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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Guest's picture
Leslie

Unfortunately, I pay for the lowest tier of "analog" (plugged directly into the wall socket) cable. I live on the bottom floor of a three-story condo, partially underground, in a heavily wooded area. I tried getting over-the-air broadcasts, and it just wasn't happening. I loathe paying the cable company every month (and I'm on an extremely limited budget), but I love TV!

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Della

Yes, I pay way too much for Direct Tv.

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Guest

Yes, we pay for cable but only the minimum amount. So we have the basic plan without bells and whistles. Netflix has made this work for us. We really like streaming our programs and get much better tv that way. If cable continues to go up I will not have cable.

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John Warren

I do pay Comcast but its the very basic package. Its a bundle with internet so the cost ends up being $6.00 per month. I get many QAM (HD channels that are not scrambled). There is another package that does not have HD channels that Comcast only advertises in the classifieds.

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Susan_L

My husband and I have watched TV exclusively using our computer for over three years no, and have never looked back! We now have our daughter and her family doing the same. We stopped relying on cable TV because the lack of good programming made it pointless. We discovered pretty quickly that anything we were interested in, including lots of shows and movies we didn't know existed, were available on a variety of websites as well as most major networks. We've been able to watch shows based in Britain and Australia, which is wonderful. I love Asian horror and was thrilled to find a website featuring nothing but Asian horror!

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Christina

We currently pay for cable, but it's an expense we are trying to get rid of. We bundle our cable, internet and home phone, so the current bill is outrageous. We can do away with the home phone since we all have cell phones with local numbers. We do watch the cable channels, but we can live without them. The internet can be purchased separately for a fraction of what we pay now.

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Lani C

Yes, we pay for cable, but we will probably drop it once school starts in the fall. We don't watch much "live" tv, but we use the dvr alot. I think we'd all be just as happy borrowing dvd's from the library or renting movies.

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Guest

Nope, I don't! Free internet sites all the way =)

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Jerry

No - it's just a vaster wasteland. Back when they put the cable wiring in my building, the basic price was $30/month. So I looked at the TV schedule in the paper (yes, back in those days news was actually printed on paper) and for each day I looked at the cable listings and asked myself "is there anything on there I'd pay $1" to watch?".
For those few things that don't come in by rabbit ears that I gotta see, there's the internet. Watching the BCS title game on the tiny screen was pretty sucky, but there are not enough shows to make cable worth the bucks.

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Keith

i still pay for cable. the only thing stopping me from canceling it is live sports.

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Guest

I don't pay for cable. I do pay for Netflix--one DVD at a time, plus many streaming movies and TV shows. For less than $10 a month, I can watch many of the cable shows I like, just a season later than people with cable. This is not a problem for me, because I tend to watch TV while running on my treadmill at home and watch it for my own enjoyment (as opposed to watching it to discuss a program with co-workers the day after it airs). So, for very little money, I get to watch shows I like and stay fit. That's a hard combination to beat.

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Christie

Nope, Nope, Nope!! We have had cable exactly 3 months of our married lives. The 3 month introductory period when cable came to our neighborhood and wanted to connect to all our home for $1 a month. Almost 16 years of marriage, and I can honestly say I have loved not having that bill. Do I miss having a plethora of channels? Sure, but when you look at yearly cost, rather than just monthly, is it REALLY worth it? We're even reviewing Netflix to see if we want to keep spending $60 a year for the most basic package you can have!!

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Charles P

I subscribe to DirecTV and I ultimately regret getting locked into a contract. Television has become nothing more than an endless string of copycat reality shows. If it wasn't for live sports, I would hardly watch at all. My kids love the cartoon networks, but that's nothing that can't be found online somewhere. Once my contract is up, I'll be looking to "cut the cord!"

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Guest

Yes, I pay for cable. Call me a sucker but I like the freedom of being able to flip channels and catch different shows. I'm paying a pretty low price right now for a package of cable plus internet; if I switch to just basic cable then the price of internet goes up so I don't save much money anyway.

