fight a ton! I've discovered games. my kids love to play games. We play Clue, Connect 4, Memory, checkers, etc. I make the older ones teach the younger ones how to play. Games have saved my sanity, if only slightly :)

tarable said...

We did just like you - cancelled cable when we moved in Feb. We took the big plunge and moved from Mesa to ... um, East Mesa and knew we couldn't afford cable with the bigger mortgage payment.

So far it's been okay, I found that the huge list of show I watch were almost all on network tv. And I can watch Project Runway online! The kids & I do miss Disney and Nick Jr. but have substituted Qubo for it. My 3 boys (5yo-2yo) love Rescue Heroes!

We have the same problems as you with the antenna reception, but not as bad as I anticipated. The biggest problem was that my TiVo wouldn't work with the antenna! Disaster! Then my sweet hubby bought me a new, better TiVo and all is right with the world again.

The Fear Fam said...

We are unplugged (4 or so years now) and we love it! In fact, about a year ago we decided to get rid of the actual television set, too! We can still watch movies on our computer, and if I'm feeling desperate I can always watch The Office on Hulu.

I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, except lame/offensive commercials and What Not To Wear. My kids are still young (the oldest will be 8 this summer), so they don't really know anything else. I think they get enough movies/computer games to not feel like outcasts, but I guess we'll see as time goes on. So far it's been wonderful and we have no plans on going back.

Amber said...

Everyone that I know who has done it, is pleased with the results. The only reason we haven't done it is because my husband refuses to give up Fox News. He doesn't want to watch it on the computer.

My kids love iCarly, too. I think when we move this summer, we probably wont get cable. Hubby will be working too much to watch tv. I'm selfish and like my shows, and they aren't all offered on Hulu. Guess my husband and I are really, really selfish!

Heidi Ashworth said...

I can't live without my House Hunters International. It's the only time I get to go anywhere. We have actually spent considerable years without cable reception (which meant almost nothing but PBS) and considerable years with cable. I vote for cable. Sure, I'm under the influence at the present moment so that probably has a lot to do with my current opinion but when we didn't have it, we spent almost as much money renting DVD's. Our oldest pretty much has to hooked up to the TV at all times--it's the only way we can give any time and attention to our other kids, making a living, etc. etc. (He's unusually high meaintenance.) I'm thinking TV is probably more essential when the kids are older and don't fight so much and are busy with homework so you can have it all to yourself.

TheOneTrueSue said...

I'm a big proponent of imaginative and active outdoor play. But No WAY would I get rid of our tv. I like TV.

We set limits for our kids. Half an hour, that's it. It's a rule. The End.

There's no reason they should be watching hours of TV every day, just because it's there. We have lots of food, that doesn't mean they can sit and gorge all day (that's just for me). We have a Wii, but they know they get 15 minutes and their done.

Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Bryn said...

Man, I so agree with you about those junky teen shows! I don't like Hannah Montana and ICarly either. And I have been wondering about cutting it out too. My kids only get to watch tv on Friday afternoons and Saturdays and that still seems like too much sometimes. If I cut the cable, and then change my mind, then I incur new fees and don't get my old package pricing back so that is one reason I am leery. Living in AZ is also tough in the summer! I wish we lived somewhere that outside play was more reasonable, except for swimming of course." When they do spend hours in the pool then I worry about skin cancer! This is a great topic and I'd like to know if you do it and what you think about it!

jennie w. said...

New reader of your blog. Love it!

We got rid of our TV a couple of years ago, but got an antenna last year. I was fine with no TV, but it has been nice having PBS kids. We rarely manage to tape things so we watch a few shows on hulu (laptops in bed!)

I don't ever want to get TV again. I hated all the yucky stuff it brought into the house. When we stay at a hotel, though, we spend hours watching TV. We're mesmerized!

Kristen said...

We just get basic channels too. I like it. When we moved here and we got a free month of regular cable and I just felt like I had to watch all the shows that interested me otherwise I wasn't getting my monies worth. It felt like housework on my list of things to do. It's so liberating. The kids just watch dvds. We used to get PBS and Qubo, but one day that stopped working on their tv which doesn't have the DVR box to get reception.

We pay like $12.99 for the basic channels so maybe it might be worth your sanity to just shell out $15 a month to be able to get reception and for your tivo to work.

Kelly said...

We are in the process of unplugging right now. I in fact called Verizon and asked them to strip us down to just the local channels but it still hasn't happened.

