Two years ago I proposed a radical plan to the Mrs: Let’s cancel cable television.
Our contract was up and Version had just started offering new plans for faster Internet speeds that I just couldn’t wait to get my ethernet cable on. She hemmed and hawed and ultimately decided to sleep on it. The next morning she awoke and enthusiastically agreed that we should kick the converter boxes to the curb. With great reluctance (and fear for my own life) I sheepishly admitted that I had already renewed our contract with Version, including the television service. BUT, I had dropped the movie channels and used the savings to add a spiffy new 75mbps Internet pipe.
I mean, come on, you read this blog. Would you have actually expected me to wait 12 hours when I knew I could triple my daily dose of Internetty goodness to our wickedly wired world? Of course not!
Upon leaving my chiropractic appointment to unkink my back from sleeping on the couch, we reluctantly accepted our fate as a good thing. It would be a dry run at “cutting the cord”. We would have a real chance to see exactly how much cable television we were still consuming in this age of home theater PCs, podcasting, media servers, and online streaming sites while still having the same-old-same-old service at our fingertips to fall back on. The experiment was on (and, more importantly, I was off the hook)!
At first nothing changed. Our viewing habits had already been curbed by our unexpected stewardship of Baby Girl and there were only a handful of shows we still watched. Eventually even these favorites met their narrative conclusion or fell victim to a television exec’s axe. The last network not online we cared about, the BBC, finally began streaming to America. Video services like Amazon Instant and Google Play began offering UHF quality drek at cutthroat prices whenever one of us felt the need to indulge in a little boob-toobery. The Playstation 3 ended up pulling more viewing hours than the cable service. My PC connected to our living room television provided anything it couldn’t do for free. Increasingly our tablets took over the role of the blathering, idiot-box screen once central the the American household and our television, the largest screen in the house, fell silent, only awoken for special occasions and only ever displaying content we actually cared about.
It was a new age. A quieter age. A more thoughtful age. An age free of screaming car salesmen and nonsensical commercials for jeans .An age free of fads, reality television, celebrity gossip, and psychologically exploitative marketing schemes designed to make us feel guilty about not keeping up with the mythical Joneses.
There was no debate when our next contract renewal came around. We had turned on the television a grand total of one time in the past year. That occasion was to watch the parade and dog show on Thanksgiving, a tradition among the Mrs.’ family (also easily viewable via our local network affiliate station using an antenna). We had already cut the cord in our hearts. We were counting the days until we could make it official. The only question that remained was…
How much more bandwidth can I get with all the money I’m saving by canceling cable television? I can double our already ludicrous Internet speed to 150mbps?! Alert my chiropractor!