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Jason

Yes, we still pay, although we are very close to cutting the offering or switching to FIOS

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Matt

Only the absolute most basic package and only that because it's how we get internet. If I could get internet without having to get the cable, I'd be okay with that. But based on where we live, basic-basic cable + internet is the cheapest option out there.

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Tara

No, I think it's a waste of money and time. I'd rather spend my money on things that get me out of my house and away from the TV.

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Will

I was just about to quit, and the satellite company reduced my monthly bill by 60% from 62.99 to 25.00. They really were running scared that I actually would leave. I was not going to a competitor, but cold turkey. Only my Roku box and an antenna.

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Jonesy

I don't pay for cable or satellite. The over-the-air broadcasts are of much higher quality and have most of what we need. We've been living this way for about 2 years now. We're experimenting with Hulu+, but too much content is computer only (we watch on PS3) so this service may be cancelled soon.

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meredith

i'll be moving in with my boyfriend soon and i originally told him that no cable means no me. however, we've decided to go without cable tv and instead save money - we have netflix and will soon be getting a wii, so what's the need for cable when we can watch what we want through regular tv and the wii? :)

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Guest

Yes, we have Dish Network at our house. My family is obsessed with tv. Luckily, we have dvr so we don't watch too many annoying commercials.

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Erin

nope! we have rabbit ears to let us watch the big 3 broadcast networks, but most of our entertainment comes from Netflix, Hulu, or (shh!) uTorrent.

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Aaron M

We actually get most of our TV from an over the air antenna. It saves us a lot of cash over the course of a year. Our cable bill ballooned a couple of years ago with additions and add-ons, and we decided just to drop it completely. We still have Tivo, so we can watch stuff at-will, but as far as the selection of channels, it has made a big difference in the amount of TV that we watch.

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Aaron M

I like your page

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Aaron M

Tweeted
http://twitter.com/#!/aarontn/status/78097714109349888

Guest's picture

Yes, we have a really good company (WOW) that is rated the best by Consumer Reports. They are the most affordable company we've found and we've been delighted with their service!

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Bryan

I used to use WOW as well. Agreed... they are the best! Great prices and the customer support is the best I've ever seen.

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Guest

No, when it got to $50 for expanded basic I bought a rooftop antenna for $5 at a garage sale and the neighbor put it up. Now that many stations in our area have additional digital channels, I don't miss it (except for Jon Stewart & HGTV... 8) )

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Wojo

We still pay for cable, but it's becoming less and less important in our life.

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Staycee

$12 cable = 20 channels (most of them duplicates). We shouldn't even pay that as we don't watch much tv and have no must-watch shows. We also have netflix (movie junkies). If we're not watching the local news and the tv is on, it's tuned into netflix via the wii.

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Luke

Ive been cable free since Sep 2010.
I have a HTPC with a HD other the air tv tuner so If I miss a show it records it for me. Most content that I was watching I can get through Netflix, Over the Air, or off Hulu so I'm not missing out on anything. The biggest thing I miss is MLB since the local Fox Sports station owns all rights to play the games.. I cant even watch it on MLB.TV!!! I can't see myself paying over $50 a month for Time Warners most basic service that gets me MLB, or almost $80 a Month so I can watch it in HD! Its no wonder why cable subscribers are dropping like flys!

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Bryan

While moving recently to a small studio apartment, I decided it was time to reduce all the extra "stuff" in my life. One thing to get nixed was my Premium Digital Cable package. I realized that I just don't have the time to fully enjoy the 200+ channels I was paying for. So I got a digital converter box that lets me watch a handful of local channels. My tv also has wireless internet, so I can stream Youtube, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix videos to my tv. I've found that not only do I not miss the cable package, but I am discovering new series and movies that I never would have gotten to enjoy (and saving a boatload of cash).

