I viewed it as cheap entertainment. For $60 per month, I had access to all the sports, news, and educational programs my heart desired. My problem flipping through the channels wasn’t finding something to watch; it was narrowing down my choices from the ten things that looked interesting.
Back then, I would even go as far as telling people they could pry my TV remote out of my cold, dead hands. I had no intention of ever giving up my shows.
Fast forward a few years, and it’s amazing how my attitude has changed. I haven’t had cable for nearly two years now, and I don’t miss it for a second. I can still watch all the shows I like (even on my TV), and I get the added bonus of doing it on my own schedule. I don’t even know what nights shows air anymore.
Here’s how anyone can cut TV from their lives without missing any of their favorite shows, putting at least $50 per month in their pocket.
The miracle of streaming
Getting a Netflix account is just the beginning.
Netflix has a couple of Canadian competitors, Crave and Shomi. Crave is owned by Bell, which means it offers the ability to stream many CTV-exclusive shows, as well as some of the classics from HBO. If you’re a fan of Corner Gas, South Park, or the Sopranos, Crave is worth your time.
Shomi is a co-venture between Shaw and Rogers. It has plenty of TV series Netflix doesn’t, like Modern Family, Fargo, and American Horror Story. Shomi also has the rights to exclusively show Amazon streaming content in North America.
Each of these services cost $9 per month. If you combine the two with Netflix, you’ll get access to hundreds of different TV shows and thousands of movies, all for the combined cost of about half of the average cable subscription.
There’s one problem with this though, and that is you won’t get new episodes. Each of these streaming sites only offers old episodes, with the exception of Netflix’s unique programming.
The easy way to get around that is to just go to each network’s website and watch stuff on there. Nine times out of ten, it’s sitting there the next morning, waiting for you. Or you can just be patient and wait for the show to end up on one of the streaming services.
How to watch live TV without paying for it
Cable companies are happy to provide streaming services for just about every channel, providing you’re a customer. How can us cable-cutters get around it?
It’s as easy as using somebody else’s streaming service. Just find somebody with cable (giving them something for their trouble, of course), and use their login credentials to use your cable provider’s app. Your parents are the obvious choice, since they barely know what streaming is, never mind how to really use it well. All of Canada’s major cable providers have their own apps, each with the ability to watch up to 80 channels live.
These apps have access to thousands of hours of TV shows you can stream as well. You could easily replace your Netflix subscription with the streaming options offered by your local cable company.
The only catch is you won’t get access to channels unless the account you “borrowed” subscribes to them too. So unless the parents are HBO lovers as well, you’ll have to watch the naughty shows somewhere else.
I think many people would cut cable if it wasn’t for one thing — live sports.
There are a couple easy ways to watch sports. Some are hard, but don’t cost anything. Others are easy, but cost more.
The easy way is to shell out the $100 to $150 for a league’s all-access pass. This works great if you’re a fan of one particular sport. I’m a baseball nut, so I happily pay $109 per year for MLB.TV. You can easily split the cost of these with a buddy if you want to get the cost down.
If you don’t want to shell out the cash because you’re a more casual sports fan, there are other solutions. These days, a quick search online before a major sporting event will give you a multitude of, uh, somewhat illegal streaming options. I watched a football game via one of these options last month, and it was annoying. The stream kept cutting out, but hey, it was free.
And finally, if you use the apps provided by the TV providers, you can easily watch any live sporting event you want. They’re all on there.
Getting rid of cable doesn’t have to be hard. With a little bit of ingenuity and a blurred line of ethics, watching anything you want for nearly free is easy. Or you could just read a book instead.