Sometimes, I hear audible gasps when I tell people that I don’t have a cable television subscription. You would think I told them I went without bathing or hosted dogfights in my garage.
But I’ve lived a rich, full, and informed life without ever watching CNN, HBO, Showtime, or The Cooking Channel. I know, it’s crazy.
In the rare instances when I’m staying in a hotel or with friends, and I have the opportunity to sample some of the programming offered on cable television, I’m certain I’ve made the right decision.
There are the occasional worthwhile cable programs that define an era (the Sopranos comes to mind) with originality, quality writing, and great acting. There may be the infrequent, important news story that breaks on cable. But, let’s be honest, most of it is pedestrian and sensationalized.
There are sports, too, but you could just as easily stroll down to your local pub and watch the game with friends.
I do have specific reasons, other than personal tastes, for not having or watching cable television. Here they are:
1. The Money. To pay in the range of $700.00 to $1700.00 per year, or whatever it is, to watch television boggles my mind. I cough in my coffee every time I even think about it. I’d rather save that money and buy an airplane ticket to Rome. The entire concept of paying for television escapes me. You want me to pay money so you can advertise to me? Balderdash.
2. The Technology. In days gone by, anything that was worthwhile on cable eventually ended up on DVD. So when I heard about good cable programs, I waited, rented the video, and enjoyed the content at my leisure. Now, everything is digital. Why bother with cable now when that technology is dying? Drop it. Get online. Download legally. Stream it. Push innovation. Kill obsolescence.
3. The Cable Companies. I’ve never heard a single good think said about any cable television provider. Why would I give my money to an entity or industry with such a poor reputation? If you subscribe to cable and aren’t satisfied with your service, why continue to give them money?
4. Books. I read while most people are watching television. It’s been a lifelong habit that has paid substantial dividends in terms of quality of life. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
5. PBS. If you’re going to watch television and feel absolutely compelled to pay for it, donate to your local public television station. For the price of a Honey Boo Boo or a Duck Dynasty, you can enjoy informative, thought-provoking, and surprisingly entertaining programs that the entire family can appreciate.