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Sarah V

Yes, I pay for cable as part of a package and I do like having it. I don't have many expensive habits (don't drink, don't smoke) so this is my drug of choice. I love having so many choices.

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Elizabeth Gooch

Today is actually my last official day of paying for cable. The digital receiver is in my car and ready to be turned into Comcast. It just makes more sense not to spend the money as I don't normally have time to watch TV and when I do, I find it's usually reruns. With the help of network website (ABC.com), Netflix, and Hulu I should be able to catch all my shows, when I have the time, for 1/10 of the price.

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A

No, no cable. Only TV via computer. This works for me because I watch less TV and don't have my brain fried by being inundated by commercials. When I watch TV online, I have a couple of browser tabs open and just switch to something else while the commercials play if needed. Some sites have no commercials, some have a few, but none are as bad as regular TV. Almost everything is available online. Used to have Netflix, but don't even need that anymore since our library has a great collection of DVDs.

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shannonmarye

No, Netflix works just fine for us.

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shannonmarye

Fan

Guest's picture

We decided when we moved into our new apartment to ditch the cable and subscribe to Netflix w/ 1 DVD subscription. We have a Wii and internet service and don't want to spend anymore money for cable. We were paying over 100.00 month w/our roomate whi insisted on having HD subscription (my TV is old so did us no good but he hand a fancy shmancy one). Our internet is still expensive (65.00) but couldn't live without it. Getting out of the couch potato mode has been an experience. I actually read more again=)

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Euromom

I "like" you on FB!

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Euromom

We do not pay for cable nor do we watch cable TV at all, unless we are traveling and staying in a hotel that has free cable! We have been married nearly 18 years and have NEVER had cable. I would rather spend the money to travel!

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Megan

Nope. I pay for internet, and when they 'unlocked' my (lowest-tier) internet, I got about 50 expanded basic channel 'for free.' I supplement with my local library's awesome movie collection.

I'm a cheap-ass.

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Eric

I cut the cable a few months back and have absolutely no regrets. I wrote all about it at http://www.narrowbridge.net/2011/01/no-more-cable/. I am saving $804 per year and use Netflix and Hulu for all of the shows I want to watch.

Just last night I watched episode one of MacGyver. Awesome show that I can't get from Comcast.

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Quisicosa

This was a major point of discussion for me and my family last summer. We almost ditched cable for online streaming. It can save a lot of money. It came down to deciding whether our favorite shows would be consistently available to us online. We are still waiting to make the jump. Right now we are willing to pay cable for the shows we want because we would not be able to see the ones that are most important to us online. Also with our carrier (AT&T) charging for extra data usage beyond certain levels, we are still waiting to make the jump until that issue is worked out compared to our online habits.

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Kristy OT

Nope. We just don't watch tv. It works well for us.

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Kristy OT

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/1upsuicide/status/78122571513606144

Guest's picture

I've been cable/satellite free for the past year or so. Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, Roku, Amazon Prime, and books equals no worries!

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Katie

I no longer pay for cable, mostly because my roommates didn't have it when I moved in. It is a huge money saver though so I will continue to not pay for it once I move out. I use hulu to catch most shows and I'm debating signing up for hulu plus or netflix once winter comes.

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Becky

I am not ashamed to say I pay for cable. Cable service is so villified and it is definitely a cost I could cut if I needed to but I enjoy it right now. I have bundled services so internet and phone too for $150/month. I get all the movie channels as the idea of Netflix does not work for me. I love being able to flip through channels anytime I want and record a recently released movie to watch over and over again at my leisure. I don't buy movies, though I sometimes borrow them from the library but there is still pressure to watch within a week and return it so I prefer my cable premium channels in the end.

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matt

Yes, I do pay for DirecTV. I live too far to use OTA antennas for my locals and live in a smaller town in Maine so high speed streaming is still a pipe dream (1.5 DLS)

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Trish

I haven't ever paid for cable/satellite television. I had access to it while still living with my parents, but never made the decision to purchase it for myself when I moved out three years ago. I don't miss it, and the few times I have tried to schedule my life to accommodate a show, I fail miserably. Live television is only useful for the super bowl, otherwise I'll stick to my Netflix enabled dvd player.

