Ask The Readers: Do You Pay For Cable TV?

By Ashley Jacobs on 7 June 2011 (Updated 14 June 2011) 214 comments
Photo: Edwart Visser

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Renee, Lisa, and Money Beagle for winning this week's contest!

Almost everyone has their must watch TV show. Whether you are into reality TV or dramas, turning on the television is a great way to unwind after a long day at the office. However, if your favorite show is on cable, sometimes paying for cable can put a strain on your budget.

Do you pay for cable TV?  Why or why not? If you don't, how do you watch shows on cable channels without paying for cable?

Tell us if you pay for cable TV and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, June 13th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 13th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.

Good Luck!

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Holly

I pay for cable. I pay so I can watch bike racing, Tour de France, etc...

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Reba

Our family does not pay for cable. We use a combination of public tv and streaming Netflix. I supplement watching some of my favorite shows online if I can find them. My daughter loves NickJr shows but many are on Netflix for streaming and why pay $60 a month for something that costs $8. We have been watching alot less tv with cutting out cable for over a year. My daughter's favorite entertainment source has been the library with books and movies to check out. The $50+ dollars a month saved has helped with the rising gas and food prices.

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Lori A.

"Like" you on facebook

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molly

No way! Good old bunny ears give us plenty of channels, especially after the digital conversion. New broadcast channels like THIS and Antenna have great old shows and movies. For current shows we can watch most of them on the internet. Not much on cable worth paying for, it seems like it's mostly shopping and garbage.

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Guest

Liked you on FB.

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Susan

Trying again! Liked you on FB

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Angelina

I do, but we go for the basic cable. Our reception is really awful without it so we compromised that way. We have Netflix, and take advantage of every free movie code we can find for Redbox and Blockbuster.

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Nicholas

I pay for cable currently but the only reason for that is that I want to be able to watch the NHL games. Unfortunately I am in the local market for my team and I am unable to stream it over the internet. If I could get that somehow, I would definitely cancel my cable tv.

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Heather

Yes, I do pay for cable television however, each year when I am coming up to my anniversary(no contract)I call them and let them know I would like a better deal to remain with them and every year for the last 5 years my cable bill has dropped without losing any services. I receive high speed internet as well as basic and plus television and three premium movie channels for under $90 a month. I consider that good given the fact that anyone else would be paying over $150 for the same with our cable company if they didn't ask for a cheaper rate. You DO have to ask, they don't volunteer it!!!

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Marcie Colleen

No. I gave tv up all together this past fall and I will not look back! If I am in the mood to watch something I watch Netflix. I also listen to NPR for news and entertainment. I give $5 a month to NPR. That's money well spent..cable isnt!

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Barbara

Yes, I do pay for cable TV. It is a habit I think. I watch 30 minutes a day or less.

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Trish

Nope, can't afford it. I read a lot and sometimes rent DVDs.

Guest's picture

No. I don't pay for TV services. Never have, never will. I also "check out" all of my movies out from the library. Just picked up "The King's Speech" today for our next family movie night. Library movies can be kept for 3 weeks, too.

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Guest

I like your page on Facebook

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Kathryn

No cable subscription, but we have a Roku and watch shows online. I posted this on Facebook, too. ;)

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Stephanie

We have Charter Communications for cable internet and TV. We are thinking of getting a DirecTV/DSL combo from AT&T. We would skip the DirecTV but we have access to the higher speeds of DSL because we are purchasing the DirecTV too. The basic DirecTV plan plus 18 mbps DSL will be about $50 cheaper per month!

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Angie

Nope- we use a good old-fashioned (well, a little "newfangled") antenna. The junk is about the same whether you pay for it or not. We actually traded satellite TV for satellite internet (we live way out in the boonies).We also get Netflix, so it's pretty much an even deal money-wise. But a lot more choice.

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Therese

We pay for cable, mostly for the sports my husband likes.

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Lynda

no i don't but we might start to avoid going out too much for sports games =P

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Lynda

tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/78256273539346432

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Lynda

i like wisebread on fb

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Lisa

Our local cable isn't very high quality. They suffer a lot of outages. For that reason, I chose satellite instead and watch some shows online through Hulu.