You just reminded me about summer.... I am wondering if it's too late to call back : )

PS HATE Hannah Montanna (and the like).

Anonymous said...

lived unplugged until 2 years ago. did not know what i was missing! there is no way we are unplugging. hubby thought we could but has decided he likes watching every utah jazz basketball game, so, i win! it makes me happy to disconnect occasionally and no fighting kids when to cold or hot to play outside. i'm weak, i know.

Nichole said...

I like having cable for the BYU channel and fox news and some of the good channels my kids watch like discovery channel and other channels like that. Not a huge fan of disney and all those lame kids shows. Lucky for me my kids don't spend a ton of time watching tv but even if they do we have pretty strict restrictions on our tivo of what they can watch. You can block channels or certain shows which makes it really nice. I think it is pretty easy to manage when everything is on tivo because then you never really watch live tv. You say okay kids you have this to pick from. Everyone needs a little down time once in a while whether it is regular tv or cable.

Kari said...

Two of my three siblings have gone unplugged--all internet and DVD movies. That's half of my family--and it's the younger half. I find that fascinating.

As for me and mine, we don't watch much. As a general rule the TV isn't on during the day--not in the morning, not in the afternoon. (Exceptions being made during special occasions and sick days, of course.) The Man will usually turn it on in the evening and watch something fabulous--MythBusters or Dirty Jobs or Penguins--with the boys while I'm finishing up dinner. Maybe a little after dinner, maybe not. That's it.

The adults watch LOST and Survivor and HHI on DVR when we get the chance, which could easily be via internet. So, it would seem like we could go without.

But, no. Craig would die without college football. Die. We would have gotten rid of the TV long ago, if not for BYU football. And since I need a man to provide for my children, the cable stays.

La Yen said...

We love us some tv. The end.

mandi said...

i'm late on this discussion. but i'd like to add my 2 cents (as usual). we haven't had tv for about 5 years now. and i love it. i am a tv addict by nature (or more accurately- nurture) and i didn't want the same for my kids. so when my first was 1, we pulled the plug. we have movie night on wed. nights, when my husband works late. we love the peace and quiet that it brings to the home.
i homeschool, so the kids are here all day. my thoughts on a summer without tv- learn a new craft. woodworking, embroidery, origami, whittling, soap making, candle making, weaving, knitting, sewing, etc. kids are calmer and more centered when they work with their hands. honest!

Claire said...

I still have it. But my kids still don't even know how to turn the telly on... hehe

I LOVE Ina "how easy is that?/it's mac and cheese with the volume turned up" Garten. I couldn't live without her.

I admit to plugging the kids in to the telly when I need to go potty. Cos seriously - I can't get the time on my own if they're not otherwise occupied.

Audra M said...

Unplugged 3+ years. Best decision ever. I have five kids too and I know they do get bored and fight with eachother more, which stinks. BUT they still have imaginations which is much more than I can say for other children that they play with. I ABHORE video games so we've never had these in the house either. We do watch movies but after this past General Conference I felt a desire to get rid of all of it. The TV, players, and movies. We'll see.

I do miss TLC and HGTV a lot though.

LeAnn said...

Just this past week we decided to cut the cable. Now, to actually. do. it.., ugh!

To be continued....

Brett and Shireen said...

We thought about it, and instead of unplugging, we just decreased down to more minimal channels. I still get food network, Lifetime (don't know if I'd survive without project runway), Discovery, and a bunch of the others. I think ABC Family should be called "ABC's questionnable family programming" because some of the stuff on there is crap.

Have you considered getting cable in your bedroom only? Just a thought...

Jill said...

We got rid of our cable 1 year ago! I love it!!! Zach and Cody were really getting on my NERVES! My 7 year old has found Hulu and LOVES "I dream of Jeannie"(Which is a perfect show for her to watch) I think our families are watching too much TV nationwhide. Sure seems like we spend our time better. We even exercise as a family most nights! Now that is great.

Heidi said...

We have never had cable, which makes it seem like perhaps we have never been living life.

Somehow, though, my daughter still manages to know Hannah Montana and her music. Because, as she informed me, her kindergarten teacher would play the music for them while they worked. Gee, thanks, public school system.

Ashlee said...

Amen on Hannah Montana! Since when do 7 year olds get to copy 17 year olds? Not ok!
Disney channel is off limits after 10 am.