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Guest

I don't pay for cable because everything I want to watch is available online either for free or with a very inexpensive monthly subscription.

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aeko

I pay for the lowest package offered by comcast, mostly watch the news channels. Also have netflix with roku which I really enjoy If possible I would cut the cable in a minute, I am hoping an over the air antennae will make that possible

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Anna

Nope, no cable here. We got tired fo paying a premium price to waste our time channel surfing. Most of the shows we watched were on the pbs channel which we get for free on our antenna tv. Hmmm...free vs costly for the same show, I'll take free every time.

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Ernest S.

No, I haven't paid for TV service for over 4 years. I use a $40 HD antenna that I purchased off of Amazon to get my basic over-the-air HD channels, which I then record on a Tivo. I would consider paying for cable, but I can't stand the fact that I have to buy expensive packages filled with premium channels that I will never watch. If I could subscribe to channels "a la carte", then I would definitely try it.

Also, I'm hoping that we see more development in internet based television.

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kathy w

We pay for the basic package with cable so we can have reception for our TV.

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Kristin

I didn't pay for cable TV for many years, but then I fell in love with a man who loves racing so we pay for cable to have access to the "Speed" channel. Sigh. We're talking about switching to satellite to cut down on the expense, though.

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Anna M.

We don't pay for cable. We watch the free over-the-air channels, pay $8 a month for Netflix streaming and watch free shows on Hulu. We also borrow movies from the library.

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Selene

We pay for cable and enjoy it.

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Selene

I Like Wise Bread on Facebook as Selene Montgomery

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Esta

No, we don't have cable. Spending money on both TV and an internet connection seems wasteful to me. The kids (12 and 15) watch shows on the computer. I prefer to rent TV series and movies from the library to watch on TV with my husband.

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Jennifer Newton

We do not pay for cable. Its not worth what you get for the price. Who wants to watch TV all the time anyway ? We watch Netflix and Hulu through the XBox and that's plenty of entertainment along with the antenna.

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Gin

Nope. We had a promotional offer from Comcast, but once that was up, we cancelled. We do pay for high-speed internet and Netflix, though.

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NJJ

Yes, I do pay for cable In my area things like movie rental stores & libraries are far away so the internet is my main reason for having cable. Not to mention a lot of my favorite shows are on internet program viewing sites

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Traci

No, I've never paid for cable. It was not worth it since I rarely watch tv. For shows that I must watch, I wait for Netflix.

If it is something that will never be on Netlflix like the Women's College World Series, then I watch it with friends. This practice has actually proved to be a plus because it requires me to get out of the house and talk with friends face to face. Or, I workout at my apartment gym that has cable as a last resort.

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Emily

I don't pay for cable, but I also don't have a TV at the moment. Life's too busy, but at least between my laptop and Netflix, I can always get my entertainment fix when I have a bit of spare time!

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Renee

yes we pay for DISH - my husband likes the news 24/7 (?)

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Renee

like you on facebook

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S. Carvalho

Nope, I had cable till I last moved two months ago and now live off Hulu (not plus) and Netflix. Not missing cable at all, although I do get monthly calls from Cox trying to convince me to get cable.

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Katelynn Sortino

I don't pay for cable, it's included in the price of my apartment!

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Douglas

No, I cancelled my Comcast cable subscription last year. The main reason was cost due to a reduction in work hours. I now use Netflix and the internet to watch my movies. Granted they are not the latest compared to cable but it works for me. Still I miss being able to watch “live” sport and movie events at will.

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KelR1

I pay for satellite (DirecTV), because everything I watch is not on regular network: HGTV, Cartoon Network's Adult Swim, a lot of the USA series, ID, etc.

