Why I’m Glad We Don’t Have Cable or Satellite TV

A few weeks ago my husband and I had access to cable television because we were staying in a hotel for a couple of days. Though we have a TV in our living room, we don’t have cable or satellite for it.

During a recent stay in a hotel we had access to cable TV. The experience reminded me that I’m glad we don’t have cable or satellite TV in our home.

We typically enjoy having temporary access to cable. My husband will watch a couple games and other sports-related shows. Together we’ll watch shows on home decorating and home improvement. Despite enjoying the opportunity to watch these, this time in the hotel reminded me that I’m glad we don’t have cable or satellite TV in our home.

5 reasons I’m glad we don’t have cable or satellite TV

  1. The price tag. According to the Federal Communications Commission, the average monthly cost of a basic cable television subscription is $64.41 (though taxes, fees, and surcharges bring the actual cost up to about $80 per month). Satellite TV subscriptions are similarly priced. This means that many cable and satellite users are paying around $1,000 annually for their subscriptions. Wow! We simply don’t have room in our budget for this sort of expense. Even if we did, $1,000 dollars can make a significant contribution to a college fund for our baby or buy a lot of groceries, supplies for home improvement projects, etc. I hope we’d choose to use the money for one of these instead of paying for cable or satellite TV.
  2. The junk. There is so much junk on TV today, both on shows and on commercials. I’m amazed at how much skin can be shown on TV, even during hours when children would be expected to be watching. Last time I flipped through the channels, I observed a number of shows that had story lines about adultery or other forms of sexual immorality and that depicted pretty graphic violence. I also saw a number of commercials with not-so-covert sexual innuendo. I can’t imagine anyone benefiting from exposure to this junk. In fact, the Bible teaches us to instead think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
  3. The waste of time. TV tends to have a mind-numbing effect. During our time in the hotel I would turn on the TV to check the weather or news in the morning. Fifteen or 20 minutes later I would find myself staring mindlessly at the screen watching some show I wasn’t even really interested in watching. TV sucks you in and time quickly passes. I hate to think how far behind I would get on housekeeping tasks if I were “busy” watching TV at home.
  4. The inactivity. Perhaps it’s the mind-numbing effect or perhaps it’s the location of the TV, but it’s difficult to do much else while watching a television show. Unfortunately, you don’t burn a lot of calories while sitting and watching. For 25 years researchers have found links between watching TV and obesity. Think this is trivial? It’s not. One study among middle-aged women found that for every two hours the women spent watching television each day, they had a 23 percent higher risk of becoming obese and a 14 percent higher risk of developing diabetes (read more here). Forget the TV—I’ll engage in more active activities and ward off the risk of obesity and diabetes instead!
  5. The alternatives. There are so many great alternatives to cable and satellite TV. In fact, we rarely think about the fact that we don’t have these. We talk about our days, read books, play games, and debate political issues. Sometimes we window shop and attend local sporting or cultural events. When we do want to watch something, we take advantage of the few channels we get with an antenna, we use Amazon Prime, or we rent movies they have on DVD at the public library or a Redbox.

What’s your experience with cable or satellite TV? Why do you (or don’t you) subscribe to these services?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Capture Your Journey, Motivation Monday, Making Your Home Sing, Saturday Soiree & Essential Fridays.

Comments

  1. We don’t have cable and don’t miss it. The kids watch PBS and my husband and I watch one show on ABC. This pregnancy though we did spring for netflix because of horrible fatigue, we’ll probably keep it during recovery but not sure.

    • I know several people who enjoy having Netflix. We don’t have personal experience with it, but it certainly sounds like a good alternative to cable!

  2. We don’t have ANY T.V. – Everything you say about cable & satellite T.V. is also true of antennae channels (except the price). If my neighbor offers me a bag of garbage for free – I’d turn him down. Likewise, if the antenna channels offer me constant inappropriate material (and they do) I don’t want it. We DO get videos from the library – that way we can select the GOOD programming offered by PBS, without getting exposed to their garbage (like their many shows at Easter time that “debunk” the Gospel).

    • Indeed there is much trash on antenna channels–it is imperative that we exercise discretion regardless of what channels are available!

      The library is definitely our favorite way to get DVDs! I was surprised to find our local libraries have such an expansive collection.

  3. We’ve never had cable–and as of now, we don’t have a working television set for the first time ever, and won’t have one for the foreseeable future. I do like cuddling with the husband on the couch and watching a movie (we put my laptop on the coffee table when we want to watch a show, these days) but I completely agree that tv can just be a time suck. I prefer to use it as simple intentional fun time together occasionally, rather than having it be constant!

    • We watched movies in that same way for the longest time. We do have a TV now, but there’s something sweet about “having” to cuddle in order to both see the movie. 🙂

  4. We have cable after years of living without because my boys love sports. I could live without it though and agree with many of your reasons for not having it. I do enjoy Netflix though! #saturdaysoiree

    • The ability to watch sports is probably the one reason my husband would be tempted to get cable! He’d love to be able to catch more games.

  5. My husband always says if we didn’t have cable, he would spend more money. Golf and movie theaters are not cheap! 🙂

    • I suppose there are a lot of alternative activities that are pricy!
      Every family has to evaluate its priorities to see what is best.

  6. We have not seen a commercial in years and I didn’t realize how much junk is thrown at us until I stayed the weekend at my daughters who still has TV. It is a wonder why young girls have low self esteems and children think they have to have the next best thing to be happy. Advertisers are brain washing us!

    • What a surprise it must have been for you! Advertisers are very good at getting us to feel certain things and want certain things. We have to be on alert for this all the time because it happens with ads that aren’t on TV, too.

  7. We don’t have cable or satellite for the exact same reason, and another thing I really like is when you’re putting on a show via Amazon Prime (or Netflix or whatever), you’re acutely aware of how often you are setting it up to play another. I had some really low energy days the last few months with this pregnancy, and I don’t know if I would have been so aware that our TV time had increased so much if I didn’t have to be involved to play another show every 20 minutes.

    • That’s an interesting observation! I guess you do realize how much you’re watching when you have to actually select and play a show.

  8. This was our family’s philosophy all growing up, and I’m so thankful! My husband and I have carried that over into our marriage and I would never change it!

  9. Such a great post! We don’t have cable either and don’t really watch tv at all- we do dvds instead when we want to have a movie night or something and people often look at me like I have two heads when they hear this! I wrote a post about it a little while ago too. I honestly thought I would miss it, but since turning it off I have barely thought about it and the extra time is amazing! When we got married we never got cable since we had no money and I was really sad, but then I realized there are so many other places I would rather put it too. Just because culture says something doesn’t mean that we should do it or it is good for us. Thanks for sharing!
    -S.L. Payne, uncommongrace.net

  10. When we got married years ago, we didn’t even have a television for probably that first year. Best thing we did. I know people who have regular television and have 10+ shows they watch and I wonder where they have the time to do that? We finally gave up satellite several years ago and haven’t missed it. We do DVDs and we do have Netflix and Hulu, but now we make an effort to see something, it’s not just mindless. Netflix is nice because parental controls allow me to only have certain categories available to my kids. As far as current television, I have one show that I still like to watch, and my treat to myself on Tuesday morning is to watch the latest episode on Hulu. Other than that, I couldn’t tell you what television shows are even on anymore. I’m forever asking my sister who some actor or actress is because I don’t recognize many of them!

    My mom lives nearby and she has satellite so if we want to watch our college team play, we can. The last time we did though, the commercials were awful, one was practically pornographic and my boys immediately averted their eyes. I don’t miss that at all.

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