We finally canceled our satellite (DirecTV) service last week, after having been with them for about 8 years. We downgraded to their basic package, which was about $30 a month but didn't really come with anything worthwhile, except for the cartoon networks which have kept the kids occupied while my wife and I stress out over everything else. Anyway, we finally decided to ditch the whole thing. The good thing about DirectTV is that because they don't want you to cancel, they will make all kinds of offers to try to keep you as a customer. Among these are reduced payments for a set amount of time, a temporary suspension of your account, or in my case, they cleared my balance so I didn't have to pay a dime of what I was overdue, and they suspended my account for six months. At that point, if I can't afford it, I'll cancel entirely. I would imagine that other cable and satellite providers may have similar deals.
The thing that has pleasantly surprised me is that we're more than happy with what is available using an over-the-air antenna. For a small investment of a couple of antennas for each TV, and a converter box for one of them because the TV doesn't have a digital tuner, we get about 10 stations that are crystal clear and high definition, much better quality than our DirectTV signal. Plus, we were surprised to find that in our area, there are two additional over the air channels that are pretty much cable channels (One is called Create, which airs PBS programming 24 hours a day, it's pretty much all cooking, home improvement, and travel; and the other channel is called THIS-TV, which airs nothing but MGM ****** 24-hours a day. We enjoy this channel more than any cable channel we ever had). So what we thought was going to be a big sacrifice, has worked out quite well. I'm not sure we'll ever go back to cable/satellite TV again. The $60 a month savings is now going toward credit card bills, food, etc.
You can check what over the air stations are available in your area by going to this website:
You don't have to enter your name and address, just your zip code.
Then you want to get a good antenna. In a big city, cheap "rabbit ear" antennas probably work fine, but I suggest investing in a good amplified antenna (that plugs into the wall) that should give you a perfect reception for most channels available to you. TERK makes one that is about $70 in stores but you can get it for about half that on Amazon. You'll also want to make sure your TV has a digital tuner. All newer TVs have them, but older flat screen TVs may not have one, and none of the older, heavier tube TVs have them. If you don't have a digital tuner, you'll need to get a converter box for about $50. A small investment that you'll break even on within a couple of months once you cancel cable/satellite.
Finally, all kinds of things are available to watch for free on the internet. Hulu.com has lots of TV shows and ******, all of the major networks have at least some of their shows available to watch online.
Why waste money on TV when so much is available for free.