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rt

We do not pay for cable. The $100 a mont it costs just seems like too much for too little. We subscribe to netflix for $10 a mont which more than suits our needs. We watch about 1 hour of tv a day. Though I do miss watching PTI os espn everday. We have been cableless for about 18 months now

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Tish

We only pay for "basic cable" that is required to have cable internet. It gives us channels 1-18. For everything else, we use netflix and hulu!

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kat

Yes only because Internet price goes up without it. I am on a promotion rate with comcast and when that is over the tv and phone will get cancelled.

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Aaron

No. I had Comcast's basic cable on a special for a while, it was about $35 per month. I'd gripe at the end of each 3 month period, and they extended it for about 18 months, but finally I couldn't go above anyone else's head.

The interesting thing was that they had one special at the time, but it was for new customers only. I asked if I could cancel for a week then get the new special. They were confused but decided that wasn't allowed. I asked why they were more interested in attracting new customers than retaining existing customers. More confusion.

I wasn't going to pay $80 per month for basic cable. I cut the cord.

That was about two years ago. I've used Netflix and Blockbuster Express, both of which have their merits, which, combined with plenty of internet (and SiriusXM), provides more than enough media in my life.

The combined cost of Netflix, Internet access, and SiriusXM is about $70 per month. Cable is not worth it.

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AronSora

I'm a college student, I can have cable b 1) there's free cable and social interaction in the many lounges 2) there's hulu 3) I should be studying, college is expensive.

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Katie R

No, I don't pay for cable. Most of the shows I am interested in air on network channels. For the rest, I use Hulu or DVDs.

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Katie R

I like wisebread on facebook!

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Donna

Yes, we pay for cable each month but no premium channels.

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Katie R

I tweeted! http://api.twitter.com/#!/carrotrunr/status/78270385853972480

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Melodie Myers

Nope, I've been free of cable(more specifically Comcast) for 6 months. I'm sooooooo happy to get rid of them. I bought a Roku box(best 69.00 I've spent in awhile) -- I subscribe to Netflix and Hulu Plus, I get most of the popular network shows, but I'm not much of a fan and might get rid of Hulu -- it's difficult for me to get over the air channels, so the one thing I thought I would miss was live news -- that hasn't been an issue because I found private channels that stream CNN, BBC, MSNBC, CNBC -- I think Roku comes with Live Al Jazeera(not the most popular channel for an American, but it is live) --I even got in on the Youtube channel(a constant source of amusement) before it was blocked to all new subscribers -- so I'm all set. Bills went from a gazillion dollars a month to around 18.00 bucks and there's more than I ever could or would watch, wish I could have done it years ago --very happy.

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Caitlin

We only pay for basic cable (about twelve channels) because it is included with our internet service. We do pay for Netflix ($10 a month) because we don't have cable, and this also includes Netflix Instant. We have a Blu Ray player so we can stream Netflix Instant on our TV. I'm a librarian, so we also get lots of DVDs from the library, including DVD sets of cable TV shows. We also watch the free shows on Hulu. We do have to wait for shows and movies to come out on DVD, but there's lots of stuff to watch in the meantime. There are certain cable shows I miss but in addition to saving money, I think this saves us from spending a lot more time in front of the TV.

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Raina

Yes, I pay for cable TV. It's one of my few "luxuries". I like the convenience of just being able to turn on the TV and find something interesting to watch.

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michelle rowland

I don't pay for cable and spend my time looking for ways to save on our very tight budget due to medical expenses and donate to our local church and food drives. Netflix is a much cheaper option used once in awhile.

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Kandace

No, we haven't had cable in almost 3 years. We have an antenna in the backyard and also Netflix. It's all the tv we need, along with shows available online.

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Kandace

like on facebook

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Kandace

tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/Mama2Goosie/status/78279832869412866

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Emily N.

Yes, we pay because our phone and internet service is cheaper when it's bundled with cable.

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Jill

No, we do not pay for cable. We do not have Netflix either. We have a toddler and just don't have time to watch much TV anymore. I am surprised which how much free time we have after we got rid of our cable (we did this last summer)

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Moe

No, we don't pay for cable TV. We pay for internet service and Netflix.

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bechego

I am happy to we do not pay for TV service of any kind. We have not had a TV service bill for EIGHT YEARS now since we moved to the new house. Honestly, the main reason was because the monopoly cable company wanted to charge us $300 to "install" the service. A few years later we received an offer to have them waive the fee, but, no thanks!

Now we have kids and there is no way we would get it now because there is just too much garbage on TV.