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Bridget Ritter

I get basic cable--ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS plus a bunch of foreign language channels that I never watch. The cable shows that I love I wait for them to come out on Netflix and watch the whole series all at once. The last one I watched was Mad Men--which is great because there are no commercials and waiting the next episode. Mad Men marathon!

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Bridget Ritter

..and I added you as one of my likes on Facebook because I really really do Like you!

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Jane

We pay for Fios and honestly, I love it :) not really the "pf" answer,huh?

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VegasLiz

Yes Cox, but seriously considering canceling it keeps going up, up, up and I rather eat. This is my only entertainment and keeps me sane, but I think food will be more important than my mind at this point.

Guest's picture

Yes, I pay for cable TV. I would ditch it if I could somehow get sports streamed thru hulu or some other streaming TV type software. Gotta have the sports.

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GM

No cable for us. I prefer to watch my shows via Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon.

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GM

I'm a facebook follower.

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Nancypdx

Yes, I pay for Fios as part of a package w/ internet and phone.

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sarahnthropic

nope. we cancelled cable about 3 years ago and haven't looked back. there are a few things we can't watch online, but almost any current shows we want are on hulu, netflix, or the network's website. has saved us a ton of money and hours of our lives watching crap we don't care about.

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Don

I don't pay for cable TV. I use Hulu and iTunes.

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Lori A.

We do not pay for cable...or any other tv service. We just use our HD antenna. We can find a lot of shows online.

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Bryan

Well, I'm not stealing it...but yes, I do subscribe to the most limited package available so that we can watch our shows more clearly. Though with the onset of Hulu, Netflix and other television services available for a fraction of the price, my family is strongly considering cancelling our subscription.

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Guest

I LIKE you on Facebook! (Barb Marlow Marcinski)

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Summer

No we do not pay for cable, we have netflix and a great amount of hd channels that come in with our "rabbit ears." Cable cost way too much and only a few channels I would watch anyway.

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Lori A.

We do not pay for cable...or any other tv service. We just use our HD antenna. We can find a lot of shows online.

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Betty

I do pay for FIOS. I'm not happy about it, but I don't want my flat screen purchase to go to waste. I have it bundled with phone and internet.

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Kari

Not anymore. We had the full tv package through U-verse for quite sometime and were paying more than I care to admit. In order to cut back and save money for our family of four, we cancelled and have HAPPILY been streaming through Netflix and our laptop-to-tv setup. I can proudly announce we've cut our bill down by $110 a month!!!!!

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Summer

tweet http://twitter.com/#!/LLLSummer/status/78215892265209856

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Kara

Nope. I had money for either cable tv or better internet and chose the internet because I use that more for grad school.

Guest's picture

We pay for the basic (lowest priced package) package so that we have local channels and news.

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Barbara Marlow

I already LIKE you on Facebook!

I do pay for cable. I have Comcast....phone, internet and TV all bundled together. I have the lowest option on the cable TV. I would love to NOT have cable! I would be perfectly happy watching shows occasionally on the computer. If I could get internet through Verizon (I know I could be hard to get hubby to give up the TV) and cancel the TV and phone, I would do it in a heartbeat!

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Liked on Facebook as well.

We pay for the basic (lowest priced package) package so that we have local channels and news.

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Naomi

We haven't had cable in over three years. It was tough at first to get rid of it, but we love not having an extra bill! We use Netflix instead to get our fill of movies and TV shows.

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Kara

I "liked" your facebook update.

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Emily Ruth

absolutely not. i have not for about 8 years. I don't even have a tv plugged in. I have too much going on for much of that and the show I want to watch I can get on the channel's website or netflix! I feel unburdened from the all the advertising too!

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Madelyn Magruder

I pay for Cable television - I wish I didn't but I sit in front of my computer so much anyway, I just can't watch (or even get) my favorite shows or channels, like History or A&E or (don't laugh) TVLand...and sit there even longer.
I guess I am paying for the convenience.

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Naomi

I also "Like" on Facebook.

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Betty

I liked your comment/question on facebook