At this point we see no reason to add the service, and we also don't have any favorite shows we feel we must watch. I must say, it feels liberating.

It can be done :)

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Victoria McVey

Yes, I do subscribe to cable and I wish that I did not have to. My husband and I watch alot of tv. We are seniors living on S. Security and can only afford the basic cable. Where we are living we could not have DTV like we had at the house-they do not permit DTV here. Saw an advertisement for the Moho Antenna that makes tv free and am thinnking seriously to looking into this--we also have internet with the same company as a pkg deal for both. It seems too high for this and it is very hard to pay for this each month. This is an option for us to think about.

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No way. Antenna and Home Theater PC FTW!

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Max

I pay for cable because I'm out of school for the summer and NEED some entertainment! :D

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Rachel R

I am a young, newly married person, and have been out of my parents home for three years now. My parents always paid for some sort of television throughout my life. When I first moved out and moved in with my husband, there was no way we could afford to pay for any type of television, so we survived on the bunny ears, borrowing movies and TV show seasons from the library, and watching some episodes of shows from websites. A year later, we discovered Netflix! The instant streaming is great, I get to watch what I want, whenever I want, with no commercials! I am completely happy with the set up we have, I will never ever want to pay for TV! There are too many other things that are more important to spend (or save!) that money on.

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sharon

yes, my husband and son are huge sports fans and couldn't survive without it, lol

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Joey

I don't pay for cable television, not only because I'm frugal but also because I know I'm a tv addict and if I have cable I'll watch tv for hours every day (we don't keep a tv attached to an antenna either for this same reason). I do, however, pay for cable internet access.

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gt0163c

I don't pay for cable television. In fact, I don't even watch broadcast television except on rare occasions. For the tv shows that I enjoy, I either watch them streaming for free on the web (Hulu mostly) or wait for the DVDs to come out.

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Bethany

No cable for us. We have a box with an antenna. When I want to watch a movie, I turn to the internet on hulu. I don't mind watching old flicks. When my husband wants to watch a movie, he goes on down to get a Red Box flick. For sports, if my husband's favorite team is not on the basic channels, he goes to a sports bar to watch. Youtube is great for the kids. You can find any old cartoon on there, but I do watch the content.

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Jason Beard

Nope, I don't pay for cable! Free over the air as of 3 months ago. Before then I did not have any sort of TV. I also dont pay for internet either. I can get a semi-ok connection from one of my neighbors.

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Teresa

Gave up Direct tv 3 months ago and can honestly say I do not miss forking out 100 bucks a month for the service. I find that now I have plenty of shows to watch that broadcast over the internet, netflix and antenna tv. You do not have to pay lots of money for tv but people are lazy and just want a little box with remote and be able to dvr their programs instead of waiting the next day or till the season is available. Instant gratification equals outrageous cable bill..I love having my 100 bucks a month back....

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Marie

I don't pay for cable tv. I thought it would be a big deal when we canceled it but it really wasn't. I use Hulu and Netflix a lot to watch my favorite shows. A lot of the shows that I like to watch are directly linked off of the websites. I find that not having access to the tv allows me to pick specific shows that I want to want as opposed to brainlessly surfing like I used to.

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kelly smith

i do pay for cable...and it kills me a little every day. But we just got a Home Theater PC To try it out to see if we can cancel our cable. But realistically watching TV saves me a lot of money, i dont go out and do a lot, instead im glued to NatGeo and Discovery. ANd the hubby is a big football fan, better for him to watch it at home than at a bar where he always spends too much money.

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Christy W

No way do we pay for cable. Most of the shows we like are available either online or from the library. :)

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Angela

Yes, we pay for cable TV. There really are only a few channels we watch, so it would be great if we just had to pay for them ;) But there are certain shows that we follow enthusiastically, and it's nice to sit down together and watch them in real time.

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Katie

Nope, I don't pay for cable and haven't since 2006. My family and I are just 'too busy' to watch tv. We do have a television and receive 4 decent channels via OTA. We also have a VHS and a DVD player for popcorn and movie nights or those rainy days. I can also stream tv shows or movies via hulu and the like. My laptop has an HDMI port that we can connect to the tv.

The last two options available to us are quite recent, since late 2009. I was a full time student when we moved and just couldn't justify the $50/month expense just for basic cable. I'd rather be able to pay my rent and put food on the table. Now that I'm no longer a student and have a real job, even tho I'm still not raking in the big bucks, doing without cable tv seems normal.

We've lived without it for so long, I see absolutely no reason to pick it up again.

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Katie

I "liked" you on facebook

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Katie

https://twitter.com/#!/ktelecia/status/78479666687647744

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Guest

No, we gave DirectTV up for netflix, rabbit ears and the Internet.

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Lauren

No we definitely do not pay for cable- everything we could possibly want to watch is available on the web or netflix.

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Lauren

Tweeted:

http://twitter.com/#!/ldelangel/status/78484428254478336

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Lauren

Not sure if it only counts the first time--but I already "like" you on facebook:)

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Daisy

I lost the privilege of cable television a long time ago. I primarily Netflix my shows and as a result am a season behind. However, I also mooch off my boyfriend's DVR when I see him -- so that's a free, easy way for me to get my cable fix!

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CgK

I cancelled cable two years ago when I was unemployed for a few months. Never regretted it! I subscribe to Netflix, and also stream a lot online.

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Kasey

Not anymore! I didn't think I could live without it, but I've been cable free for about 6 months and it's great!

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Guest

We ditched all broadcast television when it went digital (no longer got good signal in our out-of-town hilly location). We watch movies and old TV shows from the library on the tube and get streamed content on the internet. We also read, listen to the radio, go to the lake, and garden. It's the life!

When we replaced our roof, we had them put in the wire for a roof antenna, but we just haven't bothered to buy.

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Carmen

We have satellite, not cable. Way more channels than we need. I'd love to watch shows through our computer - Hulu, Netflix, etc. but can't quite convince my spouse to give up NFL Network (which is why we have the high number of channels)

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Carmen

I now "like" you on Facebook

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Carmen

http://twitter.com/#!/cmouse01/status/78531234623537153

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manding

NO ! What's the point with hulu.com and friends with HBO?

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Joy

Yes we pay for cable, rather satellite. We recently switched saving us almost $50 a month!

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Guest

Nope! I haven't paid for cable TV for over a year. I watch online and I do pay for Netflix, but it's only $7.99 a month to stream through my Wii and NO COMMERCIALS. I refuse to pay $60 or more for basic cable and have to watch commercials that portray unrealistic stereotypes and make me feel like I NEED whatever BS product their selling for my life to be complete.

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Arakiel

No, although we do pay for our internet service through a cable provider. The actual televisions however are powered by HTPCs which get all the content off that internet connection or via a local file server.

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Guest

I pay a small fortune for 150 channels and I can hardly find anything decent to watch. My contract ends in September, then I will ditch directv.

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Yoshi Kumara

We haven't had cable for years. Even though we no longer get any over the air channels (since the switch from analog and digital), Netflix and Hulu both stream through the PS3 onto our T.V. I definitely don't miss having cable. It means no more channel surfing. You just pick what you want to watch and then watch it.

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Holly

My husband and I have the basic cable with charter bundled with really fast internet. We pay $45 per month. We rarely catch anything live with our schedules so watching everything on the internet the next day is really convenient for us. We recently purchased an hdmi cable and we stream the internet on our flat screen tv! I am also a gamer and an avid couponer aspiring to be an extreme couponer. So I'm constantly on the internet.

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gina

It kills me each month to do so, but we pay for our cable

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Margaret

We got rid of cable last fall to make a change in our leisure time. We're using an antenna that gets the basic channels and a few others. Most of the time it's okay but when I am around cable tv I remember what I'm missing.

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Carolyn

I am a recent college grad who has moved back home with my parents, and while my parents pay for their cable bill, when I move out, I fully intend to NOT subscribe to cable. If I need to watch TV that desperately, paying a minimal fee for a tv show from amazon or itunes is a huge savings compared to a monthly cable bill!

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marcie

We don't pay for cable tv and haven't for about 3 yrs now. We are happy with that choice.
instead we stream our videos/tv/movies thru the Roku player from Netflix and also stream Hulu thru it as well.
As for "must watch" shows we really don't have any anymore because we don't know what is even out there! But if there is something we have to watch we'll try to watch it online or *GASP* wait for it to hit video. which surprisingly isn't very long anymore.

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Omar

I do pay for cable TV although its through a satellite not a a cable. I have DirectTV and I am pleased with it as of now. The main issue is that my internet bill and cable bill are separate. Where as before I was getting both from Comcast. At the moment I have the Choice Ultimate plan which is running me about $75/month. When I was using Comcast for both cable and internet I was charged about $79/month. Supposedly it was a glitch on Comcast's side which ran for about 5 years, then one day or cable was gone. So we had to switch because they wanted $120/month for both cable and internet. These silly companies always trying to pull a quick one.

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H.B.

Nope, I don't pay for cable TV. When I moved into my apartment about a year ago I hooked up my telly and as luck would have it I got crystal clear reception of all local broadcast stations. It's only 15 channels but anything else I need to watch I catch online or when I visit my family.

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Christine

We lived in the States, we only used Netflix for our entertainment. But we moved to a remote location in the Atlantic and the only way we can get local phone and high-speed Internet is to purchase the cable package. It's not terribly expensive, at least. Costs us about $80 per month. But we rarely watch cable at all and won't miss it when we return to the States.

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Erika Brown

We don't pay for cable TV. We watch streaming shows on Netflix and on Hulu Plus. If neither of these show something we want to see like HBO or AMC shows, we wait until the discs are available on Netflix.

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nahodilb

While we do not pay for cable TV, I mean that in the spectrum in that because we live in a Rural area, Cable TV is not an option.

So instead, we have a packaged bundle with Verizon where they have a joint program with DirectTV and we use Satelline. I think it is a good buy.

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terrellterp

No cable. I use Hulu for most of my fav tv shows. I did a Netflix trial for a month. I liked it, but didn't want to pay for it. I have rabbit ears, but usually leave it on one channel since I have to adjust the antennae with I change channels.

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Stuart

Nope. My wife and I don't pay for cable. In our old house, we paid for the most basic tier (basically just the broadcast channels plus a few extra) but the tv was in a basement "rec" room, and we found we never even bothered to watch it. When we moved, we decided to pay for high speed internet via FIOS for $60/month. We download and/or watch all our favorite shows, have the basic streaming Netflix for the Wii and our computers ($8/month) and Ooma phone service ($3/month). One of these days I might put up a digital antenna, but we're not in any rush. Take that, cable!

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Elisabeth

We do currently pay for cable tv and are locked into a 2 year contract with Directv. I think that when it ends we might do Netflix or basic cable, because it is just to expensive!

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djben75

No we go with Free HD over air, netflix on PS3 / computers / smartphones, and hulu+ (also on PS3, computers, and smartphones)

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I pay for cable. I watch news and business channels..

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Ashley

My husband and I live a very busy lifestyle, so subscribing to (and paying for) cable seemed like a waste of our hard-earned money. Instead, we use a Netflix subscription and watch what we want, when we want to, from our Wii console. If we're inclined to watch cable programming, we will connect our laptop computer to our television (which I find to be the smartest creation in the world!) and stream from our internet!

Talk about getting the biggest bang for your buck! :-)

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Kristin

Yes -- we have a basic internet/cable package. I could care less about television, but my husband loves being able to watch his Phillies games. We know that, if we had to, we could live without this expense.

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Guest

I had Comcast until I bought an HD tv. Their HD sucked and I moved to an antenna. After conversion it made sense to put up outdoor antenna which with a little internet research and $200 bucks on antenna and supplies. Learned how to make my own cable wire and save big bucks, its been two years. My next door neighbor gave his Netflix account so I still don't pay and have all the entertainment I need. The only thing I pay for is internet and every couple of months Comcast calls for some deal and I politely turned them down saying OTA had better quality picture than you. LOL

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kristina wittchen

Yes, but I wish we didn't.

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G2

I have not had cable for over two years now. I purchased an application called PlayOn and an XBox 360. The application sits on my PC and streams TV directly from the Internet to the XBox. From there to the television. I can also stream music stored on my PC via the same route and outputs to my stereo. This setup has already paid for itself many times over. I do not get live events or local channels but there is certainly more television available than I could ever watch. If I ever want local or live events I could simply hang a digital antenna atop my house.

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jackie

No , recently discontinued it to save money. The only thing I really miss is the weather channel, not worth the $50 a month. Spend more time on netflix anyway.....

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GL

No cable for me - I watch all my shows online! It's a bit slower sometimes, but it saves a ton of money. :)

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GL

I "liked" you guys on Facebook. :)

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GL

Answered in a tweet for my third entry. :^D Here is the link: http://twitter.com/#!/grigorylukin/status/79354033588011009